Friday, May 30, 2014

Ready or not here we come...........

Ron and I went to St. Anthony's hospital yesterday where I completed my pre-admission.  I had a CT scan, chest x-rays, EKG and blood drawn.  Then Ron and I attended the hip class (which did not make us any cooler than we already are) but we watched a film about the surgery and what to expect.  What was nice was they furnished a really nice boxed lunch for everyone in attendance.  

So........I guess we're ready!  We did find that the walker will not fit through our bathroom door.  This is something I'll talk to the therapist about in the hospital to see what we can do about the problem.

I'm nervous as heck but ready to get on with it!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Solar Roadways

I saw a link the other day on Facebook about solar roadways.  After viewing the video and reading more information about it I was fascinated by the idea.  "The concept is verging on utopian: By replacing the USA’s concrete and asphalt roads with solar panels, we could produce three times more electricity than we consume, instantly solving just about every energy problem we have (geopolitical stuff, reliance on fossil fuels, CO2 production, etc."

Can you imagine?  They even have it so that electric cars could be continually charged by the road itself.  And imagine the jobs this would create.  I was just blown away by the whole idea.  

Then reality hits and you know that the cost is probably going to be the downfall.  Not to mention the special interest folks who are making money from fossil fuels that would make sure they don't lose their money maker. 

The thing is this is quickly moving from a concept to a reality, at least the solar panels themselves.  Right now there is a parking lot covered in the panels...the prototype I suppose.  They have raised 1.4 million to help move forward with the fine tuning of the design.

Realizing that the country's infrastructure is crumbling and will have to be addressed it is exciting to think outside the box in order to resolve many of our current problems.  

If you have the time it is worth taking a look.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The countdown begins!

Just an update on what's going on in my world!  Ron and I met the surgeon who is going to perform my operation last Friday and I really liked him.  Ron didn't think he was old enough to be a doctor but everybody looks young to us these days. 

Dr. P.  answered all my questions and was very, very personable. He really put my mind at ease and I'm excited to proceed with surgery.  The next two weeks are going to go by fast. 

This Thursday we go to St. Anthony's and I have another MRI, EKG, chest x-rays and blood work.  Then we go across the street to Bone & Joint and attend a "Hip" class.  I asked the doctor if that was going to make Ron and I cool......but he said no.

Then I pre-admit at St. Anthony's on June 10th with surgery on June 11th.

I have just about covered everything I need to cover with my replacement here at the hospital.  I think she will do fine.  If not at least I won't be here to see it. 

My wonderful, sweet, husband cleaned our house yesterday like a professional.  He moved all the furniture and cleaned behind it and under.  Scrubbed the bathroom tile and cleaned all the floors and there isn't a cobweb to be found anywhere.  He even finished cleaning the rest of the windows.  He kept saying that he knew I'd be stressed if I saw cobwebs when I got home from surgery.  He's the best!

I'm ready to reclaim my mobility and my life!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

If you make a loud enough stink......even politicians listen.

Governor Mary Fallin vetoed a bill allowing a student who fails the state third grade reading test to still be promoted if a team of parents and educators approve. But after parents objected about the high-stakes testing their voices were heard and the state legislature voted to override the veto with a vote of 79-17 in the House and 45-2 in the Senate.

The legislative action means the bill immediately becomes law, directly affecting nearly 8,000 Oklahoma students who scored “unsatisfactory” on the test.  Of those 8,000 students more than half were students who have IEP's.

Our State Superintendent of Education, Janet Barresi (whose background is dentistry, not education) was not a happy camper. “Today’s action is a pathetic and outrageous step back and returns us to a failed system of social promotion that has served the education establishment and little else.”

State Rep. Katie Henke, R-Tulsa, who authored House Bill 2625 to relax the reading standard, said her legislation “empowers parents and educators to make individualized decisions for Oklahoma students.”

State Rep. Jadine Nollan, R-Sand Springs, said the new law helps teachers and parents who are trying to teach young people to read.  “Children develop at different levels, so I just think having some flexibility allows us to see how to best serve those students, and so this gives us a chance to do that,” she said.

FINALLY.....someone listened.... 

My daughter, who has a learning disability,  graduated from East Central University in Oklahoma and has been a teacher for the past 15 years  but would still be in the 3rd grade if such a ludicrous  requirement had existed when she was in public school.

Janet, I'd get my dental tools warmed up because I don't think you are going to be re-elected. may be going with her.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Thanks to everyone who responded to my plea for information it really helped.  I think we have our situation under control now.  Ron talked to his employer and he will be able to take a leave of absence if necessary.  He is already scheduled to be off 12 days during my surgery and that may be all we need but if more is necessary he can take it.  Also, he works only a few short blocks from our house and is able to come home for lunch every day.  That will be a big help in itself.

Next week we are having comfort height toilets installed in our house.  We just bit the bullet and purchased them because lets face it we aren't getting any younger and I have to have a tall throne during recovery anyway.  I just hate the toilet riser plastic seats so we decided to just replace the whole thing.  After that I have to get the grab bars installed in the shower.  Ron isn't handy so we'll have someone install them for us.

Hopefully I will have something else to talk about once I get my new hip.  Right now that seems to be all I'm consumed with and frankly I'm tired of hearing myself talk about it.

Deb, I was reading some of your earlier posts on your blog.  Love the trailer you refurbished.  What a fun adventure it must have been traveling around and seeing new things.  While I'm home healing I'm going to read my way through your entire site.  fascinating!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Hip Replacement Questions

Oh what a difference a day can make.  I've been all set to see the surgeon on Friday and to have my hip replacement in 3 weeks.  All preparations had been made and my home care lined out.  Then last night my daughter called to say she has to have surgery on her shoulder.  The same surgery her twin sister had to have 6 weeks ago.  Since she was my designated home care provider I don't know what I'm going to do now.

Has anyone had a hip replacement?  Can anyone tell me how long you need help at home after surgery?  I can't find any information on the internet and we are trying to figure out what to do next.  Ron is off work for 12 days but we don't know if that will be enough time or just how long I will need help at home.

I really don't want to have to postpone my surgery just as I have gotten myself psyched up to do it.  But we will do whatever the doctor recommends.  

I've been reading all the hip precautions that are necessary after surgery and one big one is that whenever you are sitting and whenever you get in our out of a seated position (i.e., flex or bend at the hip or waist), you must keep your knees separated a shoulder width or more.  Really?  I've been conditioned as a female since I was a little girl to always and I mean always, keep my knees together!!!!!  This one will be a hard habit to break!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Public Outrage Teacher Lifts Boy By The Face

It was upsetting to see the Kindergarten teacher, Barb Williams, loose control when she lifted her 6 year old student up by the shirt.  The video was definitely disturbing.   I'm always in awe about how quickly people want to tar and feather a teacher the minute they feel she has stepped over the line.  I just wish they would put the same passion into demanding their legislators make education a priority.

When you have classrooms over crowded due to budget cuts.  When you have teachers being asked to do more and more with less.  You are creating an environment where people can snap.  I don't think anyone knows how hard a job teaching really is.   My gosh, there isn't a parent alive who hasn't "lost" it at one time or another and that's without having 33 children.  Have you ever lost your child in a mall because you looked away for an instant?  Then when you find them your  adrenaline is pumping and you grab your kid and start yelling "don't you EVER run off like that again".

Now, imagine you are responsible for the safety of 33 children and one disappears.  

I DO NOT condone what Ms. Williams did but part of me can understand why.  Classrooms are bulging with students and teachers are getting no additional assistance to handle the increase in students.  

I know my daughter's kindergarten classroom is bursting at the seams.  I don't know how she ends the day with her senses still intact.  Her class is a mix of special needs children with everything from Oppositional Defiance Disorder to Cerebral Palsy.  It is a mainstream class but she gets no additional help to manage the special needs of some of her students.  

A classroom designed to hold 22 students yet packed with 33.  That's a recipe for disaster.  

Instead of always attacking the teacher I just wish people would put the same passion into demanding more from their legislators when it comes to funding education.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Surprise Reunion

What a wonderful surprise I had today.  A former boss of mine came by the hospital to see me this afternoon.  I haven't seen her in over 26 years.  

Thelma hired me in 1977, the year my husband and I separated.  I was 27 years old and timid as all get out not to mention a little wacky after my husband left me with two little girls.  

Thelma was the Director of Deaf Education at the school I was attending and because I knew sign language she hired me to be her assistant.  I worked for her for about 4 years before being promoted to another department.   But I loved her to death and learned so much from her.  She was always and I mean always laughing and smiling, never acted like she had a bad day.  She was also the first African American that I developed a personal relationship with.  

One experience I had while working with Thelma was when she took me with her to a deaf conference in Missouri.  We drove to Missouri and stayed the weekend with her friend Gertrude.  The first night there I was sitting on the couch next to Gertrude when she suddenly popped off her wig and started putting something that looked like paste wax on her hair.  Thelma burst out laughing saying my eyes had popped out of my head.  She knew that I had never seen how much effort a black woman has to put into taming her hair.  Oh, and Thelma has also told Gertrude's brother that she was bringing a single friend with her.....she didn't tell him however that I was white.  When he came over that evening he had a dear in the headlights look just as Thelma said, "Guess who's coming to dinner."   Of course....I was clueless.

The next day Gertrude, Thelma and I were late getting to the conference.  As we walked up the walk they both said they were on "colored folks" time.  I asked what time I was on and Thelma said "Borrowed Time".  

Thelma is 80 years old now and she looked just the same as I remember.  Her hair is still black and I've got the white hair.  I have the cane and she's just as spry as ever. was wonderful to get to see her again!


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

"The Unfortunates"

The grave of the "unfortunates" the 40 patients of the Hospital for the Insane who died on April 13, 1918, in a grisly, pre-dawn fire. has been located.  
Deputy Fire Chief Jim Bailey walks past grave markers near the location of a mass, unmarked gravesite discovered at the IOOF Cemetery in Norman, where the victims of a 1918 fire are believed to be buried.

 Some time ago I wrote about the fire that occurred at the Griffin Memorial Hospital (as it is now called). You can read it here.  At that time they did not know exactly where the grave was located.  But the Oklahoma Archeological Society used ultra-sound and other technology to locate the exact location of the mass grave.  Thirty-nine patients were buried together in a single, unmarked grave.

Now, almost a century later, the grave of "the unfortunates" as they were referred to in 1918, has been located, and hospital officials say they want to rectify what was a grievous oversight.

"The patients deserve to be named, to have their grave site noted."

Curiosity in 1980 spurred the search for the unmarked grave.  

Money is now being raised to purchase a marker for the grave where the names of those who perished can be inscribed.  

This is an example of how people viewed the mentally ill a hundred years ago.  They were put away and forgotten.  

The only thing different today is there is no where for anyone to go for treatment.  But they are being forgotten all the same.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Magic Kingdom

As I have written before I work in a hospital for children with developmental disabilities.  Over the years I have seen so many children benefit from the services we provide. 

I remember one little boy who was about 4 years old.  He came to the hospital unable to speak English by way of his uncle.  The uncle was living in Oklahoma but the child's parents were still living in another country.  I can't remember now where he was from.  Anyway, by allowing the uncle to have temporary custody of the child we were able to admit him to our hospital for treatment. (It was a kind of bend the rules kind of thing in order to help a child).

When the little guy came to us he was unable to walk.  But he had the cute factor working for him and of course everyone fell in love with him.  I can only imagine how hard it was for his mother to send him so far away.  The little guy was with us for several months.  He picked up English at a rapid rate and before long he was walking with the help of AFO's (braces).

I remember the day his mother was to arrive to see him and take him home.  Everyone was excited to see what her reaction would be when she saw her little boy walk for the first time.

As soon as the mother arrived she had no more stepped into the lobby when they brought her little guy to the end of the hall and he walked to his mother.  He was beaming from ear to ear while his mother wept.   There wasn't a dry eye in the place including mine.  That was 25 years ago.  That little boy is a grown man now.

Before we built our new hospital 10 years ago the administration offices were right in the middle of the hospital and we were able to interact with the children.   The older kids would pop into our offices during the day when they were not in school or therapy.

At our current hospital the children live in hospital units, which are regular homes that have 6 children in each.  Each house has a fully equipped nurse's station and an exam room.  

Administrative offices are in a separate building along with the therapies.  The rehab. wing is across the hall from us so we still see the kids when they come over to attend therapy but they don't have the opportunity to just come in and hang out.  So, the downside is we don't get to know the kids as well as we could in the old hospital.

I think everyone who has worked here has fallen in love with a child at one time or another.  Many of our staff have become foster parents or adoptive parents of children that were in state custody.  About two years ago one of our speech pathologists adopted two children.

My second year here I fell in love with a little girl named Stephanie.  She was barely a year old.  She was blind, autistic and MR.  Every chance I got I'd go get her and bring her to my office where she'd sit in my lap and I'd play my Mickey Mouse musical watch for her.  She loved it.  She was a twin but her twin brother had no issues.  The mom was overwhelmed and had not bonded with her daughter.  She had 6 other children and was struggling with making a decision to give her daughter up for adoption.  I wanted so much to adopt this little girl even though I knew it was the most impractical thing I could even consider.  I was already a single mother of two and I knew someone else could give her more than I had to offer.  But fortunately, with a great deal of support from her doctor and our staff, the mother overcame her fear and took her little girl home.   She is now in her twenties.  She remained an outpatient and we were able to watch her grow up.

So many children...........this has been the most wonderful place to work.  I'm going to leave here with memories to last a life time.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Blind Faith or Schizophrenia?

We had a lovely evening last night.  Because of rain we ended up going out after all.  We went to our favorite Chinese restaurant and we sat and talked long after our meal was finished.  I just finished reading "Heaven is Real" and I was telling Ron about it.  This led to deeper philosophical questions on religion etc. and we got so involved in our conversation we didn't notice when the restaurant had all but emptied with the exception of us.

Ron is a curious fellow by nature.  He is always full of questions.  Every Sunday you can bet he will have questions for the Sunday school leader or the minister following class or a sermon.  This is his nature.  It is also the reason he gets frustrated when a clear black & white answer is not forthcoming.  He asked me how I can accept things on just pure blind faith.  I really had to think about that.  First of all I do not believe my faith is blind.  Blind faith occurs when someone puts their faith into something without any evidence.  I think I've experienced so many things throughout my life that have convinced me that there is something much greater than myself.  I may not be able to define what it is exactly but in my darkest moments I have had the overwhelming feeling that I was not alone.  The difference is I don't need black & white proof.

I have a voice inside me that talks to me all the time.  I know that forgiveness is power.  I know that when I harbor hatred or resentment it only hurts me and when I forgive I am freed.  My voice challenges me every day to do the right thing.  It reminds me to treat others the way I want to be treated.  I can't see who is talking to me but I know it is real.  If that is blind faith then I accept it.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Counting Down

Today is our 3rd Anniversary and number 3 is leather.  Soooo I got Ron a new leather desk chair!   He's wanted a new chair for awhile because we've just been using a dining room chair and it isn't very comfortable.  So I thought leather....then I thought watch, whips, or desk chair...... The desk chair won!
I don't think we are going out to dinner tonight because I'm usually just too tired after work so I got some steaks to grill outside and we may just have a nice cozy dinner at home.

I have two huge boxes full of cards that Ron has given me over the years.  I've saved every one of them because I thought they would be a comfort to me if anything were to happen to Ron.  I'd re-read each and every one of them.  He always signs them "All my heart, all my love, all my life!"

The mother of one of my daughter's students posted a picture of her little girl on facebook.  The child was sleeping and her mother said,  "I peeked in Mila's room tonight to kiss her goodnight and found her sleeping with a picture of her kindergarten teacher."   Her teacher is my daughter!  Is that not the sweetest thing?  It made Julie cry!

The countdown has begun.....5 weeks from today....New Hip!!!!!!!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Looking ahead

What a weekend.  We had to call the plumber back on Sunday because when we ran the washer it all backed up again.  Fortunately we weren't charged anything additional and I believe the problem is now resolved.

I am so excited to have my surgery and to get my life back.  I am excited for retirement but afraid to look too far ahead for fear I will jinx us.  I haven't looked further than 3 months ahead for the past 5 years but right now I'm looking ahead 15 months.  That's how much time I have left to retire.  

I want to be able to spend time with my husband.  I want to take a trip.  I want to go to the Y and focus on my health and physical fitness.  I just want to have a little time to myself.   I want one road trip with my husband.......  The only trip we have had is when we went to Richmond, Virginia 3 years ago to watch his grandson play lacrosse.  

Our goal is to take a road trip and see his daughter in N. Carolina and then drive up the coast to Maine.  Ron and I both want to go there.  I also want to go to Boston with Ron.  He's never been there and I know he would love it with all its history.

We will be celebrating our 3rd anniversary on Wednesday.  I am grateful for every day we have had so far.  I am looking forward to many more.

But what I look forward to also is for Monday to just be another day in the week. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Well, Saturday started off with a bang!  All our plumbing backed up and I'm  sitting here waiting for the Rotor Rooter man.  It will only be $195.00 to get it unclogged.  Ugh.....but what are you gonna do?

We are going to go ahead and get the sewer line replaced since we've known for quite awhile that we were going to have to do it.  I'm tired of dealing with the back-ups so I'll bite the bullet and get er done.

Ron took Mike to a baseball game and I'm dealing with the plumbing.  Mike has been looking forward to going to the game for a week and we didn't want to disappoint him.  He's really doing good right now.

I see the surgeon on the 23rd to get all my preliminary stuff done.  I know they will be measuring the length of my legs.  I'm not sure what else they will be doing.  They just told us to plan on being there all day.  Probably more x-rays.....

I'm still nervous about the surgery but anxious to get it over with.  There are so many things I'm missing out on and want to be able to do again.  Walking without pain is number one!!!

Well, I think Mr. Rooter is here.................

Friday, May 2, 2014

I have no storytelling's just a fact!!!! I cannot write fiction.  

Olga, I just read your piece about May and I can't wait to read more.  Oh how I admire your talent!

I don't know why I can't make up stories or create them in my head.   Maybe it is because my real life is such a drama.  I don't have time to create a story, I'm too busy living my own.

A friend of mine from high school took her mother to the eye doctor.  While they waited in the exam room my friend said to her 91 year old mom...."let's do a selfie".  Her mom replied, "I thought I told you, that will make you go blind."

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Good Day

I'm feeling blessed today.  My sweet daughter hired a professional cleaning service to clean Mike's house.  What a gift!  Jamie knew I couldn't do it and she thought that would be something that would ease my mind and it sure did!  Mike said, "My house sure does smell gooooooood." 

I took Mike to see his psychiatrist this morning and today is one of those rare days when he sounded like his old self.  He was very clear headed.  He asked me on the way to the doctor's if maybe he should have gone to grief counseling through hospice after our mother died.  He said he wonders if it might have prevented his psychotic break.  Then he said, "Well, that's water under the bridge now."

He was also dressed up in his khaki slacks, plaid shirt and dress jacket that Ron and I got him last year.  He looked quite dapper!!!!  Dr. Stanbro wants to see him again in Aug. to see how he is handling my surgery and not being as accesible to him.

Mike is dealing well with Jim's death.  He says the key to his sanity is staying busy.  He's right.  I just have to keep coming up with things he can do and enjoy.  He's now doing Yoga, Aerobics, Tai Chi and Western Line Dancing.  That's a lot of exercise but he seems to enjoy it all.  I wish I could be as active......maybe later! is a blessed day.  I feel relaxed and hopeful!