I just dropped the top of my pen on the floor. I’m usually super careful about handling objects as dropping them requires so much work picking them up again. But I’m on my throne–the chair I sit on every day–and my picker-upper, my grabber, is right at hand. I can easily pick it up.

There! Done: the cap is on the end of the pen. I’m particularly cautious about my keys. When I’m out, I focus on the keys all the while I’m moving out of or into the car. I know in the past, I’ve dropped the keys and I think I know why.  My focus shifts from my hand holding the keys to something else, my hand relaxes and down go the keys. It’s just harder now to pick them up and I’m not supposed to bend over very far. So I keep my attention on my keys.

I have to focus upon the whole procedure of getting the walker into the trunk, picking up the cane and walking to the front of the car, keys clutched in my other hand.

It’s good for me. I rehearse it in my head and slow down. I’ve always had a bad habit of rushing things. I can’t do it now.


An Hour at the Nursing Home

Bernie was deep asleep when I left him today so I didn’t want to wake him. I seldom do that. I don’t like to disappear. He’s still getting physical therapy. That means he can stand up in order to sit down on the commode or get into bed. So they don’t need that passive mover of people, the “hover” or the “hoover.” I must find out the name.

I’d spent the time watching the weather channel: bad news all the time. I had to leave a little early to escape it. I could have changed the channel and let CNN scare me with the latest news about the political situation. But walking out seemed the best move.

Earlier I talked with Lucie for a minute. She’s the small woman in the small wheelchair who goes up and down the hall. Someone went by and said, What are you doing, Lucie? and she replied, Singing. I didn’t realize. She must have been doing it in her head. And maybe she was singing and not talking to me.

The young man with the weird, exterior hernia went by next to a young aide. I call him young because he is, compared to most of the patients. But clearly not of sound mind. Perhaps he couldn’t live outside an institution.

And then I slipped into the elevator and was gone.

Now, what was I thinking?

I was thinking of SoHo Crime, a division of Soho Press of NYC, and an enticing bit of a mystery by Van de Wettering. Wettering writes detective stories set in Amsterdam. You know where that is, don’t you?

Anyway, I had a great idea, an amusing idea that I wanted to write a blog on. Now all is silent in my skull. I only recall that I wanted, I want to get everything ready here in the cottage before my total hip replacement on Tuesday. What are those things?

I have a walker in the trunk of my car. Steve will get it out when he comes on Monday. I have my loose clothes to wear after I wake up Tuesday afternoon in the hospital. They’ll want me to walk a bit. Probably more than once. (Just thinking: I’ll miss breakfast and maybe lunch on Tuesday. May be I’ll lose a pound. Is that frivolous thinking?) (Nah.)

I don’t need to get all my laundry done. The washer is a good height for me to load and unload it. No bending. I don’t need to clean my house as I have a cleaner once a week. But yes to dusting. All the surfaces of my house are dirty. Oh, my. And I still haven’t gotten a feather duster Walmart sells that someone recommended. Walmart–I don’t like shopping there, too many items, too many departments. But I do shop there. It’s so close.

But what needs to be done now…?

I thought…

I’d like to write an amusing blog about my gimpy left leg. Surely there was some way it could be used for humor.

…………I’m still thinking and lots of time has passed. Nothing funny yet. But maybe there is some humor in the amount of energy that is expended in preparing us all for surgery.

Yesterday I joined a large group of people at Windham Hospital. For one hour and fifteen minutes we were told what to expect when we had our hips or knees replaced. I received a great deal of helpful advice but no laughs.  I almost laughed once, but the laugh died somewhere in my chest.

If I thought about the things we have to do or be done to us before our operations, I might find it funny. We have doctor’s visits: one with a physical, blood tests, CAT scans, EKG’s, consultations with anesthesiologists and visits to physical therapists.  Are you laughing yet? I guess not. Besides, I have four new exercises to do every day from the physical therapist. Not amusing at all.

I myself am fussing about my sneakers. After the operation, and for six weeks afterwards I can’t bend over and tie my sneakers. What’ll I do? I can’t pull on my socks, either. I need to get a picker-upper, a metal arm with two parts at the end that act as fingers and pick things up, like a sock, and any other light thing. But how do I put the sock on?

How do I keep myself from bending beyond a 95 degree angle? Pain, I suppose. Pain would do the job.

And how do we handle pain? With narcotics and non-narcotics. Tylenol apparently is great with joint pain. I’ll let you know about that. I do know that narcotics are great for pain.

I do hope I don’t forget and reach over and pick up something on the floor. Wow! that would hurt.

Wish me luck.

I love my …

postcards. In my will, my son, Steve, gets them. But I’ve been thinking of giving him a box or two now.

Of course, he hasn’t any time to spend on them. His work is demanding and he won’t retire for a few years more. Besides, I’ve put them in some order,, mainly by country.

The collection was one that someone else put together. It came to me in a complicated way I won’t try to explain. but the cards date from around 1880 to 1910 or so. and there are a lot of them; I estimate about five thousand or so.

Mostly European countries are represented: Italy has the most cards, followed by France, England, Spain and the Netherlands. there’s Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Switzerland and Germany. There’s one shoe box full of american cards too. In that box there are several sets of Native Americans, back in the days when they would pose for the camera or the artist. The other American cards don’t interest me much. All too familiar, I guess.

This postcard collection inspired me to collect modern postcards. I have seven boxes of them. They are only partially organized. For a period of time in the seventies until recently, postcards were used a lot for advertising, publicity and by politicians.

I think the internet has taken over those roles. I don’t receive many postcards any more. I do receive postcards from my dentist and from my local community college announcing art shows. Besides them, only politicians seem to use them. My mail is dull these days.

Bernie is doing…

…well. He has minor upsets to his routine. And routine is important to someone who has few things to think about. He can get exercised when they moved him into the little dining room for meals, instead of letting him eat in his room. The little dining room is on his floor, around the corner from the nurse’s station. He raised a fuss about it at first but now he’s settled down. At least for awhile. Until there’s a new change in his routine.

I plan to take him to my hearing aid guy who is now in Putnam. Previously he went to Willimantic for his hearing aids. Trips in wheelchair vans will be too expensive to go there.

I hope he’ll agree to see Ralph, my hearing expert. I’ll tell him the van is too expensive to go to Willimantic. Will he accept that?

In the meantime, I’ll be leaving him behind as I go with our son and daughter-in-law to  Prince Edward Island, Canada. It’s his place. He should be going and It should be the one staying behind. but that’s not the way it worked out.

There–I’ve finished with my life story…

At least all I’m going to do right now. I’m back to daily stuff. What is there to say about the weather! It’s been grey and raining for days. Or so it feels like it. All I know is I battle depression when it’s gloomy for too long.

But I have my cure–the book Feeling Good by Dr. David Burns. It’s a book about cognitive-behavioral therapy. It is full of specific exercises to do to pull myself upward and it works. Sometimes it has worked for me just by taking the book down off the shelf and putting it on my desk. Looking at it cured me! Usually, though, I have to dig in and do some exercises.

I’ll  show you one exercise for procrastination. If you’re depressed, you are putting tasks off. This sheet makes you get going. Suppose you have a letter to write that you have put off for weeks. Here’s what to do.

Break the task into smaller tasks. On a sheet of paper lengthwise, write down the steps:  1. Outline the letter. 2.  Write a rough draft. 3. Type the final draft. 4. Address an envelope and mail.

To the right of each step, predict how difficult it will be and how much satisfaction you think you will get from each step. Use a scale of 0% to 100%. After you have completed each step, write down how difficult it was and how satisfied you actually were with completing that step, again 0% to 100%.

Putting anything into small steps relieves me of feelings of doing badly. I just have to make an outline, for example. That’s easy. Once I do that, the rest of the steps fall into place. I feel good and I’m ready to take on another task. I may not even need to follow the directions above, if I feel energized enough.

The sun is shining now so I think I’ll go visit my garden. Maybe one of my day lilies is blooming.