Thursday, November 15, 2018

ups n downs....

the last 24 hours have been something.  after work yesterday I dropped by the assisted living center where Betty was moved weeks ago.  she was in pain last week and over the weekend in and out of hospital. Now she is on pain meds, morhpine. the cancer spread from her lungs into her body, from what her daughter told me and for days now shes been in bed incoherent on morphine for the pain every 2 hours and not eating or drinking much.  It's a pallative care situation I'm afraid. alas. I went inside her bedroom and sat next to her while her daughter updated me on everything that had passed last week and this. I sat there and held on to Betty's hand as she lay with a frown and scrunched up face in pain and moving her legs under the covers now and then bent kneed. I wish the pain meds alleved her pain more.  I would have liked to spent time with her peacefully holding her hand and perhaps saying some prayers or just speaking to her... however I'm prepared for the end and realize the Sunday before last will be the last time I'll have seen her as herself.  I'll await now for the news from the daughter and husband. and I might go by on the way home from work tomorrow just to check in with the daughter who is struggling and caring for her 24 hours waiting.
I had begun to reach out to Betty 6 years ago after her husband died, they were both a part of my gardening club, and I offered to give her rides to the meetings every month ( she drove during the day at 84 but not at night).  I also enjoyed going to evening church services because I had someone to sit with and she also didn't like sitting alone, so that worked out well.  I felt I was doing a good service, as the old testament is all about caring for widows and orphans ;), and I liked being of help and needed.  We became friends as Betty would cry about missing her husband and I'd pat her on the back or encourage her on the drive home from a meeting etc.. I enjoyed visiting and speaking about our gardens or the club or whatever.... as she got older, she'd take me around the house and point out everything, we did that many times, and she'd tell me all the same stuff again, or look at a photo album, again pointing out who was who etc... anyway, I've decided that while I thought I was helping someone be less lonely, it turns out I might have been helping myself be less lonely at the same time. and now I see how much I'll be missing having someone to sit with on Sunday nights or a home to stop in at anytime, like the old days when you would just drop in on people if they were home, she always was. and I'll miss the phone calls on my answering machine asking if I'd be going to church or not or why she won't be there if she had to miss etc.. or if there was a missionary meeting after the evening service to please plan on coming as she was bringing a dish that would cover for both of us.
she would be 91 in January, so obviously a good age long lived.  the sale of her house is closing this Friday, emptied out, her daughter was bagging up her clothes in the closet while I was there visiting yesterday, everything except what she'd wear in the funeral.  whew, that was a lot to take in yesterday afternoon.
I went to crossfit next and got in a good workout and didn't say much to anyone, wasn't in the mood. came home and sat in front of a stack of papers, and couldn't get my mind on grading so just sat there and distracted myself online and cleaning house.
I woke up to a pleasant surprise. a message from a hunky PE teacher back in Portland. the man I stayed with from airbnb during my visit years ago.  he's such a little flirt randomly.  last night he sent a little message saying: hello handsome, how have you been etc...  I thought to myself wasn't it just a few weeks ago, I was lying in bed hugging the sheet or mattress and thinking of sending him a message? ha  I messaged  him back this morning with some pithy comment about not waking up with him in bed next to me, but settling for waking up to a message? I dunno I thought it sounded cute. I told him I ran a 5k last week in 26:40 and am working on my power snatch at the gym.  ( I realize now I may have over done the macho speak in the message, but whatever. ha ) so the morning started out pretty well.
I felt rather fine going to work this morning, wearing some new shoes that came in the mail yesterday with the belt i'd bought in Tulsa to match. a dark maroon shirt and maroon and paisley tie, a beautifully matching wool jacket over all etc.. you know the drill with me by now.   and... on the way to work I got a flat tire on the highway just before my exit. at first the light came on and I thought, oh low air in a tire, but as I exited on the ramp i could hear and feel a rumble rumble and while taking the road to my school, a flat flat. parked as soon as I turned into the lot at work.  And went in immediately as I was just on time, 8 am.  I had planned a fairly light day today with all 3 classes. they are turning in a major paper and then they watched a short film "Tanghi ARgentini" and writing about it over the weekend. not much instruction involved other than I like to think a moving speech from me about what they've learned now how to do and would want to carry through to other classes, writing about something and having thoughts to share about it, building up words and reasons to communicate about their logos etc etc... anyway.. the morning went very well and at 11 am I was done with 2 classes, and back out in the parking lot, in my shirt tie and new shoes alas! ha, jacking up my truck, taking the wheel off, putting on the spare.  I was pretty sure the tire was ruined but I went across the street to a garage and got their opinion, yup, ruined! they kindly aired up my spare though.  back to my office,called my local Goodyear tire garage where I always go and arranged 2 new tires ready, lunch, afternoon class at 1:30, then by 3 I was leaving work on a street north ( instead of hiway) with my spare tire on and going to get two new tires.woot.  I sat and graded papers for 30 minutes while they put on the tires, $246. and then made it home with about 10 minutes to change for gym and head back out the door. :)
I'm glad tomorrow is Friday. I hope to get as much grading done as possible with my office hours tomorrow. also this weekend I hope to get most of the papers done so I can get them back to students Tuesday on not have stuff over the holiday weekend.
I"m not going to reach my goal of writing my parents a letter before thanksgiving, but I'll still work on it and follow through before Christmas for real.  I have some friends in AR praying for me about it. and I've pretty much got down just want I want to say.  I also shopped plane tickets to Tokyo last night. an escape, a getaway! I got a wild idea about taking a trip after school is out this December for 5 days in Tokyo, just sightseeing and I want to shop the Loopwheeler store. it's a brand I have no access to in USA and just love their style.  yes I need a life. I know. I'm not travelling to Tokyo, not this year anyway ;)
happy weekend all!


Bill said...

Hey Dan, glad to see you are writing long blogs again. It is so inspiring to me to see how much you have cared for Betty. No doubt you have been an incredible blessing to her. When you took a break from blogging,I was a bit concerned. Then I couldn't find you are faculty listing online any longer. I was worried you had left your job. I still don't see you listed but I was comforted to see that you are listed still under Rate My Professor. Pretty good comments by the way. Keep up the good work!

James Dwight Williamson said...

Glad to see you are moving at WARP speed. Must be the cold weather. You must well know you have done almost as much for Betty over the years, as she has done for you. I think you have done enough that when she passes you should have no , unfinished business. You are a loyal kind man. 😊

Anonymous said...

Dear Dan,

You have been a great friend to Betty. Love reading about your garden club and Betty adventures. If you have a chance to visit again, talk to her...even if her face is scrunched in pain. I have a suspicion she can hear you even if she appears comatose.
Sorry for the loss of your friend. Your kindness is always given freely.

Celebrate a life well lived. Think of her as your personal Garden Club Guardian Angel.


sameboatdifferentocean said...

Dan -

I am interested in the letter to your parents you mentioned. I hadn't read about this before in earlier posts (maybe I missed it). What are you planning to share with them?

I have been considering a similar approach but clearly too nervous about what it might mean. I'm interested in your process and plan.

Best of luck. A big decision but a positive move.