They’re telling me that it’s a perfect October day outside, and here I sit, trapped in this “mud hole.” This became a family phrase many years ago when Bill and I went to visit our former school administrator who developed dementia when he was in his late eighties and began wandering away from home. His wife who was over ninety herself was forced to put him in the Hooks Rehab Lock-down Facility at Community Hospital.
We were distressed when we visited him, and this intelligent, charming man begged us to get him out of that place. “Here I am, trapped in this mud hole, while Mary’s out dancin’ all night!”
Now I understand how he felt. I feel as if I’m going to go bughouse if I don’t get out of the hospital room where I have ended up after a heart attack. As I expected following various stays at Community East, the care has been absolutely superlative. Unfortunately, my father’s family curse is plaque in the arteries. I’ve had balloon angioplasties, operations on my carotids and a terrifying attack of aphasia where I couldn’t process language during a stroke in my brain. Various tests indicate that my arteries are so bad that I cannot have bypass surgery.
And now? I want out of here! I shall go home where I shall live more in the mind than in bodily experience. I cannot do that here. Mind you, this tastefully decorated, pristine room with half bath is no mud hole! We shan’t mention the horrible beds and godawful pillows, but the cabinetry is a model of sleek efficiency. All that is necessary to maintain a body is here. However, there is nothing that refreshes my soul, and my necessary connection with nature is severed because I cannot see out a window.
Home! Everything that I truly need or want is here: I have left the room with the greenhouse window from where I can watch our magnificent oak and come down the hall to our bedroom for a respite. All the people I love best are there: Vicki and my son (in-law) Tom, our grandboys, their beloveds and little great-granddaughter, Adalyn. Faithful Lilydog is there, and Pusscatkin is curled up near me. Friends or relatives call from time to time. A note arrives from a reader; cousin Wayne and John call. I am so wealthy!
And Bill . . . Bill is here forever. This week we shall celebrate our 54th anniversary.
A large print of the great Monet’s water lilies soothes my spirit and reminds me of when Bill and I visited the lily ponds at Giveruy. A painting of Piazza San Marco brings memories of our times there. Next to my bed is my great grandmother Black’s table upon which she kept her Bible. Also on the table is the prehistoric grinder stone found on the Old Home Place of my Kelly ancestors and an iron cowbell forged on the farm that my cousin Carol gave me. These objects bring me comfort and a sense of continuity.
Oh glory, glory, glory! I awakened at first light and watched the passage of the sun all day across the tulip tree outside our window. A mixture of green and yellow leaves, it is bathed now in golden sunlight.
To all who read my columns: I have loved my life, and you have nourished my connection to humanity. Below is one of my very favorite songs.
Oh it’s a long long while
From May to December,
But the days grow short
When you reach September.
When the autum weather
Turns the leaves to flame
One hasn’t got time for the waiting game.
Oh the days dwindle down to a precious few—
And these few precious days
I’ll spend with you—
These golden days
I’ll spend with you.
—Kurt Weil, “September Song”
Other News This Week
- 200 Years Ago: Feb. 16-22
- My Left Foot
- “Singin’ in the Rain” at Garfield Park
- The Reel West Exhibit at Eiteljorg Examines Westerns
- World War I 100 Years Ago: Feb. 16-22
- Neighborhoods May be Impacted by North Split Reconstruction
- Come Visit the Catacombs
- Frank Reich Will Guide the Horseshoe
- “The Bridges of Madison County” at Footlite Musicals
- The Town Mouse and The Country Mouse at the IRT
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