Friday, October 28, 2011

Dale Carnegie I am Not

Our minister called me last night and asked if I would speak at our November 20th evening service just before Thanksgiving.  It is usually a well attended service with approximately 200 people.  Now, I'm not a public speaker.  The only speaking I've ever done were the eulogies for my parents and a close friend.  I'm a shy person.......I write but I don't talk!  But what did I say.........why yes of course.  She asked that I talk about my journey of faith and the blessings I have received this past year.  So pardon me while I stress out for awhile.  I've just got to remember to picture everyone in their underwear.  Is that OK in church?

This is what I have written so far..................any feedback will be appreciated!

When Pam asked me if I would share my blessings from this past year with all of you tonight I was immediately reminded of something my mother told me a few weeks before she passed away at the age of 91.  One evening I was sitting with her in her hospital room when suddenly, out of nowhere, she said, “Every age has its blessings”.   “ Really? I asked, even now at 91 when your body is so sick and frail?”  And without a moment’s hesitation she replied, “Why yes, because I’m surrounded by people who love me and whom I love in return.”

You know, it’s easy to see the blessings that come with great fanfare such as our first love, marriage, or the birth of a child.   But we don’t always see the blessings that come from hardship or personal struggle?  This past year I have learned much about the blessings we never see coming. 

In Luke chapter 2, there's a story about a man named Simeon. God had promised him that he would not die until he had seen the coming Messiah. Jesus was born, and eight days later when Mary and Joseph took Him into the temple, Simeon was waiting there. He recognized immediately that this was the Christ-Child, the One for whom he had waited, and he rejoiced. He took the baby into his arms, and he praised God saying, "Lord, now you are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word."

Simeon was waiting, looking expectantly, for that Child - for that blessing. I wonder how many times we have missed blessings because we were not looking with the right expectations; we were not waiting to see what God had in store for us; or perhaps we were not looking with eyes that were seeing things from God's perspective.
In 1956 I met my first love.  We were six years old and in the first grade.  He was the cute little boy with the shy smile sitting on the back row.  One day he gave me a Cracker-Jack ring and I gave him my heart.  Although we grew up together and graduated from high school we never spoke a word to each other the entire 12 years. 

After graduation we went on to different colleges and separate lives.  We each married and started families of our own.  Unfortunately, my marriage ended when I was 27 and despite my mother’s best efforts, which included telling me to look for a widower since according to her they tend to re-marry quickly.  Unsure as to whether I really wanted to hang out at cemeteries in order to race other divorcees back to the family car, I elected to remain single in spite of my mother’s encouragement. I didn’t find another Mr. Right but after 25 years I did find myself content if not a bit set in my ways. 

I had long since given up the idea of remarriage when the wonderful world of information technology brought me the email addresses of all my former classmates in preparation of our 35th high school reunion.  From that a correspondence began with my first love, the boy with the Cracker Jack ring.  After 22 years of marriage he too had experienced the devastation of divorce and with this experience in common we began a correspondence.  Thinking he was still living in another state I felt comfortable with our communication until one night when he divulged the fact that he was living right here in Norman.  Insecurity soon gave way to curiosity and we finally met in person and thus began a 10-year courtship.  Remember, I said I was set in my ways.  I truly believed that I was too old for love let alone marriage. 

But like all good plans that changed when my love was diagnosed with cancer.  After what we hoped would be a successful surgery we both realized that we could no longer protect our hearts from the possibility of hurt or loss.  We could however, spend the time we have now loving one another and enjoying our lives together.  We realized that the only way to experience love is by allowing ourselves to be vulnerable.  So this past May, only 4 weeks after his second surgery, we were married in my daughter’s backyard.  He exchanged a Cracker Jack Ring for a wedding ring and I became Mrs. Ronald Phillips.

So yes, my mother was right, every age DOES have its’ blessings!
Enjoy God’s blessings. Count them one by one.  Then pass them on wherever they are needed.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

How to Prepare For A Mammogram

I've scheduled mine for today at 2:00, this is just a friendly reminder to schedule your's too!  I found this helpful information on the internet,

Many women are afraid of their first mammogram, and even if they have had them before, there is fear. But there is no need to worry. By taking a few minutes each day for a week preceding the exam and doing the following practice exercises, you will be totally prepared for the test, and best of all, you can do these simple practice exercises right in your home.
EXERCISE 1: Open your refrigerator door, and insert one breast between the door and the main box. Have one of your strongest friends slam the door shut as hard as possible and lean on the door for good measure. Hold that position for five seconds. Repeat (just in case the first time wasn't effective).
EXERCISE 2: Visit your garage at 3 a.m. when the temperature of the cement floor is just perfect. Take off all your clothes and lie comfortably on the floor sideways with one breast wedged under the rear tire of the car. Ask a friend to slowly back the car up until your breast is sufficiently flattened and chilled. Switch sides, and repeat for the other breast.
EXERCISE 3: Freeze two metal bookends overnight. Strip to the waist. Invite a stranger into the room. Have the stranger press the bookends against either side of one of your breasts and smash the bookends together as hard as he/she can. Set an appointment with the stranger to meet next year to do it again. You are now properly prepared!

Living day by day

I don't know where the week has gone.  It seems the past 4 days have just flown by and I haven't had time to figure out what day it is.  When things get too hectic I have to tell myself to slow down and pay attention to what is really important, Ron and our time together.  It will be 6 months since our wedding on Nov. 7th.  I think I need to plan a little get-away for us.   Maybe a trip to Dallas.  We only have a few weeks until he takes his next CT scan.  

The Internet is an invaluable source of information right at our fingertips but sometimes there is almost too much information--or at least more than I can handle at times.  I've researched everything I can find on Ron's type of cancer and with what I've learned I have just enough information to scare me to death.  You can learn about average survival rate and what to expect next but you are always hoping and praying your situation will be the exception.  You want to be informed but optimistic and sometimes it is hard to be both.  If I go by the average survival rate of 5 years we only have 3 years remaining.  I know better than to think that way and to just live in 3 month increments.  I am always telling myself "We have today" and that's all that matters.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Too Old

You know you are too old to Trick or Treat when:

 You keep knocking on your own front door.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Healthcare Abyss

Our healthcare system is so messed up the paperwork alone will put you in cardiac arrest.  My only advice is keep impeccable records.  My blog has actually provided me with information at times to help fight my way through the billing maze.  I recently received a denial for payment for my brother for an ER visit February 17, 2011.  I was able to find all the information I needed right in my journal to appeal the denial.  They were billing for an ambulance ride he did not take and a hospital stay when he was actually denied admission.  Sooooooooooooo keep records. Not just copies of EOB's and bills but your own hand written documentation.

Ron actually received a denial from his insurance for a bill submitted by the provider 2 years after services rendered.  The insurance company denied the claim because it wasn't submitted in a timely manner.  Ron was informed he was not responsible to pay it either.  I have a feeling this will end up being a battle.  Ron is supposed to get another CT scan from the same provider in November.  I'm betting they refuse to do it because their is an outstanding bill.  They will hold him hostage and refuse to do the scan until he pays the bill....even though under their contract with the insurance company they failed to submit according to their agreement. I can't imagine how many elderly people are ripped off just because they are unable to understand all the insurance jargon thrown at them.  It just makes you mad doesn't it?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Frost on the Pumpkin

Well, there was frost on the pumpkin this morning!  The first frost of the season for us.  Hopefully the allergy sufferers will begin to see some relief including my brother.  Mike won't have to wear his "pollen" hat much longer.  He has a ball cap he calls his pollen hat because he doesn't want the pollen to fall on his head and into his eyes.  He won't even answer the door without his pollen hat.  He says the pollen comes in through the front door and lands on his head.  I'm not questioning his theory, sounds plausible to me, but I don't have dread of the dire consequences like he does. :)  He's a character!

Mike proudly called me the other day and told me he took a shower without his goggles and snorkel.  I was quite impressed.  I think he was trying to show me he was getting better because he thought I was about to go over the edge myself.  But all is good........I'm back on track.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I was in a really frazzled state last week.  Too many people with too many problems all needing something from me and I finally felt the pressure.  I just wanted to run away and not leave a forwarding address.  But of course I didn't but Ron saw to it that I got out of the house Sunday afternoon and we turned off our cell phones and just drove out to the country.  It was just what I needed......time to myself!

My daughter is better.  She had her cast changed yesterday and is going back to her classroom today.  I did her ironing for her Monday night because the poor kid can hardly get dressed let alone iron.

My niece (who is bipolar) is on the verge of being homeless.  I am paying to have all her furniture moved into storage but I cannot invite her to live with us.  It's just too much!  It makes me feel horrible but in this situation I have to say no.  Her mother finally offered to let her stay with her and her husband but my niece is refusing.  Sooooooo she will have to deal with the consequences.

My brother is better this week.  I think he sensed I was on overload and he backed off a little.  He is seeing his psychologist about the choking phobia and the eye phobia and all the other phobias he deals with.  I love him but his paranoia is exhausting at times.  

I told my son-in-law that I just can't be the only sane person in my family.  He said jokingly....."well, the bar hasn't even been set that high."   I had to laugh at that one.

Thank goodness I am married to the kindest, most loving, most understanding man on the face of the planet.  He is what keeps me going.  

Monday, October 17, 2011

Strange Things You Likely Didn't Know ???

 A rat can last longer without water than a camel.

Your stomach has to produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks or it will digest itself.

The dot over the letter "i" is called a tittle.

A raisin dropped in a glass of fresh champagne will bounce up and down continuously from the bottom of the glass to the top.

A female ferret will die if it goes into heat and cannot find a mate.

Chewing gum while peeling onions will keep you from crying.

On average, 12 newborns will be given to the wrong parents daily!
(That explains a few mysteries....)

Sherlock Holmes NEVER said, "Elementary, my dear Watson."

Because metal was scarce, the Oscars given out during World War II were made of wood.

The number of possible ways of playing the first four moves per side in a game of chess is 318,979,564,000.

There are no words in the dictionary that rhyme with orange, purple and silver.

The very first bomb dropped by the Allies on Berlin in World War II killed the only elephant in the Berlin Zoo.

Weatherman Willard Scott was the first Ronald McDonald.

Bruce Lee was so fast that they actually had to s-l-o-w film down so you could see his moves. That's the opposite of the norm.

The first CD pressed in the US was Bruce Springsteen's "Born in  the USA."

The original name for butterfly was flutterby.

The phrase "rule of thumb" is derived from an old English law which stated that you couldn't beat your wife with anything wider than your thumb.

The first product Motorola started to develop was a record player  for automobiles. At that time, the most known player on the market was Victrola, so they called themselves Motorola.

By raising your legs slowly and lying on your back, you cannot sink into quicksand.

Charlie Chaplin once won third prize in a Charlie Chaplin  look-alike contest.

An old law in Bellingham, Washington, made it illegal for a woman to take more than three steps backwards while dancing!

The Guinness Book of Records holds the record for being the book most often stolen from public libraries.

Bats always turn left when exiting a cave!

The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time TV were Fred and Wilma Flintstone.

Men can read smaller print then women can; women can hear better.

It is impossible to lick your elbow.

The State with the highest percentage of people who walk to work: Alaska

The average number of people airborne over the US any given hour: 61,000

Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.

The first novel ever written on a typewriter: Tom Sawyer.

The San Francisco Cable cars are the only mobile National Monuments.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Keinbock's surgery update day 2

Well, my patient was pretty miserable yesterday.  Seems the nerve block wore off after I left her house and she was up all night with pain.  She has a really high tolerance to pain medication and it takes a buffalo dart to even get close to touching the pain.  It's just going to take a few days before things get better.

I'm tired. ! 

I just called my daughter and she said she slept all night.  That's great!  That will help her more than anything else.

It's been hard to juggle Mike and taking care of my daughter.  Mike doesn't do well when I'm not instantly available.  He had a tooth pulled on Tuesday and he's been a little wound up ever since.  It heightened his feeling that he's going choke.  I don't know what to do about that but he's seeing his psychologist today to talk about it.  I'm doing my best but I don't know how long it will be good enough to keep him out of a nursing home.  Of course I don't know if a nursing home would ever accept him and his diagnosis of schizophrenia.  At least not the nursing homes I would choose.  Oh well, just keep plodding along.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Keinbock's surgery updatge

My daughter had surgery today for Keinbock's disease.  They removed a portion of the bone in her arm and put a plate in with pins.  She did really well.  They did a nerve block and she was awake during the 3 hour surgery.  She wasn't even in the recovery room 30 minutes before she was released to go home.  (modern medicine or insurance restrictions?)  Anyway, she is resting this evening since the nerve block won't wear off for 24 hours.  I'm going over to take care of her tomorrow.

While Jamie was in the pre-op she was checking her phone messages and she had one from her Uncle Mike.  He had called to wish her a "Happy Surgery" followed by ummmmmmmmm "Is that right?"  It was very sweet.  The sentiment was just right.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Choking Phobia

My brother has developed what the doctor refers to as a choking phobia.  Since he has no physical condition that warrants a fear of choking it has now been diagnosed as a phobia.  

Really?  We need one more thing to get fixated on?  He already thinks he is drowning in the shower, can't see because of pollen landing on his head, and what else.......oh yeah, intermittent blindness.  Not to mention paranoid schizophrenia.  

I'm making light of the situation because if I don't I'll be crazy as a bitsy bug myself.  This new phobia has been going on for awhile but it comes and goes depending on whether he is blind that day or not.  Blindness trumps choking I guess.  But anyway Mike called me last Friday to tell me he was having suicidal thoughts.  Now suicidal thoughts are not to be taken lightly so I immediately took off work and drove to his house.  I started the conversation by asking him what had brought about these thoughts.  He replied, "Choking".  



"So you are afraid you will choke to death?" I asked.


"Well, let's think about that.  You are afraid of dying so you are going to kill yourself.  Does that sound like a solution to you?"

"Ummmmmm no, I guess that sounds kinda silly."

"I said, sounds like overkill to me." (pardon the pun) 

We spent about another 2 hours talking about his fear of choking and why offing himself wasn't an appropriate response to his fear and then we contacted his psychologist and set up an appointment.  

Each morning when the phone rings (promptly at 8:05) I never know what the day ahead holds for Mike.  It may start out (in his words) a great day or it could be a day filled with exaggerated fears and paranoia but I can assure you it will not be dull!

Monday, October 10, 2011


Yesterday Ron and I attended the Blessing of the Animals service at our church.  It was so sweet.  I've never seen such well behaved dogs in my life.  There was absolutely no barking and the only sound we heard was when a large hound decided to howl along with the clarinet playing.  There was one dog though that I just couldn't take my eyes off.  She has the longest eyelashes I've ever seen in my life.

This picture isn't her but it looks just like her. This dog is a Schnoodle but the owner I spoke with said her dog was a rescue dog and though she knows she's some kind of terrier she didn't know what kind. Her vet said the dog looks like Elsie the cow with those eyes and so that's how she got her name. Elsie!

Her owner expressed how this little girl had saved her life. She found her in a Walmart parking lot 3 months after her husband had died. After watching the dog nearly get hit by a car she decided to load her up and take her home. She has had her now for 2 years and she said she is her best friend and faithful companion.

Isn't it wonderful how animals touch our lives and give us such devotion whether we deserve it or not.

Friday, October 7, 2011

I'm home today getting some things done.  I am going to help my niece pack her apartment to get ready for a move.  Ron and I are also keeping my daughter's two dogs this weekend while they are in New Orleans.  Other daughter is in Boston this week.  What jet setters!    Not much going on otherwise.  Ron is getting ready for the OU/Texas game tomorrow and he's already pacing the floor.  I'm glad I'm going to be out of the house tomorrow because he makes me a  nervous wreck.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


I spent the entire day yesterday in CPR and First Aid training.  The American Heart Association has modified the CPR technique over the years and I think they have simplified it a great deal.  Now the emphasis is on how quickly you begin CPR once the need is determined.  They recommend assessment and activation be completed within 10 seconds of arrival at scene.  Initiate compressions within 10 seconds of identifying cardiac arrest.  Now that is fast.  You only hope that if you were in a situation that required your intervention that you would remain cool and calm enough to initiate the proper response.  It's one thing to perform adquately in a controlled situation like we had yesterday and a completely different thing when it is a true emergency.  At least with proper training you can hope that what you have learned will kick in and just take over.

I was really glad to have a chance to practice using an AED to shock the heart back into normal rythym.  I didn't realize how easy it is to use the machine.  It is designed so that anyone, regardless of training, can operate it.  It tells you everything to do very clearly.  It is a shame that we don't have more machines out in the public.  

Someone said the gym they go to doesn't have one.  I think that should be the first question a person asks when they are considering joining a gym.  Especially seniors although healthy young men have had heart attacks after exercising.  All the YMCA facilities have AED's and people trained to use them.  Health clubs should make that a priority as well.  Does your health club have an AED or a trained first responder?  It might be worth asking.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How Grandparents are Perceived

Attention all Grandparents and soon-to-be Grandparents

  How children perceive their Grandparents ~
1.    She was in the bathroom, putting on her makeup, under the watchful eyes of her young granddaughter,
as she'd done many times before.    After she applied her lipstick and started to leave, the little one said,
"But Grandma, you forgot to kiss the toilet paper good-bye!"    I will  probably never put lipstick on again
without thinking about kissing the toilet paper good-bye....

2.    My young grandson called the other day to wish me Happy Birthday.    He asked me how old I was,
and I told him, 80.    My grandson was quiet for a moment, and then he asked,  "Did you start at 1?"

3. After putting her grandchildren to bed, a grandmother changed into old slacks and a droopy blouse and
proceeded to wash her hair.    As she heard the children getting more and more rambunctious, her patience
grew thin.    Finally, she threw a towel around her head and stormed into their room,  putting them back to
bed with stern warnings.    As she left the room, she heard the three-year-old say with a trembling voice,
"Who was THAT?"

4.    A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter what her own childhood was like.    "We used to skate
outside on a pond.    I had a swing made from a tire; it hung from a tree in our front yard.    We rode our pony. 
We picked wild raspberries in the woods.    "The little girl was wide-eyed,  taking this all in.    At last she said,
"I sure wish I'd gotten to know you sooner!"

5.    My grandson was visiting one day when he asked, "Grandma, do you know how you and God are alike?"
I mentally polished my halo and I said, "No, how are we alike?''     "You're both old," he replied.

6.    A little girl was diligently pounding away on her grandfather's word processor.     She told him she was writing a story.  
"What's it about?" he asked.      "I don't know," she replied.     "I can't read."

7.    I didn't know if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I decided to test her.    I would point out 
something and ask what color it was.     She would tell me and was always correct.     It was fun for me, so I continued. 
At last, she headed for the door, saying, "Grandma, I think you should try to figure out some of these colors  yourself!"

8.    When my grandson Billy and I entered our vacation cabin,  we kept the lights off until we were inside to keep
from attracting pesky insects.     Still, a few fireflies followed us in.     Noticing them before I did, Billy whispered,
"It's no use Grandpa.     Now the mosquitoes are coming after us with flashlights."

9.    When my grandson asked me how old I was, I teasingly replied, "I'm not sure."     "Look in your underwear,
Grandpa," he advised "Mine says I'm 4 to 6."

10.    A second grader came home from school and said to her grandmother, "Grandma, guess what?    
We learned how to make babies today."     The grandmother, more than a little surprised, tried to keep
her cool. "That's interesting." she said..     "How do you make babies?" 
"It's simple," replied the girl.    "You just change 'y' to 'I and add 'es'."

11.    Children's Logic:    "Give me a sentence about a public servant," said a teacher.    The small boy wrote: 
"The fireman came down the ladder pregnant."    The teacher took the lad aside to correct him.    "Don't you
know what pregnant means?"   she asked.    "Sure," said the young boy confidently.    'It means carrying a child."

12.    A grandfather was delivering his grandchildren to their home one day when a fire truck zoomed past. 
Sitting in the front seat of the fire truck was a Dalmatian dog.   The children started discussing the dog's duties.
"They use him to keep crowds back," said one child.    "No," said another.    "He's just for good luck."
A third child brought the argument to a close.   "They use the dogs," she said firmly, "to find the fire hydrants."

13.     A 6-year-old was asked where his grandma lived.    "Oh," he said, "she lives at the airport, and when
we want her, we just go get her.     Then, when we're done having her visit, we take her back to the airport."

14.    Grandpa is the smartest man on earth!     He teaches me good things, but I don't get to see
him enough to get as smart as him!

Monday, October 3, 2011

We had a very busy weekend.  The wedding was beautiful (of course I forgot my camera).  The tables were decorated with tall frosted white fluted glassware filled with huge white feathers.  There were blue lutes inside the glassware and I wish I'd taken a picture!  The wedding ceremony began at 2:00 p.m. followed by a sitdown reception and the party lasted way into the night.  Of course Ron and I were not able to stay up all night but we had a very enjoyable time.

We went to church yesterday and after Sunday school picked up Mike and brought him to the church service.  We had lunch with him and then Ron stayed with him yesterday afternoon and watched a ballgame with him.  Mike was having a little foggy weekend but it sounded clearer today.  He's been having some paranoia issues lately.  We have an Uncle who is just a little on the religious extreme side and he called Mike and must have talked a lot about the devil.  That conversation set off a whole weekend of paranoia.  I guess I can't protect Mike from everthing!