Monday, December 31, 2007

The Worst Hard Time

The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan, (Paperback) Mariner Books (September 1, 2006).

I've had this book a while. I've had an awful time returning to my reading.

Is reading a hobby I wonder? If it is then it is one of my few. I doubt most people consider it a hobby. Reading has always been more than that for me. And since that time when I was only a very young child and my grandparents taught me to read the Sunday comics I have always had a book or two or three "in process" so to speak.

Some books capture my attention and those demand that I finish them. Others are more leisurely consumed. And a few just get glanced. Or that's the way it used to be. But sometime during the last few years my reading became less frequent. I don't really know why. But my gifts of books stayed about the same, especially from my son. So I have a small library that is unread.

Yesterday I picked up The Worst Hard Time again and determined to get my delight in reading back.

It is an excellent book. But I understand now that it was not a very good choice for me when I first began reading it.

There are two points I want to make about this book. I'm going to write them now in case anyone else is reading this and wants to stop without going all the way to the end. And I don't know where the end is at this point.

  1. Caregiving for an Alzheimer's patient has a lot in common with living in the dust bowl.
  2. Anyone interested in Global Warming should read this book.
I'll discuss them in reverse order though because it is faster and I need to get off my ass and go to work.

The government of the United States encouraged the westward migration and settlement of the great plains. The folks who came did what they knew to do which was farm. They worked individually and tore the soil with plows and discs and harrows and chisels. And the great social experiment seemed to work at first and that encouraged even greater numbers of settlers to come and seek their own fortunes.

But the great plains were subject to drought and human history and technology was pitifully ignorant. And so the drought years came again. And the great bison herds were gone and the prairie grass was gone and the land had been disturbed. So the dry dirt was carried into the atmosphere. Little by little at first. But it changed the weather and soon the great black "dusters" formed. And every living thing in the entire area was threatened with extinction.

In Washington D. C. the political leaders were pretty insulated from this calamity but eventually even the skies there turned dark with dirt from the plains. Still there were conflicting voices of the science types. Some blamed the people who had settled in the plains. Those people were just too stupid. Some others said the entire weather pattern had changed and the entire great plains should be left alone and those remaining people should be resettled. Others said it was a largely man made disaster and it could be mitigated by further human action.

President Roosevelt was conflicted. He believed in using the resources of the government to help people. It was a bitter pill to think that it was government intervention in the first place that caused the catastrophe. And he wanted to believe the government could help. So of course the government crafted opposing programs.

People left. Land was left fallow. 222 Million trees were planted by the government but nearly all of them died. Towns died. People died. Animals died. Cattle starved to death because their stomachs were full of dirt. People had rabbit hunts were tens of thousands of rabbits were clubbed to death.

Eventually it rained and a kind of balance was restored.

As I read about the political debate and the differing opinions being articulated it made me think of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring so many years ago and the more current arguments over Global Warming.

Anyone interested in these topics should read Egan's book.

As for how living in the dust bowl was like caregiving for an Alzheimer's patient let me explain. I think this was why it was so hard for me to really read this book.

In Dalhart, Texas a man named John McCarty formed a club he called the "Last Man Club." He printed enrollment cards that carried the following:
"Barring Acts of God or unforeseen personal tragedy or family illness, I pledge myself to be the Last Man to leave this country, to always be loyal to it, and to do my best to cooperate with other members of the Last Man Club in the year ahead."

McCarty was a newspaper man and eventually left for a better job in Amarillo.

But many others, whether members of the Last Man Club or not, refused to give up. Too many of them died. But a bunch of them survived and I don't really understand how they did it even now.

They lived in conditions that were indescribably bad. They somehow tolerated the intolerable. They held on when there was nothing to hold on to. And it did not last days or weeks or months. It lasted years. They just refused to give up.

I could not help but think how like caregiving this was. It was pointless to try to describe how they lived to people who did not also live the same way. There were signs on the way to California that advertised that Okies were unwelcome except the words weren't that friendly. I thought that's a lot like how caregivers are treated, too.

It also occurred to me that when we learn more about Alzheimer's we might find out that it is a largely human caused disease just like the dust bowl. I don't know that but I've wondered about it.

I'm going to try to read another book this week. And I'm going to try to read the Bible through again this coming year.

In case I don't have anything to say tomorrow Happy New Year to everyone. Actually I have a post for tomorrow already started. But Happy New Year anyway.

Friday, December 28, 2007


self-control, noun
1. The act of denying yourself; controlling your impulses.
2. The trait of resolutely controlling your own behavior.

Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.
Proverbs 25:28 NIV

As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, "That's enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you."
Acts 24:25 NIV

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.
1 Thessalonians 5:6 NIV

But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
1 Thessalonians 5:8 NIV

Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,
1 Timothy 3:2 NIV

People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God
2 Timothy 3:2-4 NIV

Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.
Titus 1:8 NIV

Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
Titus 2:2 NIV

Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:13 NIV

The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.
1 Peter 4:7 NIV

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8 NIV

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
2 Peter 1:5-7 NIV

Yesterday I was watching the news about the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan. Pakistan is just one of the places around the world that seems almost hopeless for some kind of peaceful life. It made me think about our republican form of government and our open society and how dependent we are upon each member of our society exercising self-control.

I think it was Plato or Socrates or someone that I barely remember reading that believed that democracy would ultimately fall to anarchy and then anarchy would fall to dictatorship.

I thought it was interesting how many verses I found in the Scripture. And even more interesting the context of several.

My ex-mother-in-law died last night. My daughter remarked to me that she was so surprised she had lost 3 of her grandparents within just a few months. She and my son have no grandparents left alive now. She was more my 2nd or 3rd mother I guess since I met her when I was only 15 or 16. I saw her probably as much or more as my own mother then for the next 28 years or so.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


The other day I was thinking about faith.

We speak about someone being faithful or not. Or sometimes you hear someone say their faith was misplaced.

Usually it is trust that is being described. But that made me think about how closely faith and trust are related.

You would not trust someone that was not faithful. Oh, you might go ahead and give them some responsibility or even loan them money or stuff like that but you can do those things without really trusting. You do it and you think to yourself "cold day in hell when I will get that money back."

We say people are faithful if they honor their spouses or look after their employees or otherwise keep their promises. We don't mean necessarily instant to instant, second to second. I suppose because we all recognize how human we all are and that even the best of us are not going to be faithful every single instant. But we take longer pieces of time into account usually.

And the importance of the task apparently is not terribly significant. If someone is unfaithful in small things then they are not likely to be more faithful in larger things. We use this idea with children so that we give increasingly important tasks to them. People argue against this idea sometimes but usually only when it is about some impersonal deal.

When we talk about faith we basically mean we feel that we can rely upon the person in question. Sometimes we talk about objects that way. Like I have faith that a bridge will hold my car up or some such thing. But what we really mean is that we have a certain amount of faith that the engineers and builders and all down through the process of getting the thing built knew what they were doing and acted accordingly.

Because fundamentally I think it is not possible to have faith in something that isn't a person.

I'm sure someone is thinking "well what about the Sun and the Moon and stuff like that" and I thought about that, too. But those things operate (to us at least) by natural laws. So the Sun comes up every morning not out of any faithful behavior but because it can't really do anything else.

So faithfulness requires, I think, the ability to not be. If someone can't do otherwise then is it really faithfulness? I think not. If a guy or gal couldn't cheat on his spouse then he wouldn't really be faithful by not cheating.

Anyway I was just thinking about faith.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Interesting "Gift"

So this big but thinnish box was delivered not too long ago from Didn't think too much about it because we've ordered from them before and we each figured it was probably something the other had done or maybe one of the kids had sent it. Besides we had a few problems like the ice storm and no electricity and stuff like that.

So Christmas morning we finally figured out we needed to investigate. So we opened it and inside this bubble wrap is a painting on canvas. We can tell it is an image of a couple of nude ladies but it is hard to see through the bubble wrap. We finally decided we had not ordered the thing and we didn't want to unwrap it.

We proceeded to hunt the painting on site. We searched for every term we could conceive. We found nothing. So finally I had to peel some of the wrap back and then I looked like I was on CSI. I had my flashlight and would have had my magnifying glass except I couldn't find it. I finally was able to read part of a name of the artist.

Here's the painting:

Turns out it is a reproduction of a painting by Franchois Boucher of Diana Resting After Her Bath (or one of several similar titles).

It was quite expensive so we figured someone was supposed to get this for Christmas. It definitely wasn't us.

This was the only Christmas happiness I really felt. Otherwise Christmas was a total depressing nightmare as far as I am concerned and I am glad it is gone.

I have not been so depressed in a very long while. I entered the dark place the day before and I'm pretty much still there except that I can sense the light is coming. I can't really see it yet but I can just barely feel it. So I know it is not long and I will be back outside.

I talk about it as a place. It seems like a place to me. It is black and I cannot see. I can't find anyone to help me. I have some room so I can move but not very much and soon I touch the surfaces that confine me. They are there but otherwise they do not feel like anything. They are not cold nor or they hot. They are not sharp nor or they dull. They are just there and beyond them I cannot go. If a happy thought arises then it is quenched violently and suddenly. There is no color. There is guilt and failure and fear and absurdity and repetitive trying over and over again. Yet, it is not particularly painful in here. It is more nothing than anything else. A place with no hope and no escape and no future. Sleep is a good thing to do when I'm in here except that there are dreams. It is an isolated place. I can sense others out there but I cannot reach them and they cannot reach me. That's what it is like on the inside.

On the outside I think I still look like myself. But I must look sad. Because I was asked if I were sad. I didn't want to answer but I told the truth. And then people want to try to do something to make you feel better and all that does is make you feel worse. Because if I could snap out of it I would. Food is apparently a remedy in many minds because they want to feed you. They want to know why you are sad. And I don't know why. And I don't want to talk about it.

Today, the day after, people ask "Did you have a good Christmas?" and I am honest for a while. But then I finally give up and just lie. "Oh yeah it was a great Christmas." It is a bit of a damper if you say I was depressed to beat hell.

Therapists say you should express your feelings. But you do it and you find out no one really wants that. People prefer the happy, have-it-all-together, optimistic, courageous, can-do person over the frail, failing, pessimistic, barely-holding-on person. There are two persons with whom one may honestly share thoughts. Some would say three: me, myself, and I. But there are two and me is one. The other is Jesus.

I feel like I don't have a family of my own anymore. I remember dad saying this and how it hurt my feelings at the time. I will not say that to my children or my brother or my wife because of that memory. But I know the feeling. It is a sad feeling.

It doesn't really help to listen to other people talk about Christmases past and who did this and who did that and you have no idea who any of these people are. And different dishes only serve to recall others no longer cooked and no longer remembered.

I know I am emerging from the shadows or should I say into them because I can write about the experience now. When I am at the bottom of the well of despair I cannot write or talk or do anything. So I must be emerging or I could not be writing.

I have wondered before if the dark place is actually a safe place. It doesn't seem safe when I'm there. But when I think more about it then I think it may be a safe place in fact. Like a circuit breaker maybe. The emotion becomes so strong that the breaker throws just like with electricity. Isolation goes both ways. It protects as much as it hurts.

There will be fence mending when I am back outside. I hope there is forgiveness.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


I notice it is difficult to post in the morning about the current day - since it has not happened yet.

Yesterday morning I exercised and later had to drive over to Judy's friend's house and pick up some Poo Potpourri. I didn't make a mistake typing that. It is some liquid stuff in a rather self-important bottle that you spray on the surface of the water in the toilet before attending to business. If you do that there is no odor. I'm not making this up.

I admit I was skeptical and laughed a lot. But I can be persuaded to change my mind in the whiff of good results. I gave one to the office because, well, the fellows needed it.

I wrote a couple of checks for insurance and taxes. Then I gave my son the gifts for him and his wife and kids. And my son-in-law arrived and I gave him their gifts. We're going to try and get together sometime this week. Everyone wants to see the new house. I hope next year we can perhaps host something for all of them at the new place.

After that the guys presented me with my Christmas gift, a Starbucks card. They didn't need to do that but I really appreciate them thinking of me.

It is nice to work with people you like. I had forgotten what it was like to socialize with fellow workers. It is a great blessing.

Then we all headed to lunch at this little hole-in-the-wall place down in Norman that has a kind of New Mexican food. Except that the ice and snow storms have delayed trucks from bringing supplies or so our server explained why the chips were not the ones I expected. Still it was pretty good food and a nice time for all of us (make that 4) to spend with each other before breaking for the holiday.

I stopped by my brother's and gave his kids their gifts and picked up a basket of stuff they'd gotten for Judy and me. We have more stuff for them but we'll do that later.

Then I stopped by the cemetery and visited my family that's there. I stood in the midst of the graves and thought about each one and read the markers and paid attention to the dates and calculated the ages. I walked over to mom's parent's place and did the same there. I thought about visiting others I know out there but decided I didn't have the heart to do it just then.

Some people do such an amazing job of decorating their loved ones' graves. There is this one plot where this family really goes beyond everyone else. There are decorations and wooden figures and all sorts of stuff.

Judy got flowers for her dad's grave and we drove by there the other day in the little blizzard. They looked really nice. I should have done something for all my folks I guess but I didn't. It's too late now. I always intend to do better with stuff like that but then I forget.

I drove to the new house and walked around inside and tested Judy's new key I had made for her.

There is something so lonely and depressing about an empty house. I knew that already from the time I've spent at dad's now empty house. But this empty house is different. Because its old owner is gone and I know where and why. And it is waiting on the new owner and I know who that is, too. I tried to see it with eyes of expectation and excitement but the loneliness pushed those thoughts aside.

Being alone didn't help.

By the time I arrived at home I was so lonely. It was as if the finality of dad's passing hit home all at once. I do not know if I've ever felt this lonely before. I am not given to loneliness. In fact I am rather an aloneness kind of guy. I think, too, that the feeling of being the head of the larger family weighed in. I know it did. I suddenly wondered if I could give anymore to anyone. Money, advice, time, emotional support, love - anything really - did I have anymore to give? I didn't just then.

A friend called and said he'd tried to call my dad's number and it was disconnected. He asked about dad. I had forgotten to call him and let him know. I felt awful that I had not called him and worse that I had to tell him then. He's been such a good friend of dad's and mine. We'll see each other later in the week and I'll take him to lunch.

Judy wasn't supposed to get me anything but she did. It's a very clever paperweight that looks just like a match. And a little sack of Russel Stover's candy. And a package of pencils that have my name on them. I didn't get her anything. I said "I didn't get you anything." She said "You're a big picture kind of guy. Besides you gave me a key to a new house." She's very sweet.

Sometime I fell asleep watching Mystery Diagnosis.

When I got in bed I was terribly depressed. I'm a little better this morning. I need to snap out of this.

I'm getting ready to go over to dad's and exercise. I look forward to that and it usually perks me up. I may go by Starbucks and try out my new card. Since there are people having to work there I kind of feel obligated to stop by and support them.

A lot of my posts mention Starbucks I notice. Going to have to work on that.

Praying right now for all my friends this day.

One good thing, among several, about not knowing what the rest of the day holds is that there is the possibility of excitement and expectation and warm greetings and good food. And sometime today I want to walk outside and feel the sun on my face.

This is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24 NIV

Monday, December 24, 2007

Caregiving Stats

  • 50% of all direct care in the United States is provided free by family members
    1. 24% by spouses
    2. 20% by daughters
    3. 6% by sons <-- me
  • The average caregiver is 60 years old (I am 59)
  • 63% of elderly needing long-term care rely exclusively on family and friends
  • The average American woman can expect to spend 17 years caring for a child and 18 years caring for an elderly parent (WOW!)
  • In 2000, one-fourth of all adults reported caring for a disabled family member in the prior year (WOW!)

Sunday, December 23, 2007


noun - Good luck in making unexpected and fortunate discoveries. Fluke, good fortune, good luck.

That's what I thought this morning. At first it was because I walked outside to start the car to let it warm up since it was 16 degrees and there was zero wind. Anytime in Oklahoma when there is zero wind it is really good fortune.

But then I noticed the Moon. I decided it should be capitalized. It was huge and so wonderfully yellow and bright hanging low to the horizon over to my far right. I'm certain the visibility was enhanced by the cold and the stillness of the air and the purity of the atmosphere that must have occurred as a result of yesterday's little mini-blizzard. But the old Moon was just so amazingly beautiful that I just had to stand and stare at it for a few seconds.

Next was the condition of the roads. I expected them to be so much worse than they were and so I was just so tickled to find them imminently passable. There were some icy spots but all in all it was a good drive over to the farm. Good luck indeed!

I missed my workout yesterday and I was not all that enthusiastic about it this morning. But after about 25 minutes on the treadmill I started feeling the benefit of the endorphins. That's when you don't really want to ever quit exercising. (I'm so far behind on blogging my exercise sessions I've discontinued.) Moved over to the elliptical and also got in some resistance. A very good workout this morning.

When I left I decided to swing by Starbucks and check the driveways. While I was there I bought a Venti Brewed Coffee and one of the magnificent Cranberry Bliss Bars. Bliss is the right word for these things. They only have them at Christmas, too. I had one tiny bite when I got home and savored the deliciousness for a little longer than someone should ever enjoy food. The brewed coffee was the Christmas Blend of course. I really like Starbucks. And I used my automatic reloading Starbucks card so it really didn't feel like I spent anything. And, yes, I know I am wallowing in self-deception.

And now, wonder of wonders, the Sun is out and shining and this is setting up as just one gorgeous day.

I've prayed for all my blog friends this morning, too.

So blessings to all.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Emotional Overload


A deceptively simple word communicating an intricately complex phenomenon.

Maybe a better word for load, at least in this blog, is burden. Regardless everyone understands the meaning. If it is a road or a bridge or a floor or a roof or a truck or some other structure that is carrying the burden then there is this quantity that the structure can support and still function properly.

But exceeding whatever that quantity is causes the structure to fail in some way. Sometimes the failure is trivial and sometimes it is catastrophic and often in between.

We had a lot of examples last week. There are trees all around us that suffered catastrophic failure. Ice accumulated to the point the tree limbs and often the entire tree simply could not support the weight and they broke.

Funny how a limb can look rather small and you think "I can move that" and then you go over and grab hold of it and the weight is just astonishing. Then you have to get the truck and hook onto it in order to move it.

When I was a little boy there was a death at my dad's company. A big tree had fallen from a storm and the men were working on it with saws. The tree moved during the process and crushed one of the men. His name was Wewoka. We always remembered him at various times for as long as I remember us getting together. I suppose I'm the last one now that even knows his name or remembers what happened. I've heard people say "they should have known better" and referring to the men trimming the tree as if they didn't know what they were doing or had made some big mistake. But that isn't true. They were careful men and strong men and tough and they were smart and very good at what they were doing. They didn't make a mistake. Sometimes accidents happen.

There are still people without electricity here in our city. It's been a long time, too. That's another good example of something being overloaded. You put enough ice on copper wires wrapped around steel cables and at some point the cable and the wire will snap. Or in some cases the ice laden wires just ripped the electric service off the house. And the utility contractors won't fix that. Have to get your electrician out to do it.

And if your house is old and the wiring was installed under some old code then the electrician is not legally allowed to fix stuff until the entire rest of the house has been rewired and brought up to the current code. And if you don't have the money to do that, well, it's just tough.

Finally though someone with some modicum of practical sense was made to understand the problem and the city council in its magnanimity passed an emergency ordinance that exempted repairs that were relatively minor. Helped a lot of folks but not everyone. And the ones that didn't get help were the ones that could least afford to do anything about it.

Emotion is some kind of structure that we humans have for dealing with burden. I don't understand it much but I know it is there.

The ice storm and being without power and water and stuff like that for 3 or 4 days added some load to my emotional structure. Then Wednesday there was the disappointment of not closing on the house and worrying that it wasn't going to happen at all. It wasn't' so much for me that I worried but for my dearest Judy. I so wanted to get her that house. She text messaged me that she was getting ready for the 11 o'clock signing. I had to call her just after that and tell her it had been postponed until 4. And then at 3:30 I had to call her again and tell her it was delayed indefinitely.

Thursday was a day of waiting. It reminded me of caregiving. There was nothing I could do that I had not already done. Everything that was going to happen was out of my control. Except that when I was caregiving and we were drawing near the end of life I knew that God was in control and I had a lot of trust that He was competent. Didn't find much competence in house buying, mortgage getting, or ice storm fixing.

Friday morning came and there was no word. So we had an appointment and there was no reason to not keep it. It was nearly 11 when I got the call and was asked to be at the title company at 2. Had to request a cashier's check and go pick it up.

Actually that was fun. Because where I had to go was behind a locked door and I had to punch a bell. And this guy came to the door and said "Are you with the IRS?" and I knew he was kidding. So I said "I need to get my check before the IRS arrives" and he laughed and let me in. And this nice young lady handed me the check and said "Good luck! How great to get a house at Christmas." I thanked her and left and felt a little pressure release.

Friday was crazy with traffic and people were everywhere. I guess they were all trying to buy stuff for Christmas. It is rather ironic that peace and goodwill are in such short supply when people are madly trying to buy a bunch of crap for each other.

Then the closing was high pressure for me and trying to get utilities in my name. I feel like I've been a non-person the last decade. How many times have I had to explain what I was doing and why?

We visited the house afterwards for a few minutes. We were both nearly to the breaking point by that time. And the house was empty and sitting there empty like that in the nearly dark it made the job of remodeling it seem almost overwhelming.

Been up a long time now. But I feel the emotional power returning.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Closing on new house

We ended up getting a 15 year mortgage at 5%. The "product" from the lender was called "Fast and Easy."

Apparently a lot of people decided to move into new homes right before Christmas and/or refinance existing mortgages before some magic date next week. I have already forgotten why the date next week is magic but it was explained to me. This occurs at a time when the mortgage industry is reeling from a plethora of bad sub-prime loans that has caused many billions of dollars worth of losses to be recognized. These large losses caused a number of mortgage companies to actually quit and the few that remain have reduced staff and expenses.

My rate was locked in at the 5% rate just before rates began increasing. That's really an amazing rate to me and is actually 1/4 point below my very first mortgage back in 1968.

There were a few problems. One interesting problem (to me) was that I didn't have much credit, namely, a single Master Card. And I haven't maintained a balance on it because I paid it off every month. Seems strange to me that this would cause a reduction in one's credit score but it did.

Our closing was originally scheduled for Wednesday, December 19th, at 11 pm. That didn't happen because the lender was swamped with applications and had too few people to handle the volume. First the closing was delayed 5 hours. Then it was delayed 24 hours. Then it was delayed again with no promised time. Finally this morning it was rescheduled for 2 pm today.

We signed and initialed a small forest worth of documents. No one will ever read the documents and they, along with some fellow copies, will reside in various paper files here and there for a short while. They also exist digitally. Eventually the paper ones will be destroyed.

The seller had his own small stack of papers to sign.

Then we all waited. And while we waited we transferred some utilities from him to me. I had to pay a deposit. The seller said he wouldn't give a deposit. I talked to 3 humans and one computer and none were very favorable about waiving the deposit so I paid it and went on.

After some 2+ hours of waiting and talking about everything and nothing the lender finally authorized the title company to cut a check to the seller. I got one, too, because my Cashier's check had been $.87 too much (not my fault). Yep. They wrote me a check for 87 cents.

Another step forward into the real world. I now have an erstwhile mortgage, residence, and city services.

The seller lost his wallet yesterday he told me. He thinks that was because of the Alzheimer's. He asked some about my dad. I kept things positive and upbeat. I didn't lie but I saw no point in telling him what I knew either.

He's the dearest, sweetest man.

Afterwards we drove over to the house and looked around a few minutes. We were both emotionally and physically exhausted. There's a lot of work to be done. It's a really nice house.

Seems fitting somehow that this happened today.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Like It Didn't Happen

Sometimes that's how I feel now. Like the last 9 years never happened at all. And that I am busily erasing all evidence that mom and dad even lived. And that my childhood here on the farm never happened at all except in my memories and those are fading more quickly than I care to admit.

I know my brother feels this way, too. I remember so clearly the day he came down with his kids and he walked on the ground that was then still the farm. The big barn was gone then but the little barn that my grandfather built was still there. The granary was there still and the old garage although it was falling down. A few fences were still there. I watched him walk out there on the native grass with his kids. The kids didn't understand but I did. Dad was with me then and we watched together. But Dad didn't understand either. It was so sad to me and recalling the event even now at least 3 years since makes me sad again.

I felt the same emotion the time I took Dad to his old home place where he spent his childhood and watched him walk away from me down the old road to the house. It is such a lonely feeling. It is that feeling that things are changing and they will never be the same.

Dad and Mom are both gone now. The house they built together and the things they used and enjoyed every day are still there but won't be for long. Maybe some of their things I can take with me to the new house. Maybe the rest I will store for some future generation that has interest in old stuff.

When someone talks to me now they never mention the caregiving or my dad or my mom or the old farm. It has only been three months since Dad left. Really I thought he might stay longer. But I'm glad he left before it got any worse than it was. Sometimes I wish I could have missed that time because it was difficult to watch him at the end. But I don't really mean it even when I think it.

Really I wish I had been there with him when he died. I intended to be. I wanted to be. The Lord knew that, too. But I trust the Lord about it. Still, if I had known he was so close I would not have left him. But I didn't know and I did leave and he left while I was gone and that's good.

Then I wonder if I miss him or if I miss the doing for him. It must be something similar to what a mother feels when her children grow up enough to leave. It is hard enough for fathers or at least it was for me but I think it must be harder for moms. I think I have just a taste of it with losing dad and mom after the caregiving. After all it is the mothers' bodies that bear the children they must eventually lose and that's an element it is not possible for me to comprehend. Nor do I want to understand it either.

This is not the first time I've thought about such things. Some years ago I worried about my ancestors and especially about forgetting them. I put as many birth and death dates into my calendar as I could find. It soon overwhelmed me though and I only did a fraction of them because I could only find that many. I only found as many as I did because someone else had done the research. I visited the cemetery where 226 years ago one of my fathers was buried. I know a little about his father but not very much and nothing before him. It bothers me that there are so many lives in my own descent that are forgotten. Or maybe they're not and it is just my thinking that's wrong.

They were like me and you. They lived with joy and suffering and pain and pleasure. They loved and laughed and cried and hurt and hated and forgave and worried and all the other things we humans do. They were common. And yet as common as any of us are we are also so uniquely spectacular. Each person is just like a fantastic nebulae. But nebulae don't last forever either.

And now I see my own parents joining that great forgotten group. In a few years it will be my turn to join them.

Even if you do something so noteworthy that someone decides to record stuff about you they don't really catch the essence of your humanity or maybe better your humanness. Not that it is anyone's fault because how does one communicate the joy of a little boy playing catch with his pop or riding in the old truck across the pasture? I don't know how to do it for sure.

Yesterday I watched the video my son made of two of my grandchildren participating in their church's Christmas program. It lasted nearly 45 minutes. It was called "Angel Alert" and it is a story of the birth of Christ from the point of view of the angel choir. The basic idea is that the angels are practicing so when the call comes they can head to earth and announce the arrival of the King as it is recorded in Scripture. Grade school kids were the actors and parents were the directors and producers and other parents made the set and so on. It was not professional by any means but that only added to the genuineness of the performance. I kept thinking just how marvelous the program was and what a miracle that I was able to watch it by video.

My granddaughter had a solo singing part and my grandson had a speaking part. He had to tell Michael "I have a message for you sir." It was so cute.

I thought that my dad and mom would have enjoyed seeing it and watching their great grandchildren.

Does kind of make you think of the circle of life in the Lion King. Each generation does have to give way to the next. Eventually I believe that will not be true and then I don't know what it will look like but no need to worry about that now.

Watching that video made me feel better. I'd post it somewhere but it is 45 minutes and 9 Gb and I have no intention of editing it.

Thinking of my blog friends today.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Shepherd

My granddaughter made this Christmas shepherd and gave it to me and Judy

Monday, December 17, 2007


I have noticed that there seems to be a certain symmetry to my life. It isn't real symmetry in the mathematical sense.

For instance every three years there seems to be some big event in my life. In 1998 I began caregiving (among other changes). In 2001 my mom died and my dad was diagnosed. In 2004 I married. In 2007 Dad died. It doesn't work perfectly and I can choose other starting dates and different periods of duration. But the three year duration is kind of weird.

Yesterday I was thinking about symmetry in a different way. Back when dad built his house I was about 15 when he started. Our house was so tiny and we had only one bathroom so as soon as the downstairs shower was done I began going over to the new house to shower. Then when the house was done we all moved over together. Only took a few hours to move our few things over there. Now I live out at Judy's but some of my stuff is still over at Dad's house. So I usually go over there and exercise and shower and dress. The symmetry is just interesting to me.

Or that dad and mom took care of me as a child and then I took care of them for a while in their old age.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

What Have I Learned?

I've been a little reflective lately. (I just smiled at myself for using "reflective" - an image popped into my head of me walking about and having things bounce off me - probably not funny to anyone but me.) At any rate I've been thinking about the last 9 years or more and what I've learned if anything.

More years really because the time before the start of caregiving is so entwined with the caregiving itself.

It, that is the reflecting, started casually enough. A man who shares a lot of years of history with me was telling me about his own visit with another mutual friend. They were remembering and talking about people we all knew. One man knew what had become of one person from our past and the other man knew about someone else. So my friend was passing on to me the information he had learned.

There was a customer who died of a brain aneurysm and a fellow worker who was now in prison. Another associate's son had served time for tax evasion. A person now worked one place and another person someplace else. One's wife had died but his son had married and was now a father himself. Another man, nearly as old as my own father, had suffered the loss of his third wife to death but he had married again for the fourth time. Babies then, are now grown and having babies of their own. Happy and sad events all stirred together and so typical of life as we find it and more real to us because we know the people and care about them.

I suppose that conversation really didn't start the fire but maybe fanned the smoldering coals. And then the movie, "It's A Wonderful Life", was on last night and that added fuel to make a full blown conflagration. Conflagrations aren't easily controlled. The entire "Wonderful Life" movie is one giant reflection itself.

I learned a lot of stuff is the answer to all my reflecting.

For one thing, and a lesson appreciated more than once, I learned that my past life had prepared me for my present. That's a pretty good lesson and a rather useful one, especially for people like me who always want to be prepared.

And another is that I can do many more things than I ever thought I could. That, too, is a pretty good lesson.

Nothing lasts forever is one that got me through quite a few things.

Calmness and love is transferable. So is anger and hate but calmness and love is stronger.

Being always trumps doing. Learned that first I think just by sitting on the porch with Dad and Mom. Sometimes we just sat there, the three of us, in our old lawn chairs and never said a word for long stretches of time. And later learned it better by sitting there beside both of them when we awaited death.

Forgiveness is stronger than anything. I guess that's the same thing as written in 1 Corinthians 13: "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

People are a lot stronger and more resilient and capable than I thought. People can also be uncaring and insufferable and downright mean and nasty.

It's really nice to have some blog friends that have experienced the same things.

There's more but I'm tired now and kind of have it out of my system.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

YWAM Shooting in Denver

I was really saddened to read about the shootings at the Youth With A Mission ministry in Denver. Some years ago I was privileged to do some custom programming for this group. The two young people on the left in the image below were killed. The two on the right are in the hospital still when I wrote this. I've copied some text posted on the web site below:

"The young man – I don't know who he is; I don't think [the victims] knew him – but he must be going through a lot personally in his own life to do something like this. Our belief is that only God is the judge and our place is to forgive and that's a difficult thing to do, but really, I think it's the right thing to do," said Warren.

There are about 80 people living on the Arvada campus and they have been transported to the group's mountain campus near Golden, Colorado where they will stay while the murder investigation is processed at their residence. Warren says they are trying to deal with this situation as best as they can.

"There's no blueprint for this," said Warren. "You know, we're just going to be honest, we're going to pray with one another and cry with one another. These kids were like our kids, you know. It's just such a tragedy, but who knows what's going on in this young man's life."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ice Storm - Dec 9-12 2007

I'm just posting a quick message to let everyone know we are alright.

The following image was taken early Monday morning.
That's about 1/2" of ice on the fence.
It was about twice that when the storm finally ended.

I am trying to feed the horses in this one.
The tree limbs normally are not there.
The ice eventually broke a large limb that I've yet to clear.
It was not exactly the best of conditions.

Things are much improved today. The
corral is a muddy mess.
That's Jett who is talking to me.
I think that's his mama to the left.

We left the house on Monday to feed and check of Judy's mother. The electricity went off while we were out and we couldn't get back in. So that's where my laptop and my cellphone stayed during the storm - without me.

We spent the last two nights at dad's house where we had heat thanks to the generator I installed in 2002. But we had no running water. Early this morning we got power back at dad's house. Late this afternoon the power was restored at Judy's and her mom's. Got Internet a little while ago. We're pretty fortunate as there are still a lot of people without power and heat and water and everything else. We have a lot of damage everywhere.

Will post some more when I can.

Thanks to all of my blog friends. I'm trying to catch up.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

My Dallas Adventure

My son and I and our wives were invited to the Christmas party hosted by one of our development associates. Our wives couldn't go but we decided to go and to use the occasion for a tour of several developments in the Dallas area. Three were completed by our host and we also looked at several others because we're still getting ideas we might use in the future for our farm.

It was a fast paced and quick trip so we packed a lot of stuff into a little time. Most of what we did would not be interesting to anyone else. And it wouldn't have interested me not terribly long ago. It is funny now how we pay attention to parking and materials used in building retail centers and how the signs are placed and many details about residential areas Funny because I never even thought about those things a few months ago and now they loom important in my mind. So I will not write about those elements.

Dallas is so much more densely populated than is Oklahoma City. Dallas is rated as the 4th largest metropolitan area in the United States. Oklahoma City is 45th. The first thing noticeable is the traffic. I lived in the Dallas area in 1998 before I came to live with mom and dad. I think this was my first prolonged return and it wasn't really very long. But the place has changed a lot - basically more and more of everything.

We were near the Dallas Tollway and I-635 at one point on Wednesday. We were in the parking lot of a retail center. A man approached the car. He said that he was very embarrassed to ask for help but his car was broken down and he and his family needed some money to spend the night. I had $20 in my pocket and I gave it to him. I know it was probably a scam and there probably wasn't a car or a family anywhere. But there might of been and either way the $20 meant a lot more to him than it did to me.

It was about 5 pm or so when we made our way to our hotel, The Adolphus. May not sound like much but we were pretty proud of ourselves for getting there in the middle of Dallas traffic at 5 pm. It is an old hotel dating from 1912. The name is from Adolphus Busch of the beer family. It is a great old hotel and we had a very nice room there.

My son chose it because of its proximity to the Dallas Petroleum Club where our party was hosted. We walked there and it took 15 or 20 minutes probably. We definitely didn't want to drive.

Our party was two floors (I think) under the bottom of that hole in the building. We went up one floor before we left and walked around on the floor just below the hole. It is called a sky lobby. Pretty impressive. It is a little hard to see in the image but there's a kind of area that juts out from the wall of the building. It is kind of triangular I guess and you can walk out on it and it is on every floor until you get up to that hole. It is pretty disorienting to stand out there on that little slice of building.

Our invitations were hand written using calligraphy. I kept mine - work of art in itself. It said to wear cocktail dress. I had to search the Internet to discover what that meant. I wore a black coat and dark slacks and shirt and tie. There were a lot of people there and I think I was dressed appropriately. But I know it is a little easier to dress gents than the ladies.

You didn't have to hunt food or drink at this party. There were servers wandering around with trays of food and they came to you. And others took your drink order and then filled it and then hunted you down, even if you moved. No cash bar here at this deal. That was just the appetizers of course. The real food was on rather large tables and there was lots of different things and all of them were exceedingly good. My favorite was the really excellent prime rib and the pepper encrusted venison. The inexhaustible supply of shrimp was pretty outstanding, too.

Mainly this was a party where you mingled about with all sorts of others. It isn't exactly my best venue but I can mingle if I must and I did.

Of considerable note and notice, although pretty much lost on me, was the presence of a retired football player, Troy Aikman. Now I knew who he was but I'm not much of a football (or any other sports) fan - unless my kids or grandkids are playing. So this was a much bigger deal for my son than it was for me. He is about a foot taller than I am and his hand just swallowed mine. He was extremely approachable and very, very nice though. I just muttered that I was happy to meet him. He said he was happy to meet me, too, but I kind of think he was just being pleasant.

Actually he is from Henryetta, Oklahoma. I didn't know this but he played at OU for a while and left after being injured. My son said that was probably a good thing. Ironically he later joined the Dallas Cowboys under Barry Switzer who was also the coach at OU at that time. My son says Aikman has 3 Super Bowl rings and a bunch of other honors.

My son said he concentrated on trying not to make too big a fool of himself when he shook hands with Mr. Aikman. He says in retrospect he could have done a lot better.

We had a good time and walked back over to our hotel about 10 pm. We were both so tired.

The next day we drove all over the Dallas area visiting one development after another. There's a lot of tollways in Dallas so we finally stopped and bought one of the Texas Toll Tags so we wouldn't have to mess with change.

We had lunch at a very good Mexican place in Southlake, TX. That was very cool and I had heard so much about this city. It was a great experience to actually visit in person.

Then we made it back to Oklahoma finally.

I'm still recovering.

My excellent adventure.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Pearl Harbor

December 7, 1941.
Pearl Harbor.
66 years ago.

Among those killed from action that day were 429 saliors and marines serving aboard the USS Oklahoma. It was moored on Battleship Row next to the Maryland. Three torpedoes hit the Oklahoma early in the battle. Many of the crew continued to fight by moving over to the deck of the Maryland. Many were trapped below decks when the Oklahoma sank. A civilian, Julio DeCastro, organized a relief effort and saved 32 men.

There was no memorial for the Oklahoma. But earlier this year I attended a fund raiser event for a memorial to be built to honor those who served on the Oklahoma and who gave their lives. The remaining survivors were there at that event. Anyone who wanted could go down and shake their hands.

The memorial was dedicated today.

I hope to go there and see it someday.

I made it back from my trip but haven't had time to write anything yet. It was a really interesting trip and extremely productive. I will blog about it when I can.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Home Inspections

Had the home inspection and the termite inspection on Monday.

The termite fellow knows way more about termites than anyone should. He showed me all kinds of evidence of the little creatures. Each time telling me this isn't really that serious. I thought I knew a little about them but I was wrong. So long story short is that the house needs to be retreated. That's not unusual here in our area though. It is almost a given in fact. Which is why you have to have a termite inspection in the first place. That guy took credit cards and I had one of those and paid him.

The home inspector didn't take credit cards and I had no checks. So I have to pay him today. He was there for more than 3 hours and found an entire page of stuff to be done but it doesn't really amount to anything for the most part.

Then on the way home (I know that's confusing because there are at least 3 places that could mean now - but in this case it was to Judy's) I got a call from my banker lady. She read the riot act to the mortgage people and we're back on for a 5.625% mortgage. I think she must have been rather incensed at the entire deal. I know in part it is because she had done her own caregiving from afar over the last several years and she's very sympathetic to me because of it. She's really been a good advocate.

My own contractor though believes the joints in the under slab ductwork have failed and he is recommending that I replace the entire heating and air conditioning system. I haven't really known him to be wrong ever on this stuff so I'll probably do what he recommends. Better to do it now before we move in for sure. So he's getting prices and plans together for me.

These were the most detailed and extensive inspections I've ever seen. It was very tiring. But I have to admit the thoroughness makes me feel pretty confident about the home.

Part of my Realtor team was there the entire time, too. It is a husband, wife, and her sister team. We go to church with them and they are all in the orchestra that Judy plays in. He plays the trumpet and she plays the oboe and her sister plays the flute. I didn't know the wife very well and she stayed and we visited. It turns out she grew up just down the road from dad's house. She was in grade school and riding my old bus when I was graduating high school. That made me feel old. She talked about how big and beautiful dad's house was to all the kids on the bus. She is sad we're going to tear it down. I guess it is a bit of a landmark. We knew a lot of the same families although in different generations. Really is a small world.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Back home

Home. Where is it? What is it? Why is it? When is it? (and soon how much is it!!) I've blogged about it before, that elusive home. Not even two months ago when I last thought about it.

Judy's daughter is spending the week. Those two are so close and I do not know which one has been more longing to see the other. I'm supposed to be out of town two days this week. So in the interest of privacy and space I moved back over to dad's house for the week. Saturday night was my first.

Been two months almost since I lived here. On October 6th, the first Saturday at Judy's house, I blogged "It doesn't feel like home yet here. But it no longer feels like home over at 'the house' either."

It feels really strange to be here this time. It is nearly unbearably lonely to be away from Judy. How quickly I've become attached to her.

Dad's room is still where I left it, not that it could have moved. The lights are on still because I've never turned them off. There's an empty spot where the bed was. His real bed is still packed away down in the freezer room. It nearly killed me when I had to take it down and put up the hospital bed. One of the many times I felt like a traitor. Not that I showed it or doubted my decision but feelings are unavoidable. The other furniture is haphazardly placed here and there also just as it was the night he died. The door is ajar, too. But the room is empty and there are no sounds for me to hear.

Every time I come to my room I glance at his door. I try to make myself not look but I always do. I resist the deep down emotion to think that my dad is gone. But it's there all the same.

Nine years ago it was, just before Thanksgiving, that I came here again. I left in 1968 in August to begin married life. I returned once in 1994 but only for a short while after my divorce. Kind of like the marriage was a parentheses is how I felt at the time. I wrote a poem then but I can't find it now. My poetry stage! Long before all that I was the first to move into the house. I think that was in 1964. Dad built it and I'll tear it down.

Parentheses. I hadn't thought about that imagery about my caregiving. But kind of another parentheses wrapped around the whole nine years is how I feel about it right now. If it's like the marriage then that's the way I'll feel for a while yet longer.

Watched a Hallmark movie last night about a lady who begins showing symptoms of Alzheimer's. Made me so sad. The story wasn't really about Alzheimer's. AD was just incidental to the plot. That didn't make me feel better. I should have stopped watching and found something else but I made it all the way to the end. That's my way. Don't give up. Just like with real life. And ended with a spasm of grief and tears although that's not real life for me.

Today I will be at another house for an inspection. Seldom do I see such pivotal events in life where behind lies the past and ahead so clearly the future.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Elegance and Simplicity

Elegance - A quality of neatness and ingenious simplicity in the solution of a problem (especially in science or mathematics).

Rube Goldberg - complex devices that perform simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways.

I have to admit to having a real fascination with complex solutions. I start thinking about some problem and I think of a way to solve a part of it. But that solution creates some other issue so then I add a piece to take care of the new problem. But that new solution also creates new problems and so I have to add some more complexity. And first thing you know I've made Rube Goldberg proud.

But since I've learned this about myself I've been trying to learn to identify the symptoms and then to step back and think about what could be done more simply.

Sometimes, in fact often, I have found it desirable to ask someone else to look at my problem when I find myself in the Rube Goldberg situation. The old adage about not being able to see the forest for the trees is so frequently true.

Many times I've had these elaborate, many part schemes to accomplish something or another. And usually I am so proud of my scheme because it is just so wondrously complex. Then I ask someone - one's spouse is sometimes a good candidate - to look at my plan. And the person suggests a one step, simple, cheap solution.

And then I say to myself "why didn't I see that?"

That's why in math we say the simple solution is the elegant solution.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Cardiac Stress Test

Originally my appointment was at 7:15 but the day before a nurse called and asked if I could change it to 11 and could I get there 15 minutes early.

I could. And I did.

A nurse, the same one who called me the previous day, and that I think was likely in her early 40's escorted me from the registration area down a couple of corridors and into a room with a treadmill and a number of other hospital objects. Another nurse was in the room. I think she's still in her 20's probably. She talked all the time and her voice was loud. I heard her say something about teaching and I thought to myself that she definitely had the voice for it.

My nurse, the quieter, asked me to sit on an exam table and lift my shirt. She took a safety razor and cut hair away on my chest. Huh. I don't remember having so much hair on my chest. I definitely remember wishing I had some when I was young.

She rather quickly affixed a bunch of little adhesive squares to my newly shaved spots. Then she had me hold a junction box kind of thing that had electric leads coming out of it. Those leads snapped onto the little squares. The junction box was strapped around my middle with a belt.

The wires ran into a monitor that was also connected to the treadmill.

While I was sitting there she took my blood pressure and asked me if I was nervous. I said "yes, I was." And she wanted to know why. I think that's an interesting question in itself. That medical professionals think it strange for someone to be nervous about taking a stress test seems about as peculiar to me as a cop asking why you're nervous when he stops you.

I told her that hospitals in general and nurses and doctors in particular made me nervous. Besides that I'd never had a stress test and it was stressing me out. She had the other nurse take my pressure too. They said it was pretty high. I said it was their fault.

Then they told me we were waiting on the doctor and that he would be there shortly and that I could lie down if I wanted.

I didn't really want to lie down but there wasn't much else to do so I did. They left. It was me and this monitor that was hooked both to the treadmill and my electric leads. I occupied my time by watching my pulse rate which was clearly visible.

At first the display showed about 100. But now that I was reclining the readout was declining. Finally it was in the mid 50's and kind of stayed there. I wondered if I could make it change at will - you know - like with only the power of my mind. I used to do that in study hall and at various other times in my life when I was stuck somewhere with nothing to do. I would concentrate on moving an object by sheer will power of my mind. Never did work then and didn't work now either.

On occasion one or the other nurse would stick her head in and ask me if I was alright. I wondered why I wouldn't be alright. But I suppose they are used to people who are having heart attacks. After a particularly long spell the loud nurse came in and asked if I was counting the holes in the ceiling tile. I never was much on counting holes in ceiling tiles. Then she wanted to know if I was counting dust bunnies. And then I kind of tuned her out but I could still hear her in the background talking about the dust bunnies and holes and stuff. Finally she left much to my relief. I think she never missed a word.

The doctor arrived about noon so I had been there about an hour and 15 minutes by that time. He was also a youngish fellow and rather small of stature and maybe some oriental influence, or maybe not. I'm not so good on that stuff. He was certainly direct. There was no foreplay, no introduction, no small talk, no anything except a quick, and quietly said, "Are you ready?" I thought he made a good counterbalance to the noisy nurse.

And I was very ready. In fact I had been ready at 10:45 when I got there. I don't know why I wouldn't have been ready. I hadn't gotten less ready in the meantime.

So the doctor told me to step on the treadmill. I'd been given instructions by ms. quiet.

He left as soon as the machine was switched on. I thought it a little odd. I said "What does he do?" My nurse said that we had to have a doctor for safety. So I guess if I fell over dying he was supposed to save me. Seemed strange though since the test was being conducted in a hospital. Surely there were some other doctors in there somewhere.

The treadmill started out pretty slowly and pretty much flat. But every 3 minutes the machine's pace and incline increased. Finally I was starting to walk pretty fast on a pretty good incline. I told them I was going to have to switch into a jog and breathe in and out of my mouth if it kept increasing. They said it was up to me and I said well I don't really want to jog and they turned the machine off. The doc would have been quite happy to have continue I think. And I could have. But it just seems kind of unseemly to have start gulping air and jogging in front of people. I have enough trouble doing that when I am jogging outside and cars pass carrying people I have no acquaintance with whatsoever. But when you need air enough you definitely gulp it regardless who is around.

The other nurse, ms. loud, occasionally had been taking my blood pressure. It hardly changed any but it had started out high already she said. Funny thing is that once the test was complete my blood pressure came right down. I guess I was very nervous about it.

They told me I was at a 15 degree incline and walking at a pace of 4.5 mph or 13-1/3 minutes per mile. My heart rate achieved 170 for a high but just momentarily. That's kind of funny because I told my doc that I was getting up in the 170's and that's why he wanted me to have the stress test. This doc said that was ok if I felt like it.

Doc said that everything seemed fine but he would analyze the computer data and then get with my doctor.

After a drink of water the quiet nurse escorted me out of the building.

I guess I passed.