Nursing Home Musings

I’ve been going through a lot of old papers stashed away for years, mostly unfinished symphonies. 😉 Among them was an even longer version this poem I’ve decided to edit and post. (I remember now why I never finished it before. 🙂 )

Having worked in seniors’ homes over the years, I’ve seen various sides to this issue. I’ve seen parents whose children do visit often, and parents whose children, for some (often valid) reason, don’t. I’m curious to know what you think as you read this senior’s musings. Do you think her complaint’s valid, is she forgetting how often her children do visit, or is she whining too much?

Where Are My Children Tonight?

I’m lonely tonight in this old nursing home,
wishing that one of my children would come.
The visitors passing glance down but don’t care
to speak to the woman that sits in this chair.
I see them arriving; they come with a smile
to visit their parents and chat for awhile.
I do hope my children come see me tonight.

I’d love it if one of my boys would drop by
to talk of old times, even just to say “Hi”;
or my daughters—they surely could think of their Mom?
But it seems so long since anyone’s come.
I wonder what they are all doing tonight?

When Dad passed away, the children were good
to come to the service and cry like they should;
they took care of the will and the funeral, too,
and they said, “Mom, don’t worry. We’ll look after you.”
Be nice if they’d drop in to visit tonight.

They said, “Mom, you’re too frail for living alone.
The best thing for you is a good nursing home.”
And then we won’t worry that you’ll get sick or fall
So they came to admit me and signed papers all.
I’m safe in this place, but where are they tonight?

When my children were little I was busy all day
I had so few minutes to hear what they would say.
Now I have all this time and would love to just sit
and gather my brood for a good long visit.
Oh, please let my children come see me tonight!

We gave them so much—all we could afford—
and I marvel to think of the money we poured
into their schooling, fed and clothed them for years.
Now they’re busy each day with their friends and careers.
No time to drop in on their mother tonight.

Do they think back with fondness on their childhood years?
How should I have raised them so they would be here?
Now I’m just an old woman sitting here in this chair
hoping they will remember and show proof that they care
for their mother and still come to see me tonight.

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One Little Patch

“And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.” I Corinthians 12:26

The Apostle Paul is telling us that when one member of the body suffers, the whole body will feel it. I learned this first-hand one day when my tympani, or eardrum, received a tiny patch. A few hours after the deed was done my whole head was suffering with that little spot.

When I was in my thirties I had tubes put in my ear drums so I wouldn’t have to live with tympani-rupturing infections. The tubes remained for years until one by one they fell out, leaving little holes. My ear specialist deemed it wise to patch these holes, one at a time.

Into the operating room I went. He snipped a bit of skin from the back of my ear and tacked it over the hole, then he packed something into the outer ear canal to hold the patch in place.

This procedure called for a general anesthetic, which meant my whole body had to bear with the little member. I couldn’t eat or drink before surgery; my stomach grumbled about that. Coming out of the anesthetic after surgery my stomach felt queasy and my head felt fuzzy and unbalanced. My feet had extra work to keep my woozy body upright when the nurse insisted I take a short walk around the room. Later in the evening I suffered with a cross between a headache and an earache. All because of one microscopic piece of skin.

Thankfully the operation was successful, the site’s healed nicely and I no longer have a hole in that eardrum.

The Apostle Paul was speaking of the Church, referred to as the earthly body of Jesus Christ. As we become members of that holy body of believers, “knit together in love,” when one suffers everyone feels it. Every member has a place to fill, a work to do in the body, and if one is weak or AWOL others have to make corrections for him or her. I appreciate how much my fellow Christians bear with my faults.

We all have some weaknesses and irritating habits others need to bear with. Some Christians are recovering from past emotional damage. They may be fearful and suspicious. We’ve all been scarred by the consequences of temptations we’ve yielded to. And we’re not surrounded by people who always speak kind, edifying words. Gossip and harsh words from family, neighbours and co-workers may wound us. Plus, the Bible warns us that our enemy hurls “fiery darts” our way and some of them hit tender spots.

Unlike medical men, God makes repairs without knocking the his children out. If we are willing and obedient to follow directions, He brings us into situations that strengthen our weak areas and gives us courage in spite of our shortcomings. We can be serving Him to the best of our ability, still He constantly performs those small surgeries necessary to cure our hurts, fears, frustrations. Over time He skillfully removes our “baggage” without crippling after-effects.

This healing, straightening process is called sanctification. Like “Be patient; God isn’t finished with me yet.”

I’m glad the doctor is finished with my ears. I’d be absolutely delighted to never need any more repairs, big or small. But I trust the Lord will keep on operating on me, so I can be an effective member of His Church.

“So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” Romans 12:5

Latest in the Inspector Graham Series

Yesterday I received an e-newsletter from author Alison Golden, announcing the release of the latest in her Inspector Graham series:
The Case of the Missing Letter.

In her e-newsletter Alison shares her challenge of balancing writing and cancer treatment:

We first started work on this book nearly two years ago. I had planned to publish it in September of last year. But then, as you may know, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. There were times when I wondered if I would ever publish it.

When the worst of my chemo was over, I…began working on it very slowly, just a chapter a day. There are 34 chapters so just refreshing my memory took over a month. Gradually, as my strength returned, my speed picked up, and when my treatment was over, I made finishing it a priority.

This is because The Case of the Missing Letter is my love letter to you. Many of you have not only been patiently waiting for my next book, but your support was intrinsic to my recovery. I have dedicated this book to you.

Background to this series:
After the death of his young daughter, which lead to the breakup of his marriage, Inspector Graham gave up his London post in favour of a more peaceful setting, the Isle of Jersey. But soon after he arrives a murder takes place at the hotel where he’s lodging. He gets his new force on board in a search for the perpetrator. In the last book, The Case of the Broken Doll, Inspector Graham undertakes to solve a very cold case where a teen girl disappeared on her way to school ten years before.

One thing I really like about these books is the teamwork and camaraderie of the police department as they hunt for clues. There are no stereotype arrogant or obnoxious cops. DI Graham himself does some “in-your-face” demanding answers, but then he is the investigating officer and has the right to question suspects. I haven’t found much contrived melodrama in these stories, which is always a plus on my score-sheet.

Here’s the series to date:

#1 The Case of the Screaming Beauty (Prequel)
#2 The Case of the Hidden Flame
#3 The Case of the Fallen Hero
#4 The Case of the Broken Doll
#5 The Case of the Missing Letter

The Case of the Missing Letter is being offered at a special Launch price until midnight Feb 12th. I’m looking forward to getting a copy and reading it.

Alison Golden has written a milder cozy series involving the Reverend Annabelle Dixon, an Anglican priest in a small English village, also the more suspenseful Diana Hunter series.
Amazon Author Page
Alison’s website

André’s Blue Steak

“What is so Rare as a Steak Fried Blue?”
or “What to Do When Diners Linger at the Table”

André Gauvreau was in his 50s and on disability pension because of heart trouble and diabetes when we met him, so he had lots of time and he loved to visit. Through the years he’d worked at various cooking jobs across Canada and had quite the tales to tell.

In one of his accounts he was the head cook at a certain mining camp in northern Alberta and part of his job was to wash the dining room floor after dinner. But sometimes he had trouble getting the fellows out of the dining hall after the meal was over; they were inclined to sit for a lengthy gab-fest after the dishes were cleared away.

Then André discovered an effective method of clearing the dining room. Being French Canadian, he liked his steaks “blue”: charred on both sides and very rare inside. So after the other men had eaten he’d take a raw steak and throw it on the grill to singe it, then flip it over and singe the other side. Next he’d fork it onto his plate, take his utensils and go sit in the midst of the loiterers to have his meal.

He’d slice into the steak and blood would ooze out all over the plate. With great relish he’d start chowing down. The other guys took one look at his plate and remembered they had things to do elsewhere. He said it worked every time.

I’m sure our Aunt Helen would have said the same thing to him that she said to Uncle Henry one day when he’d fried himself a very rare steak. He asked her if she wanted part of it and she told him, “No. I can still hear that calf bawling!”

My Friend

My friend, blessing rare,
jewel of my memories,
depth of wisdom probed

Monday morning and the laundry is a-washing. I’ve been sorting through some older posts on another blog and found this haiku. Hope you enjoy it.

I’m thankful for precious friends like this. Friends with insight and heart. Friends with whom I can share any thoughts or regrets and know they won’t rebuke me for my errors or ridicule me for my ideas. I hope you have a friend like this, too. 🙂

Books: Reed Ferguson, PI

This Doesn’t Happen In The Movies
The Reed Ferguson Mystery Series, Book 1

by Renee Pawlish
Click here to view on Amazon.com

Reed Ferguson has always wanted to be a Private Eye and it looks like he’s finally getting his chance. Thanks to an inheritance from his grandparents he’s opened an office and hung out his shingle. Being a devoted fan of Humphrey Bogart and noir detective movies he hangs up a poster of Bogie and Lauren Bacall, as they appeared in The Big Sleep, on his wall “as a sort of inspiration.”

Enter his first real customer: a woman with a missing husband. Peter Ghering disaappeared on a business trip and his wife, Amanda, claims she wants him found. But does she really? Reed has some serious doubts by the time he’s heard her story. An inner voice is telling him to fear this femme fatale, but it’s his first real case, his first serious crack at being a professional gumshoe.

At least he tried to be professional but he’s new to this game and his skills are pretty amateur. Long on bravado, short on forethought. To complicate matters, what starts out as a simple investigation opens up a writhing can of worms for the new Sam Slade wanna-be. The wife hasn’t been up-front with all the facts; she’s actually hired him to expose the women her husband’s been dallying with on his business trips. Little by little Reed uncovers a plot and subplot that would tax Philip Marlowe’s private eye skills.

What really happened to the successful businessman? What will happen to his wife, who wanted him to disappear so she could inherit? And what will happen to Reed if he continues to be involved in this case? Some late night visitors make it plain that they won’t tolerate his efforts to ferret out the truth.

A very well written, well edited book. The writer obviously knows her craft and has constructed a plot that will keep a reader up late at night trying to find out how this story ends. No erotic or immoral scenes in this book, but some off-color language.

I’ve read several books now by this same author and one thing I do like about them is the paucity of dead bodies. There are some, but in the books I’ve read Reed mostly engages in finding lost spouses, pets (The Maltese Felon), etc. In that sense these stories remind me of the Hardy Boys. So if you like a tamer “noir fiction,” tones of Bogie mixed with the wit of Peter Falk and the impulsive courage of Frank & Joe Hardy, you will probably like this series.

Personal Note:
Up late last night typing up this book review when, around midnight, I started to notice a skunk-ish aroma. It grew increasingly powerful, must have had a disagreement with some other critter very nearby so we spend a pretty restless night trying to escape the smell. And with the temp outside almost freezing, you don’t open windows to air things out. 🙂

We’re also besieged by box elder beetles, a.k.a. “maple bugs.” They summer outdoors and once cool weather comes, thousands of them crawl into houses and other warm places to spend the winter. We vacuum them up steadily but there are always a dozen more when we look again.

Burying my head under the covers last night, I was wishing the skunk odor would at least fumigate the bugs. 😦