My Time to Write, but The Cats have The Last Meow!

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Elderly, Blind, and Living in a Big Black Box

My brother, Adam, 80-years-old, blind, and wheelchair bound, lives in a big black box with perpetually dimly lit windows. He can see the large square of light where the window in his room is, but he cannot see me or a shadow of me sitting two feet away. Every day he tells me that his eyesight is getting worse, and that he must go see the eye doctor. (The eye doctor has already told him that nothing can be done about his eyes at this point. Adam’s vision loss is due to retina detachments that occurred in his 50s.)


Until recently, Adam has lived a very active and full life even with his blindness. He lived alone in his own condominium, receiving only minimal outside help from a once-a-week cleaning person and from his two sisters (Beverley and me) who ran errands for him, helped him shop for groceries, and took him to medical appointments. He rode the CATS (Cumberland Area Transit System-NJ) bus to the Enrichment Center for the Blind in Bridgeton, NJ, several days a week to join other visually impaired persons in activities and camaraderie.

Even while blind, Adam camped, hiked, and climbed mountains in Colorado. He went cross-country skiing in Michigan and Alaska with an organization called Ski-for-Light. You can read about his skiing adventure here: VIP - Visually Impaired Person in the News Again.

Adam (left) cross-country skiing with Ski for Light buddies

Adam (left) cross-country skiing with Ski for Light buddies

When Adam had a bit more vision, he walked around his community for miles and miles using his white cane. He knew the bus system well and could get himself to various places for workshops and appointments, even those an hour away from his home.

A Fall, Hospitalization, and Rehab

Most recently, Adam has been living in a short-term rehab facility after he had a bad fall at home. He did not break any bones in the fall but seriously scraped his arm, and it bled profusely because of blood thinners he is on due to a heart condition. At the hospital, the doctors determined that he had an irregular heart beat and implanted a pacemaker. After his hospital stay, he went to the rehab facility for five weeks of physical and occupational therapy.

Today, Adam will be moved from his current placement in a rehab facility to long-term care in an assisted living facility. The therapists who work with him in the rehab center have determined that under Medicare guidelines, he no longer benefits from physical therapy, and therefore his therapy will stop.

At this point, Adam is unable to live independently and probably never will again. At care level 5 and wheel chair bound, he needs assistance with everyday living activities: medications, bathing, toileting, shaving, dressing. He does not need assistance with eating, except to have his food or utensils unwrapped. His balance is not good, and he is at high risk for falling.

We found a placement for him in a very pleasant long-term care facility. He will have to drain his life savings and investments to pay his expenses as Medicare will no longer cover his care. His house must be sold. His daughter now has his Power of Attorney (POA), and now she has to make financial decisions for him. Of course, Adam thinks that he can still make decisions for himself, when sadly, he cannot.

At 80, Adam is quite sharp, but not every day. Some days he confuses facts, memories, dreams, and reality. (He always knows that Obama is the President!) He worries and asks questions like:  “Where will I sleep tonight?” He tells me that he is missing work and that his boss needs him. (He retired twenty-five years again because of his vision disability.) Then he tells me that he needs to call his boss and tell him he is retiring because he is too old to work.  He worries that he can’t find the keys to Mom’s house (Mom passed away in 2000 and her house was sold). He said, “Daddy’s car is parked at the high school, and I need the keys to go get it before the kids vandalize it.”

New worries pop up every day or so. He misplaces things then accuses people of stealing them. Later, when these missing things turn up in another place in his room, he says, “They brought it back because they knew I was mad.”

On good days, Adam can joke around with the best of them. Several aides in his previous facility respond to his joking manner and joke right back at him, bringing instant broad smiles to his face. He has a good attitude and knows well that his attitude affects others. He repeats his philosophy: “If you are nice to people, they will be nice to you.”

He dreams and his dreams become real, yet he has enough logic to figure that out. One day he asked me, “Who were all those people who were at the house last night?” I responded, “Which house?” He thought a few seconds and said, “Well, it couldn’t have been Mom’s house, because we sold that. And it wasn’t my house. Whose house was it? Did I just dream that?”

One day, the therapist told us, he sat on his bed trying to call his sister Joanne and got very agitated when a phone message told him her line had been disconnected. (Joanne passed away in June from complications with diabetes.)

On days when he seems confused, he gets very agitated. We listen, but we do not try to correct him, rather we try to distract him with another topic.

He has a hard time locating himself in space. He reaches out with his hand to feel around for his bed or his glass of water. He gets easily disoriented, so sometimes he does not know where he is. He also does not know who all those people are that come in and out of his room.

Assisting the Visually Impaired in Care Settings

In the six weeks that Adam has been in the hospital and in rehab facilities, I have noticed that most aides have little training in assisting a blind person, so I am starting a series of posts on tips for caring for VIPs in hospital and other care settings. The first post should be later this week: Tips for Caring for Visually Impaired Persons (VIPs): Orientation to People

NaBloPoMo_MoreLess - Dec

yeah write 138

<a href=”http://yeahwrite.me/challenge-138/”><img src=”http://yeahwrite.me/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/challenge138.png”></a>

Silent Sunday: Advent Week 1…Preparing for the Birth of Christ

December 1 – Advent Week 1.

The Old Testament patriarchs prophesied about the coming of the Messiah and that gave the Israelites hope. Week 1 of Advent focuses on preparing for the birth of Christ, and in church, we light the first candle (Hope) in the Advent wreath. We then light one candle each Sunday until Christmas.


What are some of your church’s or your family’s holiday traditions?

(Post 1 in December NaBloPoMo.)

NaBloPoMo_MoreLess - DecSilent-Sunday...

NaBloPoMo 15.2 Cee’s Which Way: Ride Off into the Sunset

NaBloPoMo_November_smallNaBloPoMo: National Blog Posting Month: 30 posts in November Cee's Which-Way-Banner1


Cee’s Which Way Challenge #13:

Which way should I go?

019Life gives us these choices sometimes.

Head off into the sunset and see what golden opportunities lie ahead, or turn left and skirt the opportunities. Maybe we’re afraid of the brightness ahead, maybe even the coming darkness, or maybe we know this road ahead has some potholes, and we want to avoid them. But look! This patch of red sky invites us and welcomes us into a better day tomorrow. Let’s head for this better day instead of avoiding it. Who knows what we will accomplish. Who know what we will see. Who knows whom we will meet.

C’mon. Let’s go.

Cee’s Which Way Challenge: There is no specific theme given.  It just needs to be some sort of  ‘Which Way’. The possibilities are endless.

Join in with the challenge or to view other Which Ways.

Here are a few others who joined the challenge:


Janice Heck:

Growing old? Read this piece, and you will feel better. Reblogged from Sheri de Grom who shares this piece by an unknown author.

Originally posted on Sheri de Grom:

As I’ve Aged
One Woman’s Opinion
By – Sheri de Grom

As I’ve aged, I’ve become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I’ve become my own friend. I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon, before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.

Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until four a.m. or sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60s, 70s and 80s and if, at the same time, I wish to weep over a lost love, I will.

I will walk the beach in a swimsuit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite pitying glances from the jet set. They, too will grow old. I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there…

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Why kats hate Halloween

Janice Heck:

Happy Howl-o-Ween. This is reblogged from hairballexpress. Doggies have the same complaints about Howl-o-Ween…and other holidays. Why do humans dress up animals?

Originally posted on hairballexpress:


Photo from Bing images

Humans and Their little ones love Halloween.

But 99 out of 100 kats polled say they think Halloween should be banned.

Here’s a few reasons why….

* kats don’t like being dressed in costumes.

* people don’t give treats to kats, and even if they did, it wouldn’t be catnip, but candy.

* kats don’t like candy.

* kats don’t like questionable things hanging in trees.

* kats don’t like Dracula, vampires and bats.

* kats don’t like witches or anything else that rides on a broom.

* kats don’t like monsters, ghosts, and goblins.

* kats don’t like loud wails and screams and moans unless there’s a kat fight.

* kats don’t like zombies.

* kats don’t like werewolves (too close to dogs).

* kats don’t like scarecrows and giant rabbits and insects bigger than we are.

* kats don’t like Jack o lanterns. They take a purrfectly…

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Cee’s Photo Challenge: Shadows at the Beach


Camera dump 4-27-13  Israel to --- 016 Camera dump 4-27-13  Israel to --- 025 Camera dump 4-27-13  Israel to --- 028 Camera dump 4-27-13  Israel to --- 031


24 Photos That Prove Cats Take Better Bookshelfies Than Humans

Janice Heck:

Caterday…kittie pics!

Originally posted on Flavorwire:

Isaac Fitzgerald, a McSweeneys’ publicist and former managing editor of the Rumpus, and Max Fenton, an editor at The Believer, recently started a craze for what they call bookshelfies. They are, to put it briefly, selfies taken in front of bookshelves. Now, though Isaac is wonderful and lovely, I have to say I don’t find looking at people’s selfies particularly compelling unless I (a) know them personally or (b) they are famous and I can marvel at how strange it is that people who are constantly being photographed want yet more images of themselves. No offense, world! You are all beautiful.

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Stand up and Honor !

Janice Heck:

One way to stand up for those fighting against cancer is to join a Relay for Life walk. My family remembers and honors many of our family members who have had cancer.

Originally posted on Living with Dad; A Daughter's Story:

stand up and be counted

Posted by Mike

Saturday, August 17,2013

I know something is happening now.  We have started the ” Daily Family Updates” now on my Personal Fight Page, Mike’s Cancer Fight .  There is more talking being done now outside the room, in whispers.  That’s ok.  Things are so calm now.  No more Anger.  No more Worries.  When I’m not asleep now I am pretty much just laying here.  Not really thinking.  It’s just calm.  When I do think though I tend to spend the time looking at things from the literal sense.  One of the good ” mind trips” I take frequently now is on how Past Cancer Patients are referred.  You actually hear it a lot .  ” Uncle Bob lost his battle to Cancer”.  I beg to differ.  You see, anyone who has ever been dealt this hand hasn’t lost.  I don’t think it’s possible to lose this battle.

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WANAfriday. Childhood Memory: Scary, Scary Campfire Stories

WANAfriday: Share an early childhood memory, or a photo that brings back a memory of childhood or family.

In my childhood, large family gatherings were common.

Many evenings, my aunts and uncles gathered round the big kitchen table drinking coffee and talking about the events of the day, the weather, and the crops.

The aunts and uncles gathered frequently in the evening for coffee and news.

The aunts and uncles gathered frequently in the evening for coffee and news.

We cousins ran around outside in the twilight swatting mosquitos and catching fireflies to make lanterns for our bedrooms. Mom’s Mason canning jars, especially the green tinted ones, made the best lanterns.

Photo credit: girlsguideto.com

Photo credit: girlsguideto.com

Sometimes we sat outside on the big lawn in a big circle just talking. Sometimes we even had a campfire. One of the bigger kids invariably started telling scary stories, complete with stormy sound effects and long drawn out details. Here is an abbreviated version of one classic night-time summer tale:

It’s a dark and stormy night, and Bubba and Sarah Lee sneek away from their friends in his new black convertible to go sparking out on the woodsy bluff. In the midst of their tryst, they hear a faint scratching on the passenger door. Then the scratching gets louder. Scratch, SCRATCH.  And LOUDER.  SCRAA-AAATCH.

Then… thump, thump, thump.  The door rattles. A deep, snorting chuggle fills the air.

Bubba, remembering tales of terrors in these parts and fearing the worst, puts the car in reverse and blasts out of the woods, the romantic interlude forgotten in the terror of the moment.

When Bubba and Sarah Lee get back to her house, Bubba goes around the car to open the passenger door for Sarah Lee,       and………he……….sees……..   [deathly silence]




Was it the famed Jersey Devil?  Who knows. But this story has been told and retold at many a campfire.

It was all too real to us little ones because we knew that the Jersey Devil did live in the woods of South Jersey, not that far from our home.

The Last Meow

Ha. You think that’s a scary story. You want to hear about the night I met the Jersey Devil on a moon-less night in the dark woods and chased him out of town? That Jersey Devil was so scared that he never came back again. So much for him, the big lummox. I never got much thanks from any humans for saving them from terror either. Oh well, what can you expect from those superstitious scaredy-cat humans. They probably think THEY chased the Jersey Devil away. Humph.

Gordon College 5-16-2013 040

Meow for now. =<*!*>=

Here are a few more WANAfriday childhood memories:

P.S. Did you ever hear that scary story when you were a kid?   What scary stories did you hear at camp?

Strange Facts About Cats

Janice Heck:

Reblogged from The Paris Cat (http://thepariscat.wordpress.com)

Originally posted on The Paris Cat:


I came across this fun infographic on cats today – full of interesting facts, I bet, you didn’ know about our favorite furry friends! For example, did you know that cats take between 20 and 40 breaths every minute? Or that cats can’t see under their noses, so they struggle to find food when it is right under their nose? So cool! What facts shocked you most? What other fun facts about cat do you know?

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