Family, Old Diary

A Taste of My Own

On Wednesday we had what we anticipated might be our last cardiologist’s appointment for this trip.  All went well, for most of the appointment.  The meds are doing their thing and no additional visits were necessary.

The doctor left the exam room and his clinical nurse specialist finished up the paperwork.  Then she took us to the scheduler to schedule next year’s appointment.  And then came the curve ball.

Let me preface this by saying that I’m a smart guy.  I’m used to being the one who is sitting around waiting on people slower than me.  I’ve spent my lifetime waiting on other people; and that’s ok.

The nurse came around the corner and half hollered at us for 20 feet away, “Before you leave the doctor wants to talk with you again.” Ok… so we go back to the consult room and wait,  and wait,  and wait.  When he finally arrives he sits at the computer and pounds out an email and then turns to us, saying, he wants me to see another specialist,  the leading expert on something he noticed in my recent test and he wants to schedule another procedure.

Bottom line is that we’re here for a while longer.  How long — who knows.  How serious is the newly important condition?  Dunno right now.  But it is what it is; I only have one body and I’d best take care of it the best I can.

The reason for commenting is quite simple.  My whole life I’ve been the quick one.  I have known that being quick has resulted (too often) in my seeming to be rude and impolite.  To me — I was just skipping the overture and going straight for the meat of matters — but other people weren’t seeing that.  To them I was abrupt, or rude, or I didn’t take their opinions into consideration.  That I had considered those options/opinions already, chosen among them and was ready to proceed didn’t seem acceptable to others because they weren’t part of the conversation.  But that didn’t change the fac that I had acted upon due consideration.

The doctor that I’ve been seeing this month and a half is one of the few people in my life who behaves towards me the way I have behaved toward others.  I see and hear it in everything he does.  I won’t say it annoys me — though I know it annoys Peggy.  What it has done is give me a better insight in how I come across to other people.

If you want to be understood,
You have to make yourself understandable.

I am committed to a very simple idea:  if you want to be understood, you have to make yourself understandable.  I’ve been trying, trying, trying, my whole life.  That doesn’t mean I can’t be who I am; it means that I am aware of the hurdles I’ve put in the way of being understood and when it’s important for me to be understood it’s up to me to find a way over those hurdles.

It’s not my place to tell my doctor his bedside manor could use some improvement.  I’m the patient and I’m coming to him for his expertise.  That his expertise might come with some personal quirks goes with the territory.  Really smart people all have their quirks.

But what I can do is take a lesson from life and redouble my efforts to make my own communication clear and concise.  Perhaps sometimes not quite SO precise.  One of my bosses — 30 years ago — taught me the three rules he lived by.  He was a Lt. Col. in the military and I’ve never been sure whether they were rules he learned in the Army but they are very simple:

Be Specific,
Plan Ahead,
Don’t Assume

You know — people don’t always like it when you’re specific, and plan ahead, and don’t assume!  While we were at the doctors’ office the nurse was processing the renewal prescription for my new meds.  The new scrip involves taking 1 1/2 pills at a time, instead of 2, and the length of time we were writing the scrips for was only 60 days instead of my normal 90 day refill cycle.  It’s amazing how a little bit of math can throw you when you are accustomed to doing things by habit.  It took three tries to get the scrip right.  The first one was wrong because of the 1 pill or 1 1/2 pill thing.  The second was wrong because of the quantity:  60 times 3 pills per day is 180 pills, not 120 pills.  I think nothing of correcting a professional when I know they have not got the thing right.  But it’s a reminder that following simple rules is really important:  in this case, not assuming that the prescription was written correctly just because the pharmacist handed me a bottle.SLOW

So, I’m going forward trying to be a little less rude, and a little less brisk.  I know I’ll never stop being who I am, but I can try to be less irritating to others.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.  Maybe tomorrow we’ll have yet another wrinkle in our departure plans, or some other doctor to go visit. 🙂 🙂

P.S.:  Just in case anyone thinks this doctor doesn’t deserve my trust.  The nurse called at the end of business to apologize for the mixup with the scrip, to let me know about their follow-up on two matters related to my visit and to clarify questions I had.  They are a bit unorthodox in their way but they are efficient in the life and death things that matter.    

Old Diary

It’s Sweet to Spend Time with Family

This trip home is actually the first time we have really ‘stayed over’ with our daughter and son-in-law.  When we all lived in Milwaukee there wasn’t much need/sense on sleeping in someone else’s bed.  And on our prior returns to Milwaukee we always had our coach with us and why wouldn’t we sleep in our own bed then?  So, being here for few days is kind of a trial run for us to see how this works out — and it works out just fine.

I have often said that Michael (Katy’s husband) is the only one of her boyfriends that we ever would have wanted as a Son in Law and he is a gem.  We’ve seen him in many different roles, as friend, mechanic, co-driver, parent — and now we get to see him in the role of ‘innkeeper’.  🙂   He’s doin’ well.   We’re well fed, and attended to.

The kids have officially been in their new home only about 4 months now I believe — they finally got the occupancy permit for their remodeled old factory-into-home in December so the are still getting settled in and learning what it’s like to live in a different space.  And it’s quite a switch for Michael especially because he and Katy bought his parent’s home shortly after getting married — so he has lived in that one building for almost all his life — save maybe 4 or 5 years.  Getting to the point that any place feels like home except the old homestead is a significant challenge.  But he’s settling in.  And being in this place — with no stairs — at the same time as his foot is healing from major reconstructive surgery is a real blessing.  After the better part of 3 months he’ll be out of his walking boot in another week or so (he finally got done with crutches only a week or two ago).

Tuesday we spent mostly at the hospital / clinic.  Our doctor’s office is adjacent to the hospital complex, and is part of the organization Peggy worked for for 33+ years.  So, it’s familiar territory.  Wandering the halls of the actual hospital brings back memories for her — she started working there in Environmental Sanitation (read that as cleaning patient rooms) before moving into the office and ultimately ending up in charge of the Refund Department and overseeing (at one time) 12 other people.  So, it’s an interesting time of mixed emotions whenever we go there.  My dad was in that hospital at least once in every quarter for the five years he lived beyond my mom’s passing, and he had two open heart surgeries in that building.  As I say — lots of memories — both good and not so good.

Medical SymbolWhen we asked the doctor about a referral to a surgeon she sent us to a colleague who’s name we didn’t know. I hate going to medical professionals I don’t know.  I’ve been with this same doctor since she was fresh out of Med School.  We joke that once she started as a ‘practicing physician’ she started practicing on me! And there is a kernel of truth in saying that what she knows about medicine she learned from me. 🙂

All that being said… We are growing old together.  Neither of us is as young as we used to be.  She has gray hair too — not as many as I do, but that’s OK — I don’t hold that against her.  She also leaves her nappy hair more natural nowadays —  not sure if she’s trying to look younger or just getting tired of dealing with it.  But we always laugh and joke and have a good time — fortunately, most of the time when we visit it’s not for anything terrible.  Peg needs to get in the habit of actually seeing her every year — she’s terrible about not wanting to visit the doctor.  I have been seeing her 2X  a year for …. blimey…. maybe 35 years… to get my blood pressure meds re-upped. It’s quite a comfortable relationship.  I hope she doesn’t go and retire on me!  Now that I think about it — I may have put her kids through college.  (Just kidding)


Old Diary

The Doctor’s in the House


Two days after the ice storm in Central Texas the ice was still melting off buildings.

We got a lot done on Monday. The our G.P. was in, saw Peggy, and quickly referred her to a surgeon while also putting her on antibiotics. Luckily the surgeon had an opening for Tuesday, so we make another trip to the office today for blood work, a bone density test and a meeting with the surgeon.

And, being out of the car for a day I had time to upload a few pictures from the quick trip up to WI.

Michael put our car on his computer and found another reason the check engine line was coming on — the local dealer had the part in stock so we’ll have Mike install that in the next day or so.

I got my MacPro out of storage and spent much of the day with the computer downloading software.  I’m going to try taking the tower back to Texas with us and see whether it’s practical to use it in the coach.  If not — we can return it to storage in September when we get back to Wisconsin.

We had time to get some glasses adjusted, and run a few little errands.

The check-engine problems have had me thinking about the life of our CR-V.  I’m NOT in any hurry to replace cars, but needing to get the parts meant that I was going to be at the dealership so we took a look at the new Honda FIT.  It’s a lot smaller than our CR-V and it’s on the list of 2015 Towables — but after talking with the dealer we came away with a recommendation NOT to tow a FIT.  That’s interesting and one of the reasons I get frustrated with dealerships.  I downloaded the FIT owners manual and there it is…. auto transmission — no.  manual transmission — yes.  These guys gotta get their act together.

I think that considering I haven’t thought much about cars in the 10 years we have had it.  So, even though we aren’t going to do anything about replacing the CR-V I think it’s about time that we at least did a little competitive research and checked out some of the other possibilities.  After finding that the Mini Cooper and Fiat 500 both require Premium fuel, that makes it more likely that we’ll look at two Hyundai versions, a model or two of Kia, and the Toyota/Scion/Yaris line where there are three possible models.  At least when we are done there will be some basis upon which to move forward.   I’m still hoping that this last repair is going to put the recent problems to an end but if not I don’t want to be making trips to different auto dealerships all the time; I might talk myself into something.

I-44 runs along the old US-66 route and this rest area in MO decided to do a riff on Hwy 66 in their picnic area.  Cute.

I-44 runs along the old US-66 route and this rest area in MO decided to do a riff on Hwy 66 in their picnic area. Cute.

Even though we probably could have gotten Peg’s health issue taken care of in Texas we have been chomping at the bit to get out and do something or go somewhere — so this has been a good excuse for a roadtrip.  I’m glad we did it.  We still don’t know how long we’ll be gone — Maybe after talking to the surgeon tomorrow we’ll either be recuperating or know how many days before a surgery schedule and then we can make plans for a return trip.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.


Peggy in front of some of the small landscape plants at Palmdale.


Old Diary

A Visit With A Friend

An uneventful drive brought us to Chatham and the oh so lovely home of our longtime Friend Debbie.  She was Peggy’s co-worker for years at Aurora Health Care and she rented an apartment in the same building with us.  We’ve enjoyed staying in touch after she moved to Illinois, and we are looking forward to a good chin-wag with her and possibly her cousin Sharon whom we also know.

Our agent wasn’t so happy about our going away. “What if the buyer wants to do their showing while you’re gone.”   Well, I leave you a key.  Whatchathink?  We dropped the key on the way out of town through the agents mail drop and off we went.

It was good we weren’t in Journey for the trip. With headwinds +23mph it would not have been nearly as fun a drive as it was in the CR-V but hey — we had our big girl panties on and it was fun anyway!.   Forsythias were blooming, and pear trees, and dogwoods and redbuds and…. well,  Spring has sprung in Middle Illinois, that’s for sure.


Chin wagging among old friends is always a good time and it seems we had a lot to catch up on.  Debbie’s a stinker and some of her big news she didn’t bother telling us; but hey — not everyone rattles on in a blog like I do!

Arriving close to dinner time we had a choice to make:  where to eat?  We ended up at a little place that used to be a Pizza joint — and has turned into Vietnanmese and Thai — and was it ever tasty.  WoW.  Loved it.  Good company, good food ( except maybe for the shrimp suimai which was tasty enough but just not the right thing for our group ) and a nice subdued atmosphere. Debbie had a chance to get some sweet sour chicken, I went for SpIcY glass noodles with tofu and Peg played it safe somewhere in between my spicy and Deb’s sweet.  All were good and we left sated.

The WX forecast has slipped a bit,  what was supposed to be warm and sunny will now most likely turn into warm and drizzly.

We’ve made some plans for post closing — more on that tomorrow.

numeral 41Talk to ya tomorrow.