ROUNDED EDGES ARE A PLUS


I fell! I fell while getting out of bed to pee last night. I am OK as of now. The emergency room doctor told me to be alert to any changes in how I feel. There is a slight chance of cranial bleeding as I take blood thinners. I feel fine. It is my good fortune that my brain implants were not damaged. My head hit a heavy oak night stand that thankfully has substantially rounded edges and I did not suffer a penetrating blow due to sharp edges. The impact was near my left temple. The impact point is slightly swollen but not discolored. We applied an ice pack immediately and that seemed to reduce the swelling and discoloration. I am very fortunate to have not suffered a serious injury.

My memory of the events of the fall are only partially available to me. I remember throwing the bed covers back, nothing of the fall itself until the impact, and complete disorientation for a moment. I never lost consciousness and was able to walk out the bedroom to seek help. I think what happened is that I slipped off of the edge of the bed and lost control of my movement and fell, hitting my head in the process. My only recourse is to be very deliberate and move slowly when getting out of bed in the future.

I view this falling event as a valuable wake up call. I will certainly be more aware of the hazards I face as I go about my daily life. I must be much more careful.

 

WORN OUT FAUCET, NEW FAUCET, ALL IS WELL – WRONG!


David, my son, and his wife Jeanie are constantly working to maintain our home to the high standards set by my wife Patty when she was alive. David and Jeanie recently pointed out to me that the the kitchen sink faucet was worn out and leaking and they proposed that we install a new one. I readily agreed and David purchased a new faucet and installed it without any significant difficulty. We did not suspect that we were  engaged in an enterprise which would provide absolute proof of the truth of the old adage “No good deed shall go unpunished”. We later realized we had a problem when the area under the sink was discovered to be flooded. The connecting lines were leaking! After a brief interval of finger pointing and blame assignment, we decided that continuing down that particular path was not in keeping with our mutual goal of fixing the leak. We then went through a period of time involving the inspection of relevant washers and the purchase and installation of new ones.The end result is that we called our plumber and made an appointment for him come the next day and fix the leaks. Later, after the plumber said he would be delayed by a day, we resolved to fix the leaks ourselves and cancelled the appointment. By unanimous consent, we agreed that my continued active participation in the work would stop. This had already proved to be somewhat counterproductive. I had came to the realization that my only proper role in the project was that of a spectator. David and Jeannie were unable to find the source of the leaks and, after an overnight timeout, we reexamined the various washers. David discovered that the the shutoff valve washers, installed on the advice of a ‘big box hardware store’ clerk, were made of an inappropriate material and were too small in diameter to work in that particular shutoff valve in any case. A case of the blind leading the blind. A trip to our local Ace hardware store, where the correct washers were purchased, led to the elimination of the leaks. Problem solved at last! Jeannie then proceeded with the task of cleaning up the mess accumulated during the period when the faucet was being installed. She ran the garbage disposal and was very surprised when the waste water discharged into the area under the sink and onto her shoes instead of down the drain. We quickly determined the drain pipes were misaligned and leaking. They were probably disturbed sometime during the ‘fix the leaks’ work described above. Fixing the pipes was easy but the cleanup was not. Wiping up all that ground up uneaten cat food was not fun.

As of now, the new faucet is working OK and we are recovering nicely.

SHOULD I LOOK FORWARD TO ANYTHING?


I read SCIENCE magazine as a way to maintain my awareness of what is going on in the world of science. In the 23 November issue there are several articles which caused me to question my ongoing lack of interest in subjects which seem to require that I must live a long time so that I might learn the outcome of work being done in the present. I am 86 years old and this line of thought seems reasonable for me. However, my recent reading of SCIENCE magazine articles caused me to uncharacteristically hope that I would be around in order to bear witness to what the outcomes of these projects would be. Also, I recently read the summary section of the US Government climate change report that was released the Friday after Thanksgiving day (2018). What I read made me comfortable with the certainty that I would not live to see the worst of what is coming for the humans of our world. We are now seeing for ourselves the early effects of climate change. I am convinced we Humans are in line to experience some terrible events. Read the report for yourselves if you believe I have succumbed to an unwarranted alarmist point of view regarding climate change. This was the context of what I was thinking about when I read the SCIENCE articles. It is confusing to me to entertain draconian thoughts about the future effects of climate change and at the same time try to look optimistically toward a future reward of increased insight into science subjects. I suspect I am not alone in being confused in this way.

The first of the SCIENCE articles is entitled “ASIA SET TO TAKE CENTER STAGE IN HIGGS STUDIES”. The existence of the Higg’s Boson was confirmed in 2012 by tests conducted at the CERN proton beam collider, located in Switzerland. This is a very large and expensive machine by any standard. It will be used to conduct more Higg’s tests over the next several years to refine the original confirming data. However, the exploration of the physics of the Higg’s boson depends on future tests which require higher energy levels than which is available using the CERN collider. The article informs the reader that China  and Japan are the only nations that seem willing to provide the several Billions of dollars necessary to build the higher energy colliders. The US Government does not seem to be interested in pursuing the matter. The work has the potential of lifting our understanding of the physics of matter to a higher level of understanding. Another article, with the title CRACKING THE CAMBRIAN, advances the notion that fieldwork now underway to obtain newer fossils of life forms from the Cambrian era and new technology instruments, that will be used to analyze them, will combine to provide a much richer understanding of how life evolved on Earth, perhaps we will learn more about how life began on Earth. New advances in artificial biology are described in ARTIFICIAL CELLS GAIN COMMUNICATION SKILLS. Other articles include LUXE RESEARCH SHIP TO EXPLORE THE DEEP OCEAN and NASA TO PAY PRIVATE SPACE COMPANIES FOR MOON RIDES. Taken together, these articles suggest to me that the next ten years will be filled with many new and exciting discoveries in the world of science. However, I am convinced the World political order will be challenged as never before, in the same period of time, by deleterious environmental changes. It is obvious to me the collective response of the human race in mitigating and adapting to the World’s climate change will determine the fate of mankind. The present political situation in the United States does not tempt me to believe the prognosis for us is anything other than grim!

 

 

 

 

A NEW EXPERIENCE FOR ME AND A BUG BITE ADDED


I have been undergoing a new experience for me. My body is retaining water and this is evident in my swollen legs. My doctor had prescribed a diuretic to deal with the leg swelling when he was first presented with my problem. When I returned for a  followup visit, he saw that my legs were not improved and he immediately put me into the hospital. He said he wanted to “dry me out” and run some tests. I informed my son, who had brought me to the doctor’s office, that we were undergoing a change in plans; we were going to the Lakewood Medical Center and I was going to be admitted as a patient and I was going to be ‘dried out’. After a short drive to the medical center, and the signing of many, many consent and acknowledgement forms, I was reintroduced to the ‘hospital gown’ and its drawbacks (pun intended), the joy of trying to find, by trial and error, a suitable location for the IV needle, and a pee bottle to measure my ‘output’. I quickly learned that ‘diuretic by IVee’ plus a Pee bottle plus a hospital gown equals big mess. Ballet it is not, but I learned some new moves in a short time and managed to avoid any major spills in so doing. Soon after we began this ‘drying out’ process, I noticed that the IV pump was very frequently signaling its ‘displeasure’ with the status of the IVee line (flex tubing) by making a loud, periodic, and irritating noise. The  noise seemed to be an alert , aimed at everyone in the vicinity of the IVee pump, that something was amiss and some action must be taken. The action finally taken was to relocate the IVee site to yet another place on my arm to minimize the chance of arm movement causing a IVee line kink and more alarms. Now I know why my wife Patty said she felt like a pin cushion when she was in the hospital.

While in the hospital I was put on a special diet that required low sodium  food preparation. That, and my age related loss of my ability to properly taste my food, meant you could have fed me cardboard and I would have been just as satisfied. Take away taste and one is left with presentation and texture (mouth feel?) as the remaining factors that allow me some satisfaction in eating my food. The food that I was served at Lakewood Medical Center was uniformly good; I cleaned my plate at each meal even though I could taste very little of what I ate. Loss of appetite was not my problem. The quality and consistency of these two food  factors are largely controlled by people and this demonstrates to me that LMC must have a very capable staff in their kitchen. 

In the hospital I was bitten on the back of my left hand by some kind of insect. I first noticed the bite while I was washing my hands and I  felt a sharp pain in my left hand. When I investigated I observed a rapidly increasing swelling on the back of my left hand. I showed my hand to the nurse and she drew a line round the area of the swelling with a felt pen. We watched in amazement as the swelling doubled in area as we watched. There was little pain. After a short while, my skin began to appear as though I had been bruised. Although several nurses were involved in the incident, no further mention of the bite was made by hospital personnel. Since I was experiencing no great discomfort, I did not pursue the matter and I was discharged from the Hospital. Since that time the discoloration has almost gone away and there has been no new swelling or pain. There is however a hard lump at the original site of the swelling. I do not know what I will do at this point except I will mention the episode to my doctor when I see him on Monday. I am moderately concerned about the possibility of future problems such as Lyme’s disease.

 

JUST THROW THEM AWAY!


Several years ago, as part of a garage cleaning frenzy (Parkinson’s has now  freed me of that particular malady), I had concluded that my practice of using Kodak slide carousels  for the purpose of long term storage of slides was not very smart. So, being a person who thinks of himself as being not ‘not smart’, I  transferred the slides to newly acquired storage boxes in anticipation of someday “doing something with my slides”. The remainder of my slides stayed in the familiar yellow Kodak boxes. I had been wondering what I was going to do with the now surplus carousels and I had concluded it would be a shame to deprive someone of the opportunity to own these ‘like new’ wonders of days past. I had what seemed a good idea – give them to the Goodwill store. I tried to do that without success. They informed me they had learned the hard way the truth of the matter – no one wanted Kodak carousels with the exception of the trashman. This is the point in my narrative where I confess to having vague fears of retribution action that would befall me if I did actually throw them away. The fears that I harbored turned out to be unjustified because nothing bad happened to me (that I know of – one never knows for sure) when I did throw them into the trash bin and they became somebody else’s problem.

Recently, I started the work associated with ‘doing something with my slides’. This ‘something’ entails transfering all my slides into archival storage boxes where they will await my scanning of each slide into a digital file where they will reside, in digital format,  for a long while. This enterprise frees up a lot of ‘useful’ yellow boxes that I will eventually have to deal with. Here is my problem: I am feeling the same vague fear of retribution that I experienced when I contemplated throwing away the carousels. Is this fear somehow related to the bad vibes I  feel when I use my digital camera? I hope this is not some kind of  universal, Kodak related, psychic backlash leftover from the loss of the film camera market because of  the advent of digital technology. But the bad vibes are easily dealt with by recounting to myself the many ways new, image related, tasks are accomplished with digital files. I have still yet to determine the fate of the yellow boxes. Its true, they are useful, so maybe I will find a good home for them.

FAMILY AND FRIENDS OF PATTY JOHNSON – LISTEN UP!


After much thought, I have decided that my wife, if she could, would probably, after a lot of discussion between us,  forgive me for going ahead with a plan  for a gathering of her friends and members of her family, in spite of her expressed desire that no great fuss be made. But I know that Patty and I were of like mind when it came to caring for the well being of our family and friends and I understand the importance to friends and family of saying goodbye to your loved ones. So, we came to the conclusion that we are going to have to make a fuss, a ‘party’ if you will, to allow people to demonstrate their love and respect for the life you led. Let’s make it a good one!

I have also consulted with my three sons and we have decided to host the ‘gathering of Patty’s  family and friends’ with the purpose of celebrating her life. 

Here is the status of our planning thus far:

  1. In order to give people plenty of advance notification of the event, we plan to set a date that is about six months from now. We will set the date ASAP.
  2. We need to have an estimate of how many may attend as we want to choose an appropriate place to hold the event. We do not want to overlook anyone and you can help us by telling us who in your circle may want to attend. It probably will be held indoors. I am considering the facility at the City of Lakewood Civic Center. 
  3. We will serve a buffet lunch.
  4. We want to plan a program which allows plenty of time for people to share their experiences knowing Patty. She was a ‘one-of-a-kind’ person and the program will reflect that.
  5.   We are planning for the showing of images of her life as recorded by the cameras wielded by family and friends. I hope this ‘slide show’ will serve as a reminder of your ‘Patty  experiences’ and will prompt you to share these with those attending. We encourage you to share in advance with us any images which we may want to include in the show. It is my hope that by gathering together and sharing our experiences as members of her family or as one of her many friends, we will become better able to accept her sudden passing from our lives. I  know how difficult this can be but it is important for those she loved so much to do so.   
  6. We welcome any suggestions you may want to offer us as we go forward.with our planning.

CONFRONTING THE UNKNOWN: SCANNING MY 35mm COLOR SLIDE ‘COLLECTION’


I started to amass my ‘collection’ of 35mm color slides in 1961; that is the year in which I bought my first 35mm SLR camera. It was a very basic Pentax H1a model and I soon added a 135 mm telephoto lens. I have since photographed my family, my extended family, friends, all manner of railroad subjects, my mountaineering activities, family vacation trips, museums and all manner of things that interested me. Other than a cursory showing of the slides after the film was developed, nothing was done with the color slides – they were put away in their familiar yellow Kodak boxes and essentially forgotten. I have come to the conclusion the benign storage of the slides, that was the result of this neglect, was the key favorable factor in now my finding the slides to be in very good condition, in spite of their age. I am eighty five years old and have Parkinson’s disease; age has not been as kind to me as my color slides. One year ago my wife died and and her death left me in a bad place with respect to my general health. I felt I needed some activity to direct my thoughts away from the loneliness that comes with the loss of one’s spouse. I am computer literate and I have a capable computer plus a 35 mm film scanner and several years ago I had embarked on a project to organize and scan my railroad slides into a digital format. This scanning project has expanded to include ALL of my slides. This is a time consuming project and that is good for me. This slide project has proven to be a good way for me to come closer to accepting my life as it is unfolding. In fact, the scanning of my slide collection has turned into an ‘ad hoc’ way of confronting the feeling of loneliness that has been with me since my wife died but I have no grand expectation this feeling of loneliness will change for the better any time soon. The best I can bring myself to hope for is a gradual improvement in my mood.The memories of the events of my life with Patty are refreshed by the viewing of images of long past events. It is amazing to me how much I remember of long ago events as I watch the memory-refreshing images reveal themselves on the computer screen. Just as amazing are the times that I have no memory of a particular event that is clearly a part of my life. I do not have a clue as to why my memory is so selective. The feelings that accompany the memory refreshing viewing of the images are of a bittersweet nature for me. These memories flood into my consciousness and they sometimes overwhelm me. However, the continued viewing of these slides remind me of how much I owe Patty for the many good things that have come my way during the life I have experienced so far. This viewing also has the unfortunate effect of reminding me how much I personally lost when she died – no words can adequately express the sense of loss that I feel, but I also believe having had Patty as my life partner for sixty six years has helped equip me with the strength to cope with my loneliness. Her positive attitude and demeanor, in particular during her final bout with breast cancer, left me with a profound sense of how fortunate I was to have been her husband for sixty six years.

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