Friday, June 29, 2007


It certainly is nice to have good neighbors. Yesterday was daughter K's day off work so she was in charge of making supper. She decided to make seasoned chicken fingers with a tomato lettuce salad. However both of us thought we should have something more. We talked about having a rice dish. Maybe rice with diced red onion and diced red pepper cooked in chicken stock. However, we didn't have red onion or red pepper. So we sat and talked about other ideas. While we were talking, she was on the computer Instant Messaging with her brother. He suggested baking powder biscuits with grated cheddar cheese sprinkled with garlic powder when still hot from the oven.

So K started supper. However when she started the biscuits we discovered that there was no Crisco in the house. So we called our neighbor and she brought over her can of Crisco. The supper was a success with biscuits saved by the neighbor.

I plan on making beef jerky this weekend. However this morning I discovered that my meat was in the freezer in the basement. Now P is still on crutches and hasn't been going down the steps and K had left for work already. So it was another phone call to the neighbor who came and brought up the meat for the jerky.

About an hour later the front door opened and the neighbor walked in asking if we had any eggs. We did so she helped herself to a couple eggs. He husband was making bran muffins and after starting them found that they were out of eggs. I hope to find out how the muffins turned out because just a short while ago the neighbor walked in with a plate with a couple of muffins.

I was extremely glad to see her because I am having trouble breathing today and was busy suctioning the Flem out of my lungs. All the suctioning had made my 4x4 drain sponge wet. Now I can change the sponge myself but it is extremely difficult for me to do. I have in the past almost passed out and a couple times almost had my trach come out. So after putting the muffins on the counter the neighbor gloved up and helped me change my drain sponge.

As I said at the beginning it certainly is nice to have good neighbors.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A busy Tuesday

Yesterday was busy. Tuesday is P's day off work. First think in the morning, she had a haircut scheduled. When she walked in the door after her haircut she said we had to hurry to get out of the house because they were sealing the blacktop driveways and were almost to ours. Also we had to return a number of movies to the library by the time they opened or pay the fines.

Rush around; rush around and out the door we went. We made it to the library with minutes to spare only to find that they were working on the library parking lot. So P parked the van and on her crutches, rushed around the corner of the library to place the movies in the night drop box. As she was getting back in the van, they opened the library doors. However because she had placed the movies in the night drop box before the library doors opened we won't have to pay any fines.

Then it was off to the JcPenney store to buy me some new pajamas. We left there and went to the local Costco store. It must be quite a sight to see P and me shop. P uses her crutches to get to the store and then uses one of the stores electric carts to do the shopping. We found what we wanted there and went to the Sam's Club about a mile away. At Sam's we found the items we were looking for, however we also found out that two of the items were cheaper at Costco. So we stopped back there on the way home.

By now it was lunchtime so we decided to stop at home to unload the van and get some lunch. When we arrived home we discovered that we could not park on the driveway because it had been resealed. So we parked at the end of the driveway and I drove over the lawn in the wheelchair carrying a box of perishable items that needed to go into the refrigerator.

After lunch P and I reviewed the shopping list and headed off to the local grocery store. Once again P used one of the stores electric carts and I followed in my wheelchair. When we were finished there we decided to stop at the local Cold Stone Creamer for a small treat of ice cream. Boy did that ice cream taste good, I had small bowl of Peanut Butter Cup Perfection and Pam had a small bowl of Mint Mint Chocolate Chip. The price was a bit high but OH WAS THE ICE CREAM GOOD.

When we arrived home we discovered that the mail had arrived and the next DVD of Bramwell had arrived. So P and I put away everything and watched some Bramwell before making supper.

After supper it was time for me to use my nebulizer and go to bed. I was asleep before 8:30 last night. It certainly was nice to do something other than sit in the den.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Contentment Footnote?

About a month ago I wrote about Contentment. This morning I was reading an AARP Magazine article titled "Live Better With Less" in which the author contends that the possession of things doesn't necessarily make one happier.

I just found this article to be an interesting footnote to my earlier Blog.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

MIxed Feelings

I have mixed feelings this morning. On the one hand I am sad because my friend J who had ALS passed away early this morning. However, on the other hand I am happy that J no longer has to suffer.

I am so glad that a week and a half ago my son K drove me to J's home so I could visit him. J could no longer move, or talk. He lay in bed closed his eyes listening to my stories about our trip to Iowa. Every so often he would try to smile. Then last week when I called him I was told that he was under sedation and that his lungs were filling up with fluid. So I knew the end was near.

I knew J was suffering. He and I loved to talk to each other and now he couldn't even do that. One day this past spring P drove me over to his home and he and I sat outside enjoying the afternoon sun. Later his wife told me that it was funny watching the two of us talking. I guess it might have been. There we sat wheelchair to wheelchair, nose to nose, J would talk for a while until he grew too tired to talk and then I would talk until I grew too exhausted to talk. By that time J would be rested up and so we would begin the cycle again.

I will miss J, while I have lots of friends; I find it difficult to talk to non-handicapped people. It may be that I feel they have a hard time relating to what living with a handicap means, so we shy away from talking about everyday frustrations. So while I talk about a lot of subjects with my non-handicapped friends, the talking is mostly about non-handicapped things. Things like fishing, golfing, yard and house work. But never about the how we find ways of dealing with or laughing at living with a handicap.

So while I will really miss J, I am really glad to have had J as a friend. He helped me see something's in my life in a better perspective.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

What I hope to accomplish today

Last Saturday oldest son C was here helping with a number of chores that needed to be done around the house. Late in the afternoon we asked him to start the gas grill on the patio. He went out the back door and came back in asking where was the grill. It had been stolen during the night.

Today daughter K is home so I hope to have her drive me to the store so I can look at grills. I noticed in the paper that a number of stores have grills on sale this week. So hopefully I will be able to find a replacement.

I had hoped that son K would be able to do this for me yesterday. However he just found a house he and a friend can afford so he is busy signing leases, meeting with the utility company to have the gas and electric turned on, and cleaning the house before moving in. After spending 7 weeks on a mission trip in Costa Rica he has lived with us since Christmas. So I know he is ready to get back to a place on his own.

Oh yes one more thing before I close. When I went to make the coffee this morning, I noticed that son K had taken all the Buttermilk Oatmeal bread for his breakfast. Yesterday I wondered if I should make another loaf of bread, or wait until today. I guess I should have made it yesterday. So that is one other thing I will do today.

I do however need to watch how active I am today. With wife P on crutches I have been busy helping her and making meals. I find that even that small increase in activity has exhausted me. So now I need to watch that I don't run my system down and get sick again.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Knee

While on vacation two weeks ago P slipped while shopping and damaged her knee. This accident put a small dent in our vacation, not a large one, only a small one. So once we arrived at home it was phone calls to the doctor and to schedule exams, X-Ray's, MRI's and finally surgery.

So Sunday afternoon, our son drove down from his home about 90 miles north of us. He stayed overnight and drove P to the local hospital yesterday morning. I stayed home until 10 AM when P's cousin came and drove me to the hospital. I have not been able to drive for the last 3 years. When we arrived at the hospital P was sitting in her hospital room reading a book. She told me that the surgeon had not arrived yet so there we sat, she in the chair and I in my wheelchair. After a 1 1/2 hour wait the surgeon came at which time everything moved into high gear. In a short while P was on her way to the operating theater and I and cousin G to the surgical waiting room.

The surgery took about 2 hours at which time the surgeon came and talked to me saying that the knee damage wasn't as bad as they had feared. He had repaired the torn cartilage and said he thought P would be as good as new once everything had time to heal. After P was back in her room, I had cousin G take me home because I was just exhausted and my portable oxygen was empty. Once I was home, son K went back to the hospital to bring P home.

Now it is my turn to take care of P. She is using one of my walkers to help her get around the house. However son K and I made her a supper last night of hamburger on a bun, green beans and a salad. This morning I made her breakfast of boiled egg, toast, and orange juice. After all the years that P has taken care of me I rather enjoy being able to return the favor. I also enjoy telling her not to be so independent, something she has been telling me for years.

P's niece is coming this morning to bring lunch. I am not certain what I will be attempting for supper. It seems that most of the meat is in the freezer in the basement. Sometimes son K comes home from work early enough in the afternoon to bring thing up from the basement freezer. Sometimes he has other things planned and doesn't make it home until late. Of course we do have eggs, veggies, cheese and bread on the main floor so maybe it will be a simple supper.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The weight of it all.

I want to congratulate ME on the decision to lose weight. ME, you will find that it takes a change in our lifestyle and lots and lots of determination to do this. It is something our family has to watch because of the illness your father, his mother, uncle and grandfather all had or has. My doctor has told me to watch it also. However, if all one does is sit and use ones fingers on a keyboard it is hard to get ones weight under control. Someone told me that when the urge to snack strikes wait 6 minutes and if after 6 minutes you still want the snack go and eat it. Let me tell you, THAT DOESN'T WORK FOR ME. I am more than willing to wait and spend 6 minutes thinking about that snack. My brother tells me that walking is what helps him. Also not having snacks in the house is a good idea. All of these things seem like a lifestyle change to me.

Before I was confined to the wheelchair, it was easier for me to keep my weight at the ideal level I could be active doing many different things. Now I am trying to improve and not give into the urge to snack. P however does a GREAT job of helping me do this, by not having snack food in the house. But now having the two youngest home for the summer makes it more difficult, because there are more cakes and cookies around. I imagine you have a similar issue because of the two girls at home.

Of course being a member of the M family doesn't help because most of us love to cook. Just look at what we did on our vacation. In fact tomorrow C and L are coming down to help out around here and J is coming Sunday afternoon, so I think we will be doing something on the smoker and also on the grill. However, I know how not to overeat at the table, just take small portions, eat lots of salad and vegetables and eat slowly. Works every time for me.

Well this is enough about me. I just think it's good that you came to this decision. Remember you can always call and talk to me anytime you want to. And now we can commiserate about how we feel about food.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

And a Good Time Was Had by All

Yesterday P and I returned from our vacation at my sister's. We arrived at my sister's on a Saturday afternoon. We drove most of the 6-hour trip through heavy rains and strong winds so we spent most of Sunday resting. My younger brother and wife came to my sister's for dinner. We had brought beef brisket along, so after dinner, my brother and I made up the brine we used on one of the beef briskets and the dry rub we used on the other. We saved two other briskets for making Beef Jerky later in the week.

Monday was a holiday so we all gathered at my Sister's in the afternoon. Younger brother C cooked the briskets on the grill. I know that some who read this don't eat meat and I don't mean to offend anyone. I do want to relate how we enjoyed sibling time together. I have never had brisket so this was a new experience for me. I learned a lot about preparing it and enjoyed it. However, it is rather fatty and I doubt that it is the best for a heart healthy diet.

Tuesday everyone had to return to his or her work. So P and I were home alone. We spent the time reading, did a little shopping, P made some chocolate covered bar type cookies. She made two 9 x 13 inch pans full. I must tell you that they didn't last long. That evening we all went out for supper at a local restaurant. What a time of laughter we had. We even managed to eat some between bouts of laughing and story telling.

P and I were by ourselves on Wednesday also. P made the evening meal for my sister giving her a break from having to rush home from work and think about food. P spent the afternoon with M my sister in-law. I spent the entire day being lazy. After all I was on vacation. Later Wednesday evening my brother C came over and showed my how to prepare the rest of the brisket and thinly slicing it. Once again we prepared it two different ways. Half in a teriyaki and half in a dry pepper rub. C told me that we had to let the brisket marinade over night.

Early Thursday morning C shows up before I finished with my morning coffee and cleaned up. However, he didn't need my help placing the thin slices of marinated brisket on the grill where he let them smoke at a low temperature for a couple of hours, hours where two brothers visited. After a couple of hours smoking on the grill he removed the brisket and I placed them in his food dehydrator. While I did that he put the second batch of brisket strips on the grill to smoke. Of course this meant a couple more hours of visiting.

After C and I had all the brisket removed from the grill and place in the dehydrator we went to his office. He has a new office, which I wanted to see. I also wanted to talk to his office staff because in the past, I have enlisted their help to play practical jokes on him. We returned home, packed the brisket now beef jerky into plastic storage bags that we hid in my sister's refrigerator.

Friday my sister M took the day off. P, M and I spent a nice day visiting and getting the house ready for the weekend invasion. Just before noon my sister N and her family arrived from Wisconsin. They would be staying at my older brother D who also lives there. Mid afternoon my two other sisters G and F arrived. They were having such a good time talking and laughing that they ended up getting lost and having to call for directions. I will place a gentle hint here about the importance of taking a map along.

Saturday was a lot of fun. My sister F's husband and family arrived so now everyone was there. In the morning some of the women went to a large parking lot where there were tables and tables of used items for sale. Sister's M, G, and I went grocery shopping.

After lunch brothers D, C, and I went for a walking talk or a talking walk along the local river. They have nice paved paths so I was able to go along in my wheelchair. When I returned my sister G was making Calzones. My brother C and brother in-law K were at C's house making more Calzones. It takes a lot of food to feed this group. My youngest niece wanted to help make Calzones, so she and I made them on one side of the table and sister/aunt G made them on the other half of the table. There my young niece was patting out the dough, adding the spinach filling, folding over the top, and crimping the edges. We all laughed, talked, took photos, snacked on beef jerky, and just had a wonderful time. After a supper that turned out to have more food then we could eat, it was time for the adults to sample some of brother in-law K's home brewed beers. He is a great brewer so we were all eager to try the many varieties he had brought along.

Sunday morning everyone except my sister F, her husband R, and I went to church. The three of us were in charge of feeding everyone dinner. While F prepared the fajita filling brother in-law R and I made the guacamole dip to go with them. What a fun time the three of us had in a strange kitchen trying to find everything we needed.

After another noisy meal everyone started heading home. By 3 PM it was just my sister, brother in-law, P, and myself.

On Monday we were packed and on the road by 9 AM. We stopped at a small town in western IL to visit some friends of ours. We also stopped at my aunts to say hello. I must have been tired because I kept falling asleep on the drive home. We arrived home late that afternoon. Like all vacations it was good to be back home. However, as I write this I am almost ready to go on another vacation. Maybe next year we will see how my health is.