The week that was…

As birthdays go, mine could have been a damn side better.

Birthday cake and candles were replaced by four days in a hospital gown, a “Murphy” drip and CT scan.   The kids got the details today.   All things considered, however, I am still here after the week that was.

Last week’s letter foreshadowed the more recent turn of events.


February 7, 2011

Ellen/Reid: The Super Bowl was pretty good as Super Bowls go, although that didn’t stop me from snoozing during the final half.  I saw the highlights and post-game breakdown after my extended nap.  Why they don’t play the game on a Saturday when people can really get down is beyond me, given that people have to get up and go to work the next day.  You can tell the commish that.

So Reid, your statement for the New School looks pretty good.  What is the ETA for their decision?  You’ll be on pins and needles until that time.  Here’s hoping they give you the green light.  I still have a hard time envisioning you as a New Yorker.  Then again, I never fathomed you as a Chicagoan, either.

I wish there were better news about your grandmother.  To hear your aunt and uncle describe things, she is fighting to make a recovery from the persistent infections that have ailed her.  My guess is that at her age it’s difficult to rebound from the near-continual setbacks that she’s had.  Her strength is sapped and her mobility very limited.  It looks as if she will need a higher level of care than she gets now, so the decision has been made to move her to another facility in Wood River, about a 15 minute drive from Grand Island.  I’m not sure how that particular spot was located but Ralph and Gayle seem to think it is the best option for her and I’m not one to argue from all these miles away.  I’m just glad your grandmother is not in Omaha.  It would really be tough on everyone.  I think back to this time last year when she was zipping around her neighborhood with her walker, and now she can hardly stand on her own.  That is how fast things can crumble when it comes to health.

I suppose all of this makes one think of their own future.  If it doesn’t, it should.  With your uncle and me quietly surpassing yet another dreary birthday in terms of years, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the planning for eventualities had better be well down the road.  One of the things that I have to accomplish in the very near future is to get a will down on paper.  In a nutshell you guys will split my meager belongings down here and those that are in the care of John, and when it comes to health, there will be no over-the-top end-of-life efforts to keep me around just to keep me around.  Things have gone pretty well for me on the whole up to this point.  I’m fulfilled enough.  You have my permission to pull the plug to save me suffering and you suffering.  Your uncle has a term to describe such legalisms and he’s lectured me no end about how states like North Carolina treat estates in the absence of a will and testament.  That’s code for ‘the state will take most everything you own’.  But this will-thing is something I’ve mulled over in the last several months and I’ll need to get it done quite soon.  As they say, all of us are only a heartbeat away.

As you’ve heard, Charlotte gets the Democratic National Convention next year.  How the city will cope with it is anyone’s guess although this state is becoming redder all the time.  No doubt the anti-Democratic forces will hold multiple Tea Parties with all the drivel they spout.  One in five of us lives in poverty and tens of millions are without insurance, and yet they’ll whine about ‘values’ issues and the like that do nothing to add jobs, make us more secure, and really help us move ahead with real issues.  I guess I whine, too.

Okay, Ellen, I’ll consider a trip in April to help you with your garden (lettuce and peas can go in the ground probably the final week in March and while April is too early for tomatoes, at least we can get the rest of your good black soil ready to go.  We’ll plant some Heritage raspberries, too.  Those were just the variety you and Reid used to eat by the handful when you were little kids.  None of those little rubies ever made it inside the house, but that was okay with us.


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