Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Motorcycles, chickens, ducks, arms, precious friends and such happiness

Bug has been taking me for motorcycle rides.  I am not clinging onto the back or sitting up in the air with my legs tucked up under me.  No it is like sitting in a lovely arm chair.  Bug right in front of me to hold on to if I should feel the need,  Or if I just want to wrap my arms around him and rest my head on his back and just fly.  Oak tree branches covered with resurrection fern reach across the road, newly asphalted.  The light plays hide and seek with the leaves and branches splashing and reflecting across the ground.  The gentle vibration of the bike relaxes my muscles, the canopied roads relaxing my soul.  My nerves seem to all line up instead of screaming from all directions.  It is like my whole body sighs a mantra hhhaaarrrrrllllleeeeeyyyyy.  Yes, I may have to pay for these trips by resting or taking more pain meds, or whatever.  It is worth it.

The other day we road around the newly paved road that circles Mays Pond.  It seemed for sometime that we were riding more then once a week.  Life is so very HD for me at those moments.  Crisp and bright as the change of season kicks into high gear.  One of my huge crepe myrtles is changing from the thick dark green to reds and oranges leaves.  I can't wait to see what color the bark will peal back to reveal. 

And is anyone else getting tired of watching all the cancer commercials.  I am sorry, I know that the more we talk about things the more money, research and progress you can make.  But they are more numerous then feminine product commercials.  Okay, I know that was small of me, and probably brought on by my situation and how uncomfortable and sad it makes my honey and other precious loved ones.  I feel better pointing out that yes, you can turn the channel.  But it is always hard for the care takers.  There has to be away to get the information out to the masses with a little more consideration to those who are barely holding it together.

My right arm is much better.  maybe.  It is also possible that it isn't that much better but I am just growing accustomed to it.  I have the jerks more prominent these days.   I can tell when I have not taken the anti-anxiety drugs because it takes a lot of energy to control your body.  It is an automatic reflex to tense up and try to keep the jerks down.  I need to just let them go, and I am trying to learn to do it.  It is best when I do not have a cup of tea or a glass of water in my hands when I am trying to just let go.  Because it causes such a mess.  But it also makes me laugh at times, so it is not all bad.  There are much bigger issues to think about.  Both arms are affected, but being right handed it is more noticeable.  Hand writing something on paper is frustrating, uncomfortable more than painful and exhausting.  The writing is legible, but that takes even longer to ensure that.  Even just typing on the computer affects my arms.  That is when it is most noticeable with my left arm.  It is a basic fact that our bodies wear out.  I have physically pushed my body, running and then jogging when I was young.  I started walking as I got older, but now I do not do that as much as I would love.  But the drugs, all of them, pain, anti-anxiety, chemo, more chemo, different chemo all making their individual mark on my body.  The bottom line is my body is worn out and giving out.  Some parts faster than others, but all systems have been compromised, and some are still taking hits with all the drugs I take now.  And honestly I take very few drugs for someone in this situation.  The pain drug I am on now, the lovely and wonderful Big D seems to be the least difficult on me.  Although I am not pain free, I probably have less pain then the average person my age.  And it is funny that the Big D does seem to have some impact on those pains, none of the previous pain meds they gave me seemed to work on those little everyday pains.  I was told to take your normal over the counter drug along with whatever narcotic they had me on to deal with that.  Wow!  now if that doesn't say something about the pain we get not from disease, but just life.  I am not sure what it is saying, but it seems to be interesting to me.  But the Big D seems to be helping me the most and I am quite satisfied staying on this as long as it works.

I have been so busy and there has been so very many reasons to blog, but the dread of dealing with my hands.  I had tried to write some posts, which is why this post is already so long.  I have mentioned being kidnapped and abducted to St. George by my sister Vicki and her accomplice Nancy.  They had driven down from Indiana to our favorite meeting spot, SGI, and had rented a two bedroom, two bath beach house, right on the beach.  It was a stilt house and the huge glass window that faced south looked over the gulf and framed the view so that when you were indoors you could still feel the gentle pull of the gulf.  Vick and Nanc would walk up and down the beach collecting shells for various projects.  All kinds of shells, some for other teacher, some for their own collection.  I walked to the beach and then would sit down and look for shells.  I chose half a dozen small shells all in a vivid orange color.  Just the walk through the gauntlet of sandspurs and twisting sand paths was enough to put my butt on the sand and look for shells.  We ate seafood everyday.  Grouper sandwiches, fat succulent oyster po boys, crab cakes and platters of all fried seafood of every type you can imagine here on the gulf coast.  Every meal was accompanied by hush puppies, cheese grits, cole slaw, sliced tomatoes and even though we were always too full to eat it, Key Lime Pie lured us with its pale lemon lime color.  We finally ordered a slice to go and it was consumed an hour after our meal with great enthusiasm.  Bug found me and rescued and returned me home.  That is how I explained it to Hospice when I returned all of their messages.  They laughed and retold the story to others in that program.  I smile and think about the last look my sister and I.  I was in the car, she on the stairs.  We looked deep into each others eyes and fought the screaming, "This is the last time you will ever see each other."  That could be true, but it may no be true and each day I fight that little voice that insists that each event is the last.  That is not necessarily true.  It is good to keep that in mind so that you will remember to pay attention to each moment.  But I need to be careful to not allow this to miss the moment.  Life each moment like it is the best thing ever.  That is a better way to look at it.  Because as my sister and I looked at each other, my heart was breaking.  But as soon as I got there the dolphins that were spotted each morning and evening as they made their rounds on their fishing grounds, starting playing.  Splashing tails and great leaps of water and streamline animal shooting up and twisting and spinning landing with great joy back in the water, only to shoot up and out again.  It was like watching a show at SeaWorld, but here the animals did it of their own accord at the moments they felt joy, or maybe it was sexual rituals and they were flirting and showing off.  Right in front of our house was a favorite spot for this cavorting, and from the deck at the back of the house I could sit and watch.  A golden eagle flew over the house one morning.  Slow enough to be identified, Osprey whistled and swept up and down looking for the biggest tastiest fish.  They would hold themselves high above the water, twisting their wings so that they hovered in the same place looking down, shadow cast out of the way of the fish.  Then they would pull in their wings and shoot down and either pull back up as the fish scattered, or they would sink their talons into their prey and pull themselves up before completely submerging into the water.  Young pelicans, duller in color then their grown counterparts who sport patterns of brown, black, white and yellow, flew every morning east into the rising sun.  A perfect line of young ones learning the ways of their kind.  Each lined up behind the one in front, the line floating up and down just inches above the water as it welcomed the pinks and oranges of the morning sky.  Seagulls with their screams and clacking bills.  Crabs as big as my fist and as small as a little finger sitting in their hole homes waiting for the cooler evening to scurry out to find their dinner and to remind each other who was bigger.  Life of the beach.  Life when my sister, and now our Nancy and myself find our souls soothed, our laughter more easy.  I left, they still had a few days.  They had graciously given up one bedroom for me and then Bug to stay with them.  This part of my life, may be the best part that Vicki and I share.  And each of us share memories and portions of our lives with so many others. 

We did not see any hatching turtles this year.  We have seen them two previous years.  Even Owen was there for the first time.  He got to touch them before we put them in the gulf so that they could start their lives.  Owen was around one years old.  He no more remembers touching the turtles than they remember him.  But hopefully he remembers that we tell him the story of touching the turtles.  Sometimes our memories are shared and it takes all of us together to remember those moments.  Just like our ancestors together, it takes all of us to remember the day to day events and the special moments.

By the way, I just found out that Hospice refers to a death as an "event".  I asked if I would someday be an event.  My nurse assured me, yes, it would be an event.  I like that, I do not think that I have ever thought of anything in my life that I referred to as an event.  

Shortly after my adventure on SGI our dear precious friends Marty and Shelia came for a visit, arms over flowing with presents for both of us.  They had been travelling for two weeks having driven to Niagara Falls, both sides, and then heading south to us.  They looked a little travel worn, but made it all the more special to me that they would make sure to come and visit us, even though their travels really did not come anywhere close to our place.  I continued eating seafood but now we had cheesecake.  I had ordered a strawberry cheese cake from Tennessee Cheesecake Company.  This is a small family business and I chose it over the big names because they were the only one to say they used fresh strawberries in their swirl.  All the other companies simply said a strawberry swirl.  I also found by calling the company that their prices were comparable with the others, but in this case the strawberry cheesecake was on special and was much less expensive than the others.  I also ordered some turtle cheesecakes but they were out, so substituted boxes of mixed cheesecakes for the same cost, so we ended up with more cheese cakes then I had planned.  They were all consumed in record time and I noticed that people had a hard time not going back for a third helping.  I highly recommend this small family business.  The cheese cakes were creamy and sweet, but with that touch of sour cream on the top that cuts through the richness leaving your mouth and tummy both happy.

We took Marty and Sheila to Mission San Luis in Tallahassee.  It is a state park and shows life at a time when the Spanish and the Apalachee Indians lived together in on mission.  The Spanish lived on one side, the Native Americans on the other, but together they made up one community.  It is a very cool place and I highly recommend you visit it, but I would suggest that this time of year is much nicer than the summer time, because it does get hot.  After the Mission M&S took us out for Bug's birthday dinner at Outback.  We all ate until we were miserable.  Bug was as happy eating as I have ever seen him.  He had the surf and turf, filet with garlic sautéed shrimp, all he could eat.  Happy, happy, happy.  We were going out on the boat the next day, but Shelia got sick from her allergies to animals.  She was probably a little worn down from all the travelling and then to come into Dr. Doolittle's really hit her hard.  We knew she was allergic to cats, so had down our best to get rid of any cat dander where she might be, but we didn't realize she also had trouble with dogs.  They have shitz poos so she is not affected, I had not thought of the poo part to realize that was how she could have pets.  The visit was cut short.  But even if they had stayed it would not have been long enough.  I know Marty would have loved to go out on the boat, the weather was perfect, but Shelia was too sick to go on the boat, and obviously could not be in the house, so instead they headed home. 

Bug had gotten his crossbow that was his birthday present.  He sited it in, and Marty got to shoot it.  My cousin Lori and I also were able to shoot it.  Well, with Bug loading it, and giving us a chair and table to steady it, we just shot off the bulls eye.  I had tried my right arm first, naturally, but it had hit my port, and I have been scared by all the medical people about not doing things like that.  This port is connected to some pretty important veins going into my heart.  Not only that it hurt.  So I simply switched to my left side, and actually seemed to do better on that arm.  Just not worrying about hitting my port helped tremendously.  I have no interest at all in shooting anything.  Bug has planted a food crop for the deer and turkey and has his blind set back into the trees, and it is hard to see it.  I wouldn't mind sitting in there with my Honey as he hunts and I read a book.  Ah, quality family time.  Of course if he kills anything, I am out of there.  I prefer my corn flakes.  I don't know how they got from the seed to the box, and I don't really care.  That is probably one reason I have never been a big meat eater, if I was left to my own accord I would be forced into a veggie life style, so I might as well be honest about it.

So after a wonderful visit with these two very special friends, my cousin Lori came and as always we had a wonderful time just being together.  I love that woman, and remember not that long ago I was 50 and uprooting my family and moving to a totally new place.  It can be a challenge.  She has a son and a nephew that lives with them that are just at the age where they are trying to decide between college or tech or just get out there and get a job for now, and figure out life a little later, so that does add complications my labs did not bring.

Yesterday, Bob from work and Kim from NC came by for a visit.  I felt terrible.  I had missed Bob's birthday last month, but he brought us asaigo cheese bagels from Panera.  Oh my goodness, I have missed those.  Bob looked at a picture on our wall and asked where it had been painted.  We only knew that Hope Marie painted in Pensacola.  Bob didn't say more, but he studied the painting.  Kim loved my Grandfather's painting of the trees.  They both have excellent taste and were oohing and aaahing over our very small art collected.  It made us very happy.  Today I received this photo from Bob.  It is a picture of Bellingrath Gardens

Photo from Bob probably from the website

This is the painting by Hope Marie

 Bug and I would like to take a trip there soon with the future owners Hope Marie.  Wouldn't it be fun to take a photo of us with the Hope Marie and then slip it into a zip lock bag attached to the frame.  It will help owners of the future to know a little more about this picture and those who have loved it before.  We bought this is a Thrift Store.  But I am sure that earlier in time, someone loved this painting.
I had such a delightful visit with these two very special people.  Bob and I worked together for 26 years.  He is one of the name sakes for Bob, my lab.  Yes, he was named for my dad, and even though my brother goes by Rob, he is still a Bob, and Bob at work, and then it turned out to be my husband's name.  Bob's have been important in my life.  He is still a very special person to me.  One of those friends you keep your whole life.
Kim and I met because of the job.  I worked in Agriculture and she worked in Pest Control, but we both did the same job for our bureaus.  It was an instant connection and we have been close ever since.  We have been there for each other for some of the most challenging moments of our lives.  The loss of parents, dementia, the loss of a sibling, marriages, grand kids not to mention the changes in our bodies and minds as we age.  Kim like so many of my women friends are resigned to these changes and have decided to celebrate that process, to find joy, love and happiness whenever we can, and to share those moments.  I will get to see Kim for one more quick visit as she heads home to her Honey and their cabin on the side of a mountain.  A beautiful place, bountiful with native plants and wildlife.  Kim and Jim have made their place a protected native habitat.  Kim retired from the Department several years back.  She has found something else she would like to do when she grows up.  She has become a reporter for the local newspaper.  She went from a small gardening article to becoming a reporter.  They would love for her to become a full timer at the newspaper, but she is happy being a reporter.  I love it when friends find something else they want to do when they retire.  I always wanted to be a gardener.  I have been a gardener all my life, but that has always been what I wanted to do when I grew up, a gardener.  Isn't great when life works out so well?!  My visit with these two loved ones couldn't have been more special.  Just a few hours talking, smiling, and enjoying our friendship and time together.  
Geeta has been a steadfast friend.  I laugh, which one of my precious dear beloved friends and family are not steadfast.  She tries to take a few hours off each week from her job and make food for me and then drives out here to visit me.  I miss going to visit her and seeing Janak and Ba.  I love that here Geeta and I have our time.  Maybe I should send Ba a photo and tell her how much I love her.  It would not be the same as being there, but for now, that might be the best I have.  Geeta's last visit she brought Nalu with her.  I had not seen here forever.  She has cancer and has gone through her chemo and radiation and her hair is growing back beautifully.
After treatments that first time your body tries to shake off the WMDs your hair comes in, or not.  Nalu's is soft and wavy to the point of almost curly.  It is a lovely shad of deep gray with the combination of white and darker hair, soft and new.  She also has that glow.  I remember people talking to me about a glow.  I can see it in Nalu.  She is lovely.  I mean she has always been a beautiful woman, but now as she survives the onslaught of malignant cells and doctors with WMDs that shines out of her.  That strength and inner beauty, wow.
Ms Moon also has continued to be our dinner fairy.  This sweet beautiful woman, who is as delightful as her name, brought over yesterday a pot of split pea soup.  Of course Ms Moon made it even healthier by slipping in lots of veggies of all kinds.  She also included a loaf of hearty wheat bread that she had made herself.  Finally the most glorious of all things, a pineapple upside down cake.  An entire meal hearty, healthy, and delicious while nurturing your soul, not just your body.  I mean a bowl of soup and thick slices of bread to swab up the final bit from the bowl, and then a huge slice of cake, what more could anyone ask for.  She brings the food in with such joy and love.  She is the best nurturer I have ever met.  And being one myself, she blows me away by her acceptance of people and how they love her for the rest of her life. 
She had given me the number of one of her friends from nursing school.  Her friend is a hospice nurse in Colorado.  I gave her a call and she has that smart, funny, no bars hold way of talking as Mary.  I loved talking to her because she just cut to the point and gave me more information about the part of life I am living than anyone with me.  Knowledge is power.  A power that comes out in confidence.  It is okay to say to me, yep, your body has been through a lot and it is worn out.  Things just aren't ever going to get better.  It is the same for everyone, I am just in a speeded up process. 
So much has happened in the last few weeks.  I am feeling better and stronger.  I am able to do more before I have to rest, and for the most part I am able to do more things.  I know this may surprise you, but I have not gone crazy and do too much.  I am tired because of all the visits.  But I wouldn't trade those moments for anything.  I am still getting tired, but it is not as hard a crash.  I am able to do more with out getting to that point.  Today I felt a stab of crash after the Hospice nurse and was ready to lay down and sleep, but I started working on this post about 11:00 am.  I have not gone back and looked, but it is probably getting to be a little novel.  I have had to stop and do other things because of my arms.  I talked to my nurse about my neuropathy and we are going to try upping the dose.  I am at the very lowest rate, so maybe there is something that might fix a lot of problems.  It would be nice to feel my feet and the carpet and bamboo flooring, grass and the warm water in the pond instead of buzzing, pinching and burning.  I feel so good.
Maybe they will be able to help my feet and hands and as a gardener that is so very important and come spring watch out.  See, a month ago I would never have planned anything for next spring.  I really feel that well.  But we must not forget I am on a couple of anxiety drugs and a really good pain drug.  I feel the pain, and without the meds, I would have already begged morphine.  But that is not what is happening.  The pain and anxiety meds along with the WMDs, their pre-meds and after meds that are diminishing in my system are all working just fine right now.  I do not overdue as much as I want to do.  I have not learned any lessons, I am simply tired and sit down for a minute, and well, depending on how tired I was is when I will get back.
I think I might have confused some.  I am not in a Hospice facility.  I live at home with my Honey and my animals and our woods and pond with our fish.  Some people live in Hospice facilities, but at this point we have no plans in me not staying home.  Our home is set up so that it would not be hard for me to stay down stairs if I should not be able to go up and down.  Of course, I could also have a hospital bed to be put in the guest room.  But I would rather stay down stairs.  If I need a view of our property and trees, I can sit in the Florida room.  Shoot I could have my hospital bed in there.  But now, I don't need any of those things. I have the first basics, walker, shooter chair (ok that is not necessary), wheel chair, potty chair, shower chair.  But these are all put away until I need them.  I walk again, I eat.  In fact I have had a couple of cravings.  I have done some cooking.  A very small amount of cooking, and Bug usually has to help with the final and then serving it.  But I am growing stronger and I am enjoying.  I am reading again.  And I have picked up some of my crochet projects.  I work pretty slow with this because of my arms.  But I am excited to look forward to eating some times and I want to create.  So many projects already started to chose from.
I think another thing I think I have mislead people.  Of course this was purely accidental and anytime I hear about these confusions, I try to discuss the issues with people.  Hospice is not about dead people.  It is about the whole, the family, the person's life and helping them all with the transitions one of them is going through.  It is about helping to minimize pain and anxiety.  They provide meds for that, but they also have other ways to deal with the pain and or anxiety.  They have a counselor, they have a music therapist, they have all kinds of options to help the patient as comfortable and mobile for as long as possible.  I have had nothing but the utmost professional service.  They have spent time to talk to me, to go over things again to make sure that I take my drugs and that I have my drugs.  They will do more as I need more, and they are real people and patient and kind.  I could not live this life if I didn't have them.  I need the meds they allow me, the nursing care, and so much more as we move down this path.
Shelia kept saying to me, "Be Happy"  I can quietly, whisper "I am"  I can also shout it out, "I'm happy".  And I love you for wanting that for me.  I am happy.  Happier then I could have known.  I worry about my Honey, but I have to let him be him, and worrying only causes both of us anxiety.  He loves me so much.  I known because I love him.  But he can not make this go away, and all he wants to do is take care of me.  So I have this amazing man in my life. I have dogs and cats, chickens, ducks and fish.  I have garden beds begging to be planted.  I have plants I have started to go into these beds.  Bug is building my fish pond for my birthday.  I can't wait to get the Bubba's here with us.  I only have four left of the original 12 I bought 6 years ago.  I love my Bubba's.  All have the same name, except for the big one with the fancy tail, we call that one Queen Bubba.  All my animals will be here then.  Then I can focus on plants. 
Bug brought home in the bucket of the John Deere our cement bench.  It is more than 300 pounds.  He placed at the spot where we feed the fish and gaze at the pond.  I have planted two more clumps of Panama Pacific water lilies in the pond.  They are all doing well and love the pond.  Happy little plants.
I am getting tired by the minute, so I will close this.  I am sorry if I missed mentioning anyone who has come for a visit.  I love visits.  Yes, I do wear myself out, but only because I want to be with you, and I want to have a real life.  So, thank you again for coming to all of those who have been able to,  and to those still scheduling and planning, I look forward to those visits.  And to those who call or write a note, or leave me a message, thank you.  Thank you to all for your prayers and good wishes.  It is a miracle, I woke up this morning.  It was a beautiful morning, sunny and comfortable.   I moved around the house as I have been writing.  I have took breaks and wandered outside.
Now, to sleep


  1. I love you. That is all.
    So does Glen.

  2. I am happy to read about your energy and renewed strength. I thought about you as I visited my friend tonight who is probably going to die within the next few days. He has gone down quickly, deciding against WMD's. I sat and talked to him, read Poem in October to him because his birthday is this month, and hoped that he might hear me. No way to know as he is non-responsive on morphine and Haldol. I hope that your strength remains. I am cheered by reading this post about your time being busy living.

  3. I was happy to read of your days and your friends and your enjoyment of all of it. I was happy, too, to hear of the phone call to Mary's hospice worker friend. I find her amazing. Know that there are many out here who don't really know you except as the friend of someone we love -- and that we're sending our love and peaceful thoughts to you.

  4. I think of you often, Kathleen, up here in Canada and I am so happy for you, for the beautiful home, animals, friends and love that surrounds you. You are a wonderful woman and a great inspiration to me.


  5. I am so happy you are feeling so good. I found your blog through Mary Moon. I think Elizabeth said it best "we know you as the friend of someone we love". I have read your whole blog from the beginning and you are an amazing strong woman. May you have many more happy days. Gail

  6. I am so happy to be reading along your journey. i am thinking of you often.