Thursday, April 21, 2022


Lila, talented seamstress
and great encourager

Recently I had a busy day with Lila, one of my three dear sisters-in-law. Lila is an accomplished, creative seamstress. 

Through the years she has helped me select fabrics and then done the sewing for numerous projects from clothing to decorating the downsized home we built nearly a decade ago.

Since my hemorrhagic stroke in 2011, she also makes it possible for me to go shopping. She helps me make it safely from her vehicle to the store, providing her left arm for me to hold on with my right hand so I can keep my balance. 

Lately our fabric shopping has been at Hobby Lobby. Once inside I transfer to holding on to a shopping cart.

My contribution is pushing the cart as she pulls out bolts of material and we decide on fabrics for my projects and some for her family projects. 

With our choices loaded into the cart, we head to the lady who cuts off the fabric from the bolts.

I'm in awe of my SIL and that lady who measures and cuts lengths of the fabric we need. That wonderful Hobby Lobby employee and my SIL both do rapid-fire arithmetic in their heads. 

I would have difficulty doing those calculations, even with a calculator.

After checking out we headed to her car for the next phase of our outing.

We always end our shopping excursions with lunch, my treat at an eatery of Lila’s choice. This time it was a beach-side barbecue joint that both of us had been wanting to try. 

It did not disappoint. And portions were so generous that I had a box of leftover pulled-pork from my order that Hubby and I shared for our next meal.

The makeup of some people is to be ever conscious of the need of other individuals and just how to meet that need.

My mother had that gift and so does Lila. Being a stroke-survivor has made me even more aware of such individuals. I cherish the blessings lavished on me by my spouse, relatives, friends, strangers and a loving God.

When I feel like moaning about a health challenge or frustration at an inability to do something, thoughts of the blessings heaped on me get this old lady back on the thankful track.



Friday, April 8, 2022

Advice needed!

My comments on longtime blogging friends' post show up but on others don't my comments don't  "take." 

As usual, I am sure that the problem is my total lack of persistence in ferreting out the "how to" of solving the mystery. 


Monday, April 4, 2022

Happy Pains

Tomorrow we will be making an easy two-hour drive to attend the confirmation of Nate, our second oldest grand.

How quickly they are all growing up. As usual, these once-in-a-lifetime events set me to revisiting the past. 

Prior to the birth of our first child 50 years ago, I attended one of those classes the hospital sponsored for their pregnant patients.

That first child is now the father of Nate and three more of our six grandchildren.

But in 1971 I had no prior experience in the process of ushering new little humans into the world. I naively took every word at that hospital class as gospel.

December 23, I began to "feel funny." It was a bit earlier than the date my obstetrician had predicted. So clueless me, I considered it interesting but not an eminent sign that our little one was on the way. 

My father-in-law and mother-in-law, AKA Grandma Sugar, had come over to share our supper of pork chops and veggies. 

Grandma Sugar had also agreed to help me make pralines.  

Her pralines were magic in the mouth. I wanted to share that magic as Christmas gifts for friends and relatives. I also wanted her advice about my weird feelings as she was mom to three offspring.

When I described what my body was experiencing, she assured me this was not "THE DAY." I figured she would know.  

After the pralines were done and the visiting over, they departed for home. A little later that evening, those sensations I experienced had intensified and were increasingly hard to ignore. 

Now both Hubby and I were becoming a bit anxious. We called the doctor. Our call went to his answering service.

The female who answered informed me he was unavailable. By that time, I was convinced I was about to pop a baby out. She explained the doctor was at a Christmas party. 

She did not want to disturb his celebrating. I was persistent and a little delirious. She reluctantly put me through.

When he answered, he was quite irate at the interruption of his festivities. Hubby and I were suddenly both giggling maniacally. I finally gasped out "Do I need to come to the hospital now?"

"No! Nobody having labor pains would be laughing about it."

That was that. But the pain did increase. Hubby's aunt, an RN, lived a few doors down from us. We called in reinforcements. 

She checked me. "You're dilated but let's wait a bit and check again."

The next time she checked she advised us to head to the hospital.

Hubby and I had been in perfect accord up to that point. By then, I was in more than the mild discomfort the hospital's class for soon-to-be-mom's described. 

I had been bugging my photographer husband to take a photo of me in my pregnant wear. Now I was anxious to get out the door and on the way before our baby decided he or she was coming regardless of our location.

But no, Hubby handed me my suitcase and told me where to stand. Time for the photo.

I hope I wasn't surly and mean, but the pains were at a point where I was not pleased with any delay, short or not.Yes, they were definitely far beyond mild discomfort. 

They had reached the point of "If you don't help me get some relief I am going to inflict bodily harm on somebody!"

We arrived at the emergency room after 10 p.m. I do remember being happy to see Dr. Gruich, an older doc and not the one I had been seeing. During my office visits the younger physician, new to Dr. Gruich's team, had been brusque, a bit obnoxious and full of himself. 

My memories of the delivery room are hazy. I used to know the name of whatever they gave me. Whatever it was, it was strong. It did a number on me. 

I was not conscious for the parts of the process that I wanted to remember and semi-conscious for the painful parts.

I remember a disembodied voice commanding "Push! I also remember trying to obey, but my brain and body must not have been working together. I tried harder and harder. Then a voice bellowed "Stop pushing!"

I shifted gears, but evidently my drugged up body was still not reacting fast enough. The last thing I remembered was another shout: "Stop pushing!" 

Evidently I slid back into my drugged happy place because the next thing I remembered was being wheeled out to meet our newborn son. His arrival was in the early morning hours of Christmas Eve.

I had anticipated for weeks the joy I would experience at that meeting. Instead I saw a glass box with something fuzzy-looking inside.

Where was my baby?

I heard Hubby telling somebody that I needed my glasses. 

They appeared. 

He put them on me. 

I could see! My first words were  "What's that on his face?" 

Dr. Gruich's answer: "Pork chop grease!" I heard laughter from what I later learned was a full-house audience of newly minted grandparents, uncles, aunts and great-aunts.

My mother-in-law, who was well acquainted with Dr. Gruich, had given him an earful of the events leading up to our little one's debut, including our supper menu.

I may have zoned out again. But not before being thankful for our Christmas Eve baby, Hubby, and all our relatives' welcoming him to the family.

Nine years later when I was pregnant with our second child, another son, I had gained insight that was helpful: Among medical professionals the word "discomfort" is used for anything from mild twitches and aches to excruciating pain!

I prefer the strategy to specify pain-level that I first encountered after my hemorrhagic stroke in 2011. My rehab therapists always asked if I had any pain and if so to describe the intensity as a number between 0, indicating none, to 10 meaning awful, unbearable, I'm fixing to scream ( my words, not theirs; I can't remember the official words). 

These days in encounters with medical personnel, that assessment strategy is regularly used to evaluate whatever level of "discomfort" I may have.

I no longer have urges to threaten bodily harm. I am just thankful for caring practitioners in all fields and professional levels that I encounter. 

I do, however, remind them that I am a weenie when it comes to pain. They respect that, and struggle valiantly to squelch grins as they inflict whatever procedure is best to help me.