Wednesday, January 26, 2005


The one grandfather that I truly remember the most was not a blood relative. He was my mother’s stepfather. Everyone loved him; my mother, her siblings, the spouses, and all of the grandchildren.

This wonderful man was the perfect grandfather. He spent countless hours with all of us, and I will never forget the things we did. On the farm he and my grandmother owned, we went berry picking, picked various fruits in the orchard in front of the house, and tended chickens. There was one sad time. Grandpa had to put a litter of beautiful puppies to sleep because they had distemper. I had already decided that I loved a golden one the best, and watched as he put them one by one, along with chloroform, into a large metal lidded pail. Obviously, I have never forgotten that time, and have recalled it when I have had to make that final visit to a vet with a beloved cat.

Grandpa took us kids to movies, and on trips to see other relatives a few hours away. We went with him and Grandma to cemeteries on Memorial Day, in another part of the state, with a trunk load of flowers from Grandma’s garden to put on relatives’ graves.

Back in those days, we did not spend a lot of time in front of the TV; we spent it hanging out with Grandpa. Summers were especially wonderful, because a lot of the time was spent outside. We loved it when Grandpa came to our home to help our father build an addition on the house. He was a carpenter by trade, and when he spent time at the house, it meant that we got to see him even more often.

A lot of the time, on Saturday nights, he and Grandma came to our house to play pinochle with our parents. They always enjoyed this treat, and at times were joined by an aunt and uncle. We were all very close, and spent much time together. Grandpa and Grandma lived only three miles away.

At one point, Grandpa worked at the Navy Base, when they were rebuilding and making it an Air Force Base. He was a carpenter there. He brought us scary comic books that had been discarded. He received a head injury while working on the base, causing permanent blindness in one eye. After his accident, I was always nervous about riding in the car when he was driving. If I remember right, it was a long time before he received disability.

When I was in eighth grade, Grandpa lay dying with lung cancer. In the innocence of youth, I thought he would recover, although I had not been informed of the nature of his illness. In years past, he had always coughed, and had even spent time in the nearby TB sanitorium. He coughed all night for years, it seemed. He was at home during his illness, and eventually the kids were not allowed to see him. We could not go in the bedroom. He had male nurses, my grandmother, and other adult members of the family, to tend to his needs.

My grief was very great when he finally died, and I still think of him. His brother and sister came for the funeral, and we had not seen them before that. They were from northern New York State, and spoke French, basically. We did not know that Grandpa was French Canadian and probably spoke French fluently. That is a rather interesting note, as my grandmother’s first husband, the father of her children, was from France.

Grandpa never had any children of his own, but he could not have been a better grandfather.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


The City Council last night voted to proceed with acquisition of the neighboring mobile home park. I attended so that I could see what will happen when it is time to acquire the one I live in. That particular park had only one main speaker voicing objections and questions. There were a few others in attendance, but they did not speak.

Residents of our park were there also. This will be a very large development when the city owns all of the property. I believe the city already owns the large former lumber company property between the parks. There is also a Salvation Army store and a termite extermination business that will be a part of the deal. The public hearing on the fate of my park will occur on Mar 1.

I am certain that I will be spending the rest of this year, if I have that long, getting rid of stuff, packing, and looking for another home. It is going to be a huge problem.

Sunday, January 23, 2005


Even though I have spent an inordinate amount of time at emergency rooms and doctors offices in the past week, I managed to go to a five hour town meeting at the local college yesterday about a proposed enlarging of the casino a half block from my home. There were MANY speakers from various municipalities and agencies, plus plenty of politicians, and the audience was very large. Some of those who attended had to remain in the large lobby and listen on the PA system. I was surprised at the number of speakers lined up for this presentation. It was totally interesting, and the time flew by.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Late for Class

My writing class awaits me. I don’t know when I will be going back – hopefully soon. I missed the first two classes of this semester and will miss one again tomorrow, as I have to go back to the hospital to see a heart doctor. My instructor called me two days after my first class to check up on me. We had a very nice long chat. I also missed the writing group that she had invited me to join, at a private home. Hopefully I can make it to that meeting next month.

I haven’t really felt like writing very much, so it will be like starting from scratch. I have lost my momentum. I have read several books, however, so perhaps that will fire me up. I’ll let you know how it works out.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

More Hospitals

Maybe someday I’ll have something to write about other than hospitals. I have been having problems with a large hematoma at the pacemaker site. I saw doctors at my clinic last week, my heart doctor and a surgeon. Sunday, the incision broke through and a very large amount of blood came pouring out, so I went to the emergency room at the hospital around the corner. This was all from the hematoma – the doctor expressed more of the blood, a nurse put on a large pressure bandage with rubberized tape, I had an EKG, blood tests, and X-ray to check on position of the pacemaker. I was told to return to my own doctor in two days.

That would not have been possible at my own clinic, so I chose to go to the emergency room at the county hospital, where all of my doctors are headquartered. This morning I was leaking a lot of blood through the pressure bandage, so I realized it was probably a good decision to have planned on going to the county ER today.

I had a great, young doctor there, and he agreed with my concern about the possibility of ongoing problems with this surgery. I had two serious operations in the 60’s, with rejection of inside sutures, and months of recovery. He put me back on antibiotics and asked the nurses to make an appointment for me with my original heart doctor – the one I had up until last summer. I have had a new one since then. My old doctor doesn’t come to my clinic anymore.

While I was out at the desk getting my discharge papers and an appointment, my current doctor saw me there, and we had a long chat about the problems I have had since I saw her last Wednesday. She had referred me to a surgeon on Thursday because of her concern about the size of the hematoma. He said he wouldn't try to drain it because of the danger of infection – then the pacemaker would have to be removed. Now, he doesn’t have to drain it, but the danger of infection is very real with an open incision. Wonderful.

Makes me tired thinking about it all, and also makes me rather woozy (is there such a word?)

Saturday, January 15, 2005


Haven't felt much like writing, then when I do, Blogger locks up my computer and I have to shut down, thereby losing everything...

Saturday, January 08, 2005

More Hospital Time

I had worn the event monitor for less than a week when I became violently ill while on a tour bus with the seniors, a long distance from home. I rode for an hour or more that way, and asked the bus driver if he could drop me off at a hospital in Sacramento. I kept pushing the button on the monitor to record what was happening.

The hospital coincidentally was a cardiac hospital, Sutter Memorial. The ER doctor called Florida to transmit what had been recorded on the monitor. I was admitted after receiving lots of care in the ER, and spent all week in the hospital. I had more events, and when the cardiologist came to see me (I had other doctors in the meantime), he stated that I was going back and forth between bradycardia and tachycardia and I needed to have my heart
stabilized. He planned to install a pacemaker immediately, doing so on New Year's Day.

This does not take care of the atrial fibrillation, and I'll always have my grossly enlarged right heart (term of various doctors).

Recovering from the surgery has not been fun - I have never seen so much black & blue, actually purple. I have managed the pain with acetaminophen. As each day goes by, I feel better, of course. I can notice the difference in the way my heart feels, also. When I am in atrial fibrillation, it is very noticeable, because of the size of my heart, but I can tell that the rate is much more even. That is a good feeling. Now I just have to stay away from all of the things that will ruin the pacemaker.