Thursday, July 28, 2011

One Stroky’s Journey: Introduction to the Ladies’ Table

Sandra Chisholm, angel of the ladies’ table
At 5 p.m. on Day 7 of my stroke journey, a tech rolled me into the fourth floor dining room of the Singing River Hospital Comprehensive Rehabilitation Center and pushed me up to a table surrounded by ladies, most of them also in wheel chairs. I had been discharged from Ocean Springs Hospital and admitted that afternoon to rehab at Singing River Hospital in Pascagoula, MS.

One of the first things I learned was that patients were strongly encouraged to join in the communal meals in the dining hall.  The second thing I noticed was that the men and women were segregated, women on one side of the room, men on the other.

By the time the tech had locked the brakes on my wheelchair, Sandra Chisholm, a lovely woman with silver hair, had introduced herself.  She promptly acquainted me with each lady at the table. She also included in her introductions their hometowns, providing a simple hook for starting a conversation.

Her gracious act made me feel at home and included. I decided then that if no one else did those introductions when Sandra headed home, that I would give it a try. My insurance was described as “generous,” and I was there for 27 days, longer than most of the others. As a result I encountered roughly three different sets of ladies during my stay.

Once Sandra was discharged, I tried to make sure newcomers received a welcome similar to the one that meant so much to me. My memory didn’t measure up to Sandra’s, but everybody pitched in when I stumbled on names.

Sharing meals with those ladies and seeing everyone working to overcome a variety of serious challenges during therapy cemented a solid sense of community and sisterhood for me. Such a simple thing, but breaking bread together was healing as well as an opportunity to develop new skills for coping with mealtimes, all  in the company of understanding dining companions. More about the ladies' table later. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

One Stroky’s Journey: Inside Outside

In the heat of July and August, husband Walter and I usually spend a lot of time indoors, unless we are on a trip to cooler spots such as the Smoky Mountains.

But there is one difference this summer. My desire to be outside has increased in spite of the extreme temps right now. I think it may be because since my April 22, 2011, stroke, I have lost the freedom, hopefully only a temporary loss, to go outside on my own, whenever the urge strikes.

Fifteen minutes of early morning weeding – Walter calls it my “grubbing in the dirt” – gives me a sense of well being, of being centered and balanced. It is an act of meditation that I miss.

Walter and I could easily make it work, even with the current limitations in my motor skills. But since my return home from rehab May 24, our days have been full of outpatient therapy, therapy “homework” and adapting the daily personal and homemaking routines that take longer now.

The fact that we spent a week in early July camping in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park just whetted my appetite for being outside. Having put my “itch” into words just now has already lifted my spirits, sort of like cyber weeding!

I suspect that, by the time our coastal Mississippi temperatures reach a more inviting level, maybe in October, I will be out in the garden at least occasionally. Until then, I think I will shop online for fall and winter veggie seeds. Hmmmmm . . . Seeds of hope!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

One Stroky’s Journey: Reality Strikes

After my April 22 stroke, my realization of the stroke’s impact on my body and mind grew gradually, for the most part. There have been several moments, however, when reality brought into sharp focus the fact that I could no longer take for granted specific capabilities that powered areas, both major and minor, of my pre-stoke life.

The most recent such moment occurred two nights ago when husband Walter and I were on the 90-mile drive to be with my mother, who was being admitted to Wesley Medical Center in Hattiesburg, MS.

It took most of the drive for me to reach the conclusion that I could not stay with my mother in the hospital as I had in her past hospitalizations. I still have mobility issues and am working to regain any use of my right hand.

A mix of caring cousins and trusted sitters-for-hire who were recommended by a family friend have eased my mind that my alert, loving 92-year-old mother is not alone. And those caring cousins are stepping in with an enormous expenditure of time and energy. What a blessing they are to her and to me!

Earlier enlightenment arrived in four installments at Singing River Comprehensive Rehab Center (SRCRC) before I had even started therapy sessions. I was in a wheelchair. I had made it to my room carrying a water bottle in the seat beside me. It rolled out, I leaned over to retrieve it and oozed out of my chair on to the floor.

I remember that the floor felt quite comfortable, smooth and cool. In fact, I pulled the wheelchair to me and laid my head in the seat. After awhile, however, it occurred to me that I would not be able to get off the floor by myself. I pushed the call button on the outside of the bed.

“How may we help you,” a crisp voice greeted me.

“I oozed out of my wheelchair,” I confessed.

I heard the voice again, quieter and rather bemused this time, “She said she oozed out of her chair.”

Nurses arrived, bombarding me with questions about how I fell out of my chair. I had no answers at that time. They eventually set me up with a tattletale, an alarm that would go off if I leaned too far. They hooked a line to my shirt. The other end was attached to a pin,which  if pulled out would set off  the little alarm box attached to my wheelchair.

I suspected that I had earned a “problem-patient” status even though everyone was still super nice. I was moved from a room near the end of the hall to new digs with just one other room between me and the nurses’ station. And every nurse or tech who walked past me issued a reminder about appropriate wheelchair behavior.

The next day I reached into my locker to flip the belt of my robe off the floor and into the locker. Hey! I was careful. i was reaching well above floor level. Okay, I am obviously a slow learner. The ooze started again. This time I recognized the well-cooked-spaghetti sensation and quickly sat all the way back in my chair. I kicked the belt into the locker as an alternate strategy.

But the reality of how little control I had over my upper body finally became absolutely clear to me as the result of my desire to take photos to accompany blog posts I was planning about my stroke experiences. One post arose from how much expressions of concern and assurances of thoughts and prayers gave me hope and joy. (Posted here.

To get an accompanying photo, I sat up in my hospital bed and spread a rainbow of get-well cards, grandkids’ artwork, and small gifts around me. When I started taking the photos I just collapsed onto my back. My upper body had just “oozed,” once again like cooked spaghetti. It was scary. I realized I could have taken a serious tumble out of the bed.

That particular deficit was almost entirely overcome during my 27 days in rehab. But I was ever conscious of how my body could suddenly “go spaghetti.”

I had arrived at the SRCRC on a weekend and had a little time before my full schedule of therapy sessions started. I was excited about the opportunity of getting to a computer.

From years of computer use, my writing process had been for words to flow from my fingertips directly and instantaneously to the computer screen to be saved into a file for fine-tuning later.

What I encountered in my first computer session as a stroke survivor, however, was that the thoughts I had marshaled so happily for a blog post just sort of shattered into fragments, tumbled away and disappeared as I tried to type with right hand only. Even my attempt at an email failed. Numerous attempts to enter the correct characters of the address never  succeeded.

I have eventually made peace with my MacBook Pro laptop. There is still no participation by my left hand, but I am able to post once again. Like most other activities post-stroke, though, anything involving the computer tires me quickly. I have been told that fatigue and sleepiness are common in the aftermath of a stroke.

That is not surprising. The brain is healing and at the same time trying to rewire itself, getting undamaged brain cells to take on the jobs of the injured cells. Go brain!

Okay, goodnight! My brain and I are going to sleep now!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

One Stroky’s Journey: A Good Read

On my July 9, 2011, postOne Stroky’s Journey: Assumptions Equal Vacation Surprises,” Carole, a visitor to my blog, left the comment that her sister-in-law had had a serious stroke just three weeks earlier. Carole left no way for me to contact her, so I am directing this post to her and to anyone who has a loved one who is a stroke survivor and who has yet to completely recover, or to individuals who one day may be stroke survivors which, according to my personal experience, could be anyone.

I admit that I have spent little time researching my condition. I just haven’t seemed to be able to methodically go down that path. My efforts have been sporadic and brief.

The one book I read cover to cover was My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor, a 37-year-old Harvard-trained scientist who specialized in the anatomy of the brain and who experienced a massive stroke in 1996. 

Her experience of that calm, peaceful place she entered periodically in her early stages was similar to my experience. But her recovery of her motor functions returned much quicker than mine have. Unlike me, though, she lost her language, memory and all abilities related to mathematical functions.

Her recovery took eight years, which in itself strengthens my hope. This book has excellent suggestions for what to expect and how those who care about a stroke survivor can help, rather than unintentionally add to their loved one’s frustrating or painful experiences. And that goes for those who are occasional visitors as well as those who are active partners in care and recovery.

Taylor’s book reads like a novel, even with some technical information about the brain’s anatomy. She boiled the scientific explanations down to basics and served them in well-seasoned bites small enough to digest with a little chewing. Most of the book, however, is devoted to her experience: her moment-by-moment awareness of what was happening in her brain and body as blood flowed over her brain cells in a toxic flood, her experiences in the hospital environment, and her recovery.

She takes the reader on the excruciating trip with her as she lost functions and struggled to call for help then endures the hospital experience. She, along with her mother, are heroic figures in this real-life story. I must admit, I love happy endings and this book has that kind of ending.

My Stroke of Insight is available on Amazon and with other online merchants, but I found my hardback copy in a bin of $5 sale books at Wal-Mart.

My other research: I have in the past few days been looking at stroke rehab videos on YouTube.

Husband Walter and I spend several hours each day doing such exercises, not counting outpatient rehab. It is a lot easier to understand how to do an exercise my therapist assigned as “homework” or to refresh my memory of an exercise by looking at a video, even if the video is in Chinese, as opposed to trying to decipher line drawings, photos or written instructions handed out at rehab,

Hooray for YouTube!

Monday, July 18, 2011

One Stroky’s Journey: The Colors of Prayer

Tangible prayer
While I was in ICU and rehab following my April 22, 2011 stroke, visitors, calls, cards, flowers, plants and a variety of other thoughtful “happies” arrived. All came with wishes for healing and with assurances that I was in the givers’ thoughts and prayers. Life-affirming and encouraging, they supported my early feeling that I was surrounded by prayer.

Whether hugs, cards, or flowers, they all came clothed in colors. To me they were tangible, colorful prayers.

There were soft spring colors carrying connotations life and renewal. 

Then there were bold colors of exuberant hope.

Colors of comfort and concern.

Lively, colorful blasts of good wishes

I am so thankful for the prayers and positive thoughts that were offered on my behalf and that continue. They have made all the difference in my ability to trust God with my future and my recovery journey. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

One Stroky’s Journey: Missing days

I am told that technically, following my April 22, 2011, stroke, I was in ICU for five days. I stayed two additional days because no other spots were available in the hospital or in any of the rehab facilities appropriate for my condition. Even though I was in the same spot for a week, my only memories specifically attached to ICU are five people and a meal.

Time had no meaning for me during those missing days. I remember visitors but it wasn’t until weeks later that, with help, I learned which of those visits occurred in the emergency room, which in ICU and which in rehab.

But my six ICU memories are vivid in their impact on my outlook. Here they are:

My first memory involved a female nurse or tech and my second a male. They each gave me two helpful gifts. First, their guidance pointed the way to some bit of control over my own body, something I could do for myself, even though I could not be alone while doing it. Secondly, they laid a foundation of hope that contributed to my enthusiasm for and determination in rehab.

Memory #1. The room was in shadows. My nurse was helping me to the bedside potty. She introduced me to the 3P strategy for pottying: Push up from my sitting position on the bed with my unaffected right leg, pivot on my right foot and plop on the potty (my words, her strategy).

Memory #2. My male nurse taught me how to overcome the challenge of getting into bed with a left side that didn’t work. His tip was to start from a sitting position on the bed, hook my unaffected right foot behind my left foot and roll my right and left legs up on to the bed. For me, that meant I sort of rolled onto my back while flipping my legs up on the bed like some deranged turtle.

Once I entered rehab, the philosophy was to relearn to use your parts affected by the stroke, rather than compensate for deficiencies by creative use of your still functioning parts. Before I encountered my therapists, however, I was a source of amusement to a young tech who was helping me get settled. He helped me transfer from wheelchair to sitting on the bed.

It had been a tiring shuttle ride to another hospital in a different city, and I was ready for a rest in that bed. I hooked my foot and did the deranged turtle move.

“Did you see that?” the tech asked a nurse. Evidently there are very few deranged turtles among stroke survivors. After a nap and then a meal, when I returned for another rest, he told my nurse he wanted to be on hand. “I want to see her get in bed again! For awhile he called me spaghetti woman. Not long, though, because therapists wanted me to focus on maneuvering the affected leg into bed without the right leg’s help. It was a struggle, but by the time I was discharged, I could do it. Spaghetti woman was no more.

And I enjoyed the “spaghetti woman” label as well as how the therapists teased one another and the patients. I figured, Hey, if I was going to be a helpless invalid they wouldn’t tease me so hard. The banter and laughter were among the healing facets of the rehab center.

Memory #3. My first evaluation by a speech therapist must have been while I was in ICU, because I can remember more than once waking up early, 2 or 3 a.m. in ICU and sitting up in bed doing the exercises the speech therapist had given me. When I couldn’t go back to sleep, I would meticulously follow the directions: Grin big then stick my tongue out as far as I could. Repeat 10 times 2xdaily. There were other exercises. But the one above led to my #4 memory.

Memory #4. I was busy doing the grin and tongue exercise when a nurse came in laughing. She told me a guy was standing by her desk, and asked what he had done to make that lady (me) mad at him. He said, “She keeps sticking her tongue out at me.” The nurse explained that I had had a stroke and I was doing my speech therapy exercises. I think that was my first major laughing fit post-stroke. And, yes, it was great medicine.

Memory #5 was the first food post-stroke that I remember and the only food I remember eating in ICU. It was bowtie pasta and fresh-tasting snowpeas in some sort of garlic sauce. It hit my tastebuds with bursts of flavor. Other than the headache I experienced in the ER or ICU or both, it was my strongest sensory experience of that early hospital stay.

Memory #6. Somebody asked if I needed anything. It was one of those mornings I woke up early. I guess I had already exhausted the speech exercises as entertainment. I said, “Yes, would y’all have a Bible around?" Someone reappeared shortly with a red Gideon Bible.

I had been reading in Proverbs in my annual read through of the Bible. The first words that I absorbed that morning in ICU were Proverbs 3:23.

Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.

Wow! What a verse for a non-mobile stroke survivor! It made me laugh. I absorbed none of the context of the surrounding verses that morning. But what I did absorb was that God knew and provided just what I needed for reassurance right at that particular moment.

Friday, July 15, 2011

One stroky’s journey: Camping Hair

The grab and stretch, no-power hair dry
Yes, that’s me, enjoying a clean head, in the great outdoors, in my pajamas!
A daily shower and shampoo are normally a necessity to my sense of well-being.  No showers are available at the campground we like in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

Keeping clean was, in my mother’s terminology, through “spit baths.” Pre-stroke I shampooed daily under a faucet spouting only cold water. With one operable hand and impaired balance my pre-stroke strategies were out of the question. After several days with what felt and looked like permanent bedhead, I was determined to get my oily hair clean and out from under my blue Grand Canyon hat or black baseball cap.

My longsuffering and creative spouse heated water on our campstove and helped me do a thorough, if unconventional outdoor hair wash. I did a quick towel dry then used my trusty round, natural-bristle brush to catch and stretch the bit of hair I have left after a rather extreme pre-trip haircut.

The stretch is necessary or my naturally wavy hair turns into a curse instead of a blessing. Letting it dry without the stretch results in a discouraging dead-squirrel look. As in death from being squished flat by a car.

A modest application of makeup, and I felt ready for breakfast in nearby Gatlinburg.TN!
Breakfst at wheelchair and elders-friendly Log Cabin Pancake House

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Thanks to ‘Dear Readers’

I had no idea when I started this blog that I would even have readers, let alone have readers who have buoyed my spirits and my determination during my stroke recovery with their prayers and comments. But that has been the case. Healing through the blogosphere . . . what a concept . . . and a blessing!

So I want to say thank you to blogging friends – and relatives – who leave encouraging comments and who share, through their own blogs, their thoughts and their stories about their lives -- words that inspire me, give my brain cells a much needed workout, provide a comforting glimpse of everyday, simple joys, or just give me the gift of unrestrained, body-shaking laughter. Thank you Dear Readers and fellow bloggers!

And thanks for all the complimentary comments about bravery, positive attitude and good spirit. Such characteristics are not always my natural state. So I have to give credit where credit is due. From the very beginning of this stroke journey, God has graced me with a simple and comforting trust, that whatever comes, he has things figured out for me already.

And early on, every time that I surfaced into the real world from floating in a comforting, peacefulul state, there was an affirmation of his care awaiting me, whether the presence of loved ones and friends, or a medical person with a helpful hint that I could use immediately, or cards and phone calls letting me know I was in someone’s thoughts and prayers.

During this current phase of my recovery, my therapists and dear hubby are contending with some moans, groans and whining from me. I am a wienie when it comes to even minimal amounts of pain, especially since this pain has most likely arrived due to some unfortunate habits I developed while protecting my affected left hand.

But God’s affirmations of his care continue, through cards, emails, blogs, untold kindnesses of all sorts, and assurances of continued prayer from friends, relatives, strangers, and those who were strangers but who I now count as friends. How can I not experience joy! Truly showers of blessings surround me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Stroke rehab via Smoky Mountains

Grandson Luke explores our campsite in the Smokies.

During past Smoky Mountain trips that included a gathering of our grands and their parents, I enjoyed playing with the kids, hauling little ones around . . . lots of physical activity.

I knew that interactions would be different post-stroke, but I had pictured myself at least doing some strolls around the campground with my cane or scooting around in the wheelchair under my own power, on a walk with other family members large and small, enjoying all that nature offers and taking photos.

The terrain, road conditions and the non-stop activity of adults who were keeping little ones safe and all of us well fed meant that I spent a lot of time in either a comfortable camping chair or my wheelchair, excuse me, I meant my chariot. Husband Walter is a firm believer in the power of words, and we try to use “chariot,” a word with more exotic and exciting  associations than “wheelchair.”

The upside was that since I was in slow--or even stopped mode--I had the opportunity to better observe the grands in action. 

Smoky Mountain waters, entertainment for granddaughters Stella and Molly Kate
Our liitle three-year old Stella, youngest granddaughter by about three months, headed to the shallow stream at the back of our campsite as soon as she arrived. She hopped, skipped and flitted through the stream and the campsite like a little Tinkerbell, apparently oblivious to the sharp rocks, even after she had shed her shoes.

Shortly afterwards, three-year-old Molly Kate arrived and joined her cousins in exploring the water. That amazed me and kept bubbles of laughter ready to erupt. Used to the blue of northern Gulf of Mexico waters bordered by white “sugar” sand beaches, she had informed her parents of her disappointment with the “chocolate” water she was seeing in the mountains.

The color didn’t stop her, though. My surprise at her enjoyment of the little stream stemmed partly from an account of an earlier trip to the beach this summer.  She had convinced her mother to delay the morning’s excursion to sand and surf and to stay in the condo awhile.

“Mother, she had announced, “We are inside girls, not outside girls.”

Inside girl Molly Kate enjoys the out of doors
 Well, our little “inside girl,” stayed in the gently flowing stream, hunting “just-right” rocks to throw back into the water or to test her skill at tossing them over a fallen log.

Meanwhile, Luke and Nate worked diligently for many minutes. From my vantage point, I couldn’t figure out what they were doing with such total absorption.

“We were playing The World’s Worst Carwash,” Nate explained later. Evidently one of the critical elements of this activity was to coat a good-sized rock thoroughly with mud from the bottom of that particular section of the stream. Imagination in action!
Our girly-girl fashionista Charlie spent some time in the water, but she was in the throes of several fashion issues regarding footwear, one of which Baboo and her mom Sarah resolved with a generous application of duct tape.

Daughter-in-law Katie posted more on the cousins’ Smoky Mountain water fun here.

My being stationary did create some other extra special moments:

Six-year-old Nate presenting me with a s’more he had made for me, a confection of graham crackers, a marshmallow well charred on one side, with its hot liquid insides melting a slab of Hershey’s milk chocolate just right; yummmmmmm, the best ever!

Stella inviting herself up into my chariot and into my lap for cuddling sessions.

Molly Kate disregarding my chariot to hold my hand and twirl and dance to my rendition of the old song “Buffalo Gals.” Background on this old favorite that my mother used to sing to me is here.

Buffalo gals, won't you come out tonight?
Come out tonight, Come out tonight?
Buffalo gals, won't you come out tonight,
And dance by the light of the moon.

Walker and mom Katie
Youngest grand Walker peeking around chairs and over shoulders to give me one of his chacteristic grins.

Nine-year-old Luke’s enthusiasm for and total enjoyment of Baboo’s breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon and sausage.

Charlie and chair
Five-year-old Charlie hauling her pink camping chair next to mine. “I heard you say grandchildren are good medicine,” she said. “I’m going to give you some good medicine!”

And she did! Wonderful rehab therapists all!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

One Stroky’s Journey: Assumptions equal vacation surprises

Skupiens large and small celebrate making it to Laurel Falls.

Well before my April 22, 2011, stroke, husband Walter had reserved a campsite in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for June 29-July 6. Elkmont Campground near Gatlinburg, TN, was our choice, high enough up the mountain to provide cool nights.

We were looking forward to our oldest son, his wife and four little ones ages three through nine camping next to us. We were also anticipating our youngest son, his wife and their 14-month old son and three-year-old daughter “camping out” at Bearskin Lodge in Gatlinburg and joining us for daytime fun.

For the third year, we had also planned to pick up our two oldest grands, ages 9 and 6, for two nights camping with us until their parents arrived. Optimistic during my earliest rehab, we saw no reason to change plans.

It was probably good that our children’s wisdom prevailed. Son Walt and wife Sarah, said maybe next year the boys could join us. Soon after we arrived at our campsite, we realized that our optimism was based on faulty assumptions about how long, how often and how involved certain post-stroke tasks would be in the camping environment.

We did a bit of experimentation and adjustment between our arrival on Wednesday and our children and grands’ arrival on Friday.

But our assumptions about a “hike” to Laurel Falls produced the most dramatic results--an unforgettable thrill ride for me and heavy-duty work for hubby and sons Walt and Jeremy.

Walter and I had taken the 1.3-mile trail up to the falls and back (2.6 miles roundtrip) several years ago. According to our memories, the path included steep sections, but the paving made the trail a great possibility for a wheelchair and strollers if accompanied by enough strong, able-bodied “pushers.”

What we had remembered as a nice paved trail was in reality considerably narrower than we remembered and had torturous dips, bulges and tree roots. Time, weather, foot traffic and invading tree vegetation had taken its toll.

A rest stop on the Laurel Fall trail includes a little rock climbing for the grands, including sisters Stella and Charlie.

Happy rock climber granddaughter Molly Kate

Youngest grandchild Walker enjoys the attention of our oldest grandchild, his cousin Luke, during a pause in the climb to Laurel Falls.

Going up, we were on the right, hugging the side of the mountain. The trail’s blemishes that required exceptional maneuvering on the way up were absolutely scary when we were coming down on the outside edge.

Thanks to our guys for teaming up in shifts to get me down, one controlling the wheelchair’s descent and another lifting the front wheels out of the dips and over the bulges and bumps that could have sent me catapulting out for an extra speedy trip down the side of the mountain. Also thanks to daughters-in-law who provided creativity, muscle and finesse in getting little ones up and down safely and, for the most part, happily.

In between the trip up and the trip down, we spent some time enjoying the falls.

Grandchildren and mamas enjoy the cool breeze and views created by the cascading waters.

Nana snaps memories from her wheelchair perch.

Grandson Nate explores the slippery shallows.

Grandson Luke humors Nana by posing in front of the falls.

Our experience was a shared adventure that created special Smoky Mountain memories. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Happiness is . . .

Our traditional family photo at the Gatlinburg, TN, entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Our group this year included our two sons and their families. Photo by husband Walter.

Happiness is camping in the Smokies with husband Walter and our sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren. Of course contributing to that happy experience are dozens upon dozens of moments that bubble up, each iridescent with the joy of a distinct memory of grandchildren’s enthusiasm about simple pleasures of rocks and water, the giving spirit of two special daughters-in-law, our sons introducing their little ones to the magic of the mountains, and a husband who puts his love for all of us into action.

Nana and Baboo
Hubby knows how much I love having this photo that seems like a cliché. But for me it marks changes in our lives. There is also the humor that accompanies our family’s photographic efforts: formerly it was the patriarch’s setting up camera, getting the timer setting to work then the recurring mad dashes to get into the photo.

Now that the sons are fathers, the scene is even more entertaining to me.

Get ready!

And like father like sons, it always takes longer as fond grandfather and fathers become distracted by the potental of cute kid photos!
Get set!


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Smoky Mountains, Here We Are!

A comment on my previous post by Dianne of the blog Schmidley’s Scribblings made me aware that I was guilty of something that aggravates me when I encounter it: references to a person, place, or event without enough detail necessary for identification or clarification. After all, if you are writing something and publish it, you are in essence issuing an invitation to a potential reader.

In a June 26 post I mentioned a trip planned for the most visited national park in the United States. That was it, no detail about which park. I am regularly guilty of doing things that irritate me in others. At least it keeps me humble, except when I’m not!

Okay, Dianne, that park would be the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina, and that is where husband Walter and I are right now! Actually, we are in a coffee shop in Gatlinburg, TN, about 7 miles from Elkmont Campground where we have been camping in the national park since Wednesday, June 29. More to come!
Husband Walter sets up our pop-up camper in a Smoky Mountain campsite.