political grandstanding or simple cruelty

My brother has colon cancer. If he was like you and me treatment would be readily done. But since, he’s in White Deer, Pa at FCI Allenwood that’s not the case. It took eight months of bleeding with every bowel movement before they would even allow him to have the MRI.

The Warden Thompson knows he is handicapped. He wears corrective footwear because his feet were severed forty-five years ago in an auto accident. The footwear supports his ankles so he can walk but the prison doesn’t provide them so he is wheelchair bound. So knowing this Ms. Thompson (warden) provides a bus that doesn’t have a lift and then says he can either crawl up into the bus or not have the MRI done. He’s crawled in the bus while the guards stand there laughing. Captain Klinefelter takes perverse pleasure in tormenting my brother. On more than one occasion has said, “the only way you’re leaving this facility with handicap assessible is in a body bag .”

The MRI showed a large mass and the oncologist says he needs immediate treatment but Allenwood cannot meet his medical needs onsite. My brother has told the oncologist as well about his denial of his footwear and wheelchair. Thankfully, at the hospital he is given a wheelchair once he has crawled out of the bus to the ground. Seriously sadistic treatment by the guards doing the transport. Where has human compassion gone?

His lawyer, Robert Sullivan is court appointed but with that comes equally as much frustration. I’m not sure if his caseload is overwhelming or he’s simply indifferent. I’ve written the attorney general with all the dates, grievances filed and denied requests but that’s where the political crap comes into play…. the legal system works inefficiently and slower than a snail’s pace.

I’m writing, hoping someone has insight that I don’t have. Everyone should have access to medical care. I’m not asking for his freedom, I’m simply asking he is transferred to a facility that can give him the appropriate care.

The cost of freedom

An unusual prompt, it suggested living in the apartment of my dreams rent free but it came with one stipulation which was living with my worst enemy. Could I do it? What rules or stipulations would I need in place?

I read the prompt and laughed. Not in this life time is my initial response.

One, it would have to be quite the spectacular apartment for that to briefly be a consideration because of the key stipulation. Worst enemy?

I’m sure you’re thinking how bad can her worst enemy be.

Even pausing to consider the interesting addition to the prompt with the possible rules or stipulations my reluctance would continue because we all know how well good intentions work and let alone the rules. Every rule has a gray area and naturally that leaves the temptation to break them wide open for interpretation. What I see as unacceptable another might see as what’s the big deal. Trusting my instincts matters more than any assurance from my worst enemy.

I’ve lived with alcoholic parents that were abusive alcoholics and then naively married an abusive man so living in stressful situations is something I’m familiar with already. I’ve learned as I aged, don’t put myself in situations that have potential risk. Don’t invite trouble.

Which is why regardless how tempting the apartment might be, the price tag is too high.


Unexpected hesitation @Lyn Crain

Her soul begs to escape the waking hours

That invites every harshly spoken word

So many, they have become blurred

Tears shed randomly like spring showers

Glistening upon a bosom thrust skyward

Burdened until she feels discarded

Or tis maybe she should be less guarded

But what soul offers mere words

Pain depicted with every unturned page

Defying impulses of unexpressed hopes

Bewildered by unknown expectations

Does she sigh or rage

Defined by this society’s tropes

before her soul creates a foundation.

Through a child’s eye

I’ve often wondered what life would be like if the rules of our society were based on my nine year old’s perspective. What would be important to me and what wouldn’t?

Would I eat two breakfasts instead of one? Would either of them be healthy? The adult me still loves Poptarts like her nine year self. Though, I don’t feel the need to hide what I’m choosing as I did back then. My grandmother let me have Poptarts at her house with a half of grapefruit and a cup of coffee but my mother said not in her house. My mother insisted cereal for breakfast like what she bought was healthier than a Poptart… Lucky Charms, Sugar Pops, or Trix really was so much better.

Nine year old me would have preferred having either one without all the squawking and finger pointing that I was being spoiled by my grandmother. I didn’t need special breakfasts with fruit and coffee.

But that’s just a narrow focus now when even back then I was aware of so many social injustices that needed change. My friends shouldn’t have to drink at a different water fountain than me. Nor should they have to sit in the back at Woolworths. Why couldn’t we all sit together. A child doesn’t see skin color. A child only sees the actions in the moment. A child is taught to judge. A child is taught hatred. A child is forced to choose.

“All the things one has forgotten scream for help in dreams.”- Elias Canetti

My world would eliminate all prejudice. My world everyone would love one another. Heck, I would give us all rainbow colors and we’d all be playing at the park together. School wouldn’t be required.

Just to be safe I would make every adult unable to speak or to act in a mean manner. There wouldn’t be guns. or any way to hurt another. Yup, my nine year self needed a safe place. Unfortunately, I didn’t have that so it’s fun to imagine a sweet place to exist before my childhood was stolen.

“The best thing about dreams is that fleeting moment, when you are between asleep and awake, when you don’t know the difference between reality and fantasy, when for just that one moment you feel with your entire soul that the dream is reality, and it really happened.”- James Arthur Baldwin

Time of Day

Stop the clock! Have you ever considered how often we do the same thing at the same time each day? We self schedule our lives even when it’s not necessary.

I’m retired, yet I get up before six am every day. It’s not because I have anything urgent going on. I desire coffee and reading time before any one in the house rises. It’s me and the fur babies. A couple of snuggles with them while the coffee brews and then it’s to love seat with my coffee and book. That’s an ideal beginning to any day for me. My husband always asks why don’t I sleep in. I truly look forward to my quiet time. Life’s to short to not do what gives us joy.

I discovered an interesting read by C.S. Lewis about grieving. His wife died of cancer and the book shares not only his grief but an understanding of love. All of us experience grief differently despite the theory of five stages. This year has determined I will process whether I’m ready or not.

Discovering that I had a mini stroke from one of my migraines forced me to think about life’s shortcomings and blessings. In between the flurry of MRI’s and brain tests, my mother passed and my niece committed suicide. I was shocked at my niece’s choice to end her life. I was relieved my mother passed. My brother took our mother’s passing hard but then he was close to her whereas her and I never had a relationship. If that wasn’t enough to process, my brother was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer and doesn’t have his mother to help him cope. I’m all he has now.

Life doesn’t schedule inconveniences. It just happens. Like Johnny’s unexpected death in 2019, my son, his father’s determination to lose himself in the clutches of crystal meth. My niece choosing death when her whole life was ahead of her. Cancer claiming another victim in my family. My migraine purgatory added a surprise just to remind me to be in the moment.

So yes, my morning routine has immense joy to me. I’m blessed to enjoy snuggles with my fur babies. I’m blessed to love and be loved by an amazing man. I’m blessed to co-habit with not just my husband but with my daughter and granddaughter in Las Vegas. I’m blessed to have one of my sons moving forward in his life with his family after retiring from a twenty six year stint in the Navy. I pray the other son will make the choice to get help. Nothing I say or do reaches him so what ever happens will happen.

“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.” – Kahlil Gibran

Live in the moment, is all I can do and show my loved ones how much I love them. Lewis reminds us all the power of seeing not only life’s enchantments while not being disenchanted because even with no sense of joy or sorrow life’s intimacy will/does sharply embrace us before eventually restoring us. Simply a matter of believing.

“The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit and that its center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.” – Black Elk

What can’t I leave home without:

Once upon a time, it was makeup. I never went anywhere without putting it on. I carried a backpack purse with makeup for touch-ups. Heaven forbid, I didn’t have my eyes just so and my lips shiny. These days, I’m lucky if I comb my hair before I head out. Appearances aren’t as important to me as they once were to me. Looking back I can’t believe how vain I once was.

I never used to go anywhere without a purse either My friends used to tease me about carrying everything but the kitchen sink. Then, it was a cell phone, driver’s license and a debit card in my pocket. But even that has changed, These days if I have pockets than my cell phone and a debit card when Vic isn’t with me. If he is than it’s just the phone. Not that I’m expecting an important call, it’s more important to me to know how many steps I have taken each day. Priorities, have changed. I try to walk the same amount of steps daily.

The interesting part of this question is what can’t I leave home without? Reality for me is there’s nothing that important to me anymore. What’s more important to me is when I’ll be back home. I don’t like leaving the cats home alone especially with our neighbors fascination with fireworks. Both of our babies are terrified of the loud noise. I used to love going places, now I find going out less enjoyable.

As I’m writing this afternoon, Pumpkin and I are outside in the back yard. It’s something I enjoy doing daily. A mourning dove walked between Pumpkin in his cat enclosure an me sitting in a lawn chair with my laptop with not a concern. Pumpkin stared and I didn’t move because I was curious to see the kitten’s reaction. It’s been easily five minutes and the dove is still ambling around us. Apparently, my hen pecking on the keyboard isn’t disturbing to the dove.

Anyway, have you ever thought about what you can’t leave home without. How much as that evolved over the years?

Sky deception

The weather report said sunny with clear skies but looking upward I can’t help but wonder where the weatherman got his eyes checked. Clear in Vegas is definitely an illusion like winning big at the slot machine. Early this morning, the smog hung like a flannel sheet over the rounded mountain tops that surround the valley aka the dust bowl. At least, the wind has finally dissipated but the dust in the air hasn’t yet. It takes a while for it to settle. Lessons learned since the move to Sin City. People talk about the heat living in the desert but the smog shrouds aren’t mentioned but should be.

Feeling Settled Finally

It’s the first time in many years, I’ve co-habituated with my daughter. It was an unsettling process once the decision was made. Especially, when you’ve both had your own home and way of doing things. Naturally, there’s an adjustment period to each other’s routines so we agreed on a one year lease together.

It’s been 7 months now, we’ve survived the holidays, shuffling things in the house, organizing the garage, children coming to play to make it work for our needs without arguing. That’s huge! Vic’s been a trooper living with three women instead of just one. We discussed continuing the arrangement and reached out to the landlord to continue our lease for two more years. The surprise bonus was the landlord didn’t increase the rent for the new agreement. This also takes us through Olyvia’s years in elementary school.

The other nightmare was getting competent medical treatment for my migraines. Initially, it took 3 months to get an appointment with the Neurology Center recommended by my previous doctor. Once that started, new evaluations began so the doctor could create a baseline for a treatment plan. Surprises again! I have a pinched nerve in c3 and a herniated disc in c2 just what I didn’t want to hear. But then the scary detail was what got a second MRI within days was a potential blood clot. Second MRI confirmed it was a blood clot and I got to add another medication to my portfolio coumadin. If this doesn’t work, then they want to go get it.

Lucky me, another possible surgery. I’m so over surgeries. My right foot didn’t heal the way the ortho doctor promised so that is going to require another surgery as well. I’m 65 this isn’t the age I want to be going under anesthesia though I’m told the brain fogginess isn’t like it used to be. I believe there are risks regardless of the well intended assurances.

Life isn’t promised, it’s simply lived one day at a time. “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” ― Robert Frost

Selling a Home Isn’t for the Weak of Heart

Especially when you’ve just had foot surgery. Remember when I fell last fall, well that fall just keeps on giving. A friend suggested the giving foot as a short story. Not a bad idea considering all that has happened with it.

Initially, all the pain was in the left foot. I went to the doctor’s and yup I had broken it and hyper-extended the Achilles tendon. I got to wear an Aircast for 4 months and physical therapy. Unfortunately, the physical therapy brought another issue. I also had a break just under my ankle bone that didn’t show in the initial MRI but did in the second one. Lucky me another month in the boot and different physical therapy.

I was getting pretty good at painting and doing the things that needed to get done before we showed the house with the boot on. One learns to adapt when you have a honey to do list. Thankfully, at the end of March, I got out of the boot. Yay! Now, I can get things done.

I still had some painting on the back of the house that required me to be high on the ladder. I was standing on the ladder step but had to extend on my tippy toes to reach. OWWWW! That really made my right foot hurt. I called the doctor and he did an ex-ray. Oh no, the second metatarsal was broke and so was my third toe. It was not in a position it was supposed to be either. I had a huge discoloration in the same area. Lucky me, back into a boot while they scheduled surgery. The doctor indicated the break looked about the same age as the other ones but that the added stress aggravated it to the point it gave out.

May 26th, I had surgery. I have screws holding the metatarsal and toes in place. I have long pins sticking out of my toes to hold them in the proper position. I can weight bear in the boot for very limited periods of time. As painful as it is, I’m not even pushing the limit. This is by far the most painful surgery I’ve ever had and I’ve had quite a few now. I spend a lot of time sleeping or icing it. The pain takes so much out of me that I don’t sleep well or for very long.

My first recheck is June 3rd.

In the meantime, we’re still showing the house except the perspective buyers are stuck with me being here. Our realtor is taking them around while I stay seated in the recliner with an ice pack I’m doing that every hour to minimize the swelling. If I don’t my foot balloons so much that the boot feels like a vice. The pressure on the pins is horrific so I am really keeping on top of it.

Like I’ve said many times, timing is everything and I’ve been never been lucky. I saged the house and put out fresh salt to clear the energy after that skitso buyer who couldn’t make up her mind and yanked us around for a month. But I unfortunately, hadn’t done it before I did the last ladder experience and the new injury. Nor did it help having her keep the house in limbo because on realtor it indicates our house has been on the market for a longer period of time.

This growing old isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. I’m not a patient person by nature and this limbo makes me grumpy.

Vic is doing the deck repairs alone because I can’t be on my feet. There were some boards with serious cracks and that’s not safe on a second story deck. He’s replacing them. It’s actually not that difficult and a helluva lot cheaper than rebuilding the deck. We did have the deck checked and it is structurally sound except for the three boards. Those boards happen to be where snow falls off the roof and sits in the winter. Yup another casualty of growing old. Shoveling isn’t easy. Another reason why Vegas is so appealing… no shoveling.

On a positive note, my daughter and granddaughter are already moved into our new home. Olyvia had a sleep-over with her friends on Sunday night. She was so excited. She’s never had one because her father didn’t want any noise at the house. Good thing for Olyvia, her grandparents and Mom don’t mind the sound of children having fun.

Story-a-day 18

“Coffee sure tastes good to me today.”

I turned my head to see who was speaking. There wasn’t anyone near me except the llama. I shook my head and took another sip of my coffee. I sighed as I savored the delectable brew.

“I put coffee in my coffee, today. So what are your plans for the day,” asked the llama chuckling at his wittiness.

“I’m going to…. ” I sprang up from the bench. There’s no way a llama could talk. “Who’s playing practical jokes?” I looked under the bench for a speaker, or a microphone. Anything to explain the voice but I discovered nothing or no one. This is bonkers. I must be losing my mind.

“You’re going where? Is it somewhere fun?”

“No, it’s not fun. I’m going to the hospital to get my Botox injections.”

“Oh, are there a lot of needles involved?”

” How are you talking? Llamas don’t talk.”

“Who says llamas don’t talk. We talk all the time. I believe you’re misinformed. “

I slugged back my coffee. ” I need to leave or I’ll be late. Have a good day.”

“Hey could you answer one question before you leave. Do you think someone will look at me the same way I look at coffee?”

I scurried away but not without turning back several times. The llama continued to sip his coffee on the bench. I couldn’t help but wonder what was in my coffee.