Sunday, December 25, 2016
12/23/16 RMB The Concert
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
On Thursday Teddy’s good morning email ended abruptly with “Call later”. Then at 10:54, I received a text that ended with “All is Ok I’ll let you know what’s going on soon”.
We had planned to discuss what books I’d be bringing to the shop she is helping set up at the California Welcome Center. By late afternoon, I started making calls. She had gone by ambulance to a hospital in Palm Springs. The ER nurse assured me that she was fine and I could call her on her cell. She sounded good.
I hung up and began getting my things in order to take off to Palm Springs. When I arrived, several hours later, she was sitting up in bed with her trademark smile.
They called it a “hypertensive incident” with stroke-like symptoms caused by high blood pressure. They admitted her for observation and allowed me to stay as long as I liked.
The next day we had concert tickets to see the Joshua Tree Philharmonic Orchestra perform, her Christmas Gift to me. If she were 60 years younger I’d swear she was faking being well just to get to that concert.
At 70, her drive for fun and adventure exceeds mine two-fold. They released us with just enough time to battle a rain and wind storm, dodge flooded closed streets, and get to the concert with 10 minutes to spare. She borrowed a sweater from my trunk to cover the sweatshirt she had gone to the hospital in and we sat in the front row, seats long reserved for this special occasion, with our good friend Diane, who met us there. It was a wonderful show.
Afterwards, more friends came to chat and the stroke symptoms reappeared, coming and going every few minutes. We chalked it up to after-effects and went to dinner, not a wise move. The symptoms appeared again and lasted longer. A doctor in the family advised we take her right back.
In the storm, with roads closed, it would be a two-hour drive. It was after 11pm. I offered to call an ambulance, but she opted to wait till morning and have me drive her then, again-not our smartest decision. At 4:30 am, her symptoms were constant and we hit the road. In the ER they stabilized her and the symptoms subsided slowly.
This time the problem showed up as a mild stroke on the MRI. She was re-admitted a few doors down from the previous room that she vacated less than 24 hours before.
Nurses visited or waived as we passed them and called out “Did you make it to the concert?”
“Yes, we did.” she said with a smile.
She is home now and making a full recovery, yay!
Counting our many blessings one by one,
Monday, December 12, 2016
12/12/16 RMB Writers Circle: Christmas
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
Our Writers Circle gathered yesterday to celebrate ten years of meetings and once again put pen to paper. Our ten-minute writing exercise was about the holiday and here is mine.
Cats enjoy Christmas trees, the greatest cat toy ever. Babies are in awe of their twinkling lights. Kids are enthralled about what is underneath them and whose name is on each colorful package.
At some point, we sit back and look at the Christmas trees of our yearly holidays and we see the ornaments of yesteryear. We remember ones that are no longer here and we smile at those commemorating this year’s joys, a new baby or puppy, a graduation indicated by Snoopy with a diploma in hand, blinking brightly.
Each tree stands for more than a holiday, it stands for a family or a feeling or a time, the past and the present. Whether it be a store-bought tree of wire painted green, or a freshly cut fern, whether it is decorated with a box of shiny red metallic balls or homemade crafts, the tree tells a story.
Sending you holiday cheer,
Monday, December 5, 2016
12/5/16 RMB Treading Lightly
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
Tomorrows turn into todays and then yesterdays at a steady pace. Some cycles repeat, like seasons and the moon’s phases.
Every day is unique, yet strikingly like the day before. Progress is made by two steps forward, one sideways, one back, one up, one down and an occasional deep breath followed by a big leap of faith.
Sometimes we can gloriously look at where we have been and count blessings along the path to where we are now. And sometimes we look at where we are and shake our heads in dismay.
I aim my feet forward daily, truly I do. Unfortunately, my forward is too far left for some, too far right for others. In our determination to move ahead, we are tripping over each other’s feet.