Rest in Peace

Goodbye to Cholene Anderson, who was heavily involved in the Noble County Relay for Life and who had a great heart. If my sometimes failing memory serves, she was my study hall supervisor in high school, and sent in Merriam news items many years ago to our local newspaper.

Also goodbye to Bob Gagen. He published  the Noble County American for many, many years, and also served as Noble County Historian—I job I didn’t appreciate until he’d already passed it on to his daughter. The American printed the school newspaper I wrote for, Cat Tracks, and I remember going up to remove the Cat Tracks pages from the American printings and stack them together.

I found out about both of those deaths within minutes of each other, which amplified the shock.

Meanwhile, everyone’s little friend Izzy has had a return visit from her cancer and is once again undergoing treatment at St. Jude, so the challenges continue for Sonja Elliott and her family.

I’m just going to put this out there: 2016 has sucked so far.

50 Authors from 50 States: In the Everglades by Kenneth Weene

50 Authors from 50 States: In the Everglades by Kenneth Weene: I was fourteen, had never been on an airplane and had never been south of New York City. It was winter vacation. Our parents were alrea...

A walk in the warm

Still some snow on the ground, but we couldn't pass up a walk at 60 degrees. The Chain O' Lake campground roads were dry--mostly.

City manager unapologetic in response to 911 controversy

Sounds like somebody needs to lose their job, all right ... but not the dispatcher.

City manager unapologetic in response to 911 controversy: LISTEN | The city of Amarillo has released a third audio recording of a call between Interim City Manager Terry Childers and Amarillo Emergency Communications Center personnel.

Disregard last update

Yeah, so, I'm not going to schedule posts ahead of time anymore when it comes to family health--especially my mother's. My blogger and FB writer's page said at about 3:30 today that she was back at the nursing home, which at the time I wrote it (in the early morning) she was. Then ... well, I'll just let you read my sister Penny's account of today:

"Early this am. About 1-2am. They rushed her to Parkview Noble. Had severe bleeding in nose and throat they could not get stopped. Finally, at about 7am, they decided to transfer to FW Parkview Regional. Dr. DUMAS after much work and a lot of blood loss was able to get everything cauterized. Dad took her back to nursing home about noon when idiot male nurse abandoned us at front door of ER. Needless, to say, they weren't much help getting her into vehicle. Normally, wouldn't be a problem, but she is very week due to stroke and blood loss. Then, at 3:30pm, they kicked her out of nursing home. When, she was inpatient last week at Parkview Noble. PT Dept, walked her more than 150 ft in one of her sessions making her ineligible for inpatient rehab. Which, wouldn't be a big deal if the stroke hadn't happened. They also messed up too by forgetting to give her blood pressure medicine the whole time she was there. Guess, we may be speaking to patient advocate for a complaint next week. I just can't believe how messed up this is. I wouldn't want anybody's relative treated like this. So--Please say a prayer now that Mom is home for safety and healing!"

Another Mom Update

Mom (Linda Taylor) is out of the hospital and back at North Ridge Nursing and Rehab in Albion, where she needs to finish recovering from her knee replacement surgery and will probably now face rehab as a result of the stroke. I haven’t heard back about the neurologist she was supposed to see, and with the snow storm and work I haven’t been up there since she got back, so I can’t say what room she’s in. She’s still having double vision and headaches.

We’re guessing the chest crud that led to her pneumonia may have been with her for longer than we thought—maybe even before she had the surgery, without anyone catching it. That helps explain why it seemed to come on so suddenly.

So, between that and dealing with the snowstorm at work, it’s been a very stressful week. I should take some relaxation time, what with having this weekend off, but I’ve already made plans … to work on our taxes. That should help.

Hoosier Winters, On the Nose‏

It’s almost March (yay!), but the February 4County Mall can still be found for free in newspaper stands around the area, including outside Albion Village Foods. (Sadly, I got my copy at the entrance to Parkview Noble Hospital.) In addition to this column, the fun page, and all the deals and coupons, you can read a piece about Valentine’s Day by Lydia Waring and fiction by Rita Robbins and Nick Hayden. On the website is also a new piece by Rief Gillg, Assistant Principal at East Noble High School. 


We like our traditions here in northern Indiana: For instance, it’s traditional for us to get sick every fall and winter. All of us.
I’m as traditional as the next guy, assuming the next guy is a Hoosier, so a few years ago I decided to take it up a notch. No annual cold or flu for me, no sir! I tried strep throat but didn’t like it very much, because without a voice I couldn’t whine. So, I went for the sinus infection. Sure enough, it became as traditional as that bowl of can-shaped cranberries nobody eats at Thanksgiving.
Then I started getting three or four of them every winter—sinus infections, not cranberries. Turns out not all traditions are so great.
Now, I’m not going to go into detail about my sinus surgery, because the details are all disgusting. I once wrote a column about my prostate biopsy, and that set a high bar, but a sinusotomy has it beat. The recovery period was nothing but two weeks of “ow” and “ick”.
Still, when it was over I basked in the knowledge that my chronic illnesses would soon be a thing of the past.
Then I caught a cold.
That cold immediately settled into a sinus infection.
See, here’s the thing: It takes from twelve weeks to a year for sinuses to settle down and actually improve after sinus surgery. Until then, you’re just as prone to problems as you were before. Although by the end of a few weeks my breathing seemed better, that just made it easier for viruses to work their way up and have a party. And it was a wild party.
My wife looks after my health, by which I mean she keeps me warm, feeds me good food, and lectures me. “Drink lots of fluids. Are you taking extra vitamin C? Don’t forget the fluids. Here’s some hot tea with honey, and Echinacea. Are you drinking fluids?”
“I think I hear the dog calling your name.”
The dog wasn’t. In fact, the dog was laying at my feet, because he tends to stay close whenever he thinks I’m dying.
My doctor had a more aggressive treatment in mind. When he learned I had still another sinus infection, he gave instructions for the nurse to bring a certain type of antibiotic. The nurse replied, “Let me remove the breakables from the treatment room first, and bring in some restraints.”
Possibly I should have seen that as a warning.
My doctor is an old military man, and he explained his reasoning. “We need to keep at this until all the dogs are dead.”
“Wait, what? But I like my dog.”
“I don’t mean literally. I used to say we needed to keep at it until all the cats are dead, but people complained.”
Apparently dog owners are more laid back than cat owners. That makes sense, as dogs are more laid back than cats.
The nurse brought in two needles. “This is going to hurt.”
“No problem.” I pulled up my shirtsleeve.
“That’s not where we give it.”
I had to lay down on the treatment table—on my belly, which tells you where the shot goes. I couldn’t just bend over, because apparently this shot sometimes makes you faint. She put the first one in.
“Hey, that’s not so—aaaaauuuuggghhhhHHHH!!!!!!”
“Okay, now let’s do the other one.”
It took a day and a half for the pain to ease. I couldn’t crouch down. I couldn’t climb stairs. I couldn’t sit back against anything. Two days later I went back to the doc, who gave me a careful examination.
“Well, we’d better keep at this.”
He meant two more shots. I knew this because of the way the nurse winced when he said it. I have to admit, though, she’s got a really strong grip for patients who try to run away.
Meanwhile I still got the antibiotics by pill, which have their own issues, but at least they don’t cause people to reminisce about when they got stabbed in college. Eventually my own stabbing, the stabbing pain in my forehead, began to ease, and as I write this it’s down to a four out of ten, with watching a presidential debate being ten. The treatment was working, and metaphorical dogs and cats were dropping like flies.
Then my wife caught my cold.
I sat her down on the recliner and brought her a cup of hot tea and a box of Kleenex, while the dog laid at her feet in what I can only call a faithful deathwatch. Then I said lovingly:
“Drink lots of fluids. Are you taking extra vitamin C? Don’t forget the fluids. Here’s some hot tea with honey, and Echinacea. Are you drinking fluids?”
And that’s when she threw the Kleenex box at me. She’s a pretty good shot, too—hit me right on my sore hip.
Good thing she didn’t reach for the tea cup.
"What, he's dying? Again? Can I have his stuff?"

Still bad

Noble County area emergency dispatchers are getting multiple reports of vehicles stuck in snow drifts, or sliding off into ditches due to continuing bad road conditions. Do not travel unless absolutely necessary; if you do get stuck, do NOT leave your vehicle without notifying authorities. Be aware that plows are out but it's slow going in these conditions, while wreckers and police are being overwhelmed with calls.

It's bad, that's what I'm saying

The wet snow that fell early yesterday will keep things slippery and tend to pull vehicles off the roadway. The lighter snow that's fallen since is blowing around in increasingly high winds and causing heavy drifting, especially on east-west roads, that drivers sometimes won't see coming.

No, we're not under a declared snow emergency, so don't bother emergency dispatchers by asking--and you can find out road conditions on the radio, TV, and internet. No one can make employers close for the day; but if you absolutely have to go out, stay on the main roads as much as possible, go slowly, and use extreme caution.

Visiting grandma

Some of my favorite nieces and nephews in their Grandma Linda's hospital room.

Mom Update

In addition to a particularly rough case of pneumonia, the doctors are now saying Mom had a stroke at some point during this whole process. She’s now got a partial blockage of a carotid artery and is experiencing bad headaches and double vision—not to mention still having to recover from the knee replacement. She’s going to be seeing a neurologist at some point in the very near future, and otherwise it’s a waiting game for now … we’ll pass it on as soon as we know more.