Archive | May 2017

Off the Farm

Our airplane, dropping from cruising altitude, not only made me woozy, but caused my ears to pop. Each painful altitude adjustment dramatically lowered my ability to hear. Strange, crackly static from above my seat made me aware that an announcement was imminent.

In a smooth, suave voice, a way of speaking that I am positive is practiced in flight training, our pilot silkily purred, “Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. We will be landing soon, but…”

“POP!” My left ear drum changed so painfully that it felt like someone had jammed a hot needle into it. Cupping a hand over that ear and grimacing, I turned to my travel-companion-daughter and asked quietly, aware that hard-of-hearing people tend to shout, “What did he say?”

Tammie gave me a concerned look and dug around in the seat pocket. Finding a barf bag, she handed it to me and said, “There’s debris on the runway. It has to be cleaned up before we can land.”

I indistinctly heard her words in the background of the noises my ears were making, “Click! Snap, crackle!” What she said sounded like, “There’s pee on the runway and someone is throwing up.” Continue reading

All but a Yak

There weren’t even that many cars on the road, but I was hyperventilating. A quick glance at the map that my daughter had printed for me confirmed I was right where I was supposed to be.

Since I feel that my driving skills are not up to safely navigating traffic in Saint Paul, Minnesota, my daughter Tammie and I had made alternate plans to meet. A friend of hers, who lives in a suburb south of the big metropolis, said I could park my car in her yard while Tammie and I went on vacation.

Three and a half hours after leaving home, I finally pulled into the driveway with a sigh of relief. Tammie arrived several minutes later. She pulled up close so I could transfer the luggage from my car into hers. Then, content to allow my daughter to do the big city driving, I happily dropped into her passenger seat and snapped on my seatbelt. Continue reading

Terminal Woman

I once worked with a nurse who admitted, “Whenever I get a headache, I worry that I have a brain tumor.”

Knowing what it is like to worry about having an undiagnosed illness, I nodded and said, “Maybe that’s because, as a nurse, you know too much.”

The nurse laughed and said, “You’re right. In nursing school whenever we studied a new disease, I imagined that I had the same symptoms. It was horrible! I wasn’t the only one in my class with this problem. There were others who were doing the same thing.”

During my lifetime, I’ve had many occasions where I have worried that a mole was cancer or an uneven heart beat indicated heart disease or a prolonged cough after a cold meant lung cancer. Having anxieties isn’t a joke. I can hardly imagine what a basket case I would have been if I’d actually gone through a nursing program!

People who worry about their health are called hypochondriacs…or is that hyperchondriac? The other day I decided to look up the word. I discovered that a person can have either hypochondria or hypercondria. Both are illnesses of anxiety. The distinction between the two is close. Hypochondria describes a person who thinks they are always ill despite a doctor’s assurances that they are well, while someone suffering with hyperchondria fears having an illness. I think I come in strong under the hyperchondria definition. Continue reading

Cat Burglar

When I pulled into the driveway, I’d stopped the car and got out to retrieve mail and the newspaper from their boxes. Having put the car in the garage and shut its door, my next plan of action was to have a snack, read the paper at the dining room table and then go to bed. Thankful for the yard light, I opened the unlocked house door and stepped into my unlit house. I reached for the switch on the wall and flipped on the entryway light. One of my black and white tuxedo cats was sitting upright in the center of the room. The sudden brightness made her blink her eyes. My other tuxedo cat sat bundled in a kitty loaf on the bench. She wasn’t asleep, but looked contented and happy. Lights or no lights, it didn’t matter to her.

The children were grown up and away from home. Arnie was out of town on an overnight trip and I’d just returned to an empty house from working an evening shift at the hospital.

I didn’t bother to turn on the radio or television, which is normal for me when I am home alone. Silence seems to amplify house sounds. The water pump in the basement kicked in and ran for a few minutes after I had washed my hands and my snack, an apple. I sliced the apple and made a peanut butter dip for it before sitting down at the table. Continue reading

Two for Tea

The tea in my cup was too hot to drink, so I set it down and answered the question that my brother-in-law had asked, “The Charleston Tea Company Website claims that it’s the only tea plantation in the continental United States. Since I like tea so much and I want to see what the plants look like, but don’t want to go overseas, that’s one place we’ll go.”

My family had just finished eating the Easter meal at my house and were loosening their belts to relax with cups of tea and fluffy, dairy-rich desserts. My sister said, “I’ve always thought of tea being grown in China, India or Malaysia. How did you find out about this plantation?”

Letting a forkful of fruit fluff melt in my mouth before answering, I said, “I can’t even remember how I first discovered it located on an island hugging the coast of South Carolina. I never thought I’d actually go there!”

My oldest grandson questioned, “South Carolina is a long way to go to just see a tea plantation!”

Taking a sip of the delicious aromatic black tea in my cup, I smiled and explained, “My friend Val, who edits my articles, moved to North Carolina last summer. Tammie and I decided to go visit her this year.” Continue reading