Saturday, August 31, 2013


I've been very unsettled and disturbed since I decided to move. Getting here and moving in has made my unease even worse. Last night I picked up a book by James Gleick entitled Chaos. The book describes a new science that describes the effect of small changes and how they make big differences in systems. and how they operate. Here I am making changes in where and how I live and I can't predict the effect these changes will have on my life. Chaos doesn't describe pandemonium or randomness, Chaos describes a new system of complexity. My life has taken on a new dimension that will change lots of actions and outcomes. I can't predict them because chaos theory's complexity removes the future from the  set of known properties. I'm getting it back together. Maybe this move won't be the disaster I was afraid it was.  

Thursday, August 15, 2013

New Experience for My Old Age

I've gotten to be old without having much in the way of sickness and trauma. I don't want to brag too much about that, but, not to fear, I have now experienced my first operation. I've had stitches for various reasons, I've had 6 kids and a few illnesses, but this week I have "gone under the knife."

After 12 hours of severe pain in my abdomen, I surrendered to my daughter's suggestion that I should seek assistance from a hospital. She assured me that this symptom was sufficient reason to justify further investigation. I kept thinking that if I just waited a while it would quit. Not wishing to be labeled a fool, I agreed to go to whatever hospital she chose. She picked the one where she works. If I didn't have a preference, she could make it easy on herself. 

The Mission Regional Medical Center was very efficient and prompt with their response to my needs. The emergency staff assessed my distress quickly and provided prompt relief. The next day a very good surgeon removed my gall bladder, and the day after that a very good gastroenterologist removed a very large stone from my common bile duct. 

I can't say this is one of the things on my bucket list, but I am very grateful for the compassionate care I received. I don't know the names of the host of people who made this experience tolerable. But I'll not forget to give thanks to God for them for a long time to come. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Bored or Lonely? You Don't Have To Be

Old age is often saddled with the burden of loneliness.  The condition may be real or perceived. There are probably people who would assess me as lonely. I live alone in a retirement home. I don't play cards or dominoes. I don't have friends in "the home." although I am becoming acquainted with other residents. My daughter has visited me a couple of times in the last week and I have had calls from out of town family. I really don't consider myself lonely. There are some things I wish were different. I wish I could go shopping whenever I want, but I am limited to the scheduled shopping trips. I wish I could attend Bible study when I wanted, but, again, I am limited by the scheduled trips. These are other factors that aren't adapted to my taste or choice, but I would argue with the social workers or other professionals who would label me lonely.

I enjoy living alone. I can pursue reading, writing, TV, walks to view the foliage, birds, and fish. I enjoy surfing the net and writing random observations, poetry, and biblical commentary. Because of these solitary activities I might appear lonely. I'm not. I like this.

Those who would call me lonely need to find a new occupation. I'm not lonely. I have been told that the loneliest one can ever be is in a crowd. I believe it. It's not the number of people surrounding you that prevents loneliness. It has a lot more to do with interest or connection or, maybe, love. I think sharing prevents loneliness. Remembering eases the pain of loneliness when you focus on the joyous events of your life. Another practice that will relieve you from a life of loneliness is humor. Think about how Robin Williams or Jim Carry would handle your situation on screen. 

If you are getting old, look for the benefits, recount the lessons you have learned, and maintain your perspective. Getting old is not a bad thing. Living in "the home" is not necessarily evil, boring, or hopeless, either. Don't let someone else tell you how to deal with old age. It's your old age. Enjoy it!  

Friday, August 9, 2013

Food A Powerful Control Method

You learn a lot of new stuff when you move to "the home." The list may be endless, but there are a few that have risen to the top of the pile just in the first week of my new adventure. First, mealtimes is the no. 1 consideration. Mealtimes order my day, dictate my observations, and provide my surprises. Of course, my schedule is controlled by mealtime. It takes a fairly long time to accomplish a meal here. The servers are diligent, but depending on where you sit, you may be last to get served. Office staff are active in the serving, too. They pour coffee, which I don't drink, and will get a second glass of tea if asked. 

Do you refer to the evening meal as dinner or supper? My custom was to call it supper and the noon meal dinner. That is the standard here. The noon meal is the largest and most filling so I guess it's proper to say dinner. Most of the meals take longer to finish than reason would allow. The delay in getting everybody served is the cause of this elongated mealtime. It takes an hour, usually, to finish. Sometimes it seems endless, but it does prevent overeating. That last bite that would make me overstuffed has time for consideration, and I usually don't take it.taste

A great deal of the mealtime conversation centers on the menu and recipes. Remember the school lunchroom? It's sort of like that. You may recognize what it is, but it's not the way Mama fixed it. And you don't have to clean your plate anymore. I keep peanut butter and jelly for emergencies.

Mealtimes also provide many opportunities for intellectual puzzles and word games. Trying to guess what will actually be on the plate with only the title of the dish on the menu may be very challenging. I have discovered one reason for this anomaly. The menus are dictated by the corporate office of the company which runs "the home," and they seem to be totally insensitive to the availability of local foods. I think the chef actually tries to make the food follow the menu and also taste good.  Sometimes you have to choose one or the other. 

Peanut butter and jelly is a good safety net.