Sunday, April 26, 2015

Hybrid Dreams & Logical Inconsistencies

Dear John,
 
I dreamed about you last night. Thanks for the visit - it's been a while!
 
In my dream there was some guy that was accusing you of running into his car with yours and then beating him up. To cut to the end, I succeeded in proving that the damage to his car wasn't from another car but was bullet holes. And I proved you hadn't beaten him up because he claimed your wedding ring caused the damage to his face, and I could prove that you'd been buried in your wedding ring; I had you exhumed and it was still on your hand.
 
Yes, I am aware of the presence of logical inconsistencies. That's what dreams are all about. It was an interesting hybrid. It had elements both of my dreams the first year after your death, when I was always trying to rescue you from something, and of the later dreams where you're back but at the same time you're still dead.
 
I hope the time will come when I will dream about simply enjoying being with you. Let's go to Holland or Mackinac, or maybe the Cincinnati Zoo and then to Gold Star Chili for dinner. Let's go to the Chief for ice cream and sit on the little hill behind it and talk. Come and tell me what your life is like now, and what you think about my life. Tell me all the things you couldn't say your last month because you were intubated. Tell me what you saw those minutes before you died, that delighted you so much. Or just sit and me and don't say a word. That would be fine, too. All I want is you, you know.
 
Missing you,
Joan.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

And the Ginkgo Trees

Dear John,
 
It was good to ponder Funkhouser last night. Becky mentioned the ginkgo trees in front of it, how beautiful they were every fall. It was one of the highlights of the campus. So tonight I'm remembering gingko trees, and wondering if they'd grow this far north.
 
They were nice shade trees in the summer and breathtaking in the fall. They turned a yellow more vivid than any other tree I've ever seen. And the leaves held their color for a long time after falling. There were so many ginkgo trees on campus! We celebrated them every fall with our own little Ginkgo Festival. How we all loved those trees!
 
I'd never heard of them before I started college. One fall I was telling Mama about them, how beautiful they were and what unusually-shaped leaves they had. She thought I was exaggerating, so I mailed her an envelope full of fallen ginkgo leaves and she fell in love with them. She had those leaves matted on olive green velvet and framed, and they hung on the den wall until the house was closed in 2004. Stop - do the math - they hung there thirty years. And they had lost amazingly little color in that time. I still have them; that's one thing I could never, ever get rid of.
 
Tonight I remember walking the campus with you in the fall, looking at the beautiful ginkgo trees and kicking through the leaves on the ground. I can remember what it smelled like I really need to look them up and see if they will grow in this zone. If they will, I'd probably have to get them on line. And I have no idea what one would cost. But it's worth looking into. I remember that they grow fast and live forever - that's a good combination. Maybe I'll get me a ginkgo tree or two.
 
Remembering autumns past,
Joan.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Return to Funkhouser

Dear John,
 
I ran across this meme tonight, and immediately thought of Funkhouser. UK built a new Biological Sciences Building while we were there, and it's still in use. But there's nothing quite like Funkhouser.
 
It was built sometime in the early 20th century. The university had the School of Architecture design it. That was a mistake. It was long and low - three stories - with this big tower in the middle. And it was built before air conditioning and built with no windows. The theory was that warm air would flow up into the tower and out, drawing cool air up from the basement. None of that worked. It was a big brick oven. So they added windows and turned the tower into offices.
 
I always liked it. But then, I have a rather indiscriminate love for old buildings. It has lovely brick work that they intended to be exterior decoration, since it was plain brick without windows to relieve it. It never was air conditioned, but it was survivable with the windows open. It had character and a unique history. I had biology labs in the basement my freshman year and nutrition on the second floor two years later. I don't know what it's being used for now. It's probably classroom space for whoever needs it. And it's probably still not air conditioned. But at least it has windows!
 
And that's your sentimental journey for today: Return to Funkhouser. This is how a failed architectural experiment becomes a landmark. Good memories.
 
Your science major wife,
Joan.
 



Thursday, April 23, 2015

Mole Problems? Call Avogadro!

Dear John,
 
The lawn is mowed. And I got a package to the post office, did two loads of laundry, and cleaned out the big litter box. And now I'm somewhere beyond exhausted, but the yard looks much better.
 
It was an adventure. I put the snow blower away in the shed and got out the mower. I cleaned it up first. And I continued to clean it. The grass was so long and thick that it stalled sixteen - sixteen! - times. Each time I had to turn it over and clean out the accumulated grass. My hands are stained green The back yard looks like I've been cutting hay. But that's due to Jethro's diligence in keeping it fertilized.
 
The mole problem is terrible this year. Everybody has been saying that the moles are much worse than usual. Jethro keeps them out of the back yard - when he hears them underground, he starts digging. Being sensible creatures, they no longer come inside the fence. I wish there was a way I could rotate him throughout the yard. I need to check my gardening catalogues for mole remedies. The yard looks like it has varicose veins. If all else fails, I will take Science Major Mouse's advice and call Avogadro.
 
It's 9:00 and I'll be up at 5:30, and we're all off to bed. Tomorrow is Friday so we'll be busy. The day will go by quickly. I wish I had you to come home to at night. But Jethro and his cats look after me and give me lots of loving. so I'll be alright. Now I need to teach the dog how to use the trimmer . . .
 
Your tired, green-fingered wife,
Joan.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Mother Nature, Mowing, & the Joys of Flannel

Dear John,
 
It snowed today. Nothing stuck, but it snowed. The population is unhappy. We have a freeze warning tonight. And I stayed up this late to watch the Cubs lose. To the Pirates. With snow showers during the game. Bah, humbug.
 
I'm still getting over The World's Strangest Virus. It's amazing how long it takes you to get over four days of a temperature over 101. This must mean that I'm not sixteen anymore. I don't feel bad, just wiped out. I guess it's to be expected. I'm off tomorrow so I plan to sleep in.
 
The one thing I really need to do tomorrow is mow. I hope the weather and my energy level allow it. Tomorrow's high is supposed to be 48, so I won't have trouble with getting too hot. When I got up this morning it was 45; by lunchtime it was 34. Jethro is staying out no longer than absolutely necessary. And yes, I do have the house closed and the heat on. And tonight I'll sleep in a flannel nightgown.
 
If that doesn't get you to drop by, nothing will! For you, nothing was sexier than a long flannel nightgown. Have I told you lately that I love you, adore you, and worship the ground you walk on?
 
That's all the news. The Cubs lost, we're having a few days of leftover winter, and I don't bounce back as fast as I did forty years ago. As Frank Drebin would say, "Nothing to see here!"
 
Waiting for you in my best flannel,
Joan.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Another Reason I Adore You

Dear John,
 
We had a very windy day. It was a day to put rocks in your pocket before you went outside. I had a hard time staying upright between the bank and the parking lot. I had lunch in the break room, which has an outside wall to the west, and it sounded like chunks of the building were blowing off. The house, however, is safe, sound, and undamaged. And the dog is jumpy.
 
I don't know where this train of thought came from, but this morning I was thinking about how much I loved it that you were always there to help me but never tried to protect me. And I hope I can explain the difference. We helped each other - we were good at different things and we took turns having our disasters. We were there for each other whenever and for whatever we were needed. But you never were protective of me. That would have felt demeaning. I know that isn't the case for all women. But it is for me, and you understood that. You respected me as your equal and I adored you for it.
 
It goes back to you wanting an independent, strong-minded, smart-mouthed woman. If there was a zombie apocalypse, I'd be out there learning to shoot a crossbow. As I said last night, I am my mother's daughter. I was brought up to be strong and independent. That chased most guys away when I was a teenager, and that was fine with me - if meant I didn't have to deal with them. I'd decided way back in fifth grade that I would never pretend to be less than I was in order to be popular with the boys. The right one would like me as I really am. You were the right one, and like me you did.
 
So thank you for helping without protecting. I wanted to be loved and respected, not protected. We faced life side-by-side, not with you in front and me hiding behind you. So now I miss my companion and best friend, but not my protector and defender. Maybe that makes my widowhood easier than some. Maybe it's just that Mama raised an independent, strong-minded, smart-mouthed women. I'm so thankful that it's what you wanted.
 
Adore you for so many reasons,
Joan.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Recovery & Consternation

Dear John,
 
My temp was 99 this morning so I went to work. I felt bad in the morning, but as the day went on my temperature dropped and I felt much better. I came home tonight at 97.0 and feeling like my normal self. I believe it was just a strange virus. Margaret did the same thing at the same time - temperature between 101 and 102 for four days, no other symptoms. It's the strangest virus I've every heard of. I'm glad it's gone.
 
I am causing gender-specific consternation at work. It has to do, of course, with the water heater. I'm  looking forward to installing the new one. All the men say there's nothing hard about it and of course I can do it.. All the women are terrified at the thought of me connecting an appliance to a gas line. It doesn't seem to matter that I've done that before and I've had gas appliances all my life.
 
I was thinking about all the things I've done that I was told could only be done by a professional. Mama said only professionals could paint and hang wallpaper. Most people didn't think I could change faucets or plumb a sink. Nobody but you thought I could change the light fixtures and put up the porch railing. Some people even thought I couldn't change the hardware on the kitchen cabinets. Oh, and there's my thing for taking the top and/or front off the piano and fixing the pedals or hinges. And there's rewiring lamps, and putting furniture together (or taking it apart), and hauling bookcases up and down the basement stairs, and hooking up the entertainment system, setting up the wireless router, and goodness knows what else.
 
And you know what? None of it was difficult and all of it was fun. I am my mother's daughter. Daddy believed in hiring professionals; Mama and I didn't see why they should have all the fun. I don't believe I remembered to tell you this: When the new furnace was installed, I was offered a job to train as an HVAC technician. See, somebody out there think I can do this stuff.
 
Anyway, I caused female consternation today. I've probably done that before and will doubtless do it again. Mama would install her own water heater and have a good time doing it. Since I have turned into my mother, I will do the same. I get to save money and have fun at the same time - what more can you ask?
 
Your independent, strong-minded, smart-mouthed wife,
Joan.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Showers, Showers, & Strong Women

Dear John,
 
 
My temperature stayed above 101 all night, but I did manage to sleep. The animals were delighted. I'm waiting to see what it does tonight. If it stays down, I'll go to work in the morning. If not, I'll have to call Joe. Don't worry - I'll be sensible. I feel too bad to do anything silly, so you don't need to worry about me!
 
 
We had rain today, so I got to knit beside an open window and listen to the rain. It was lovely. And Jethro appears to be getting accustomed to the sound of rain. He does this every year - it scares him the first few times, then he's okay with it. We aren't expecting storms tonight, thank goodness.
 
 
I pulled myself together tonight and took a shower. Whether I'm going to work or to see the doctor tomorrow, it was an absolute necessity. Taking a shower is miserable enough when you have fibromyalgia. But it was painful to just touch my own skin tonight, and washing my hair was torture. I'm not going to dry it - that would make everything worse. I closed the house and turned on the heat, so I'll just put a towel over the pillow and let it dry while I sleep. After all, that's one of my reasons for growing it long. It's easier on the fibro.
 
 
One of my friends posted this on Facebook today, and I absolutely love it. It describes this weekend perfectly. The sheets do hurt. I'm hot. I can't get comfortable. Everything hurts, and you're not here to look after me. So I'm being strong and independent. With a little help - Jen picked up bread, Raisin Bran, and cheese for me today. Can you tell that I'm living on grilled cheese sandwiches? She and Bob dropped off the water heater today. He's never worked with gas appliances, so I'll probably just install it myself. I grew up with gas and I'm accustomed to it. Connecting the water heater won't be any different than connecting a gas stove, and I've certainly done that. It won't be a problem. It should be fun. I enjoy weird things, don't I?
 
 
What I'd enjoy tonight is sleeping again, and I'm sure the animals would agree. They were much more active today since I let them sleep last night. They weren't happy when I closed the windows. But everybody will survive. If I do go to South Bend to see Joe tomorrow, I'll miss having you to go with me and drive. I always do - the amount is in direct proportion to how awful I feel. If you can come for a visit, I'm ready to stop being a strong, independent woman for just a little while.
 
Miss you,
Joan.
 
 
 



Saturday, April 18, 2015

All the Mercury was Rising

Dear John,
 
No, I'm not referring to Freddy. It has to make me think about him, though.
 
Last night was unpleasant. I took aspirin every four hours and 50 mg of Benadryl at bedtime, and was still awake every hour because I hurt so bad. This morning my temperature was 100.5 on aspirin, so I stayed home. I was pretty non-functional anyway. And I'm still taking aspirin every hour hours, and my temperature is now up to 101.2. Tonight could be ugly. Be glad you'll miss it.
 
I've slept a good bit of the day. I turned on the Cubs game, lay down, and woke up in the bottom of the sixth inning. We blew a four-run lead and won in eleven. It seems to be the perennial problem with relief pitching. At least we have some hitters this year. I did enjoy watching the game - the first time I've enjoyed baseball since you died, and I consider that a very good sign. Of course, "enjoying" the Cubs is an acquired skill at best. But anybody can have a bad century.
 
We had a lovely day today - I'm so sorry I couldn't work in the yard. It was sunny and 76. I had the windows wide open and a cat in every window sill. Next week's highs will be in the 50s so I'll have to close the house in a day or two. But tonight I have the windows open an inch at the top. This morning I was awake at 5:00 listening to the birds, and it was wonderful.
 
I'm taking my aching body off to bed now. I hope this is a bug that will go away quietly after a couple of days. If I'm still running a temperature on Monday, I'll have to call Joe. Nothing seems to be wrong with me except that I'm running a temperature of 101. It's very odd. No sore throat, no stiff neck, no tummy ache, no nausea or vomiting or diarrhea, no trouble breathing, no cough or runny nose, nothing. Just a temperature of 101. Puzzling. I haven't felt this bad since I was septic and it was 103. At least I'm not there!
 
Please pray for your little family tonight. Poor creatures, I didn't let the animals get much sleep last night. I may go for 75 mg of Benadryl tonight. We're all pretty exhausted; I do hope there's some sleep around here tonight.
 
Your tired, aching wife,
Joan.

Friday, April 17, 2015

How I Misdiagnosed Myself and Kept my Clothes On

Dear John,
 
I thought I felt awful yesterday. That was nothing. Today I felt way on the other side of awful. Everything hurt - bones, joints, skin, everything, and I was nauseated and dizzy. It was one of those days that wearing clothes was terribly painful. But, out of consideration for innocent bystanders, I did keep my clothes on. It was a sacrifice.
 
I was blaming it on the fibro, of course. I actually threw up part of my lunch, and attributed the nausea to my high level of pain. Around 3:00 I got so desperate that I took two aspirin, knowing that it doesn't do a thing for fibro, but knowing that it couldn't hurt. And half an hour later I felt much better. Since fibro doesn't respond to anything less that heavy narcotics, I thought maybe the flare was on its way out. I finished my day, went to the grocery store, came home and fed the animals and myself, and sat down to relax.
 
And by 7:00 I was feeling beyond awful again. I had a bright idea and checked my temperature, and found it to be above 100. Well, no wonder I'd been feeling awful! And no wonder the aspirin helped. I have no idea what's going on. I just feel awful and am running a fever for no obvious reason. At least I know that aspirin helps.
 
This has been a good reminder for me. It's so easy for us fibromites to blame everything on the fibro. It does affect every part of our bodies, after all. But I was wrong this time. If I'd figured that out sooner, I'd have been taking aspirin all day and would have felt much better. It was a lesson learned.
 
So I'm off to bed now. I've taken more aspirin, and will take Benadryl when I'm ready to turn out the light. I'm planning to get to work tomorrow, especially since I'm back in my own little isolation area and not exposing other people to whatever-this-is. And I'm only working four hours since it's Saturday. I'd planned to mow and do yard work after work tomorrow - that may not happen. We'll see. I'll be sensible, I promise.
 
Correctly diagnosed and still clothed,
Joan.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Fibro's Revenge

Dear John,
 
The good news is that I've been released by Occupational Health. I had another elbow x-ray this morning which showed that the fracture has healed. So they released me with no restrictions. And it's just in the nick of time - if I don't mow this weekend, the house will disappear and the dog will get lost in the back yard. Now I can cut the grasses down, clean out the flower beds, and finally dig up the roots of those shrubs in front. I'm eager to get to it.
 
Other than that, I have had a completely horrible day. A front came through, it drizzled all day, and every inch of me hurts. Part of it is my own fault - I've eaten some junk at work the past couple of days and now the fibro is taking its revenge. I feel like I've been run over by a herd of something large and fast-moving. I'm just glad this came on my day off. And I hope I feel better in the morning, especially since tomorrow is Friday.
 
I think I'll take my aching, itching, twitching body off to bed. If I don't sleep, at least I'll be horizontal. There's something to be said for that. You might stick your head in here and rub my back tonight, if you get the chance. You give such good back rubs, and they always put me straight to sleep. You know where the key is - just come on in. I'll leave the night light on.
 
Waiting for you,
Joan.
 


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Report Card Corollary: The Future

Dear John,
 
I actually closed the windows last night. Jethro woke me up at midnight needing to go out, and it was a bit too chilly even for me. So I closed them and turned on the heat but before I left for work I opened them again. We're expecting storms tonight so I have them open just a little at the top.
 
I realized something this afternoon. Besides being happy, I am beginning to look forward to my future. I've come a long way from only being able to deal with the future to the point of getting the bills paid on time. But I find myself looking forward to all kinds of things - your family's visit next month, my vacation in June, having more vacation days next year and maybe going to the beach. And I'm excited about yard-and-gardening season, and maybe taking a day and going to Lake Michigan this summer. I'm even thinking about what I'd like to do when I retire, which is probably at least ten years away. 
 
Looking to the future . . .
I'm looking forward with hope. And I am amazed; this is something else that I never thought would happen. The only explanation I have is the passage of time. I do seem to be getting accustomed to my life as it is now. I'd give it all up in a heartbeat to have my old life back. But, as that is not an option, I seem to be living more constructively and healthily with what I have.
 
All of this sounds normal but feels very strange. I suppose things have been so abnormal for so long that normal feels odd. I feel a little like a new-born colt, all head and legs and trying to figure out what to do with them. I'm feeling a little uncertain as I move through these new emotions in a new landscape where I don't yet have my bearings. And I know well that widowhood is non-linear, so part of me is waiting for the other shoe to drop.
 
But, for today, I'm happy and content. I'm trying to do what I've been doing for the past three years - let myself feel whatever I feel and not should myself. I'll receive these good days with gratitude and let them be what they are. And when bad days come, as I know they will, I'll receive them, too.
 
That's all that's new, just me crawling around in the back of my head and exploring. I'm usually surprised by what I find there. Today it was something good.
 
Love you with all my heart,
Joan.
 


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sleeping with the Windows Open

Dear John,
 
I did it. I left the windows open last night. They weren't open much, just an inch or two at the top. But I could hear the birds and feel the breeze, and it was wonderful. The temperature went down into the low 40s, but when I got up it was 61 in the house so we were quite comfortable. And I still have the flannel sheets, one German shepherd, and three cats on the bed for warmth. It was lovely. You know how much I love to snuggle down under the blankets with just my nose sticking out to sniff the cool breeze. I opened the windows wide this morning, but  it will be chilly again tonight so I've closed the them down again to that inch or two. Starting tomorrow night we'll have lows around 50 and I can leave them open wider. It's quite an occasion, the first night of the year to leave the windows open.
 
We had a strange day at work. The drive-up was closed for them to pour the foundation of the drive-up for the new building, but I had a busy day anyway. It turns out there were some benefit events held over the weekend. So I spent the day processing benefit deposits. And they all did very well - this community is so generous. It's a delight to see how giving the people here are to those in need. Have I mentioned lately that I love living here? I know you were concerned when we moved here about how I'd do in such a small town, having grown up in Atlanta and all. And I love everything about it. Somehow Mama brought me up to be a small-town girl like she was. The fact that I love living here always made her think she'd done something right.

It's dark and quiet outside now. Jethro is asleep at the foot of your side of the bed, Hunter is spread out over my ankles, Abby and Maggie are dozing at the living room windows. I'll say my prayers and then we'll all go to sleep. As always, we'll miss having you to cuddle with. But you're probably glad to be there instead of here - you wouldn't want the windows open until the nights get a bit warmer. I, on the other hand, love having them open in this weather. Enjoy being warm and comfortable tonight, while I enjoy feeling the cool breeze and listening to the birds. Sleep well and dream of me.

Adore you,
Joan.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Three Year Report Card

Dear John,
 
Today it's been three years. Sometimes it seems like three days, sometimes like three centuries. Three years today. So it's time for me to evaluate myself, how I am, and where I am. And it's all quite unexpected.
 
I am amazed to have recently discovered that I am happy. I thought I would never be happy again, but here I am. I don't love you any less. But I have moved beyond being content and can honestly say that I am happy. Who would have though it?
 
I remember a few years after Curly died, when Donna told me that being a widow gets better after about three years. She was right. The first year gets you past all those awful "firsts" - the first holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, all the markers in the year. The second year you start to get your feet under you and learn how to do everything by yourself. The third year you find your rhythm and begin to feel the satisfaction of accomplishment and independence. And every day you become a bit more accustomed to your new world and it becomes less strange.
 
You've listened to me talk about losing my identity and purpose. It seems that I have found them again. My identity has come only partly from seeing myself through the eyes of others. I'm aware when they are wrong about me, which I believe is a healthy sign that I really do know myself now. I've learned how to see myself without having you to reflect me back to myself. And I've become firmer in who I am than I was before, probably the result of having to find myself without having your eyes to see through.
 
Purpose isn't the same kind of purpose it used to be - isn't a person (that was you) anymore - it's an amalgamation of roles and responsibilities. I have fashioned it to be what I want it to be and it fits me very well. I've turned my church responsibilities over to the next generation, which is a good thing in many ways. I have family and friends and a job, I knit and take care of the house, the animals and I rescue each other. I have my niche and it is good.
 
I'm doing much better spiritually, too. You remember, even before we got married, you were concerned that I would love you more than I loved God. I never did, but you came first in your own way. Now God is first and all, and I find myself with an overwhelming love for Him that I haven't felt since my teenage years. It's rather like what Paul said about widows giving themselves to God; I understand that now as I never could before. My dependence on Him is total; His provision for me is unfailing.
 
Can I sum this up? I am, at last, doing more than surviving. I appear to be thriving. I am happy. I am amazed by this turn of events. I feel a bit like I'm coming out of the shadow into the sun. Again, as if you didn't know already, I love and miss you no less. I look forward no less to being with you again. But I am joyful and thankful in this in-between-time. I don't doubt that there will be periods when grief again overwhelms me. But I am enjoying my life; I never expected that.
 
Thank you for the part your prayers have played in this. Thank you for being certain I'd get here even when I thought you were being delusional. You've always had more faith in me than I did. You believed me to be tougher than I thought. It seems that you were right - there is nothing surprising in that. So smile tonight, knowing that I am smiling, too.
 
Love you with all my happy heart,
Joan.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Earbuds, Mixers, & Feline Stampedes

Dear John,
 
Your little family had a lovely, peaceful Pascha. We got up around 8:00. I spent the morning doing some housework then paid bills in the afternoon. Between things, I knitted and cuddled with the animals. They had the usual Chinese fire drill in my lap.
 
It was cloudy but warm - mid-60s - so I had the house open until around 5:00. Television was lousy so I spent the day listening to the birds and the wind. I called Irene and had a good, long talk with her. Once again, thank you for having such a wonderful family! She and Jim are coming over the first weekend in May. I managed to switch weekends and get that Saturday off. And Friday will be Goshen's First Friday, so we'll get to go. I'm looking forward to it.
 
.  .  .  life before earbuds  .  .  .
I wanted to call her so that she'd be the first person I used my new earpiece for. You know that ear buds have never fit me - it seems that the holes in my ears are too small for them. They hurt when they're in and they keep falling out. So yesterday I spent ten dollars for some that fit over the ear. They're comfy and they stay put. I'm happy. And I got them in turquoise, which makes them even better. The phone is Bluetooth-ready, but I didn't want to pay more than ten dollars.
 
Speaking of saving money, I keep forgetting to tell you: Our hand mixer broke - it would only hold one beater - so I finally got a new one. I got a small Sunbeam for less than half the price of the rest. But the Sunbeam one we got as a wedding present lasted over twenty-five years and the expensive one lasted less than ten, so I got exactly what I wanted. I use the standing mixer for things like cookies. But I don't want to get it out to make a box of brownies. So we have a new mixer. And it's made so that you can stand it up on end, which is good. Other than that, it's just like our first one. And that was just like the Sunbeam mixer that I grew up with, that my parents got as a wedding present. There's a lot to be said for consistency.
 
And speaking of consistency, it's bedtime. The cats are off somewhere or other and the dog is lying right beside me. The cats all come running as soon as I turn out the light. So I'll do that, trigger the feline stampede, and get us all settled in for the night. Sleep good, and dream about me!
 
Adore you,
Joan.
 
 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

On Mixing Prednisone with Pascha

Dear John,
 
It's Pascha tonight and I'm at home. Bah, humbug.
 
This is a triumph of self-control. I'm beating the bronchitis and doing the prednisone taper. But staying up until 4 AM while I'm tapering would be suicidal. I want to be there so bad that I was considering throwing caution and sense to the winds and going. But, as the sun went down, I started having trouble breathing and needed the rescue inhaler. So I texted Father and went to bed. Bah, humbug.
 
The resurrection, however, happens no matter where I am. And this is a very joyful Pascha for me. I've been celebrating all day with a joy that makes me feel like I'm going to burst something somewhere. Christ is risen and death is defeated. Christ is risen and life reigns. Christ is risen and not one dead remains in a tomb. Christ is risen and we have hope. Christ is risen  - you know the fullness of that and I know it in part. Christ is risen!
 
Christ is risen! Truly, He is risen!
Joan.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Theoretical Friday

Dear John,
 
Theoretically, it's Friday. Only theoretically.
 
We had a slow day at work, probably because this is the end of spring break week. The new, reconfigured drive-up opened today. It's improvised, but so much better than the old one! Duane really worked with us to build what we need, and it's much more efficient. Today I got the okay to have a shelf up on one wall. You know me - when you need storage space, go up. That should give us a lovely little drive-up area to hold us until the new building is finished.
 
When we lost the old drive-up, we  lost the walk-up. So, starting today, the lobby is open from 5-6 on Fridays. That way we can take care of the Amish customers as well as the ones with cars. Now we will need to have three people work late every Friday instead of two, and Danielle came up with a great way to schedule it. The people who work late come in at 9:00 instead of 7:30. We don't need everybody there that early, and it makes a nine-hour day instead of an eleven-hour one. I told Charley that I was much more alert for that last hour than I usually am. The feedback is good. This is going to work.
 
After work I went to Goshen for Al's viewing. I got to see everybody except the girls, who will be coming in later. The funeral is tomorrow morning while I'm at work, so I'll miss it. But I'm glad I could make it to the viewing. From there I went by Taco Bell and got a dollar tostado and a free senior drink - I love getting free senior drinks - then came home to four anxious animals. They weren't alone any longer than usual, but they knew I wasn't home at my usual time and they didn't like it. Poor Jethro has struggled with me leaving ever since you went to work one day and never came back. I fed them and played with them, and now they're all spread out waiting for me to turn the light off.
 
Tomorrow will be busy. After work I need to make my monthly Goshen run - Meijer and Petco and the co-op, and the farmers market if I can get there before it closes. And I'll go to Lowe's and get a new water heater, and leave it for Bob to pick up with his truck. Ah, the joys of home ownership!
 
So that was my strange Friday. Except that I skipped the Netflix, here it is. Par-tay!
 
Adore you,
Joan.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Sense & Sore Throats

Dear John,
 
Today went pear-shaped before it even started. I will attempt to tell this in an organized fashion.
 
The storms started right after I got all of us off to bed last night. The first thing I knew, I had a German shepherd lying on my head with his paws in my face. The storms weren't even here yet but he knew they were coming. I tried to calm him down, then accepted the inevitable and got up. I sat in bed with the laptop doing some on-line work that needed to be done, with his big head in my lap and the cats on my feet. It settled down around 1:30 and we went back to sleep, only to repeat the entire process from 3:30 to 5:00. There wasn't a lot of sleep had around here last night. It was a good thing I was off today.
 
The alarm went off at 7:00 for church. I sat up, yawned, swallowed, and immediately regretted it. I had a nasty sore throat, so I went back to bed. We keep passing this thing around at work - sore throat, runny nose, and ugly cough. We've all had two or three rounds of it now. We should stop being so generous with each other.
 
In an attempt to be sensible, I did very little today. I emptied the dishwasher, ran a load of laundry, and took care of the litter boxes, went to the post office, got a bottle of lamp oil from the hardware store, and bought bread and sliced cheese. I refrained from dusting, sweeping, and cleaning the bathrooms. Be proud of me - I was sensible without you being here to make me do it.
 
Andrew Wyeth - Wind from the Sea
I was also sensible about the windows tonight. I opened the house this morning. It went up to 70, and it was lovely sitting by the open window and knitting. It's still 67 and I hated to close them, but it's going down to 45 tonight and only up to 57 tomorrow. So, twice in one day, I was sensible. This must be a record. You used to laugh and say that, if you weren't here, I'd never close the windows. I'd have icicles hanging from the ceiling in the winter and the windows would all be open. I do leave them open when you'd close them, but I'm not quite that bad. I think about you every time I shut the house, though, and smile.
 
So tonight the windows are closed and I'm smiling, thinking about you. And I'm happy because the time is coming when I can leave them open at night, and you know how much I love that. But not as much as I love you.
 
Adore you,
Joan.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Feline Predators & Anxious Canines

Dear John,
 
We did have rain last night with the accompanying canine anxiety. Poor baby, he forgets over the winter how rain sounds on the roof. In a couple of weeks he'll be used to it again. Last night I moved my pillow toward the foot of the bed and let him lie between the top of my head and the headboard, and he was quiet and content. The cats all shifted with me - we just moved the entire family twelve inches to the west.
 
I had a good day at work. It was a bit busier than the usual Wednesday, which is good because it makes the day go quicker. I think I've told you that Cherish is a regular customer and I enjoy seeing her. Today she asked how you were doing, and I felt so bad that she hadn't heard about your death. I explained everything and we had a good chat. She was so sorry to hear it. She was very fond of you. She's grown into such a nice young woman. You'd be proud of her.
 
I opened the house when I got home, and the entire family flocked to the living room windows. We're all really watching the bird feeders, but not with exactly the same interest. Jethro just likes to watch movement, I love birds, and the cats go into predator mode. Since, however, they are inside cats and are adequately fed, the birds have nothing to fear. I do enjoy watching them watch, though. Cats are capable of amazing focus and attentiveness that can last for hours at a time. And they forget about the pecking order question when it comes to birds; they all just crowd into the window sills together. I closed the windows when I came down the hall, but will open them again tomorrow because it's supposed to be in the 70s. We're expecting storms all day, but I'll open them from the top and we'll be just fine.
 
We're off to bed at the usual time even though I'm off tomorrow. The liturgy in the morning is probably the only part of Holy Week that I'll be able to go to,with my work schedule as it is, so I'll be getting up for that. I need to pick up bread and sliced cheese,  go to the post office, and come home and make about three hundred phone calls after church. Thank goodness for unlimited cell phone minutes!
 
Please pray for your dog the next couple of days. We have a supercell system headed right toward us. Strong storms are expected from now until Friday morning. He may end up getting Benadryl at night. Come and cuddle with us!
 
Adore you,
Joan.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Of Dogs and Dampness

Dear John,
 
We've had a lovely, cool, damp, rainy day. Everybody was glad it wasn't snow. We're all ready to be done with that for a while.
 
It started raining around bedtime last night. It's been so long since it was warm enough for rain instead of snow that Jethro had forgotten what it sounds like. So he spent the first hour of the night shivering and lying on my head. It didn't keep me awake, thank goodness. Hunter came and played with my hair for a bit, then curled up around the top of my head and went to sleep. Jethro put his muzzle over my face to protect me from the dire dangers of rainfall. Maggie spread her long self out over my ribs, and Abby cuddled up against Jethro. And we all got a good night's sleep.
 
It continued to rain and drizzle all day. The high was supposed to be in the mid-50s but the warmest I saw all day was 45. It was a good, slow, gentle rain - exactly what we need this time of year. We had trouble getting checks to scan; they'd been in people's pockets and were a bit damp. We were busier than usual for a Tuesday, maybe because of the weather. It was a good day.
 
We're expecting thunder storms tonight, tomorrow, and all day Thursday. I'm getting all of us to bed early in case the dog has us up part of the night. He doesn't care for this weather; he wouldn't even go out this morning because it was raining. I didn't worry because he's been out at 4 AM, and he did fine today. But I love rainy days and nights. I love to sit inside and listen to the rain fall on the roof. I love to curl up with the cats and some tea and a book while it rains outside. And I love to go to sleep listening to it. I'll enjoy this week if Jethro lets me.
 
So think about your little family, snug and warm and dry and listening to the spring rain fall outside. Except for the dog, we're pluviophiles all. He needs some reassurance that the rain isn't going to hurt him. Silly creature. I hope the storms hold off until daybreak. Come and listen to the rain with us if you can. We miss you.
 
Your damp and happy wife,
Joan.

Monday, April 6, 2015

I'm Not Dead Yet!

Dear John,
 
I was wrong. I'll be in the lobby all this week. It was good today - it's amazing how much better I feel at the end of the day when I get to sit down while I work. I enjoyed it.
 
Something funny happened today. Two young women came in with coin to be counted. They had one nickel that was bent and wouldn't go through the counter, so I explained it and said they could have their nickel back. One commented to the other about the group Nickelback, then they explained to me that it's a group. I said that of course I know Nickelback, and they were floored. The first thing out of my mouth was to say that I'm old but not dead, which gave them quite a giggle. One told me about her aunt who had a Green Day CD and had no idea who they were, and I said that was so sad.
 
They left smiling, and everybody said I had handled them well. I wasn't handling anything - I was being myself. Of course I know Nickelback and Green Day. How could you not? You'd have to live with your head in a hole in the ground. So I was teased all day about not being as prim and proper as I seem.
 
And that brings up an old, familiar subject: being judged and stereotyped by the way I talk. Everybody up here hears a southern accent and assumes I'm frail, fragile, dependent womanhood. Well, crap. I'm an old battleax of a critical care nurse. There is nothing frail, sheltered, or na├»ve about me. I'd think that was glaringly apparent. My favorite music is 1930s Delta Blues - that's nobody's prim and proper. There are words I don't use, but after twenty years in critical care, I know words that would make a longshoreman blush. Give me a  break.
 
I think it's time I was let out of the drive-up so these people can get to know me better, don't you? I hope they can handle a whole week of me. I shook folks up today just by knowing - and rather liking - those two groups. What other traumas can I inflict before the week is over? What a lovely thought!
 
Well, we're off to bed here. Duke and Wisconsin are just getting started and I have no intention of staying up past midnight for this one. I'd love to see it. But I'm tapering Prednisone and have to be coherent and functional in the morning. So I'll let the game go on without me. See, I can use good judgment at times. I just do it to keep you off balance, you know.
 
Your not-dead-yet, not-frail, not-sheltered wife,
Joan.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Losing Teams & Female Dominance

Dear John,
 
I'm sorry I didn't talk to you last night. I got to bed at 1:30 after watching UK lose to Wisconsin, and I was too tired and bummed to be good company for anybody. Wisconsin deserved the win. We stunk. We actually looked worse than we did against Notre Dame. But it was a good run and I'm proud of them. Donna and I talked after the game and licked our wounds a bit. I won't be getting that 40-0 tee shirt after all. Duke won the first game so I'll cheer for them tomorrow night. Right now, I'm on the couch half-watching the Cubs opener against the Cardinals. The Wrigley Field remodeling looks good so far except that the bleachers aren't open yet.
 
I've felt and breathed better today. I haven't done much - it hasn't been what I wanted to do, but was what I needed. This week will be a challenge at work. They began demolishing my little drive-up home on Saturday afternoon. This week I'll be perched in a temporary corner at the back between the new drive-up area and the lobby, doing the night drop and merchant deposits as always and helping the lobby out when they need me. I'll have to set everything up and create functional order out of construction chaos when I get in. Of course, I do love bringing order out of chaos. The dust and noise will also be considerable. They're hoping I'll have my new window finished for Friday, but not promising until next Monday.
 
But it was a lovely day today, warm and sunny. It was our Palm Sunday and western Easter, and it couldn't have been a more perfect day. I've had the window open next to me this evening. I've had a nice, quiet, peaceful day. I put stew in the crock pot this morning and finished knitting a sock tonight. As usual, I've had the feline revolving door in my lap and the dog at my feet. Jethro has spent a good bit of the day outside enjoying the warm sun.
 
I have to tell you something funny that the cats did last night. You know Abby and Maggie have done some jockeying for the dominant female position. Abby was in my lap when Maggie came up and lay down next to her. Abby vocalized a bit then started grooming Maggie. Maggie ate it up for a while then had enough and wanted Abby to stop. Abby showed her teeth and hissed at Maggie, who calmly reached up, but her paw on Abby's nose, and pushed it away. Abby was quite affronted, got up, and went down the hall, making grumbling noises all the way. So far they seem to be sharing dominance. Abby eats first, Maggie can get Abby to move out of her way. And it's all remarkably peaceful, thank goodness. They really are fond of each other. Hunter just sits and watches tolerantly.
 
I need to get us all off to bed. I'd love to see the whole Cubs game, but it's getting late and it's on ESPN so it's foreign announcers. I did get to hear Wayne sing the national anthem - he's a treasure, isn't he? I have no idea how many times I've listened to that. It feels good to hear it again.
 
Your little family loves and misses you. Sleep well, far away from losing sports teams!
 
Adore you
Joan.

Friday, April 3, 2015

A Grateful Purrfest

Dear John,
 
I worked my half-day today in the lobby. It didn't seem a bit like a Friday, since we got that out of the way on Thursday. It was more like it was a Sunday and we all forgot to stay home. The few customers we had were pleasantly surprised we were open. The other bank in town was closed and the credit union shut down at noon.
 
I had my check-up this morning at occupational health. They're surprised that all I have left from the fall two weeks ago is a slightly sprained right wrist and no pain anywhere. I'm a bit surprised, too, that I hit a concrete floor that hard and this is all I've got. My lifting limit on my right arm was increased from three pounds to five. I'll get the elbow x-rayed in two weeks and see how that fracture is doing. I'm being good and not doing things I'm not supposed to do, and it doesn't hurt at all. I'm thankful.
 
And that is what I've been pondering today - gratitude. All my life I've felt overwhelmed with thankfulness, and never more than right now. You're not here and I miss you but, as I said yesterday, I wouldn't have you back for the world, for your sake. Your struggle is over and you have your reward. I wouldn't take that away from you. Other than you not being here, it's hard to imagine anything better than what I have here. I get to keep the house - have to, rather, because the mortgage is so low. I love my job - I'm solvent, I enjoy it, I like everybody I work with, and it's giving me back identity and purpose and self-confidence. I adore Jethro and his three cats. I have wonderful friends and family, both here and at a distance, and I couldn't ask for a better infrastructure. I never lack for anything. I'm able to work full-time with fibromyalgia - a surprising blessing. And as God is the God of widows and orphans, and I am both, He has provided every little thing that I've needed. The only thing I could ask is to go to Heaven at the end of this life.
 
And so today I wondered: Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Can my gratitude be reckoned as righteousness? It seems to be all that I have to offer to God. Chronic illness doesn't even let me get to church very often. I can't do great good works, just lots of little ones since I'm in a service job. I give my pledge to the church, but it's nothing like the time I could give it when I wasn't working. I don't always get the prayer time I should, and certainly not while I've been sick. The only thing I have to offer is gratitude. And maybe that is connected to a love for God; that would be good.
 
I need to look up quotes of the Church Fathers on gratitude. I just know that it matters. And I know that there have always been times in my life when mine was so great that I nearly drowned in it. This is one of those times. Thoughts? Let me know what ideas and suggestions you have. And know always that, since we became friends in 1974, my greatest gratitude has been for you. It still is.
 
Thankfully yours,
Joan.
 
P.S. - Tonight I had the television off, enjoying the silence, when I realized the house wasn't silent. Jethro was at my feet, Maggie in my lap, and Hunter and Abby on the living room rug. And all three cats were purring. It was an amazing sound and an ever more amazing feeling. I'm not the only one around here who is thankful. I have the purrfest to prove it.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

How I Had a Friday, Got Wet, & Scared People

Dear John,
 
It was just a normal working day. We had Friday on a Thursday. It only rained every time I had to leave the building. And I had people frightened all day by my coughing. Just an average day on the job.
 
Tomorrow's Good Friday and most of the town will be closed, so we had Friday today. Most people expect us to be closed tomorrow. But Good Friday isn't a Federal Reserve holiday, so we'll be there as usual. But not as usual, because we already got Friday out of the way. Everybody got paychecks today instead of tomorrow. There aren't any customers left out there for tomorrow.
 
We had some periods of downpour today and every one of them started just as I had to go outside. The first was when I was on my way to work; the second was when I went next door to pick up lunch; the third was when I left work. It drizzled other times. But those were our three periods of heavy rain. I would prefer not to be a meteorological catalyst. We had thunder early this morning and I ate breakfast with a terrified German shepherd in my lap. The storms have all gone through now, so we should get a good night's sleep.
 
I'm still coughing, still getting stuff up, and it seems that my coughing has everybody worried. They kept coming back and asking if I was alright. I hate to frighten people, but I'm glad they'd rather not have me die at work. I have provided a bit too much excitement lately, what with falling down and breaking my elbow in the break room. I told them that, if I'm coughing, I'm breathing. So I'm okay.
 
Tomorrow morning I have a check-up at occupational health at 8:00, so I'll be getting up at my regular time. Then I work from 1-5 in the lobby. And I'll try to have a slow, easy weekend and keep recovering from all this excitement. But today I finally feel better, lots better. The bronchitis is on its way out and I'll start tapering prednisone tomorrow. Someday my taste buds will recover. At least I've avoided NyQuil, so there are no dragons in the kitchen. There's just a dog and his three cats. That's probably enough wildlife.
 
All of this wildlife is ready for bed now so I'm ready to turn out the lights. Sleep good, with no coughing wives, leaping cats, or terrified dogs to plague you. Your little family misses you.
 
Adore you,
Joan.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Of Work & Windows

Dear John,
 
Spring has arrived. I'm sleeping with the windows open tonight. It got up to 67 today and will only go down to 50. So the windows are open and we are all very happy about it. The cats are in the windowsills and the dog is barking at every little noise outside.
 
I went back to work today and felt much better than I have for the last week. And I so enjoyed being there. It is an amazing thing to have a job that I enjoy! I'm still coughing stuff up, but it's getting lighter and less. I think Joe's steroid routine is going to work well for me. I'm glad I had to go to him instead of the asthma people - I've learned something new that will make treatment easier for me.
 
It was warm enough today that we got Charley to turn on the air conditioning instead of the heat. I had the fan on in the drive-up and drove home with the car windows down. And I opened the house as soon as I got in the door. It was good to eat dinner by an open window.
 
Eating, however, wasn't good. Nothing has tasted normal for the last week. I don't know if it's the infection or the drugs, but everything taste nasty, including water. This is good because it's keeping me from eating very much. You know that steroids usually make me want to eat everything that isn't nailed down. But nothing tastes good. The best thing I've had lately is grilled cheese sandwiches, so that's my staple until the last of the bronchitis is gone.
 
I'm working all day tomorrow - my schedule was changed because of Good Friday. I'll be there all day Thursday and work 1-6 on Friday. And I'm off the weekend, which I will probably need. I feel better, but not back to normal yet. Don't worry - I'll try to take it easy. I can't do the things I need and want to do because of the broken elbow. It's delaying the yard work, drat it.
 
But I'm feeling better, and I'm thankful. My sprained wrists are healing nicely, the hip feels fine, and the broken elbow never did hurt. My cough is decreasing and I'm breathing much better. When you've felt lousy, it just feels so good to feel normal again, doesn't it? You know that so well. And I'm happy for you that you're all healed and healthy now, no more pain or tiredness, no asthma or heart failure, no more IVs or chemo or blood tests. All of that is over for you. I really am happy for you that you're at home in Heaven. I miss you and I'd love to have you here if you were healthy. But I wouldn't for anything in the world have you back and sick again. I love you too much for that.
 
And, since I'm getting better, it appears that I won't be joining you any time soon. Again, drat it. But we are never separate. We're joined even though apart. I'll come to you when it's time. Until then, leave the light on.
 
Waiting for my turn,
Joan.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Nighttime Bathroom Protocol

Dear John,
 
I began turning the corner early this morning. I don't feel a lot better, but I'm breathing about half-normal now. And that is a great relief. I was still up a couple of times coughing last night, but I wasn't concerned about needing the ER. I'm getting better. At noon I actually
got out of bed, took a shower, and emptied the litter boxes. I'm officially unstoppable now.
 
I found this tonight and had to show it to you. This is exactly what happens around here. When I wake up during the night and need to go to the bathroom, the first thing I have to do is figure out who is where so I don't hurt anybody. Hunter is usually spread out across my ribs, Abby in the middle of your side of the bed, Jethro where your feet would be, and Maggie curled up either behind my knees or at the small of my back. When I move, they all shift so I can get up, and sometimes they all come to the bathroom with me. When I come back to bed, I have to be sure nobody is lying in my spot so I don't lie down on anybody. I move whoever needs moving, lie down, and they all come and array themselves in their former positions.
 
See what you're missing? You could have cats sleeping on you, too. Or maybe you do - all the animals are in Heaven. Maybe you get to cuddle with lions and sleep with elephants. How wonderful would that be! I can't imagine living and worshipping with all the animals who have ever lived. Was Baron waiting for you when you got there, and Naomi and Caleb right behind him? I can't wait to see all of you again.
 
But right now, my little family is here and it needs me. And it's bedtime for all of us. I just took cough syrup, so I will soon be even more incoherent than usual. I believe I will herd the cats and get us all in bed. If you can come and join us, we'll be happy to make room for Daddy!
 
Miss you,
Joan.

Monday, March 30, 2015

That Look is Not an Empty Threat

Dear John,
 
I did get through the night - actually slept pretty well, with two stretches of getting up to get the coughing under control. I stayed home today and slept a good bit. I have hopes of getting to work tomorrow, but not of feeling particularly good. If I don't feel any better in the morning, I'll have to go see somebody about it.
 
This is frustrating. Getting over bronchitis has taken me over a week for years. With the fibro, I've learned to be content staying home and getting better when I need to. But now I have this full-time job, I have to work, I like to work, I need the paycheck, and people are counting on me to be there. So here's this photo to show you how I feel about it. I'm quite irritable and impatient with all the steroids and inhalers. So be warned; that look in my eye is not an empty threat.
 
To show you how serious this is, I haven't felt good enough to knit since Saturday. So I'm at home and can't even take advantage of all this good knitting time. I found an NCIS marathon on television and played Sudoku on my phone most of the day, alternating with naps voluntary and involuntary. And bless the critters, I had the revolving door in my lap all day. They took turns coming for cuddles.
 
Well, that was all quite incoherent, wasn't it? You always understood me anyway. I trust that you still do! Please say a prayer for my respiratory system tonight. I'll let you know all the latest tomorrow.
 
Your grouchy wife,
Joan.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Learning to Fly, But I Ain't Got Wings

Dear John,
 
The Final Four is set: Kentucky will play Wisconsin, Duke will play Michigan State. All four games were thrillers. The weekend has been full of excellent basketball. Next weekend should be the same.
 
It's been good to have the games to watch. I'm not so sure Joe's steroid regimen is meeting with the approval of my respiratory system. I feel lousy, and I'm having more trouble breathing than I was yesterday. I'm hoping the antibiotics will catch up with the infection and turn things around. Actually, tonight I'm just hoping to get through the night without an ER visit. If I'm not  better in the morning, I'll have to miss work and go see him again. I'd love to fly without IV steroids, but it's been years since I could.
 
So tonight I'm trying to fly, but I don't have wings. I have steroids, but my body doesn't seem to be impressed by the oral form. I hope I can lie down and still breathe. If not, I'll camp out in your recliner tonight. That would confuse the animals no end. I hope to avoid creating critter consternation.
 
Sleep good, and pray for all of us. I miss you with all my heart!
Joan.
 


It Was the Best of Games, It Was the Worst of Games

Dear John,
 
We won. With great difficulty in the last few seconds. Notre Dame played well. It was a shame anybody had to lose.
 
I do believe it was the best basketball game I've ever seen. It edged out that game between UK and Duke years ago. There were few fouls and fewer made free throws. If Kentucky had been able to hit a free throw, it wouldn't have been close. It would have helped it Cauley-Stein had had his head in the game. The encouraging thing is that they can play that badly and still win. I feel bad for Notre Dame, though. They played well enough to deserve to have won.
 
I had a spark of memory a few days ago. Remember that I'd told you that I had no memory of UK winning the tournament in 2012? I still don't remember the game. But I remembered that I called Donna when the game was over. You weren't doing well by then and I couldn't even text you. I had to be excited with somebody, so she and I talked for a while. She called after tonight's game and I told her that, and that it shows how important a place she holds in my life, that I remember talking to her and don't remember winning the championship.
 
I still shake my head over what I do and don't remember of the last three months of your life. At the end of 2012 I read a list of major news stories, and I had missed over two-thirds of them. Oddly, they didn't list your death. That is a terrible oversight, as your death was clearly the most important world event of the century.
 
You were my world from the day I met you. And you still are. I was sorry to not watch the game with you. But I managed to make enough noise for both of us. By the end, the animals were thoroughly peeved with me for staying up so late and making so much racket. Now they're all gathered around me in bed, waiting for me to turn off the light so we can all get to sleep. And I'm wondering how I can possibly sleep after that game.
 
Thank you for doing such a good job of being the whole world to me. Thank you for liking sports. Thank you for being happy to have a wife who likes sports. And thanks for taking me to that first UK football game where all of this started. Thank you for being you. Keep the light on for me!
 
Adore you,
Joan.

Friday, March 27, 2015

How I Got Punted to Joe, and What Came of It

Dear John,
 
I had a very late night last night. Kentucky played West Virginia at 10:00 - way past my  bedtime on a school night, but then March isn't made for sleeping. We won by an obscene amount. Donna asked if I was going to bed at halftime since we were so far ahead, but it was way too much fun for me to miss any of it.
 
I got to bed a little before 1:00 and slept well until 3. Remember the cold I was fighting off? It seems that I am too old to fight off a cold and recover from a fall at the same time. I woke up at 3:00 with bronchitis. I loaded up on drugs, and had to sit up until 4:30 when I was finally able to breathe and lie down simultaneously. I didn't make it to work; I'd reached the point where I wasn't going to fly without seeing a doctor.
 
And that was also entertaining. I called Barb's office and found that they didn't have any doctors in today. So they punted me to Joe, poor man, and I think it was a good thing. He has a different regimen for steroids in a flare, giving higher doses of oral steroids for a week instead of going IV. If it works for me, it could save me trips to South Bend. It would also save wear and tear on my veins, and I could use that. And I got a prescription for antibiotics, since what I'm coughing up - in large quantities and after great exertion - is dark grayish yellow.
 
While I was out I got the dime store dust washed off the car and picked up a few things at Meijer. I came home, ate lunch, and slept on the couch a good bit of the afternoon. You know I'm sick when I can't stay awake on this much Prednisone. I don't have time for bronchitis. I know that if you were here, you'd ask me exactly when I would have time for it. Some things just jump into our lives and demand the time, and we have to take it. I hate missing work - I worry about leaving them short, and I just enjoy it and hate missing it. And working is lots more fun than bronchitis - a statement which hasn't been true of every job I've had.
 
Speaking of sleep, this is a school night so I need to turn out the light. Be glad you're missing all this. The poor animals didn't get much sleep last night and they're ready for lights-out. Please say a prayer for me, that I can work tomorrow and that this goes away quietly, and that this IV-less regimen of Joe's works for me. Sleep well in peace and quiet, far from your coughing, hacking, nose-blowing wife!
 
Drippily yours,
Joan.