Thursday, June 28, 2007

catch up

Hey, guys. I was thinking a lot about you all yesterday. One memento: I was at the groovy coffee store and the clerk said to the lady in front of me that she should stay inside and be comfortable until it rains, and then she could go outside naked when it starts raining. And I was reading Bert's message. Now I've read quickly through the blog entries and can barely think straight. I want to react to so many things: "Memorial Dad" (loved the typo), Buddy, jail, reaching the bottom, confusion. I'll try to get some more time over the weekend for more reacting. The weekend is not a blank slate however: tonight panel at American Friends Service Committee on refugee work in Iraq, Friday night play, Saturday visit to Governor's Island with Christie, Sunday supper with "the old queens" (I'm the baby, it's a birthday club of sorts and it's Robert's and my turn). I did get my Swiss travelogue posted at

We have a 3-hour department managers/strategic planning meeting this morning. Can you see the glee on my face? Our major theme is communication and developing the organizational culture, and those are big problems here. I can hardly wait.

Big oodles of loves....

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Just my two cents from Branchport

This is Carol. It is early and I am up before usual. We are expecting a very warm day, so I got up to close windows and pull shades to "capture" and retain the cool and could not get back to sleep. Yesterday was very warm and we did the same, but also had the AC in the RV cranked up. We spent the worst of the heat of the day in the cool RV. We managed to watch the entire 5 part "Seventh Day" series with Hal Holbrook where Janet Thorngate represents SDBs. I recommend it. We spent around a $100 to own a copy but we could share. I need to learn how to copy DVDS. How hard can it be? But learning new technology is slow for us on the DOWNHILL side. LOL I got the front lawn mowed yesterday before the worst of the heat but still got soaked to the bone with sweat. At least I got it done.
Barb and I were supposed to be at a pagan festival in Ohio last week with our friends Vic and Beth, but on Wednesday before we were supposed to leave Friday, Buddy was unable to stand or potty himself. The vet said it was an intervebral inflammation that partially paralyzed our little man. The shot of prednisone he gave Buddy seemed to work right away and Buddy relaxed heavily in my lap as I waited for Barb to take care of the paperwork and get the medications prescribed. The vet said it was very serious and we should keep Buddy quiet, not allow him to do stairs or jumping up and down for 4-6 weeks. He put Buddy on a muscle relaxor, steroid, and spinal treatment formula. Buddy has been recovering well and will be on the one med for life to help prevent further occurences. But we were unable to travel as planned to Ohio. Dogs are not allowed at the festival and we did not want to put that level of care on anyone else, besides I would not have been able to leave Buddy behind knowing he was ill. With a very heavy heart, we made the painful decision not to go to the festival in Ohio and called our friends in Kentucky, Vic and Beth, to let them know.
Then on Thursday we got a call from Jim, Barb's oldest son, could we bail him out of jail, he had gotten a DWI. Barb was devastated. The calls continued all day and the details slowly came out. Jim had an accident with his car on our road at the far end. He does not remember the accident, his blood alcohol was 0.18 and he had only been off work for less than two hours. We figure he had to really chug the hard stuff (probably vodka) to get that kind of alcohol level so soon after getting off work. I contacted a friend from Al-Anon to give Barb a pep talk and tried my best to comfort and bolster Barb's spirit's. She chose not to bail Jim out knowing that AA people go to the jail and hold meetings there. I got out the Al-Anon book and read to Barb about it not being her fault, etc. Then there were the trips to jail to deliver medications, a big book (AA "bible") and to get a chat. It weighed heavy on us those days he was in jail. Monday was his hearing but there was no public defender available so it was postponed. Meantime, he was connected to FLACRA which helps with rehab and they prescribed an aggressive out-patient program. He was connected to AA and someone who could get him to meetings. Dave and Starr have been doing all they can to help, even removing all alcohol from the house and agreeing not to drink at home. After Dave's two DWIs he is realizing he cannot go on drinking like he had been. So this has been good for both of them. It seems Jim found his bottom and he may come out of this better than ever. Time will tell. We still do not know if he will lose his job and what the courts will do, his court date was moved to August when he went last night. He finally met the public defender. Jim needs a ride to go anywhere because his car is in bad shape, not sure about whether that will get fixed. Luckily Starr and Dave have been able to do the most of the shuttling. We are going to take him to Geneva or Canandaigua to get a new phone.
After the disappointment of not going to the pagan festival and Jim's DWI, the week was hard on us, so we resolved to go have some fun. We chose Watkins Glen, got a reservation at the Watkins Glen State Park, packed the RV and headed out on Friday. We set up camp and just relaxed there Friday afternoon/evening. Sabbath day we hiked the glen - and WOW! It is really a wonder of the world. There were people from far and wide there and I understand why. The last time I went to the park was on my honeymoon with George and I do not remember if we even walked the gorge trail. But it is truly amazing and draws people from all over the world because it is so special. After being totally wowed by the natural beauty of rocks and falling water at the glen, we hunted down a cemetery I was researching for placement of a letterbox. This was another WOW. The cemetery is set up on a hill overlooking Seneca Lake and you drive up hairpin turns to get there. The graves are set on hilly terraces amidst gorgeous old trees and there is even a 1904 stone pavilion at one edge where you can see the lake and revel in the cool updrafts from the valley below. I would have lingered longer but it was time for lunch, so we headed down again and went to "Castel Grisch" winery and restaurant. Sitting out on the deck looking out toward a broad view of field then vineyard then lake, we consumed fine wine, strawberry soup, jagersnitzel, walnut salad, creme brulee and cappaccino which were served by Bavarian costumed help. Then we went and tasted some of their wines. Yum. Then it was off to the waterfront to ride the beautiful old wooden boat out onto Seneca with a tour guide giving commentary. The weather was gorgeous, sunny and 80's so this was thoroughly enjoyed. The waterfront hosts a marina with many sailboats, park and restaurants. What a beautiful place. I thought of Doug with all those sailboats and plenty of wind along with the sun. What a gorgeous day. We were ready to head to the campsite for a relaxing evening and home-cooked meal. On Sunday, I carved a stamp of the Glen Springs Sanatarium and prepared the letterbox for placement. We checked out of our site and parked the RV at Clute Park and headed to the cemetery to place the letterbox. We were hunting for a spot to plant our letterbox, when I happened on a natural stone set way back in the woods. Serendipitiously, this stone was memorial to the founder of Glen Springs Sanatarium - William Elderkin Leffingwell and so it was perfect. Check out "Schuyler County Cemetery Series #1 - Leffingwell's Glen Springs Sanatarium/Hotel" or google "Leffingwell" for more history. A visit to the local library for some more local history research and posting our letterbox clues on-line, then more wine tasting at "Tickle Hill", "Hazlitt" and "Chateau Lafayette Renae" rounded out our weekend. All and all a very pleasant weekend and great diversion for us.
Love to all,

Monday, June 25, 2007

Doug, J, Ian, Dad,
If life begins at forty, you are still on the upside at 50!
It was good to talk to you yesterday. I hope you got the message I left about the trip to Alfred next month. We will cover Dad's ticket for the return to Long Island. Now all I have to do is supervise the clean-up of the 'apartment' for Dad.
What are you guys doing for the 4th? Going to Andover for the festivities?
Got to fill in some spaces in my computer program of services rendered to my customers. More later.
Love and hugs all around,

Friday, June 22, 2007

Finally frickin' Friday, but not ready for the week to be over . . .

Dad and I started the week in Queensbury, and I was feeling that perhaps Dad was doing much better than I feared, but my fears have been somewhat confirmed. He got into bed on one side of the bed and insisted on getting out of the other side twice during that night, the way being blocked with his half-empty suitcase, etc. meaning that he climbed more out of the end than either side. I had a hard time convincing him that he had gotten INTO the bed on that side. He gets disjointed ideas in his head. Any idea he gets is vehemently clung to.

He had an "accident" a couple days ago and ended up hanging his pants out on the garden fence. In that case I was only gone for a couple hours and Ian was here with two Eisenhardt boys, all of whom did not realize what he was up to. Dad has twice taken daytime naps and come out of them thinking that another day has passed, so I have confirmed what I thought was happening on that score. Yesterday he locked himself inside the RV and couldn't re-construct what he'd done, so I had to use the key to get to him. We will adapt as best we can.

Suffice it to say that Bert had her hands full. I hope you're recovering, dear sister. By the way, what is your IQ? I heard a report yesterday confirming that eldest children do tend to have higher IQs. The differences are said to be not necessarily large, but statistically significant.
Well, I spoke on the telephone with a Charles Schwab representative yesterday morning, clarifying the number of shares to be journaled to Sherm, Jeanette and myself, so that should all be processed by Monday or Tuesday. Evidently when we were transferring information a 2 turned into a Z, but that is all taken care of.

Yesterday I took Ian to a doctor's appointment, necessary for him to go to camp this summer, and his friend Rein was with us because school is over and his parents both work. After the check-up, we stopped at "Stones and Bones" and talked with the guy who made the antler carving of a wolf footprint that Carol bought for me, and which hangs around my neck all the time. The boys had a great time looking at crystals and antlers and carvings and big goldfish in a tank, and asking questions about things. We had lunch at the Texas Hot and then I met briefly with the owner of the Used Book Shop in Wellsville yesterday while doing errands with Ian and his friend Rein. She knows I'm interested in buying the business, and I'm a tad more encouraged that it would be a good opportunity. Next we walked to the Chevy place to buy a part for the old Blazer and got to see a medical transport helicopter come in. I learned later that it was arriving to transfer a child who had accidentally been shot in the head by a cousin. Frightening.

Dad took a walk with Jeanette last evening, and we're taking him to church and lunch and all that, today. We'll fill him up, because he's not even eating all of the little bits that I offer him.

Good Sabbath to all.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Dear Doug, J, Ian and DAD,
Sounds like things are under control.
I gave platelets last night after work. Ilana and Andre attended Weight Watchers at 7pm. Michael had a tension headache( with nausea and upchucking) early in the day, but was feeling better by evening. Bruce called me as I returned from the blood center, to bring gas for the van as he was stuck at the Syosset office.
Michael is going to Connecticut tonight, as Audra must go to the doctor Friday for fibroid removal. Hoping the condition is treatable in office. Keep Audra in your prayers.
Michael would like to come up to help you with the house. Audra, also. They have to work out time during the summer they are able to travel. More on that later.
Ilana is doing work search. She has commitments to sports with the Special Needs team to which her friends belong, on Thursdays and Sabbaths. I think she would like to spend some time in Alfred if she could.
Much love all around,

Answers to Cathy's questions

I took Dad to his second appointment with Dr. Neerukonda (psychiatrist) yesterday. He encouraged Dad to have social contact as a way of helping his depression, and prescribed a night-time anti-depressant. Our visits with him are pretty brisk, but Dad seemed to take his encouragement to heart. I asked if he wanted to prescribe a check of Dad's sodium, since the Lexapro he is taking now is of the same class of Selective Sodium Re-uptake Inhibitor as the Prozac that apparently put him in the hospital. He gave me orders for a sodium blood test, and suggested we use it after Dad has been on the night-time antidepressant for a week. He also went from taking 5 mg. of Lexapro to 10 mg., today. Neerukonda told us he wants to treat Dad's depression more aggressively, since Dad reported that he still feels bad.

Dad is talking about contacting his classmates and going to the A-ACS reunion, so our collective encouragement seems to be working. I'll be putting together a PowerPoint presentation of Dad and some of his classmates, but it will be in a display area before and after the dinner, not shown during the dinner.

We look forward to seeing you, Cathy. Will anyone else be coming?

Home on the hill . . .

I had good visits with Bert, Kim and Brian, Mike and Dad at Bert's on Sunday evening, after driving there, following a Star class race win with Dick Sands in the morning. Mike was gone before 5:00 the next morning, and the McKays had returned home on Sunday night.
I spent Monday with Bert and Dad, catching up on Dad's status (we agreed that he's a bit stronger and his mind a bit keener than before Memorial Dad, but he's coming up with strange ideas of what has happened and what's supposed to happen. Bert got some errands done and I got caught up with Dad and with myself, and then we watched "Bobby" before bed.
Tuesday morning we got breakfast and I helped Bert move the futon from the dining room where she had Dad set up, back to Kim's room and a few other things. Then Dad and I headed out into the muggy heat.
We ate lunch in Oneonta and were able to get home, through a couple cooling downpours, to our place, "Would Knot". I had to repair the cover of one of the RV's roof vents which wind had blown back and got things mostly set up, just in time for a thunderstorm to come through and really soak things.
Staying in the RV means Dad has few steps to take to get to the bathroom or bedroom and it means he and we can be somewhat independent, which we all seem to need. The RV is set up next to the garage so it warms up in the morning but gets shade in the afternoon, so Dad should be comfortable.
Brian McKay told me on Sunday that he was going to be in the Prattsburgh area this week, surveying sites for 1 Megawatt wind turbines. Last evening, he dropped in -- he didn't have our phone number with him and couldn't reach Bert or Kim (because they were picnicking together somewhere) -- so we ate supper together and talked, and he showed me where the sites are. He says the people who own land on which the turbines will be located (they're in Dansville, waiting for the final permits to be obtained) will collect $5,000.00 per month in revenue sharing or royalties or whatever that's called. The sites are north and west of Prattsburgh, and one is only a couple miles from where Carol and Barb live.
Ian has his last half-day of school today, and Jeanette finishes tomorrow. We hope to be able to work together and get our bedroom/bath suite and the great-room and living room finished up this summer. With that done, Dad could stay in the bedroom next to the upstairs bathroom where we sleep now, and we could work on getting 33 S. Main set up for renting out the upstairs apartment and set up the downstairs for family use. THEN, maybe I can concentrate on taking over the Used Book Shop in Wellsville.
Sounds like a plan. Now to carry it out . . .

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Dad-AACS reunion

Hope you and Dad made it back to Alfred safely.
Is Dad's appointment today? Let me know how it goes.
I forgot, but will, to send in registration for Dad for the AACS dinner. Do you think Dad will come if we ask him to? I am planning to come in on July 18th, Wednesday, night and stay till the following Tuesday, July 24th. Will that be helpful and agreeable with you guys' schedule? Bruce was working on plane tickets last night.
Talk to you soon.
Love and hugs around to you and yours and ours,

ALA in DC - SC

Here's my ALA travel information:
Leave NYC - Amtrak, 11:35 a.m. on Thursday, 21 June 2007 (happy solstice day!!)
Staying with Daniel Starr and Scott Wicks at Hilton Washington & Towers, 1919 (good number!) Connecticut Avenue, NW - 202-483-3000
Return Amtrak - Tuesday, 26 June, 2:05 p.m.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


We might have to change the name to "Old Age Maelstrom" or perhaps that is an oxymoron. Could an old age person do a maelstrom? Or should it be "old age calm"? Some chart in the Sunday paper had the major age groups: Millenials, Gen X, Younger boomers, Older boomers, Aged. The latter category of Aged started at 62.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

more from Bert

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2007 9:06 AM
Subject: Dad

Hi, Doug (and others),

Today Dad and I are headed to Kim's. John said, when he heard that Great-grandpa had just a week left of this visit, "Well, then they better come every day!" When Brian heard last night that we were coming he said, "Well, they better stay for supper so I can see him too!"

I got Dad to my lawyer's office yesterday for a notary, and the Degan stock claim is in the mail. We had quite an adventure through Glens Falls street construction with several people helping us with the wheelchair, etc. The 5-way corner with the endless waits for the light has been replaced by a roundabout.

Dad's Lexapro prescription runs out the 17th. We talked about it at Memorial Day, Doug, so I'm assuming you will come with a new supply on the 17th. Right?

Does anyone know about handicapped stickers for the car? I wondered if I could get a temporary one while Dad is here. I've left it to too late this time, but will check it out.

Did Gram have one of those side-of-the-table gadgets to hold a cane while you're sitting at the table? Dad said Anna May had one, he thought.

Yesterday morning before Dad sat up he said, "I heard Sherm come in in the night." After I said he hadn't actually, Dad said, "Well, I'm glad neither you nor she had to come in on the midnight train."

All the time he's been here he has called me by name except for one "Ethel" which was immediately corrected. Time is much more of a problem. After initial settling in, I think he knows he's at my home.

His back has been hurting him a lot the last couple days. He tells me different places are worst at different times. He's been taking ibuprofen which seems to help.

Thanks again for all the good vibes coming our way!! (I saw friends downtown the other day who hadn't heard about the divorce and got some good hugs, etc. Aren't friends and kin great?)

Love, Berta

Hi Bert,
Thanks for doing the Allegheny stock thing. Sorry that was such a job.
There's another thing in the mail but no notary required, just a phone call and signatures.
I'm working on the Lexapro, and have his new appointment set up and the previous one cancelled.
Are you worn out by now?
Thanks for the update.
More soon,

AU Reunion!!!

I flew into Rochester on Thursday night, June 7th, rented a car(maroon Saturn) and drove to Alfred. The house at 33 was open, care of Doug, so I crawled under the comforter at 1am and promptly fell asleep.
Doug and I had breakfast Friday at the Jet and fanned out to do errands in town. I went to the pharmacy for a few items I lost or left at home. We regrouped for lunch at the Sub Shop.
Sue Blondin, from Lake George, picked me up at the house around 3pm in her hybrid fuel car and we parked in a handicapped spot at Herrick Library, as she has knee weakness. We processed to Powell Campus Center for a talk by Sue Rogers, sponsored by the Woman's Leadership Center.
I met Jeanette and Pat and Tim at Vespers at the Parish House. It was a great way to start Sabbath. Sue B. teamed up with D, J, Ian and me for dinner at ZA. We started on the porch, but moved inside when the lightning began. Sue and I had a chorus rehearsal at 8pm, that Doug drove us to, as it was lightly raining still. We got to see the Giles and other returning alums at Harder Hall, for a practice of the music we would sing Sabbath night.
Sabbath morning, I ate at the Jet, after calling D&J to see how their morning was starting.
Sabbath School with Patty and Tim and Olene was an interesting study of text from Hosea.
Pat, as always led a beautiful service and children's talk. I got to share news of Dad from Memorial Day weekend and beyond.
The awards luncheon under the tent in Scholes Park was tasty. I met my co-worker George Meyer and his wife, Zel, who were there for Zel's 50th reunion and George's 51st. I was there with the Performing Arts contingent for my 36th. Also saw Mimi and Don Polan and chatted.
I lay under the trees on the bank below the carillon while Laurel played the afternoon concert. I thought of Mom, and almost rolled down the hill in memory of her. I also thought of the times that I spent up in the tower, pounding on the levers of the bells and creating a lasting echo over the valley.
Nevins Theatre provided the next stop for a practice of music for the evening. We sang the Alma Mater, Song of the Bell, Ave Verum, and It's a Wonderful World. Mr. Giles conducted for the Ave Verum and the Alma Mater. He is fragile, with Alzheimers creeping up on him. He did enjoy leading the 2 numbers. We were led in the other numbers by Laurel Buckwalter, of carilloner fame.
The Performing Arts Dinner was small but lively. The food was outstanding. The wine I drank was a Reisling from Hammondsport.
Terrence Bruce provided lively music ( 3 saxes at once) during the Performing Arts Concert and then upstairs in the Knights Club!
Sunday morning I fell out of bed for the Memorial Service at the Gothic at 8am. It was meaningful and poignant as always. After the tears, breakfast was in order. Powell Center, Knights Club, provided a gourmet buffet. I visited and laughed with new and old friends, at a sunny table.
Finally, Sue and I drove up to Becky and Craig Prophet's house for coffee klotch. Aunt Mommy was there, too, so I got a chance to hug her and visit a bit. Craig entertained us till Becky got back from a seminar and errands. We chatted and had a bite to eat. Then, with hugs around, to Aunt Mommy and the Prophets, Sue set out for Rochester to see Sharron Gilbert, and I set out to Friendly's in Hornell to meet Doug and Jeanette, before I returned my rental car to the Rochester airport.
The Sunday afternoon traffic at JFK delayed our take-off from Rochester for an hour and a half, but the plane made it to Long Island by 8pm, though we sat on the tarmack for a long time, actually making it inside the terminal around 9:30pm. Bruce and Ilana coordinated the pick up near terminal 3, Delta Airlines, as Michael was still in Connecticut at Audra's.
A wonderful weekend!

Friday, June 8, 2007

The latest from Bert

Sent: Friday, June 08, 2007 5:39 PM
Subject: Re: Re: Dad

Dear Doug,

You don't need to call tonight as far as I'm concerned.

I have not heard again from Mike yet. It is much harder for both to get away at the same time, obviously, and Sue's coming has been talked about but not this last time. If you e-mail him when you know your schedule for coming here and returning, that might help him schedule his trip.

Yesterday Dad and I went to the library and got a tape of "Chariots of Fire" (I had played the theme song for him among other music on piano the night before) which we watched part of last night. Unfortunately the quality is poor and it's hard to understand but we enjoy the pictures of Scotland and I can say I've been on the beach where the runners were filmed!

Then we went to the grocery store which we managed by his sitting in his wheel chair holding a little basket and dragging a child-size shopping basket beside him. Maybe another time we'd try the motorized chair/cart supplied by store, but I couldn't figure how to get him there as he wasn't up to walking that far.

Today John, Kate, and Lucy spent 3 hours here while Kim went to used book sale at library and did some shopping. I read Dad's book he wrote and illustrated for Ian to Kate and Lucy. Lucy wanted to draw a rooster too, so Grandpa penciled it and she colored. Kate drew me and her in colorful dresses. Then John came in and I read it to him with Lucy filling in several pages from memory. John liked best the part about dealing with a tiger by putting your arm down his throat, grabbing his tail, and turning him inside out. Kate and Lucy picked flowers for the table. John worked on breaking down stumps left in my yard which I have to mow around. We picked wild strawberries in the lawn. Then we all ate lunch and Kim had a chance to talk with her Grandpa while the kids and I blew bubbles and stuff.

Kim invited us to Sabbath lunch with them tomorrow as we did last week, and we plan to go.

After running through dog doo each of the 3 times I've mowed my lawn this year (as well as plenty of past times), I posted a sign at dog level on my mailbox post. It says:
DOGS, TAKE NOTE: this lawn is not your pooping place.
DOG OWNERS: if you let your dog poop here, please remove the results.
Do you think it will work?

Have a good Sabbath, all. Love, Bert

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Two more updates from Bert: June 6 at 6:14 and 6:34 pm

Hi, guys,
Yesterday was not good! Dad got a shaking shivering chill (at 78 degrees with polar fleece on and blankets) which took a lot of measures to get over (Ilana's seed bags heated, lots more blankets, hot drinks, massage, etc.). He couldn't hold a cup so drank out of a straw. Anyway, I asked if he'd had bad chills before, and he said yes. I asked if the doc knew, and he said he thought so. Any ideas of causes? Also that morning he asked for a cricket, a chumpit, and 3 other unidentifiable things. He's sure a plane was in distress the other day and came down nearby, has asked me about a dog in the bunkhouse I should care for, thought he was on the toilet in a chair (no results, thank goodness), was sure he'd found a can to use as urinal in the night (none in sight, said he'd dumped it in the bathroom), tried to open the car door yesterday when the car was going (a burp made him think he had to vomit, I'd locked the door already)... He slept a lot the rest of the day.
Then last night he got out of bed to go to the bathroom 3 times without cane or walker or my help! With just the nightlights some of the times. He hadn't been able to do that since the first night he was here. He's been stronger today, but gets out of breath so easy! He calls that "lazy."
Yesterday I got the raised toilet seat with arms and he loves it.
Today as he did exercises he complained that rehab wouldn't let him stand when he wanted to to do exercises and that they didn't offer any encouragement when he was trying. He sounded very angry.
A few nights ago Dad had been wearing the seed neck wrap before bed. It was still warm so I handed it to him in bed and told him to hug it. He said, "Come here, darlin'."
At Kim and Brian's getting back to the car, Dad veered a little to Brian on his left and was straightened up. Brian said, "Well Bert tripped you, didn't she?" It only took Dad a second or two to catch it and reply in kind.
So there are ups and downs!!
Mike says he may come here when Doug picks up Dad 17-18or19th.
Thank you for your encouragements.
Love, Berta

I should have looked at my list before sending the other e-mail off. Here's more:
TUMS are on the list of Dad's pills, but there are none in the box. Is that for the calcium?
Dad wants his navy track suit from Aunt Lura (don't mail, just bring them). He has been wearing sweats of mine for ease of dressing.
How long has he had scoliosis? The humpback is traditional for many elders, but I didn't realize he had scoliosis.
Are his salt intake instructions to have none or little?
The rib pain he complained of Memorial Day got gradually better, apparently, and has not been mentioned for several days. I think maybe it was a pull of the stuff between ribs. Mike can tell you that that can really hurt!
Taking care of Dad reminds me of mushers and their dogs. You've got to take care of them first at a checkpoint and then yourself. But you've got to keep yourself safe too, because they depend on you. (That one I was thinking of as I ran through the thunderstorm back to Dad in the car.)
In between these messages, Dad tried to tell me a bunch of questions he was worrying over, but kept realizing he wasn't making a lot of sense. He said in a very discouraged tone, "Now you see why I want to go back to bed so many times." He called me Ethel for the first time, but said right away that that didn't make sense either. Poor Dad!!
I'll go get him some supper and watch Lehrer with him.
Love, Berta

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Update from Bert (sent 6:57 pm June 4)

Dear sibs,
Yesterday afternoon Dad had the best few hours since he came here. He felt stronger, was perkier, and stayed awake more.
This afternoon he's been short of breath, but stronger than when he first came.
Things (strength, balance, pain, shortness of breath, slowness of speech, being confused) come and go without rhyme or reason (at least known to Dad or me). He has been saying things as we looked at a few of Doug's new photos like, "C.B. and others don't have time to come see an old codger, and I don't blame them," and, "People don't take time to run everything in the schedule by me," as we looked at the Civil War re-enactment and he couldn't tell me when it was. (Later he told me the re-enactment was near Letchworth, so we know he remembered being told about it.) He calls himself "useless" and other things. I try to tell him that he would not do that to anyone else, so why do it to himself?? As he did with you, Doug, he started in on how hard Gram had had life. I keep telling him to cut himself some slack, as he would anyone else.
Kim suggested Ensure dietary supplement when I said he wasn't eating much. I will get some tomorrow, but he has been eating more, too.
He has not been constipated, said he had trouble with one movement since he came here. He told me the doc told him only 3 8oz. fluids a day, and I said that couldn't be right, so now that you told me 6 I may be able to get more fluids down him. He's been enjoying grape juice. The rectal bleeding stopped and was never a huge amount.
The medical supply store has a toilet seat with armrests, and I will get one tomorrow. She said state law says they cannot be rented when I asked about that.
As far as visiting, Cathy, he probably does perk up and make an effort when someone is around, but it also tires him out.
As of now, I think we can stick to your plan to come on June 17th and return to Alfred 18th or 19th, Doug.
He complains about the coughing, but it sounds like it's a tickle or slight choking rather than a need to clear the lungs. I have been giving him little pieces of candied ginger for a good taste in his mouth and to moisten it. It is good for the digestion, so can't hurt in that department either.
Better go get him some supper.
Love to all, Berta

Friday, June 1, 2007


is that you, bert?

thinking of you

Well, I'm back in the U.S. of A. and buried in the post-vacation deluge. I just read the blog entries about Memorial Day weekend quickly and will try to read through them more carefully sometime over this weekend. Maybe even react.

Overall, Switzerland was very nice. We had a nice circuit from Zurich (3 nights) to Sankt Gallen (2) to Chur (1) through the mountains to Lugano (3), on to Basel (4) and back to Zurich (1). Along the way, we meandered, via daytrips, to Liechtenstein, Italy, Italy, and Germany (Mac daytripped to France the day I went to the Vitra Design Museum in the German suburbs of Basel). Yes, twice to Italy: once on the Bernina Express between Chur and Lugano; second from Lugano down to Como. There was much of art and architecture, plenty of eating, lots of mountain scenery. The lower mountains of western Switzerland have been compared to the Finger Lakes (by a candidate in Ithaca) but they were more like Allegheny County to my thinking. I hope to get a travelogue written but, right now, am feeling buried.

Doug, did you know about the landlords meeting on Tuesday, June 5th, 7 pm, in the Alfred Village Hall? I got a notice about it. Though I don't think of the 33 situation as a landlord situation right now, you might want to go. The contact people are Mary Harris ( or Virginia Rasmussen (587-9558).

Let me know when there are pictures of the Memorial Day gathering up on anyone's website. Or you can just leave a note here. Or, gosh, I could go check since there are probably more pictures since I was last at Doug's Shutterfly page.

With whole heaps of love to the bunch of you'ns.