Saturday, December 04, 2021

Random Observations on a December Morning

Late yesterday afternoon sun on our cozy home (in the background). 

 What? Yet another selfie of yours truly in a hoodie on his property in southern coastal Delaware? Why not?

Every morning I send out a good morning meme to a select few of my friends and fellow bloggers. This photo was taken late yesterday afternoon at the edge of our almost one acre piece of Heaven here in Sussex County Delaware. This was this morning's meme. I got the idea to send our "Good Morning" memes from my fellow blogger and friend Ur-Spo (aka "Dr. Spo"). I find it's a nice way to stay in touch with friends to let them know I'm still alive and of (somewhat) sound mind.

Now for random observations:

I'm having a hard time getting into the Christmas Mood. I haven't even selected my Christmas cars yet. For several years now I've sent out personalized Christmas cards with photos of me and Bill. I'm not going to do that this year. We're too far gone physically to spoil our friend's Christmas by sending a scary of Two Old Men. Not a pretty sight these days of moi and my husband. Sounds harsh but true.

Yesterday was my annual full body check at my dermatologist. I've been having these annual full body checks since 1994. Almost every time I have actinide keratosis spots burned of various parts of my body. Yesterday was no exception. I'm always embarrassed by exposing my body in my old age. Even though I weigh about the same as I had in my youthful heyday, (160 to 170 lbs), my skin has sagged. And I have developed a stubborn small annoying pot belly. Sorry to disillusion any of my blog followers who have only seen my photos of my slim, hardened six ab body. That body is long gone folks, just a memory. But there I was yesterday, stripped down to my Fruit of the Loom underwear, wearing one of those hospital gowns with an open back, awaiting to be examined by a young lady (why aren't their handsome young men in dermatologist's offices)? I was examined, five keratosis were burned off from my forehead to my right foot (whole body) then as a "bonus" she spied a small inflammation on my right collar bone that looked "suspicious." She decided to take a biopsy which resulted in her giving me one stitch. I sit here typing this entry sore on my right right collar bone from that cut in my flesh. Oh the joy. I return in two weeks to have the stitch removed. 

Bill's hospice nurse visited us after we returned from my dermatologist's office. Bill's been on home hospice care for ten months now. He's plateaued health wise but still weak. Not getting better (he never will) but weak enough for him to continue to be on home hospice are. He also had a TeleHealth visit from another nurse who asked him a series of questions. Periodically the hospice care company has to verify continuation of home hospice care. Bill continues to need care.

Yesterday I got a load of mulch. Normally in the fall I hire a couple of local Mexican landscapers to do a fall cleanup. Since I'm not working at the hotel this year, I cannot afford that luxury. In the past I've paid $1,000 for that fall cleanup. The year I asked Jose to "do $400 worth of cleanup" which he did. He did a great job and well worth $400 but he did leave quite a bit for me to do. Yesterday I worked on the far border of our backyard (which is recovering nicely by the way from this summer's army worm invasion) laying mulch. My old saggy body is feeling that workout now, but it's a "good" ache, if you know what I mean. Not a bad ache. I plan on laying more mulch today. I love working outside in our almost one acre of Heaven here in southern coastal Delaware. Like formers president's Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush who found relaxation in clearing brush on their estates, I like to do yard work in our backyard. By the way, remember my campaign to rid our garden shed or mice? After catching about thirty-three mice, I think they send they word out though their mouse community (I wonder if they have a mouse Facebook account), our shed appears to be mouse free. Empty traps the past few days.

Looks like this will be the second year in a row that Pat and I won't be in Palm Springs. COVID is the culprit. I can't go anyway because I need to be here to create for Bill. 

I am so thankful that Bill is home and I can care for him. It's a job, I'm on call 24/7.  He hasn't had any "accidents" lately but he does wear Depends daily. I have to change them daily, wash him off and put new ones on. Hey folks, it's one thing doing this for a baby but trying doing it for a 170 lb inert man. Quite a challenge but we have the routine down to a system. Again, I always say "Bill's not in pain and he knows who I am."  That's my measure. I don't even want to think what I would do if the situation was otherwise. 

Bill continues to fight depression because of his failed eyesight. He's always used to doing something, working on one of his projects. He can't do that now and it frustrates him so much. Frustrates me to because I can't do much to alleviate his frustration. Yesterday was trash pickup day, I let him bring our trashcan back as well as our neighbor's. It's good for him to do something other than just sit in our sunroom and doze off all day.  He days are only interspersed with me taking him for his daily ride and his meals. It's a cliche but we do take each day one day at a time. 

I don't remember if I posted about that leak in our basement wall from ground water from the outside. The sealant around the sewer pipe failed and after a rain, some water condenses on the wall and drips down to the basement floor, on the other side of the drywall of our wall to wall carpeted media room. I've been in contact with a local repairman who specializes in basement and crawl space problems to fix it. That was three weeks ago he came by, took a look and said he would give me a bid in three weeks. That three weeks was up Thanksgiving Day.  I followed up this week and I was told he would be out yesterday to give me an evaluation. He didn't come out. I called and was told he had a family emergency (take his child to the doctor) and would be out this Monday. This whole basement leak is hanging over my head like a dark cloud and I'll be glad when it is fixed. Same with Bill, whose driving me crazy by keep asking me "When will he be out to fix that leak?"

Do I still have anybody reading this post? I've gone on a lot longer that I usually do in my blog posts. Congratulations if you have made it this far because this post comes to an end now. I'm off for our regular ride and visit to our local favorite supermarket. 

Have a great day everyone!

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Thanksgiving 2021


Me, this morning Thanksgiving Day 2021

This Thanksgiving will be the first one in years that I am spending at home. In the past I've always volunteered to work Thanksgiving to give me co-workers who have families, to have a day off and be with their families. This year my Thanksgiving will be here at home with Bill. 

Bill and I stopped years ago (perhaps thirty or so) celebrating Thanksgiving at home. It's just the two of us and Bill doesn't like turkey. I actually do like turkey. As a matter of fact, every Thanksgiving I wish someone would take pity on me and deliver me a complete Thanksgiving turkey dinner. One year my co-worker (whose name I have forgotten, can you believe it?) brought me in a plate of Thanksgiving goodies from her family table. That was so kind of her and I was touched.

My Mother used to make fabulous Thanksgiving diners with gravy. celery stuffing (she made the best stuffing) and southern biscuits. For years and years that was my Thanksgiving dinner. As a matter of fact it was a Thanksgiving dinner when my parents first met Bill. The year was 1965 and I was estranged from them after my Mother found out I was gay. No communication at all for almost a year after the big blow up (no pun intended). Then out of the blue I received a letter from her inviting me to their Thanksgiving dinner. I responded by telling her that I would come but only if Bill came with me. She hesitated (of course) but eventually acquiesced and be both arrived for that family Thanksgiving dinner lo these many years ago. And wouldn't  you know it, they liked Bill! Eventually they both became very good friends with Bill. 

Which brings me to something that happened last night. My younger brother Isaac, with whom I've been estranged from since our last conversation several months ago when he tried to lay on me some of his Fox News brainwashed Trump shit and I hung up on him, called and left a message on my voice mail that "we have our political differences but we're still brothers and blood is thicker than water and that he loves me."  A load of cliches there but I appreciated him reaching out to me. I called him later and we reconciled. He brought me up to date on our other brother who has stage four lymphoma (he's in remission now after a brutal experimental treatment). Isaac is having his health problems too as I am (I have to get another blood test this week, my third in a month) because my white blood cell count continues to be register low (TBC). 

So what does all this meandering verbiage mean? It means that I am thankful for so much.

I am thankful Bill is home here with me and that I can give him the best care in the world. 

I am thankful that I have wonderful friends like Pat, Glenn, Larry, and Don. 

I am thankful that I have a wonderful neighbor like Bob, who in spite of being a Trumper (something which I will never understand, how otherwise reasonable people continue to stay brainwashed and support this criminal con man who attempted to overthrow a free and fair election just so he could stay in power and drag out country down but I digress). 

I am thankful that I live in a beautiful, comfortable home that is paid for.

I am thankful that neither Bill or I are in pain as we deal with our increasing old age health challenges. 

I am thankful that I live in a country that is a democracy (for now anyway, lest the Republicans controlled by Trump get back in power then we lose our democracy). 

And last but not least, I am thankful I am alive and to be been so fortunate to reach this grand age of eighty years. 

I've had a wonderful life and for that I am thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Health Update Bill and Ron November 2021


Me and Bill at the dermatologist yesterday morning

Yesterday morning I took Bill to our dermatologist for a followup visit.  I asked the dermatologist to take our picture. These days, the only way I can get a joint picture of me and Bill is a selfie. Selfies get old though, the arm is always missing. 

Time for a health update, for me and Bill. I usually do these health updates for Bill only but I'm including myself because caring for Bill is also affecting my health.

First, about Bill. He has somewhat plateaued out. He's still weak.  He will never be the person he was for the past fifty-seven years of our life together. He has trouble talking. He says his "tongue gets in the way." I think his garbled speech is a result of the two strokes he suffered last January. His speech is getting worse.

He's also sleeping more. twelve to fourteen hours a day. Part of this is a result of the ending of Daylight Savings Time. Bill goes to bed when it gets dark outside and our year round Christmas lights automatically go on. That's his signal to go to bed. This summer he was typically going to bed around 7:30 or 8 PM. Now he propels himself downstair to his basement bedroom about 5 PM. 

Last week he was having trouble sleeping, probably as a result of going to bed early. But another problem cropped up, he started to see hallucinations. He says he was seeing "parades"and "people milling about in his bedroom" through is macular degeneration destroyed eyes. He couldn't go to sleep. To try and help him, I increased his sleeping pill. He was taking half of one of those little sleeping pills of 25mg. I'm giving him a whole pill now and he hasn't had any trouble sleeping. Thank God. Few things are worse than not being able to sleep. If Bill doesn't sleep, I don't sleep and God knows I need my sleep.

Another problem is that he was experiencing skin irritation on the inside of his buttocks (a nice was of saying ass cheeks). Now that he's wearing Depends all the time and is slightly incontinent, his hospice nurse says he has to change his Depends at least daily. Of course Bill is complaining mightily about this latest inconvenience but I convinced him this is in his own best interest in keeping him healthy and not developing a health threatening infection.  One of my problems in caring for Bill is that he's never been big on personal hygiene. Sounds awful but that's the fact. I've convinced him the "exercise" (I actually am doing all the work in changing him since he can't dress or undress himself) is that it's his "workout" and that he is "doing it for me." After some persuasion this morning I had him convinced. Bill is stubborn, always has been and one of his personal characters that he has kept through his deteriorating health.

Another problem is that Bill gets depressed because of his eyesight, he can't see (macular degeneration). He's always had projects but now can't do anything and says he feels "useless." I take him out for a ride daily which he likes because he can see light, he just can't make out forms except for peripheral vision. Dealing daily with this frustration of his is a challenge. But I think I have been able to convince him (again) that he's doing it "for me."  

I feel bad for Bill and the best thing would probably be that he just slips away peacefully in his sleep at night. I would miss him terribly (I had a preview of that feeling when I almost lost him this past January) but I understand he understands that each of us has an expiration ("sell by") date. Hopefully our passing (dying) would be peacefully but there is no guarantee. 

Treasuring each day folks, making each day count and being thankful for each day we're together.

Tuesday, November 09, 2021

Birthday boy Here, #80!

A little celebration is in order my friends. Today I turned eighty years old. Oh my God, how did THAT ever happen?

Back in the day, I thought I would be lucky to make it past sixty. And yet here I am at eighty! Officially an OLD MAN.

I will write more on this momentous occasion but for now enjoy this band that I recorded at the Tonga Hut on February 16, 2020 when Pat and I last visited Palm Springs.

Life these days is much different with COVID restrictions and my 24/7 caregiving responsibilities to Bill. But maybe someday in the future Pat and I can return to the Tonga Hut and have a proper celebration of my birthday. I just hope it's not my 90th birthday!

Sunday, November 07, 2021

Day Light Savings Time 2021

Me relaxing at the Latham Hotel in Philadelphia 2013, the one year I didn't change all my clocks back from Daylight Savings Time to Standard time

This morning I had a rude awaking. All my clocks were wrong. Ah yes, Daylight savings time ending last night. "FALL BACK!"

I love clocks. 

I have too many clocks.

At last count I have about fifty clocks. Yes, FIVE-O.

Do I need all those clocks? Of course not. But for clocks are one of the few things that give me a sense of comfort and security. 

I don't go out seeking to buy new clocks these days but if I see one to appeals to my comfort fancy, I'll buy it. 

I can always find a place for it.

So there I was this morning, reading to sign on to my weeping 10:00 AM Zoom meeting with my friends Stuart, Larry and Pat.  I booted up my computer and the time was 9:00 AM! Whoops! Time to change all the time pieces Ron.

You know what's interesting and frustrating about all the clocks I have. Most of them have a different way to access the function they have to change the time. Digital clocks, batter operated clocks, thermometer clocks and I still haven't change my microwave and standard oven clocks. Just remembered them! And I'm sure I've forgotten a few clocks that I have tucked away. Once clock I'm not changing is the one above the door to our back deck. It's too high on the wall. Would require me to climb a ladder and I'm not that steady on my feet these days. I'll justify not changing that clock by saying I need one at Daylight Savings Time.

What does the photo at the beginning of this blog have to do with Daylight Savings Time change of clocks? Every year we change back to Standard Time (with the exception of the great state of Arizona) around my birthday in November. That photo was taken on my birthday in Philadelphia at the Latham Hotel with my first trip with Pat. That year Bill changed the clocks. 

Thursday, November 04, 2021

What Pets Want The Most At The End Of Their Life


First, I have to apologize for leaving that picture of Jason from "Halloween" on my blog post for several days after Halloween. What an awful thing to do to my faithful blog followers. I'm not ready for a new posting yet (too much going on recently) but I did come across this valuable information about how we treat our pets on a Facebook post today.

I've had at least a dozen pets put to sleep during my lifetime. In my family, I was the designated family member to take the family pet to the vet to have him or her put to sleep. No one else could bear such a sad task. It was sad for me too but I realized that putting a pet out of their pain and suffering was best for the pet and their family. 

It wasn't until recently that I realized that I should be holding my pet when they're put to sleep. I was holding my Horace (my Pomeranian best friend) when he was put to sleep. He was peaceful. I wish I could go back in time and hold those other pets rather than just turn them over to the vet. I will always feel guilty about not holding those pets in my arms when the vet injected them with a fatal solution in their from paw.

I've expressed my wish many times that when my time comes, I want someone with me holding my hand when I slip out of this life. Would that I would be that lucky to have someone with me at the end of my life.  Unfortunately, we as humans cannot chose our time and place of our passing other than suicide. But be it  known here and know, if I should be so fortunate as to slowly fade away from this earthly existence I want a person who cares about me helping me to pass. Just holding my hand as I enter my Eternal Rest.

Below is the posting about being with your pet at their end of their life.

Pets, it turns out, also have last wishes before they die, but only known by veterinarians who put old and sick animals to sleep. Twitter user Jesse Dietrich asked a vet what was the most difficult part of his job. The specialist answered without hesitation that it was the hardest for him to see how old or sick animals look for their owners with the eyes of their owners before going to sleep. The fact is that 90 % of owners don't want to be in a room with a dying animal. People leave so they don't see their pet leave. But they don't realize that it's in these last moments of life that their pet really needs them. And Hillcrest Veterinary Clinic in South Africa has posted on their Facebook page for all people with pets. Veterinarians ask the owners to be close to the animals until the very end. ′′ It's inevitable that they die before you. Don't forget that you were the center of their life. Maybe they were just a part of you. But they are also your family. No matter how hard it is, don't leave them. Dont let them die in a room with a stranger in a place they dont like. Vets are very painful to watch this. On how pets cannot find their owner in the last minutes of their life. They dont understand why he left them. After all, they needed his consolation. Veterinarians do everything possible to ensure that animals are not so scared. But they are completely strangers to them. Don't be a coward who thinks it's too painful for you. Think about the pet. Endure this pain for the sake of your pets. Be with them until the end ".

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Happy Halloween 2021

Me (guess which on) Halloween 2009 - Rehoboth Beach

 Yes, I'm still here folks! 

Now trick or treating this year for me this Halloween. 

The photo above was the last time I ventured out dressed to the gillies for Halloween. 

Oh how I used to look forward to Halloween. Not so much these days.  

Earlier our doorbell rang. Whoops! I forgot it was Halloween.  I checked my Ring video and sure enough, a young lady out there with a child. I have no idea who it was. I didn't answer the door. Bah humbug, that's me these days.

My caregiving continues. 

Bill is slowly getting weaker. He has a hard time talking and his cognitive abilities are slipping further but thank God he's not in pain and he knows who I am.

Since I last posted we've had several developments. Depressing at first but I've rationalized them and put myself in a "life goes on" mode. 

My annual labs and medical checkup at the VA revealed a "spot" on my left lung. My NP has recommended I get a CAT-SCAN. Also, my white blood cell count is down. I'm not sure what that means. I'm not HIV-Positive. 

I got my COVID booster shot last week. About eight hours after the booster shot I had some troubling after effects, feeling blah and shortness of breath. Actually very scary. I don't know how much was in my mind and how much was actual physical reaction. However, when I woke up next day all was back to normal.

In a couple of weeks I'll be eighty years old. And I ask myself "How in the hell did THAT happen?" 

Taking everything into consideration I still feel very fortunate I've reached this grand old age and the life I've had. A truly wonderful life for an "slightly" below average guy of intelligence and looks. Pretty darn good I say.

Have a happy Halloween everyone!

Random Observations on a December Morning

Late yesterday afternoon sun on our cozy home (in the background).    What? Yet another selfie of yours truly in a hoodie on his property in...