Monday, August 31, 2015

ramble alert

Yeah, there's a lot on my mind these days and I've actually slowed down enough to take in the nuance of conversations and interaction on social media.  I was absolutely blindsided by the response to a meme that I posted which made the point ( or so i thought ) that science is often misinterpreted by those who are rigidly religious in an institutional sort of way. Even the grammar Nazi got in on that one and of course the Republican trolls. This is the double edged sword of social media.  On the one hand you know who just turned two and who is having what for dinner,  yet there's a whole 'nother world out there where people with evil intent spread untruths.  Usually there is an error in perception , as my old supervisor used to say.  He was the only guy and the BOSS of about 20 women and every time one of us cried over not getting his approval, that was his response.

To me, spirituality is not about dogma or catechism or what kind of robe you wear.  If that pleases you to praise God in that way, have at it.  I'm a UMC to the bone and can sing just about every hymn in the book.  I don't think I've seen anything more Christlike than the look on my mother's face when Joe Jennings started singing "Morning Has Broken" at Daddy's funeral.  She didn't have a clue it was going to happen.  Speaking of funerals, I have this one funeral director friend who took matters into her own hands to get to the cemetery on time.  The escort was a no-show so she stopped traffic and got the procession on the road.  The law caught up with them about a mile away.

My mother is happy and healthy and the darkness of the past 5 years is going away slowly.  Daddy is on the dresser at her new home and she's threatening to hang our senior pics over the couch but I said no.  As in HELL no.  I look much better now and we'll get a new one with a pretty frame.  I realize how fortunate I am to have inherited the history of the Stafford family and a missing ten dolla' gold coin.  It still hurts me to go back in there as the ghosts of our pasts speak quietly and mystically.  The five of us shared one bathroom and two floors in an honest to goodness log cabin.  Poor Tommy got stuck in the little closet room because well, you know.  He was the baby.  He was packed and ready to move into my room when I left for college.

I don't presume to be wise and wonderful, just inquisitive and loving and joyful unless justice is involved and then I'm full force for doing the right thing.  The racial profiling in this country has started a war that is killing not only innocents but dedicated police officers and the flames are being fanned by the media.  Consumers have an opportunity to not buy into the constant bickering and back stabbing that is made possible through connectivity.  This sort of civil unrest goes on all around the world when people get desperate to escape persecution for their beliefs.  Thank God that doesn't happen here, right?

If you believe in Zombies, raise your hand ^j^

Sunday, August 30, 2015

old friends

I've been housebound since Friday more or less because the pollen is unbearable and my FNP wouldn't give steroids over the phone.  My left ear is infected with something that is not what scientists would call "a good thing" and I feel blessed just to get the antibiotics.  Right now my eyes are the major problem, weeping and swelling when I'm not in an air conditioned environment.  And yes, I'm whining.  I met up with a couple of friends for a casual breakfast this morning and we traded stories about things that only the three of us could comprehend because well?  We were there.  I learned a lot about alternative treatment for seizure disorder which is *you guessed it* cannabis oil.  After that I went over to check out Mama's finished room and found her in the recliner, kind of surprised that I showed up.  The  aide came in to announce lunch so I walked up there with her in the caravan of medical equipment carrying folks to their noon meal.  It's the perfect place for someone who needs supervision and minimal assistance.  She is happy, which is something I've not been able to say in a very long time.  She asked me what's going on in the outside world and I didn't have the heart to tell her that crazy people are still killing innocents and Donald Trump may be our next POTUS.  By my calculation if people don't get behind Bernie in a big way we're screwed.

I went yesterday to sort of have some alone time in my childhood home.  It looks different, and not in a bad way.  The clutter is becoming manageable (except for the upstairs...OMG). We have the luxury of time that many do not enjoy when a family member dies.  Who among us has not carried some loved ones' stuff in a box to a new home for sorting and sifting.  That is how BG tidied up after Pnoler's death.  His was the second of four that we spent family time together.  The first was Ginner's  way back in the spring..  Aunt Granny was next and that's when I ran over Daddy's foot at the funeral home.  Can you say overwhelmed?  The Lake county branch was there as well as for Daddy's later on.  When 'Noler died I was in kind of an awkward situation as to my status, you know the ex and all.  This one was also after work and Lori picked up Mom and Daddy and met me there.  I still sat with the family...mine, and his and ours. 

We discussed halfway points this morning when tossing around political issues like Obamacare. In the beginning I was all for it because of expanded coverage opportunities for those without company sponsored plans but it has turned into just another cog in the wheel of big insurance.  Exchanges my ass.  As a fiscally moderate democrat, I see that going away as single payer becomes the only way for our healthcare infrastructure to survive.  It should not cost an entire life's wages to get medical care, especially the preventive kind.  


Saturday, August 29, 2015

the sun also rises

I've pondered the idea of moving into Casa Grands just to keep it available for the fam.  HOWEVER, the view up here is to die for and down there in the "flats" you tend to get boxed in with crops.  This house sits high on a hill where the sun comes up over the golf course and sets right in front of my porch, all in a rural setting that is isolated from the neighbors and such.  I am in the direct path of the emergency helicopter service on Jackson runs   Corporate jets do business at the airport which is just on the other side. During the flood we had to drive on the freakin' runway to get out of here!  That was when James Frank took Daddy in a boat for a doctor's appointment and me and the BG almost died in the back of a crackhead's pickup.  You can't make this shit up.

I'm still scared of snakes even though I know that they aren't the devil but simply an animal representing change.  I've never killed one because I'm afraid he would come back to haunt me.  My worst fear other than drowning or burning would be a snake pit.  This guy, I feel sure, is at least friends with the one who sunned on my straw bales.  Or the one that actually swam downstream in a rainstorm right past the bathroom window.  Most of mine are black, but over in the woods there are copperheads.  My neighbor used to shoot 'em.  

Mama had lots of company on her first day and we discovered that her next door neighbor is the mother of some friends.  I've been so busy I've not put it all together in my head and was delighted to see them (still) moving things in.  There's a big construction project next door with lots of mud but the movers were able to get in through the back way because of the big-ass truck.  They overestimated our needs, for sure.  I wish you could have seen the look on the guy's face when I told him Mo designs hotel rooms for a living.

Emotions are still raw all around.  The loss and change of the past year has changed us in a way that family has gone away in quick succession.  My friend Sheila's dad passed away just weeks after her mother.  She was there for me when I said good-bye to my own, like so many others.  Grace and peace shown in the love and support of others is what Jesus would do.  My friend Keith called me out on posting an anti-GOP meme  and in some respects he's right.  Anything that we use to divide people any further is not what's needed.  The American way is truly unity and that's the only way change will ever come to this messed up government.  Money is too much a factor. So is the church.  Read your constitution.  

Bedtime was way before sundown yesterday and went for almost 12 hours straight.   I depend on those nights to catch up and just be a slug.  Picture that if you will.  Being used to up by 5, those naps are a treat. All three dogs pile in and we snuggle.  This is REALLY handy during the winter when north wind blows over the hill.  That's when I'd rather be in the flats.  


Friday, August 28, 2015

3-M company

Field of Dreams is probably the last movie besides westerns that Mom and Daddy watched together.  It has everything he loved like sports and agriculture and dreaming big.  When he left home for the last time, it was in an ambulance...never to return.  The flowers remained watered that he planted and will remain in his honor, though we may have to turn the light off that flag.  It's burned 24/7 since he left.  We met early this morning to pack and transport and Mama is already settled into her new place and holding court.  As moving jobs go, it was flawless.  She has TV and her phone and everything she packed so meticulously in the days prior to her move.  Clothes in the closet and earrings sorted on the dresser.  Toothbrush in place.  We seriously should do this for a living.
I was totally unprepared for the emotional tidal wave that hit when we left the house behind that truck.  Bubba and I both got pretty tore up crying over the whole deal and we agreed that this was worse than the funeral.  It is an ending to a chapter that lasted 60 years as they raised three children who were each "challenging" in their own ways.  My eyes have been almost swollen shut for days and there's not any place to stand at any of the urgent cares so um.  Crying doesn't help, ya' know?  I stopped by to see Ms Faye one last time and we lusted over the cute little cast iron cornbread things which will remain for the September viewing when otha' brother and his tribe arrive.  I.Can't.Wait.
The view down there is changing, opening up a bit more than when Daddy kept it dark and cavelike. There's a hurricane headed for Florida which is, as they say, "to be expected" at this time of year.  It's when coastal dwellers wonder what they were thinking.  The heat here is stifling but not too much humidity so it's tolerable.  Still, I stay inside when I can because GEEZ the ragweed is blooming or something.  I've considered robbing a pharmacy for prednisone.  I know a guy who crawled in through the drive in window of a local pharmacy and got busted bigger than shit.
One of my oldest friends is in town for her cousin's funeral, once again with Kay in charge.  I got a card from Claudia yesterday reminding me of the 3-M company, a Jr. High club we made up.  We were mid teens and exploring everything we were big enough to get into.  Karla Jean lived out at Viar and became the toughest broad you ever saw on the basketball court.  As an advocate for her son Kyle, Claude has tirelessly pursued healthcare options for his mitochondrial disorder.  The last time I saw her was at a funeral, Aunt Becky's I think.  ~
Either the NRA and Trump have been swallowed up by an earthquake or it's a slow news day for murder. Once again, let me claim Alison's dad as one who should be listened to because he is a moderate sort of man who's constitutional in his request for more oversight.  You never know who's bi-polar and about to blow like a powder keg.  Enough already.  That kind of crap makes me want to watch the Kardashians for escape.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

without faith

We are, of course, sifting and sorting through our collective pasts and ran across a real piece of memorabilia the other day in the form of a tiny Gideon bible with a UT orange leather cover.  Mr. Billy Yates of "this too shall pass" fame gave it to my Daddy in 1980.  I don't have a clue who the coach was then but I did notice the inscription on the front cover  :  Hebrews 11, verse 6.  "But without faith it is impossible to please him."  BG says I need a hobby so I won't think so much all the time.  She's probably right.

The local SS office had a remote interview with Mom this afternoon answering such important questions as dates of birth and marriage.  The really odd thing is that the interviewer is a former co-worker who introduced me to Mercy Me many moons ago.  He now has three little kids and a full life serving those who depend on government "entitlements" like the lump sum death benefit of 255 bucks.  You probably have to go up in there and make  a live appearance to get disability, after your lawyer gets paid of course.  I hear it takes years.  

Y'all knew it was coming so bear with me on this gun thing.  My hero du jour is the father of that young reporter who was murdered yesterday.  The NRA is a huge politically motivated organization that preys on the gutter level mentality of people who want to open carry and intimidate others.  I  believe that bearing arms is a right protected by the Constitution.  That being said, there should be routine background checks and registration requirements.  It's much easier to catch the crazy ass perp when it goes down like that.  You want to shoot ducks or pheasant?  Register that bitch and carry on.  The response from the right is that if everybody is armed, the playing field is level...kind of like in the old West.  We all know how that one turned out. There is no reason for any reasonable citizen to be carrying a long gun or automatic weapon in public. There is an entire industry thriving on our thirst for more firepower.  Enough, already.  But also? We need to kick MSM to the curb y'all.  I mean gah....

I'm off for three days so we can do this transition to assisted living.  Nerves are frayed and there have been words that were less than kind.  Three weeks ago today we buried my father in Fairview and I've yet to find his grave.  I'm just leaving room for the Spirit to work on that one.  


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

give peace a chance

I was getting on the elevator today when I spotted an elderly man with bags of who knows what.  He broke the news to me that some guy went postal in VA and shot a live television reporting team, evidently over an old grudge about his termination.  Between the time he got canned and today, sounds like dude has been simmering and plotting over his "mistreatment" by the former employer and was all tech savvy so as to record it and then when the cops moved in on him he offed himself.  I totally understand having a death wish....many folks kill themselves slowly by lifestyle or whatever and often quickly with a weapon.  But WHY in the name of God, do you presume to take innocents with you?  You..with the gun and the power and the anger. These people did nothing to you.  All you want is to go down in a blaze of glory much like radicals everywhere including the jihadists we fear. Those who would say that it was racially motivated are way off base.  This is insanity in its' purest form and there is no protection against that other than taking down evil as it appears. The last picture taken by the photographer was the face of the man who murdered him.  You can't make that shit up, and if you do it's gonna' be a Lifetime movie.  Somebody wanted to be on TV again, and he was until all his feeds got shut down.  Go internet people, go. Homeland security has to start somewhere.

My brother did a remote feed from VA to a talk station in Memphis and I ended up listening to some bank lady talk about credit scores and home loans and it wasn't all boring.  I can't believe that I'm almost 60 years old and have no assets other than the clothes on my back, plus a few antiques.  I stopped by to hug my retiring co-worker this afternoon and she told me that if it weren't for hubs, she couldn't take that step.  I guess that means I'll die trying. After that I did a couple of errands and ran by to check on Mom who was holding court with not one but TWO visitors.   And then?  I became the devil again by phone.

It's pretty and there is a nice breeze.  Bye Felicia!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

september song

It's that time of year folks, and next week it will be my birthday month....the 60th one!  I've been looking for the autumn clematis to pop open a few white blooms and today they're showing up.  It is a fast growing ever consuming vine that will eat the nearest object just like kudzu does.  I planted the original right in front of the propane tank and it's casually draped over the end for effect.  Only two of the original three fence pieces stand.  I tore the backside off and sold it during one of my manic cleaning episodes.  I did get a few custom made by SEM frames out of it and returned the favor when he got married this year.

Daily, a new revelation appears to me as part of this new chapter.  I  have a frog boyfriend who sits with me while I potty, peering through the foggy windows.  There have also been one very dead coyote and a brazillion butterflies which is such an August thing.  I've always hated the month because of the heat and humidity that can be had, but it does comes in handy for farming.  I heard there was an earthquake 25 miles down the road and also where they're fracking in OK and TX.  What do you people not understand about "unstable".   Everybody in Henning thought the prisoners had taken over.   Today's Bernieism: De-privatize prisons.  

Tomorrow afternoon we plan to honor a team member who has been there longer than me and has helped me to cross the nursing/allied health barrier and understand case management.  When DRGs became the payment method, everything started being bill at a set rate per hospital stay.  If you get well quick and go home, they make money.  If you stay there and become a repeat patient you start costing not only money but quality of life.  The legal and ethical implications are astounding when you think about the ethics of do no harm.  My research for hospice included a lot of picking Kathy's brain.   It's her turn to rest, and I'm ecstatic for her.  

I remember the day before Daddy died I was at work and more than one person said "Why are you here?" Honestly I would have rather been anywhere else but there, but my father lay very ill and needed me.  When we hit the ER on hernia night, I knew it was over.  The most annoying thing of all was that whiny ass drug seekin' bitch next door wailing because the healthcare professionals have her number.  Honest to gawd, I saw her family and thought bless y'alls hearts.  In the end it was, as we say in healthcare, an "outcome" reasonably expected for such a severe illness of such an elder.  He lived a good life and was loved and respected by many.  

That being said, I am so excited about the new Mama that I could put it all over FB and then people from the internet would find her.  Tommy is gonna' rig up the house phone with Jitterbug and other nifty tricks.  During the past five years, more or less, Daddy had been intermittently septic resulting in multiple falls, both on and off concrete.  He continued to drive the 'gator until last year when it went to "winter at the Junction."  His favorite thing was to drive up and visit our mayor, Mozella.  She and Gerald are the elders now, along with Mama by proxy.  For a long time my motive for staying where I am has been to care for them.  That reason is about to be taken out of my hands.  It's what faith does, when you believe that God is good.  

Sunday, August 23, 2015

road kill

I went down to help Mama go through some things yesterday and ran across a dead coyote with his eyes all bugged out right smack in the middle of the road.  His belly was swollen but he hadn't been there long and when I  came back by I snapped a shot to send my brother.  At first he thought fox but was Wile E Coyote freshly hit.  I bet it was that hoodlum down at the end.  This is why I can't live in that house because he would run over my dogs and I'd go to jail for murder.  See?

 It's been probably five years since I've set foot in Walmart and I begrudgingly did it today because I needed things that you can't get at Kroger or the Gentral'.  There were 98 TVs on the wall and all I could hear was the theme from House of Cards only Frank wasn't on the screen.  Football was!  My purchases included a DVD player, new remote, memory card reader and 3.00 reading glasses.  Oh...and a case for the newest badass phone.  They called wanting my damaged device and for me to pay my bill but I've been a little busy so they'll just have to value me as a customer enough to allow time.  I just now did a little thank you  note writing because I feel bad about not being truthful with my Mama.  They will get done, just not in her time.  

BG went gathering at the food store yesterday and prepared the most delicious dinner I've had in ages. Through all of this drama we have depended heavily on pizza and burgers which gets old quick.  There are veggies and a little bit of everything including (meunster) monster cheese.  She's house hunting and I'm attempting to put mine in some sort of order.  Like she said "All you're doing is moving stuff around, Mom." And she's right!  That's what a piddler and sorter does.  And then, we purge.  The dishes have been piled up for days and I finally power talked myself through them before dinner yesterday.   This old girl is smooth on a mission to make a comfortable nest.  

Speaking of which, Mom has some pieces that my late uncle made for Aunt Granny coming to the home. Jimbo was quite the craftsman in many areas.  Her bed will be by the window facing Lake Road so she can see the world going by as she makes HER new nest.   It's a bittersweet process and one that I'm glad we have the opportunity not to rush with.  That house is so full of memories just from the 59 years they've been in it raising family.  The noise level was always on max when Daddy was there because of the TV.  Now, it's quiet often as I pad around the old homestead gathering something else for her to sort through.  We have major piles people!


Saturday, August 22, 2015

unbroken circle

In the continuation of life and death with visions and totems leading the way, my friend Lorna mourns the death of her mother.  Their family is large and well organized with adult grandchildren taking most of the planning because she's got grandchildren of her own in house...aka Jasper and Gracie.  We met through a mutual friend who just knew we'd be a thing, and she was right.  Our shared heritage of agriculture and the Mighty Mississippi was a springboard for a long and  rambling history of Lake county as told to me by not just her, but lots of other folks.  A port sits there now for transport of *goods*.  There are a few to-die-for fish houses, but not many.  Lorna has been actively involved in preserving the heritage of her family farm in this atmosphere of dog eat little farmer.  I admire her spunk and intelligence and my heart breaks for she and her family.

Meanwhile, down at Casa Grands, Mom is busy packing and sorting and actually looking forward to moving day.  The really cool thing is that we don't have to do it all in one day, and I thank corporate for that gesture.  I'm off today and it looks like I'll be in my new jammies until bedtime.  It's just that sort of mood, ya' know?  BG went shopping and hit clearance at Old Navy bless her heart.  We need retail therapy sometimes, and I do so hate to shop.

Today's happy happy happy! is about the Americans who took down that terrorist on a train.  Kick ass and take names, guys.  This kind of bravery accomplishes more than twothree wars over oil.  Desert Storm, remember?  I'm way behind on YouTube watching and got treated to Listen!Linda! during class yesterday.  I haven't laughed that hard in months.  Meanwhile, the whole world is Feeling the Bern and I am in freakin' heaven.  Think outside the box folks!

My procrastination has been deadly but I am keenly aware of limits right now, especially my own.  Much of my time over the past years has been spent working around work and then you go there to see your family.  The kindnesses that were shown to my family by co-workers will never be forgotten and soon will be broadcast if I can just get gear to do it.  Today might not be that day.


Friday, August 21, 2015


Process improvement is something that has been a hot topic ever since ISO and all those other early versions of do more with less came about.  My husband, at the time, was poster boy for the LEAN process at whatever Excel Polymers was named that day.  Theory was that the front line workers know where the flaws are in the production system and you should pick their minds for weak spots in the chain.  I will never forget the night his friends brought him home after a night of presenting, drunk as a goose on free Crown.  I am not that girl.  

The class I've been in for the past few months is something akin to that sort of process improvement.  We have identified goals for each of the respective teams and looked at the roadblocks and assets that we are dealing with in getting there.  It was fun until my daddy hit the door as a patient and then I became painfully aware of "opportunities for improvement" most of them involving continuity of care.  My father had surgery three times in a month after presenting in an ER that served us both well.  I reported for duty after that all nighter and it took a week to get right.  By then he was at the SNF with a wound vac.  As a veteran healthcare provider I was fortunate enough to be his advocate and even then, shit happened.  Hey.  We all make mistakes.  

That reminds me of the time 'Noler had the widow maker and got activase in our ER then was flown to Methodist North, the closest cardiac center.  By the time he left in the chopper, his EKG was normal thanks to the quick and on the fly diagnosis of  Dr. Hayes and Christy.  He was 39 at the time.  BG was in middle school and I slept in ICU waiting rooms for several nights and even in the stepdown window on second pass.  The cath was not performed until the next day because he was loaded up with anticoagulants and no stent was done.  I think the cardiologist was headed out on vacay.  Weinstein?  Anyways, without a stent early closure is about 50/50 on caths and that is exactly what happened.  Second time around we were back at North getting a stent and watching March Madness on the hospital TV.   That was in 1995ish and each admission was around 20-35K.  That would be a bargain these days. 

It really bothers me that folks live the lifestyles that they do and expect to live forever.  I'm not the healthiest person in the world but Lord knows I try to eat healthy when the budget allows..  Now that the weather is moderating, I'll be walking more and slowing down...maybe planting some fall crop.  Mom is excited about the move and that makes me smile.  Our mission for tomorrow is to find her hand stitched quilt upstairs in the cedar chest.  She's gonna' need it at the home.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

biding time

There is something in my craw that just won't budge and I've been told numerous times I just have to "let it go" but that's not going to happen until I have my say with the powers that be.  That very well may be the end of my road, but I feel compelled to open my mouth one more time in defense of those who trust in the practice of do-no-harm.  That little mantra includes being good stewards with life's most precious gifts like donated blood and what not.  Rant over.

My teammates in the class have totally carried me during the past month for which I am eternally grateful.  Honey Badger thrives on organization and discussion and I've been sort of busy with the grands.  I received a hand written note on natural paper from my dear friend Lisa today.  Her Pop died awhile back and I remember after the funeral visiting her at the family home with her brothers and mom, like we did in high school.  Well, actually her mom was usually cooking and Pop would hold court.

On the one hand I feel eternally blessed to have been given the opportunity to spend the majority of my life in paradise.  I can thank my parents and grandparents for that little stroke of luck.. I lived in Big City during college and hated it.  If you can believe this, I spent two years there and never used I-240.  If I'm lyin' I'm dying.  The school that I attended was in a creepy old building next to the John Gaston hospital and a lot of it was in the basement.  I know blood bank was!  At the city's trauma center, their shelves were stocked with hundreds of units and lucky students like me got the job of re-checking the types on every one of them after delivery from Interstate.  We ate hot Krispy Kremes for breakfast on the way to class and tried to maintain sanity while cramming two years worth of  knowledge into one.   And then Elvis died.

Moving day is next Friday because Bubba says so and I'm down with that because it's time.  There will be opportunity to sort and sift through that house just like we have done in the others.  Don't tell Mama, but the notes still aren't in the mail.  She would be mortified to say the least.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Not to be outdone by the bigness of ATT ( and their new family memeber DirecT )  I made a big loop of errands starting with Mama's place for some paper signing and the post office plus local store where Nick the friendly manager took a payment because I can never remember my login and they cut you off quick.I will never forget him snarling at me while Josh sold me a 600 dollar device.  Note to self: Autopay is your friend.  Kay and and I cruised the UT room and a couple of Daddy's things are now being put to good use.  That, makes me smile.

So, my DSL was cut off for non-payment and I couldn't see what was going on in the world this morning which isn't always a bad thing.  If it's coming to an end I'd rather die oblivious.  Therefore, I'm typing this on an ancient Word pad hoping it will cut and paste when the innerwebs get available.  It usually takes a few hours for that payment to "process".  I looked at boxes for my new phone and thought about the last stop which was, of course...the dolla' gentral. The SHADY one!  I am the proud ower of a new box fan which helps an old girl sleep.  Amen and amen.

Spending time with mama and KK today was bittersweet as Mom recalled us playing as kids out under the big cottonwood.  There's another tree there now that's almost as big as the cottonwood was when it was cut. Hollow, through and through.  They are everywhere in our region, a stalwart along rivers.  And when they bloom?  Magic little fluff balls everywhere.  *achoo*  The surprise lilies aka nekkid' ladies are about gone and that makes me sad.  That was the last type of flower that Daddy picked for Mom.  She's looking forward to the move and (still) sorting.  She can seriously get some work done in spite of her inability to see well.  It's all in the touch.

We are all, on some level, reeling from loss and pain because it's a part of living a full life if done honorably and with pure intent.  Grief is real and when it's not expressed it turns into a big fat monster of " I can't let go."  Control freaks everywhere go through the ritual of worship as if it's a task to be marked off today's list.  I swear to Big Ernie, the past six weeks have been a constant state of church for me.


Monday, August 17, 2015

the unfriend

As I have mentioned before I'm usually quick to give away my power to those who have something to gain from my allegiance. The work ethic of my father combined with my mother's sense of entitlement puts me right smack in the middle of where I'm at, which is Pecan Lane.  The view is to die for even when it's iced over or flooded.  The past few years have been totally devoted to caring for my parents and working.  No boyfriends or nights out.  Just too tired, ya' know?  Looking back, I see that the streak of luck we've had started way before the shit actually hit the proverbial fan.  After falling on the ice at the sawmill parking lot in DECEMBER 2013 my right scapularis tendon was ripped from the bone requiring surgical intervention the next year, when the schedule allowed. That was in late July 2014.  A couple of practitioners were overheard discussing my leave and how soon I would be able to come back to the sawmill.  That's a big no-no.  

About two weeks after the surgery Mama had a bad fall which resulted in a spiral fracture of her leg, as in splintered bone in the leg of a elder with osteoporosis and the same surgeon.  That put her into the rehab industry which lasted five months.  We had Thanksgiving at the home thanks to Millette and Bubba.  I would never have imagined that one year later we would be minus all these folks and Mo told me I'd be sorry about skipping Christmas and I am, but not enough to cry over.  We have for loan one 1995 Cadi Deville which hasn't been started since Noler's truck showed up.  If I was a betting gal I'd say the battery is dead and gas tank empty.  Mama has seriously cute high dolla' sweaters for big girls.  Make me an offer.

Every day someone asks "how are you?" in that knowing way which lets me know they were there at the end.  I tried talking to the recently hacked OPM today and actually found some nice soul who wasn't in a call center yelling over everybody else.  This was a sort of back door way of getting in touch with the VA and all their benefits.  My friend and I discussed at work today about how the USA used to take care of war veterans and now it's dog eat dog.  Born on the 4th of July.

We found Daddy's hand written funeral instructions and it's uncanny how close the whole thing came to being exactly what he asked for.  The chaplain who recruited both he and Mom as hospital volunteers is long gone so he wasn't available to serve but FUMC made it happen for the Staffords.  He wanted some guy to "hide behind a tree" and play taps for him and it all happened with a flag to boot.  I am still humbled by the daily expressions of love.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

lost as a goose

I haven't been back to the cemetery since the day of Daddy's funeral so I cruised by after work and discovered myself at the dead end looking up on his hill.  Hmm.  At least I caught a glimpse of my grands, great-grands and uncle.  After much backtracking I made my way to the general area where he was laid to rest but never found what I was looking for which was a bright UT Vol cap on a flower spray.  Some cemetery worker probably has it on his head while watching Nascar. Anyways..I'll try again when it's not hot as hell.

Mama is all a'twitter with "things to!" which really looks good on her.  She had pretty much gone into a pit of despair during the dark times and it's heartwarming to see her come back to life.  She loves piddling and now that she's on a mission, it's on like donkey kong.  Ironically, my friend Lorna is sitting next to her own mother's death bed holding vigil with family.  It's what we do, you know.   Holding space for Wanda and company ^j^

Y'all know the expression busy as a one armed paper hanger...that was me today.  The really cool thing about it is that I can walk away and know that I've done my best for those people on that shift.  If you are one of those folks who frequent our ER looking for drugs, let me remind you of the screaming banshee next door to Daddy when he was admitted for multiple hernias.  When I hear that voice again, I'll recognize it and give her an Oscar for that night's performance.  I walked in this morning to find that a co-worker had brought me flowers and a card in remembrance of Daddy and I about cried.  This young'un has a Latino soul and we dance on occasion to Pandora.  Shhh.  Don't tell HIPPA.  There's probably a fine for that too.

I don't have a clue about the news and really don't care because it's mostly manufactured and turned at a profit.  Print media is gone by the wayside with the exception of periodicals because of the sheer logistical nightmare of production and delivery.   That's why we all have smart phones...duh.  Over and out from the lane.  If you get a random call from me at an odd time and I'm crying just don't be alarmed.  Grief takes a while to dig through.  ^j^

Saturday, August 15, 2015


The emotions are surfacing here there and yon with a vengeance if you know what I mean.  Mama gave James F the grill this morning as she prepares to leave the home she's known for 61 years.  We're trying to convince her that it will be there for family occasions ( like September birthdays *hint*) so it's not like we have to pack her panties and drop her at the door.  Arrangements have been made and we shall explore this new chapter with creativity and big dose of southern charm.  Gentle women like herself deserve to be pampered.

Sawmill:    Always busy.  I cursed myself by bringing the dreaded thank you notes inside and ended up leaving them as I scurried on out to home.  BG visited with Mom and we've talked already so I'll catch up closer to bed.  Which won't be late, by the way.  I noticed on the lobby teevee that Bernie is kicking ass at his rallies and that gives me some sense of  "I told you so" mentality to naysayers.  Never say never to a smartass redneck girl who has nothing to lose but faith.  That 's usually when one tends to jump or make the leap.  I'd say it's time to take off my seat belt except when the Super Troopers are on patrol.  In the middle of freaking town remember?  Not cool Mealer.

Chinese explosion:   ISIS or manufacturing technology that is not inherently safe?  You pick.

Regrets:   I don't have many and struggle with letting go of that because it robs the soul of peace and happiness.  Coulda' Shoulda' Woulda' is no way to enjoy life especially during ones' "golden years." Hopefully Sugardaddy will show pretty soon and it'll be all good. My favorite GYN passed away after a long struggle with cancer just months after his daughter died suddenly.  I guess we're not the only ones caught up in this whole life and death thing are we.

End of Life care:    I am passionate about giving patients options at the end of life when they are available.  If they are not, keep looking because somebody somewhere understands.  It may just be the surly housekeeper on 2N who's about to get her first WOW card or one of those vampires from the lab.  Angels appear when you need them most.

Plan next................



Friday, August 14, 2015

in the dark

My house is ancient and pretty shaded except on the northwest side.  The ancient windows on pulley don't open so it's kind of like sitting in a box looking out over Pecan Lane.  The area out back that resembles a patio is what I did one stone and brick and transplant at a time in what was previously a patch of weeds with a big ass grill parked in it.  I remember sitting on the back steps dreaming about that vision, and it happened.  So many times we fail to visualize goals or see them as possible.  My left ear has been hurting forever so I paid a visit to my favorite Urgent Care today.  That's the Hometown one!  They are pouring concrete on her new place as I type.  I ran into an old friend and we chatted about our lives.  A guy came in who reacted to Tracy with thumbs up, the only movement he could manage.

After the medical visit I met some folks down at Casa Grands to kind of discuss plans.  Our friend is a lawyer who was adopted by them many years ago.  He's their favorite SS teacher probably due to a mixture of Lake County stories and church-of- Christ scriptural knowledge.  This would be the one who played the trombone during some pageant or another.  He represented me in divorce court not once but twice, and has been a trusted advocate ever since.  Not that there was any sort of contention, mind you.   Pnoler and I were really never meant to be until BG was born.  My indecisive behavior put our family through a lot of pain and stuff that could have been avoided.  Bottom line? I took the easy way out, or so I thought.  In reality, I was just searching for spiritual people to help me uncouple as an enabler.  That one  always comes back to bite.

I'm missing the coaching call but that's okay because I'm pretty useless to the team at this point.  One week out from Daddy's funeral my heart is still heavy, but getting lighter.  I think of him every day that I drive up the lane, especially when the shadows or mists are hanging low on the crop.  Surprise lilies are still everywhere and I'm expecting some autumn clematis blooms any day.  He and mama gave me that for a birthday and it's everywhere, including on propane guy's tank.  Who will get paid, thank you sweet baby jeebus.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

all things southern

My mother would just fall over if she knew I share things like she sold the family silver to pay the home for her care.  She was out of pocket for five months and during that time Daddy had the house to himself for the first.time.ever.  And you know what ?  As much as he complained about her bitchin' he missed her and couldn't wait to visit, like on HIS schedule around the news.  Then he would eat a pot pie and turn the light on the flag or some other of the litany of things on his OCD list.  In the end he talked to himself quite a bit, repeating the drill over and over until Mom would call me all in a spell and I'd have to....well, you get the picture.  Spending the past six weeks with my father as he traveled the halls of modern geriatric care via a very rural portal has been an experience you can't make up.  I just got an EOB today for that last ambulance ride from the home to the direct admit.  They want a "copy of the statement".  Right.  I'm also on the hunt for a CSA number which is evidently something you can't get because the OPM has been hacked.  Geez.

One of Daddy's old friends told us about an insurance policy we weren't aware of so that's in the works so we can pay the bills for MapleRidgeMania!  Today's totems include surprise lilies and a cardinal perched outside the bathroom window.  I'm sure he was a messenger from my Daddy telling me that every thing's gonna' be alright.  Mom has been an absolute manic mode over the thank you notes and can't even enjoy the cards for all the worrying.  I took it with me and will assure her that it's being dealt with "properly" by her very genteel and southern daughter and grandgirl.  We are who we are because of her.  Well, some of it!  It hurts me to be outside at this time of day because I remember walking the yard with my dad looking at every little growing thing.  He did it with MeMama as well.

My second favorite but much older Redcoat passed on to glory yesterday at 92 and I swear he was working up 'til spring.  His family is special to me in a lot of ways including the mad crush I had on one of those boys in high school.  Yeah...there were a bunch of them.  I fall in love easily, okay?  But I have boundaries earned the hard way and see something for what it is.  If genuine concern is your  motive, payback is not a factor.  PL told me her family smooth talked themselves out of writing the notes when they saw it was socially acceptable not to do so anymore.  Tell that to my mother, y'all.   My very first notes are WOW cards for my hospital peeps who kept me sane during a very trying time.   I'm sure I'll forget somebody but hey..I try.  Faces keep surfacing of those who did their jobs well while comforting me and my family.  That, my friends is quality care.  Right here at home.


Monday, August 10, 2015

cards and letters

So much of today's communication is digital that it's a real treat to receive something hand addressed and delivered by the mail  person du jour.  One of the things about when  you have a death in the family is that if you don't do computers, there's always the USPS.  I got several today and felt comfort.  People say that when the cards stop coming, that's when it's time to move on to Chapter Next.  My friend JenBWag up in WV authored that site and now works as an advocate for patients with Alzheimer disease.  Note to self: we will eventually all have it.  The end of life experience can be so full of joy if family members can just let go with grace and dignity.
My poor frail little mother is kinda' sorta' looking ahead but not really because we still don't know what the date is or who made the deviled eggs.  Daddy could always tell the doctor that little factoid because he kept up with the calendar.  And the clock. And the teevee.  I wish I could describe to you the look on her face when Joe began to sing "Morning Has Broken".  She can't see faces and was kind of in a tizzy but after the first three words, she turned to me and said "It's him!"  Dude can sing, just saying.  We did many a Living Last Supper Mark Locke edition that usually occupied the entire Lenten season for choir practice.  Daddy and I did that together.   We sang cantatas and worship and all kinds of songs, most in the front of that Methodist church on the corner of Main and McGaughey.  That was after he converted from Southern Baptist.

My day was thankfully light and I got to ease back into the real world.  I stopped by the home to see what their rooms look like and it's as Hoss would say  "not bad"  There is room for about four pieces of furniture with a shared bath and a nice neighbor.  Hell if I could afford it I'd live there myself!   But nooo...I must continue to toil at the hands of corporate.  Considering the way they have cared for me and mine, I'll take it for now.


Sunday, August 9, 2015

holding space

This was a new term for me, introduced by a dear friend who actually knew my Daddy but never knew who he was until she saw the obituary.  I had given her all his college ag books and she made a little altar from them with a candle during his last hours.  This, she explained, is holding space for someone which can be done as an act of honor no matter where you are during the passage of death.  I wish she could have known him better because I feel sure she could best him in the smartass department.  

Tommy is on the road again, this time headed north to his family and business.  Our bond has always been strong and this week has done nothing but pull us closer even though we are several states apart ( with WV in the middle, no less.)  Everybody is looking to transition in the face of Daddy's death and ironically BG received her own father's remembrance yesterday.  God is good.  All the time.  

Bubba and I remain to tie up the loose ends slowly, which is the only sane way to attempt it.  That house is packed with 60 years worth of memories and "stuff" that scream the Staffords.  The front porch is where I refinished my great grandmother's furniture for when I moved out on my own.  I had taken a job in Memphis but didn't really want to live there so after much ado ( daddy rented a U-Haul and had it packed ) I remained in the 'burg for a lifetime career at the hospital.  That doesn't happen much anymore, and I have so much respect for those who pick up and move on when there's a better offer. Some day I will be that girl. Most of us are bound by family obligations and if you're not, you will be.  

My animal totems have been in overdrive lately, most recently the deer that morning when Daddy died.  I remember in spring when I spotted the big black snake THREE times in a week.  Little did we know that would be the beginning of six weeks of grief and loss beginning with Aunt Granny.  Mo and her bunch camped out for about the same amount of time that we did, around ten days at the end.  That doesn't count all the numerous trips to ER and every floor in the place.  Eldercare is a crisis that is not going away and will affect how WE get treated at the end of life.  

I return to a routine tomorrow, not really willing but ready.  We still have a precarious situation down the road and a lot of paperwork to do.  My proper Southern mother will have thank you notes dictated and mailed in an appropriate time frame because, as we all know, that's very important.  There are dishes to return, though not many.  Most folks bring  food-to-go.  There was a lot of it and I've gained five pounds which isn't a bad thing.   


Saturday, August 8, 2015

by the light of the moon

Monday evening I noticed the moon rising at dusk behind our barn, shrouded in mist and reddish orange.  It was a supermoon kind of night and I watched as it traveled from the barn across my bedroom window.  It was still there and led me to the hospital one more time but I wasn't going to work.  Instead, we met as a family and let go of Daddy again, this time to a much better place.  As the sun rose I marveled at how the whole thing still goes on in a hospital even after one has taken leave.  It is a cycle that is a part of work to me but not one that I take lightly.  Over the years I have spent a lot of teary  hours with friends and family  at the bedside.  I thought we were gonna' have to bury Mom too but she's coming back around and looking ahead.  She is isolated here on the farm and she needs some socialization.  It's as if she was respecting Daddy's wishes to stay here even though it wasn't safe.  The last conversation the three of us had was quite heated and involved him saying not just no but HELL no to assisted living.  Alrighty then!  I do so respect a running Stafford fit.  I think he would have loved it by the way.  

The air base just south of my house is home to a WWII veteran's museum and they host an annual air show which just happens to be today.  I noticed last year that my yard is a perfect place to watch the comings and goings of these vintage planes as they stream in for the show.  Way cool, and one more blessing of living on Pecan Lane. The farm owner renamed his lane last year ( and not Pecan ) and I've been having mail troubles ever since in spite of filing all the required notices.  Mom gave us all church directory portraits made earlier this year and now one of them sits in the cabin aka "museum" behind the dairy barn.  That's where the history of Calcutt Farms is being recorded.  

My parents grew up during the war years and remember them well.  I experienced it second hand through pictures and stories that they have shared.  Lots of Dyersburg gals found husbands from the ones who were stationed in Lauderdale.  USO was big and everybody supported the war effort, unlike today.  Beginning with Vietnam, more and more citizens of this country began to see that our invade and plunder tactics are harmful not only to the invadees but to us in the form of massive military spending when people are homeless and hungry.  We will not "win" the war.  Nobody will.

I missed the GOP debate of course but from what I hear it went as expected with Trump distancing himself from the pack quickly.  Even that bunch doesn't want to be identified with his brand of crazy.  And how about Ben Carson, a man whose time has come?  An African American conservative.  As we say here in the south "how nice."

Gotta' get busy on the purging around here.  It's a new day ^j^

Friday, August 7, 2015

the morning after

It is customary to return to a grave site after the FH has had time to get things wrapped up but we did not. Every single one of us is so exhausted that it just seemed redundant at that point so we each found our little space in which to carry on through one of the hardest days of our lives.  I am still overwhelmed with the number of folks who paid respects in one way or another to my father and that includes those who cared for him at the end.  To be honored like that is a privilege that many will never know.  I saw, in the kindnesses of others, a sort of love that I've never felt.  Or perhaps it was there, and I just didn't see it.  I think the universe and Big E have us all by the hand just waiting for us to enjoy the ride. I finally got the new Galaxy operable and promptly left it at Mom's yesterday morning.  Tommy carried it in his suit pocket all day!  

The message delivered by our friend Dell was about  seasonal growth which is totally what Daddy has been about as a lifelong tiller of the earth.  When he began there were no cabs on tractors or fancy pickers. Cotton was picked by hand and though I remember seeing it done, I can honestly say I never carried a sack.  One of my brothers almost burned up in the trailer from an accident with a match.  Calves were born in all seasons and weather and Daddy tended to them day and night.  The crop part was pretty much leased but the cattle were half his.  As I grieve, I see pictures in my  mind of all those times he came stomping into the red log cabin, shaking off the snow from one of those icy welfare checks.   When the time came to separate them for sale, the mamas would always get pissed and try to pin somebody ( him ) against the gate.  BG's daddy helped and got the crap kicked out of him.  Broke his glasses too!

I was kind of a wild child at an early age and I remember one of the few times I saw my Daddy cry was when I snuck out to meet a boy and he couldn't find me.  It's a sobering experience for one who was so hell bent on rebellion.  When we decided to move here to the lane in '88 he spent six months repairing and remodeling the ancient house that has turned into my home. Every day or so I'd drop by and work at his side and this was probably what I enjoyed most  with him...working toward a goal.  Both he and my mother are quite meticulous record keepers and that seems to be the last thing to go, that need to keep up with business. On the other hand, I'm the one who can't find her shoes in the morning.  To each and every one of you who have lifted my family up during the past week I say thank in the most humble way possible.  It brings me a lot of peace thinking about him jitterbugging his way to heaven.  


Thursday, August 6, 2015

morning has broken

Well, actually it was still dark when I got up but it got that way soon.   My mourning dress was hanging right there waiting for me to get on with it so I could get Mom ready so we could be where we're supposed to be, which was a funeral that was more spirit filled than many I have experienced in many years.  My father was honored with a steady stream of people who mingled and visited with us for a couple of hours.  It was an even split between family and old friends which includes church family.  The very coolest thing about Methodism to me is that we cook funeral food and serve it with love.  It's a Wesleyan tradition, you know.
Just ask MarMar.

The service was planned meticulously affording easy access for my disabled mother to and from events that  ended us up at the cemetery with solemn faced Air Force cadets folding a US flag and playing taps.  That was after the tornado siren went off right in the middle of prayer.  The church service was so uplifting that I didn't even cry until that flag folding business.  I had noticed the two guys standing guard when we arrived in various FH vehicles.  Not many followed and that's okay.  I'm just glad there was a cool breeze and no sun while we were under that tent.  It was a good solid coming together of a family that has lost many recently but refuses to give up on memories.  Death cannot take them away.

Babyman paid a visit to the church all hair combed down like a big boy and dressed up.  He refused to give me sugar and was just looking for his TeeTee.  The line was long and people were patient because they were there to pay respects.  One of my cousins got a "look" as a line breaker but she had to get back to work. My coworkers and friends showed up and even someone who could have been Sugardaddy except he's not. And at the end of all this I stopped by the chicken store and some girl told me she could see my white  panties through the dress and you never know when there's a perv around.  Right, girlfriend.  That would be just my luck.


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

like the deer

Once upon a time a friend of mine got married at the Church of Christ which doesn't allow musical instruments but showcases the pure beauty of acapella, blending voices from different ranges.  I was so used to singing in a choir accompanied by piano and organ and not being able to hear pitch that I was floored at the clarity when I joined her wedding chorus.  Not that I don't love musical instruments, mind you.   Worship is what it is and can happen just as easily in a flash mob as in a church building.  It's all about intent, if you know what I mean. I slept fitfully last night, tossing and turning and waiting for the phone to ring, which indeed it did at around 5. I knew when I saw her name what the call was about and she was God's angel telling me that Daddy had passed.  The hospice chaplain assured me yesterday that we should let the staff care for him because they were steady showing the love.  I can't begin to name everybody who has shown us kindness but I will tell you this about that...I feel blessed beyond measure.

My friends found me, hugged and consoled me and my family and generally lifted us up during this transition not just because I work there but because he is a legendary man.  His last six weeks have been tough on everybody as we have struggled to stay connected as a family in spite of his failing health.  I honestly never thought he would be the one to go first because he's been pretty damn healthy due to a rigorous exercise regimen that included staying active on all levels, especially with the remote.  I have picked his ornery butt up and washed off the blood for several years now as he stubbornly continued his "independent living" here on the farm.  Mom said he would never leave on his own, and until six weeks ago she was right. That's when our all night session in the ER turned into a series of events.  Things happen and people die.  That there is an entire segment of healthcare devoted to easing the inevitable makes me sleep better at night.  It's all about choices.  Once the invasive treatments were discontinued, my daddy passed over peacefully to the other realm.  Official time of death was 7AM.  Our theory according to dreams and visions is more like 4ish. As I was leaving to meet my brother and Mom at the bedside, two deer appeared from the east field peering at me from the dark lane.  Reflexively I slowed the (trusty)Camry and just had a moment with them.  They were telling me to slow down and not run scared.  The fatigue involved with care giving is enormous if you are a trooper.  My plan B is becoming more and more present and less of a poor me kind of deal.  That will get you nothing but eaten by the zombies.

I feel the love folks, and that's what's up.  As "they" say: word^j^

Sunday, August 2, 2015

the gift

I can't begin to describe the emotional roller coaster around here but I'm a gonna' try.  Mom and I had a candid talk yesterday about the duties of  the DPA and we talked about God and prayed over the whole decision.  After that and a call to the preacher a peace came over me that I can't describe.  That's when I followed Dr. A's advice and called in hospice.  As I was reading the handbook I noticed a section describing good-byes with a loved one and how often they hold on until everybody is on the same page.  Sometimes they see stuff and people that aren't there.  Dying is very hard work.

We transitioned into a family room that is specifically for that purpose and when I arrived I found him struggling to breathe and trying to talk after a treatment.  I told him how very much I love and respect him and asked him what he wanted.  He was blinking his eyes like crazy which is all he could do at that point.  We held hands and I cried buckets and so did my brothers when they arrived.  Once hospice took over, all the "treatments" like daily blood draws and IV meds stopped with the exception of pain medicine and O2.  Gone with the amino acids and whatnot.  Ditto for the IV and constant prodding and poking.  I noticed his right hand was swollen probably from that very thing.  The left one is the one I clutched as I said goodbye.  

That shift in dynamics gave me the freedom to let go of the outcome and hand things over to Big Ernie.  He's a real tough bird and not one to give up easily but he's so tired and worn out I can see that death would be a relief.  So many of us fear it, but a life well lived is a legacy that has the potential to change the world. Which, of course, is what's up.  My heart is so heavy with grief that sometimes I think it's breaking but it's probably just acid reflux from all the stress.  Omneprazole can only do so much.

Writing is the way that I deal with things and it's a release that has kept me from climbing the water tower on many occasions.  Many folks don't agree with me when I'm in liberal rant mode but I think even they respect where I'm coming from.  As I told my friend Lorna yesterday, we're circling the wagons which is what family is all about.  Sugardaddy did indeed show up and hugged me like...a long time.  Dude snuck into the room right in front of me and my deadass Samsung trying to communicate from the waiting area.  And then, when the surly housekeeper asked about Mama, I knew all was well.


Saturday, August 1, 2015

heaven on earth

As a clinically trained healthcare professional with a lot of years under my belt I have to say that all that jargon about quality of care at the end of life is different when it's your own family.  I made a late night run to the ICU just to have a moment with my daddy alone, and returned this morning early where I ran into the doctor, my favorite.  He is huge and has a bad accent but hugs like nobody's business and always does what's right for the patient because he is a true advocate.  He told me today that we should leave the man alone and keep him comfortable because there is no coming back from what he's been fighting for months.  

The infected 30 year old mesh has been in there for God knows how long causing all kinds of problems that we sort of attributed to a medication change.  Now it all becomes clear, if you know what I mean.  He is such a tough old bird that he soldiered on and refused help until the pain became unbearable.  And that was on June the somethingth, about a week after Noler died.  The irony of that is in the cause of both of their problems: infected old hernia repairs.  Now, the mesh is removed a month or so post-op so there's not a foreign object all up in your body forever.  Modern medicine and all that.  

This whole thing reminds me of my grandmother's predicament at 83.  She was found to have colon cancer and a re-section was performed followed by rehab at the home next door.  Mama actually wheeled her over there in the rain!  A few days later she began to show signs of distress and it was discovered that the op site had failed and she was developing peritonitis.  Back to the hospital again, and this time a different surgeon did a colostomy.  I distinctly remember being with her as she was wheeled out for emergency surgery and she was waving at all her peeps in heaven and from the past...happy as a lark.  She was on a vent when she arrived in ICU and laced up like a turkey.  Morphine kept the pain under control but suppressed her breathing so *some* asshat ordered Narcan to reverse it after we declined to put her back on the vent.  I was working like a dog drawing blood and whatnot and some angel of an LPN student came and got me to intervene.  The pulmonology doc did an alternative to vent and gave the pain meds back.  On Saturday night, her doctor came back from vacation and sat in the ICU until she died.  He is also an advocate and  hero in my book.  

I feel some peace  for the first time in days.  My father has lived a good life and accomplished a lot of things that other people only dream of.  He is a leader in the church, community and our family.  His retirement years were spent giving back to others by volunteering as a redcoat at the sawmill and tutoring those who were learning to read.  His tenor still rings in my ear, harmonizing with my alto.  A lot of underprivileged children had their only taste of summer camp thanks to his van driving to Lauderdale county and back to the projects.  I will never forget our one candid conversation about heaven and hell and he surprised the heck out of me by saying he pretty much though that it's here on earth and what you make of the gift from Big Ernie.