Tag Archives: winter

Another Suitcase in Another Hall

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When I selected “capacity” as my word for 2014, I didn’t mean it as a challenge to the universe. Evidently I was wrong.

Last I wrote in January, my husband was hospitalized for a week to have some minor surgery and a bone biopsy. Writing on Saturday, he was to be released the next Monday. He was, indeed, released, but the fun was just beginning.

Biopsy results were mixed, so he was put on 2 IV antibiotics and sent home with a PICC line. I had a crash course in administering the IVs and line care, and poof – we were on our own. Within 48 hours, I knew something was up, as I recognized the early stages/symptoms of the problems that started all of this last June. A consult with his home care RN and off to the emergency room we went on Thursday.

Once at the ER, the naive young nurse suggested this was something easy, a quick temporary fix and off home again he could send us. The attending physician was the same one who saw him when he came into the ER in June — he remembered him coding. He ordered a few more labs, and once the numbers started rolling in, admittance was a sure thing.

One of the antibiotics had caused a violent reaction, which damaged and subsequently shut down his kidney function. Completely. New antibiotics, a reaction to the second one, and a long wait for “normal” began. I kept commenting to doctors and nurses that it seemed like he was building up a LOT of fluid, but the party line was to wait. Interesting choice.

He was admitted on Thursday. The following Wednesday so much fluid had accumulated that he went into severe respiratory distress and ended up in coronary care on a ventilator for 2 days. Then they decided perhaps the fluid buildup was a problem and started medication — he lost 60 POUNDS of fluid in the next 8 days!

He has worked his way back, somehow amazingly retaining his sense of humor and unflagging patience. Tomorrow he gets transferred back to the rehab hospital where he spent last fall. This time we are hoping for a shorter stay amongst familiar faces.

Another weekend, another hospital room. I’m grateful to family and friends who have supported us on this incredibly long journey, to (most of) the doctors and nurses who have eased the path.

And with the recent snowfall adding to the winter fun, I wait for Spring.

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The Blizzard of 1978

Blizzard of 1978 - Dayton, OH (Photo courtesy of Dayton Daily News Archive, Special Collections and Archives, Wright State University)

The snow doesn’t give a soft white damn whom it touches. ~ e.e. cummings

If you were anywhere in the Miami Valley in 1978, you most likely remember very well what you were (or were not) doing 34 years ago today! On January 26-27, 1978, the region was hit with a major blizzard, one of three that struck the region in January and February that year. Over twelve inches of snow fell in 24-hours on January 26th alone!

Take a look at some of the terrific pictures captured by photographers from the Dayton Daily News, showing the effects of the blizzard, at our Dayton Daily News blog!

I, for one, am very grateful that all the rain of the past few days has not been snow instead — or we could have looked a lot like those blizzard photographs!

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Monday Moments: F(r)og

A wind has blown the rain away and blown the sky away and all the leaves away, and the trees stand. I think, I too, have known autumn too long. ~ e.e. cummings

Holiday festivities begin this weekend, as local malls herald the arrival of Santa. Two local radio stations began playing holiday music on November 1.

24/7.

This week is (in theory) a quiet break in the action before the full force gales of the holiday season are upon us. It’s finals week at the university where I work, so there is a strong scent of panic (and coffee) in the air as students crunch to study and force 10 weeks of learning into their brains in 1 or 2 days (or nights). It is also our last fall “quarter” as we transition to semesters beginning in Fall 2012. No more long holiday breaks after this year for the students.

But it’s also that break in the weather. Fall is trying to twist into winter, and the winds were wild all weekend long. Rainstorms hit early this morning, and there is a chance of storms with thunder and the potential for a tornado as well, according to my favorite weatherperson. A tornado in November? You bet. On Veterans Day weekend 2002, Van Wert, Ohio, (just north of where I live) was hit by an F4 tornado, one of many which swept across the midwest that day. The video captured by a patrol car still amazes me.

Weather can be crazy in November, but it can also be beautiful.

The crazy combination I love the most, though, is frost/fog, or f(r)og in my world. There’s something magical about fog anyway. As dangerous as it is to drive in, there is always that niggling feeling that something other-worldly, something different perhaps waits on the other side of the divide. I always catch my breath, wondering if what is lurking there beyond the fog is something good (like Brigadoon) or something bad (like a serial killer from Criminal Minds). When it is combined with that little crunch of frost, that frosty fog crispness gets an extra dose of magic (and can help chase those serial killers away, too).

I’m not so fond of snow, especially lots of it. And I hate to see autumn disappear for another year. But the beautiful possibility of f(r)og on the morning drive or weekend walk make the transition to winter slightly more palatable.

Plus it’s just fun to say.
“How’s the weather today?”
“F(r)oggy.”

As we gear up for the beginning of the end of the year, I hope to get a chance to catch my breath and fill up my energy well before all the zaniness kicks in.

Any suggestions or ideas? How do you wind down and fill your well before the crazy-busy holidays?

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Jan-u-weary

I used to love winter.  I looked forward to bundling up in layer upon layer, running outside to a wide white world of wonderment.

Snow

Enjoying the snow

The property where our house was had six acres of hills and valleys, trees and a creek just waiting to be explored.  Summers brought mowing, gardening, and chasing snakes and bunnies.  But winter brought icicles and snow forts, a whitewashed canvas, refreshed periodically to a clean slate for tracking footprints and making snow angels.  One winter, we got a snowmobile, and I was allowed to drive freely over the landscape many years before I would drive a car.  Of course, by then I was already driving tractors, but that’s a story for a different day.

 

Winter was wonderful.  My father was a farmer, so winter was down-time, or at least as much down-time as he ever took.  He still worked every week day clearing and cleaning out the timber, prepping his machinery, and planning for the next planting.  But there was also time for reading and talking.  After the Christmas rush of parties, presents, and families, January and February were times to re-group, settling in by the massive fireplace to enjoy the simple luxury of spending time together.  Or alone, most often caught up in the imaginary world of whatever book I was reading at the time.

Now, come winter, I still curl up with a good book, still look forward to creating meals of warm-comfort goodness, and long for a fireplace to ward off the cold of the winter’s evening.  I still appreciate a good snow day, especially when it closes work and school so all can stay safely at home.  But I don’t truly enjoy it the way I used to as a kid.  I don’t bundle up and head out, full of plans for how to spend the chilly hours before coming back inside.  I scuttle, crab-like, from warm house to car, warm car to work, and back again.

I want to be where winter is not.  But for now, the best I can do is try to re-create summer, or at least spring, where I am instead.  This year, I have brought spring inside, temporarily, by planting salad greens in our Aerogarden

Salad Greens and Cat Grass

Salad Greens and Cat Grass

and growing cat grass for our fur-faced child.  And in my current work-in-progress, I am writing of summer.  Long days, filled with warmth, even hot-sticky summer days.  I just finished a scene set on the 4th of July.   A picnic, fireworks, buzzing insects and scratchy grass.   Feeling grass tickle a knee left bare by shorts.  Long summer sunsets painting the sky.   There are even moments when I forget that I can see snow on the patio outside the office window, that another winter storm with ice and snow is predicted for the upcoming week.

 

So as January winds to a close and I find myself Jan-u-weary of snow and ice and all things cold, I dig in a little deeper – to the dirt where grass for my cat grows, to nurturing my fragile salad greens hopefully into salads clear through until spring, and back into the work in progress, where summer is in full bloom.

It’s almost February, the shortest month, which means we’re closer to March and spring — I tell myself this on a regular basis.  It helps me not feel as cold, or at least know it won’t last too much longer.

So tell me – how are you getting through your January days?  Ready for spring?  I am.

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