Monday, August 08, 2022

I am seldom busy

I am in the time of life when I'm seldom busy... unless I'm doing something I love to do, like gardening.  I can procrastinate, or even refuse to do the housework most folks considerate necessary.  For the most part, I only do what  I want to do.  

But last week seemed like a marathon to me.

Cliff had two appointments with his ear doctor to get him on the way to having a cochlear implant; he has other appointments coming up, including an MRI in a couple of weeks.  I had an appointment to get my Medicare annual checkup, and another to get a haircut.  Not to mention I had to get ready to stand in for the Methodist church pastor Sunday, then run to a family reunion as soon as I was done with that.  That church service is from 9 to 10 AM, so we had plenty of time to get to the reunion.  Of course I had to get a couple things cooked to take in my slow cookers, so that was a bit of a rodeo... but I am always an early riser.

What's this you say?  You had to stand in for a preacher?  Ah, therein lies a tale.  I won't be getting a preacher's license any time soon, trust me.

Two weeks ago, Jeremey was preaching a sermon that used Jacob and Esau as an illustration.  I love the people in the book of Genesis because they have all have the same sort of faults we still have today; the only guy in Genesis that seemed to do everything right was Joseph, but then he did seem to be overly proud of his coat of many colors.  Anyway.  He got to the part of the story about how the twin brothers were so different.  Esau was hairy, Jacob wasn't.  Esau liked to hunt in the big outdoors; Jacob stayed in the house and cooked.  When Jeremey got to the part about Jacob staying in the house, he paused a bit and something came over me, because I blurted out, in my outside voice, "...Yeah, with his momma."

It's a small congregation, so I didn't feel too out of place for helping him with the story.  He just exclaimed, "Yes!  He was a mama's boy!"  

When I got home and told Cliff about it, I said, "I hope he won't ask me to preach next week, after my outburst."   Joking, of course.

The next week I walked into the church and took my usual seat in front of my friend Patty.  Jeremey was visiting with some folks, but excused himself and came and sat down beside me, looking at me with a cheshire cat smile like this:

He said, "I have a question for  you."  Thinking of the conversation I had with Cliff at home, I jokingly said, "You aren't going to ask me to preach, are you?"

Imagine my surprise when he said, "Yes, would you?"

"No way," I said.  "I'm no preacher."

The man pastors two congregations, and the larger church, at Odessa, needed his help for a project during their city's three-day annual fair.  He had called everyone he could think of who could stand in for him, and they weren't available.  He said, "Even if you just sang three or four of your songs, that would be all right."  He sounded desperate.

"Well," I said, "I could probably do that and maybe tell how I came to write some of my songs and read one or two of my poems."  (As I said, the congregation is really small, and I'm not afraid of making a fool of myself in front of those nice people.)

That made him happy, and he thanked me profusely.  Then I remembered the reunion, and said, "Wait!  I have a family reunion next week!"

What could he say, except to tell me he understood.  But then I realized that church service is always over by 10 A.M., and we only had a little over an hour's drive to the state park where we hold the reunion.  And I knew with my little program, we'd be done well before 10.

I hadn't practiced much; my guitar strings need changing, and my throat was a little raw because I have to yell at Cliff so much to be heard.  I messed up singing three different times, but it didn't make me a bit nervous; they are my people!  They liked the stories of how certain songs came about, and one lady said she liked my honesty.  A fellow about my age carried my guitar out to the car where Cliff was waiting for me and said, "You and I have a lot of things in common."  No, he wasn't hitting on me.  His lovely wife was there!

I'd do it again, as long as it isn't more than once a year.

Friday, July 29, 2022

The weather, and other short stories.

We received over one and a half inches of rain this week over a period of two days.  What a difference that made in our garden!  I had just planted beet seeds, carrot seeds, and turnip seeds when the rain came; I believe every one of those seeds came up, which is a lot different from the way it's been all summer.  And the green beans that had just started bearing now have beans twice as long as they were before.  So the health of my garden is much improved, except for certain vegetables for which rain came too late.  Every tomato plant has some degree of blight, but so far we're getting quite a few tomatoes.  I have forgiven the state of Iowa for taking all our rain away because the little girl we used to babysit has a grandmother in that great state who showed up with quite a large amount of very good sweet corn which I promptly took off the cob (after blanching) and froze at the very same time my own home-raised corn was ready.

Like the garden, I'm apparently healthy too.  I saw a cardiologist who instructed me to get an Electrocardiogram and to stop taking my water pill, which was one of two prescriptions I've been taking for high blood pressure.  He also told me to take my blood pressure standing up until my next appointment.  For some reason, my blood pressure improved!  In fact, my blood pressure monitor even stopped telling me my heartbeat was irregular, which it used to do about half the time when I took my blood pressure.  At my second (last) appointment the doctor informed me that my Aortic valve was functioning well enough that it definitely wasn't the cause of my light-headedness and almost passing out so often, so I had no reason to worry about it.  I'm just going to have to be more careful about getting up and hurrying someplace.  He explained it this way:  "We rate the condition of the aortic valve from 4, which is perfect, to 8, which is the  worst.  Yours is 4 1/2, and it took you 78 years to get to that point.  The bad news is, you won't get to see me any more."  He also told me not to go back to taking my water pill, since it obviously wasn't doing anything for me.

I liked the doctor, and now I don't have to worry about my frequent lightheadedness;  I just need to take my time after I get up from a sitting position.  So it's a win/win situation.  The good news?  I managed to get off all the stomach pills six months ago and can eat anything I want; now I'm only taking one prescription blood pressure pill (Amlodipine).  I only wish energy came in a bottle, because I'd like a little more of it... but that's how it is when you reach a certain age.

Now for Cliff:  He has lost almost all his hearing, practically overnight.  Suddenly he can't hear anything, no matter how loud I speak, even with both hearing aids in.  Since it came on so quickly, the ear doctor (whatever ridiculously long name those guys are given) had one thing to try; if that doesn't work, he will need a cochlear implant.  If a person loses his hearing all at once like Cliff did and gets to a doctor within a month, sometimes Prednisone will fix the problem (about 60% of the patients get relief that way).  Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be doing anything for Cliff.  He'd had the deafness longer than than a month anyhow, more like six weeks.  But it was worth a try.  He is ready and willing to get the implant, and Medicare covers most of the expense.  He sees the doctor again this coming Tuesday.  It is not an instant fix.  I understand they don't even hook it up until a month after the implant.  But it is a solution to the problem.  What an age we live in!

We are going to St. Joseph, Missouri to watch the Kansas City Chiefs practice on Monday.  Cliff doesn't want to go, but he's happy to take me anyhow.  He said it isn't like they are playing a game, they just run around throwing and catching the ball.  I told him all I want is to see them once in my life in person, even if they are at a distance; this is the only way that will happen.

Covid is spreading quite a bit around here.  It's easier to catch this time, but everyone seems to be getting very mild cases, even those who have never had it.  I'll still wear my N95 mask when I shop, but I'm not going to worry a lot about it any more.  Actually it's been around so long, I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about it anyway.

And that's the way things are on this beautiful day.  Peace.