Sunday, September 14, 2008

Lessons Learned from a Hospital

I am sorry for not posting lately, but my Grandfather has been in the hospital this past week.  I am not sure when he will be out, and once he is released, he will need to go to an in-patient rehab unit to mend further.  Postings will be scattered for a while.

While I have been staying with him in the hospital, I have learned several things:

No one is in a hurry at a hospital.  This week has been nothing but hurry up and wait. Like Granddaddy said, once they have you, they own you.  Isn't that the truth?

There is something wrong with the emergency room system.  I probably don't need to elaborate on this one.  But when the ambulance drivers line up five deep in the hallway with their stretchers and have to wait forty minutes to hand off their patient to the ER nurse, something is not quite right.

You need your family.  I inherited two patients last week.  My Grandfather's roommate was an old blind man named Willie with no family member to stay with him.  He needed help with everything and the nurses were very busy. Each time I cut up Willie's food and fed him, he thanked me and said my Grandfather was sure lucky to have family.  He was lonely and talked a lot.  I know all about Willie's life story now and I wonder when the last time it was that he was able to tell it.  His son arrived on Friday to take Willie to a nursing home.  

Hospitals are filled with stories.  I wonder about the young woman who was wheeled back by her husband to the oncology floor, her hair freshly washed and wrapped in a towel.  Or the same man I saw day after day smoking a cigarette outside in his hospital gown and iv pole.  Or the man who was dressed to the nines, complete with a snazzy hat, and walked around and around the halls with his iv dragging behind, like he had somewhere very important to go.  

Nurses really do care.  One particular day when Granddaddy was feeling blue, five nurses and a cleaning person piled into his room and began to sing a song complete with hand motions to cheer him up.  He smiled.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Simpler Way of Life

Our family went on a week long vacation through Pennsylvania this summer. While we were there, we fell in love with the Amish country and stayed several days driving the country roads of Lancaster.  The area couldn't have been more picturesque.  And the Amish and Mennonite people of the region were beautiful.  There seemed to be a quietness to their way of life that I think we all could use.  I thought that I would share some of those pictures with you and let you take a journey back to another day and another place, where time stands still.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Humble Bee

"Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn't know it so it goes on flying anyway."  
Mary Kay Ash

I don't know about you, but it seems that I have a ton of bumble bees around my yard this year. I have always had them around my flowers, but it seems that everywhere I look these days, a bumble bee is buzzing around.  I love to watch them cling to a flower and then move along to the next blossom, the flower swaying from the strain of its weight.

After doing a little bit of research on this beautiful buzzer, I learned that bumble bees help us with what is called "buzz pollination", which sets them apart from many other pollinators. They grab a flower and shake it during pollination, which causes a release of pollen that normally would stay inside the flower.  Most other pollinators are not capable of providing this service, including honeybees.  This is why in most commercial tomato greenhouses, bumble bees are raised and used to pollinate the tomato plants.  The bumble bee will almost never sting you unless they feel their life is in danger and is much more gentle than even the honeybee.  

So please welcome this humble bee to your garden, along with me!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Pit Bull

I am well on my way to possibly being the next Vice President of the United States.  I went to a PTA committee meeting yesterday.  

Actually, as much as I jokingly say that, I am really in awe of what Sarah Palin has accomplished.  She saw a need in her school and didn't just sit, but did.  She saw a need in her community and didn't just complain, but ran and won.  She saw a need in her state and not only ran and won, but shook things up considerably.  I am impressed that she has felt a call in her life and not backed down from the things she stands for.  She even sold the state jet on Ebay and fired the chef when she became Governor because she was not afraid to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.

I know a lot of people take issue with her lack of experience and the fact that she is a mother of five.  But few questioned Hillary Clinton when she began her quest.  And yes, there are issues within her family, but aren't there in every family?  What I respect is that this family has obviously banded together and embraced a daughter who has made the same mistake that seems to be lauded in Hollywood and poured love out on a baby with special needs without thought.  And did you see Piper lovingly lick her palm and gently smooth down her baby brother's hair?  What better image of true love is that?

Everyone starts from somewhere and I am just not afraid to put my trust in a pitbull with lipstick from Alaska.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Sit for a While

My Grandfather doesn't say a lot, but when he does, it usually is something that makes you think. Yesterday, we were talking and he told me to sit down for a while.  Since I had a lot to do, I told him that I had too much going on to sit.  He looked me in the eyes and said, "Sister, lots of people know how to stand but very few of them know how to sit."  

I am going to begin taking this advice to heart and just sit for a while.  

"Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you."  Psalm 116:7

Thursday, September 4, 2008


My youngest daughter has a new occupation.  I believe she might be the first fourth grade hairdresser the world has ever known!

I regularly cut my Grandfather and husband's hair.  I have done so for years to save both money and the hassle of waiting at the barber's.  I am certainly no expert, but after years of practice, I have gotten it down to a science.  The last time I began to cut my Grandfather's hair, my youngest was watching intently and asked if she could try.  My Grandfather shrugged his shoulders and said to let her do the whole thing. With a lot of help from me, she finished his haircut and did a nice job, I must say.

I knew something was up when I was getting my daughter off of the bus yesterday.  Granddaddy walked up next to me and said "I need to talk to her". That meant, "Go away".  So I left the two of them alone and my daughter came bursting through the door a few minutes later. He wanted his hair cut and she had to get her supplies together.

I was given strict instructions to "let her do it", so I watched with my hands crammed under my legs so I wouldn't be quick to grab the scissors.  She draped a covering over him and carefully combed out his hair.  I showed her which clippers to use and she began what would prove to be the longest hair cut in history.  But I will have to say, when she finished the job and I looked, apart from one sideburn being shorter than the other, it was gosh darn good.  

I watched as Granddaddy crammed a bunch of wadded up dollar bills in her hand, (I don't think I was supposed to know) and the customer left the front porch with a smile.  Only certain people will let a 9 year old little girl cut their hair.  I hope that when I am 90, I am one of them.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Pad for the Peacocks

We are the proud owners of a bevy of peacocks, eight to be exact.  We did not intend to have any peacocks, much less eight, but isn't that how it always ends up?  

This past spring, my daughters and I began incubating and hatching out some chicks, mainly for the pure joy of watching them peck their way through the shell.  A dear ninety year old friend of mine has pair of peacocks and asked if we would want to hatch out some peacock eggs.  Three separate batches of eggs failed in the incubator, so we decided to call it a day.  Until one day when our friend called and told us to get the brooder ready...eight peachicks would be delivered that week!  

The peacocks are now a couple of months old and have outgrown their small brooder pen we had them in.  So this Labor Day weekend was spent putting together a pen for the peacocks. They are much happier in their 25x25 foot pen and have been happily pecking at the grass. They have even found some dirt for a bath.  Right now, they are using some old dog houses we had lying around for shelter, but we will build a more suitable shed for them before they get too much larger.  We attached netting to the top of the pen so that the hawks can't get in and the peacocks can't get out.  So far, it is working very nicely.

I have scrutinized every inch of these peacocks, but thus far, I still can't determine if they are a peacock or a peahen.  Everything I have read has said it is very difficult to tell what their sex is until they are much older, so I guess I will have to wait it out.  As soon as we are able to identify their gender, we will separate them into pairs and find homes for most of them.  In case you didn't know, peacocks can be VERY loud and eight of them would cause my already irritated neighbors to be not very happy.  But neighbors, take heart.  Peacocks tend to only be very noisy during mating season,  And mating season only lasts about five months!