Hearing Aid and a Dollar

September 4, 2017 — 1 Comment

I’ve already told about my 57 days in rehab at the FUMC, and during that time becoming stone deaf because of the radiation treatments on my head and getting a hearing aid and a week later it disappeared.

The word disappeared is Linda’s word. My word is stolen because after three searches by five or six different people it was not to be found and it did not walk out of the room by itself. It was stolen. And the management of the rehab facility took no responsibility and said it was my responsibility to safe guard my belongs while I slept.

So with that, I suppose the person who took the hearing aid was the same person who took my dollar bill book mark. I am sure they needed the dollar and hearing aid more than I did and I hope they enjoy.

Dollar bill book mark you ask? Yes, I use a dollar bill for a book mark because of a story I read in Readers Digest several years ago, perhaps 10 or so. The piece was from a father of a college student who went Christmas shopping with her two days before and they were in a book store and had been there for some time. Finally, the daughter found an item for her roommate, a book mark. They got in line to pay and it seemed like the line had not moved for several minutes/hours and finally the father asked, “how much is this book mark?” and the daughter replied, “a dollar.” Dad, being quick of thought, said, “why not just use a dollar?” Now that made a lot of since to me, and so I have used the dad’s advice ever since.

Hopefully who ever took my hearing aid and dollar book mark has made good use of them; the hearing aid for perhaps an aging relative and the dollar for a McDonald’s coke. However, let it be known the it only cost $300 to replace the $2300 hearing aid, but the dollar.

At that time in my life, my memories span was about two minutes, and so when the dollar was taken from the book I had no idea where it was and so I had to start reading at page one.

Thanks for listening.

Richard Isley
The crotchety old man

Chapter Three

I’m not sure when I was moved to rehab, and I’m not sure how long I was there until my memory started to return, but it seems like the last two weeks I have memory of most of what happened.

I know I was not a good patient and I apologize to those I offended, but I felt like a prisoner.

I was not allowed out of bed without someone to put a belt on me and escort me wherever I needed to go, even with a walker.

I could not leave the room for any reason without a “guard.” Even with the precautions, I fell at least two times while in rehab. During the last fall, I cracked my head pretty good and they brought the rehab doctor to see me. Good thing I didn’t have a hematoma.

The only thing I could do without being chastised was count the tiles on the ceiling. Don’t know how many times I counted them, but after I arrived at the total I couldn’t remember the number, and, so, I had to start over.

The food at the big house is not the best in the world, but it’s tolerable. The only item on the menu I really ate was tomato soup and the fruit cup. I did try to eat other things, but chemo pretty much killed my appetite and taste buds. I continued to lose weight despite daily lectures from my wife and daughter to eat more.

Physical therapy was a pain.

I needed physical therapy! I needed to walk again. My left leg did not want to work properly and that needed urgent rehab. I did not need to put pegs in holes or find little doodads in a bowl of rice or throw bean bags in a box. I needed to walk! Sometimes I snuck in extra PT of my own. Like standing for extended periods by the bed after I learned how to silence the escape alarm; going to the bathroom without telling anyone.

And, then there was the weekend therapist. He was great, a Jordanian immigrant who with his brother has a used car lot in Franklin. He understood the need for me to walk and that is all we did on his watch. He is a super person!

Toward the end of May, I was becoming almost paranoid about being a prisoner. I was interviewed twice by a psychiatrist and am sure that was ordered by the staff.

I was not a happy camper. I wanted to go home!

On May 24, I kind of threw a fit in PT and so the next day, Thursday, a meeting was called by social services.

Linda and I were there along with 2 FUMC employees. After a while, they agreed I would be better off at home and they would do the paperwork the following Monday.  At this point the old Allison manager came out and I may have intimated them a bit. I told them  if you worked for me and I wanted something done today and you told me I can’t it will be next week. I would replace you instantly and replace you with someone who could do what I wanted. I went home the next morning.

Of the cancer treatment I received, the chemo infusions totally disrupted my body and how it is supposed to work. The radiation causes burns. My right ear was burned so bad  it did not heal until mid-July. About the second week of May it became obvious I was stone deaf. If you didn’t talk very loudly into my left ear I had no idea of what you said. An appointment was made at Advanced Audiology just up the street from the big house. Dr. Ashley Watkins gave me a hearing test that confirmed I was stone deaf, but it was just volume related and with a hearing aid I would be able to hear. Because my right ear was still healing from the burns we just bought one hearing aid. $2,200 a week later I could hear, not perfect but I could hear. If you have hearing aids you know to take them out at bed time and I think most people put them on the night stand at bed side. I do that and was doing that at the rehab but on the morning of my release it, the hearing aid, was gone, $2,200 gone. We searched the room at least three times and it could not be found.

The response from the rehab folks was that they were not responsible for the loss. That was my responsibility. So I come home stone deaf and started my recovery.

Chapter Four

I’m not sure who started the St. Frances Home Care folks but they were everywhere and they were great! Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, home Nurses, and home care.  Most came twice a week and were absolutely great getting me started on my recovery. After 2 weeks the OT guy, Jeff, said he was not needed any more. Just keep doing the 5 exercises twice a day. The nurses and there was more than one, came every week to check my vitals and to make sure I was making progress. The home care lady came twice a week to help me take a shower. And then there was Miranda, the PT girl whose 1st question was, “what do you want from me.” My reply was simply, I want to walk and Miranda said, “I can do that.” So for twice a week for 6 weeks Miranda and I walked and did exercise to help me walk. She did a great job and I am now walking with a cane and carrying my oxygen tank. I work every day to increase my endurance and under doctors orders I go without oxygen for a good bit of the day and evenings.

It has been a long journey that is still not over. I feel better and stronger every day. I have I guess, reached a plateau on my weight, I now weigh166# an increase of 25# from when I left the big house. Linda is a great care giver. I will see Dr. Ikhlaque in about 6 weeks for another scan to see what the dormant cancer is doing.  Hopefully it is still asleep.

As I wind down telling my story Linda and I talked about the past year.  I remarked that I occasionally have a remembrance flash, remembering something from the period of no memory.  We talked about when it all really started. She shared that some of my issues started at the time I discovered there was something wrong with my nose so I waited three weeks to get in to see Dr. Hollenkamp, ENT and he said those polyps are pretty bad and need to come out.  Surgery was done on 3/3/16 and my nose was stuffed full so I can’t breathe through my nose 27 days until the follow-up appointment. On 3/30/16 early morning the packing was removed and I could breathe through my nose. We left soon after and drove to Just west of St. Louis, MO. to the Purina Farms where I was scheduled to judge Miniature Schnauzers the next day something I had wanted to do for a long time. I managed to do the judging assignment but my COPD was getting worse by the minute. We drove home that afternoon and that evening I was admitted to the hospital. Five days later and feeling better I go home.  Oct. 10th I am back in the hospital with pneumonia. They know that because of the x-rays taken.  Every time I’m in the hospital they take x-rays and so over the past few years there have been at least 10 x-rays and nothing showed up about my cancer.  I’ve already said that in Dec. they took a CT scan and again failed to see the cancer. We all must trust our Drs. to make the best decisions but in my case I think they just failed.

All during the summer Linda says I started to change. She says I became emotional, depressed, forgetful, and complained about not being able to concentrate. Looking back I understand what she saw in me. I was on the downhill slide that I attribute to the cancer in my brain among other places.

My cancer is now after all the treatments dormant. According to Dr. Ikhlaque It will never go away so every three months I guess we will have a scan to make sure it is still dormant. I am not fully recovered and may never be but I feel like I am getting better every day.  I am finally back among the living!

When we were released from St. Frances, I fell at least 2 times coming into the house from the garage during the next few days. I am told that I fell two or three times in the bathroom.

Now the fun begins.

I am told I was setting at our dining room table and just fell out onto the floor and was unresponsive. Linda called the big house for help, I believe because she thought I was dead.  The head nurse, Montel, responded and was at the house in less than five minutes and  took over my care – from taking vitals to asking if I knew what happened.

After about two hours it was agreed I need to be taken to a rehab facility for my safety and to give Linda and Chris some rest and relief from the constant worry about my care.

I do not remember that move or being in a room in the big house.

I do, however, remember being in a wheel chair in a hall way with no idea why or where. Soon, it became apparent I was among a large number of “end of life” patients. I knewit must be night out because they are taking them back to their rooms and finally I am the only patient left. Now, I have also have determined that I am in the “big house” and even when I see someone I recognize they never speak. I remember seeing 3 or 4 firemen coming down the hall getting into the elevator and I watch a neighbor get out of the elevator and walk right past me and never said a word.  By now I am getting very confused and managed to start moving around in the wheel chair. I really got yelled at for that! I don’t remember being taken to bed.

The next thing I remember is Linda and Chris coming into my “room” and telling me we are going to a meeting with the floor staff. I don’t how long I was on the third floor before this meeting but I remember being pissed about what I considered poor care.  I remember being told that I was where I am because of a Flu epidemic in the rehab unit and as soon as that cleared I would be moved. I do remember being testy about the way I was being treated because I was not an end of life patient and did not appreciate being treated like one!

I do remember being readied to go to a Drs. Appointment when a nurses aid came into the room and said ‘”you can’t leave here looking like that. I need to shave you.”   And she did! I have no idea what happened the rest of that day.  I don’t remember being moved to the rehab unit and have no idea of how long I was on the third floor.  But, I do know I don’t ever want to go back there.

Not sure when but during this time on the third floor I continued chemo and radiation for my cancer and my memory and interaction with others continued to decline until Linda took me to St. Frances for a chemo treatment and as usual they take blood samples and then when the results are back you see the Dr. before receiving the chemo infusions. According to Linda I was totally unresponsive to Dr.Ikhlaque’s questions and he began questioning my behavior for the past few weeks. Finally Dr. Ikhlaque looked at all the drugs I was taking and discovered that one of my prescriptions had been changed to at least 12 times the previous dosage. That drug combined with the morphine I was taking for pain was having its toll on my brain. Orders were given to stop giving me the two drugs. Linda says the next morning I was almost normal. Not, but close! An aside; the visit before this one I had asked the Dr. When will we know that the pain in my back is gone.  And he said; guess we will have to take them away. Guess what? No pain that Oxycodone didn’t help as needed. So I guess Dr. was right.

I was in rehab for 57 days and except for the few days mentioned I don’t remember anything until the last 2 weeks. I know Linda and the kids were there every day and I had a visit from my stepson Christopher, from Louisville and a visit from my stepdaughter, Lisa from Denver. Which was probably more for mom than me but it was nice and Linda needed it.  My granddaughters, Brooke and Sidney, were also there several times. Also, there were visits from church friends and a few neighbors and those visits meant a lot to me even though I may not have shown it. The one person who ranks right up there with family is your preacher. Pastor Evie Stuart, Tabernacle Christian Church. Her visits and prayers were, if I may, life savers.  The love she has for God and Jesus and her parishioners is an amazing example of what Jesus meant when he said, “Love thy neighbor as thy self.” Thank you Pastor Evie!

If I may, one thing that I missed for about 8 months was being in the Church.  The Tabernacle Christian Church was built in 1903 and remains today a prime example of early 20th century architecture. From the very first time I was in the sanctuary I felt the spirit of God and I feel that spirit every time I am there.  It was the 1st Sunday in this July that Linda and I went to church. In addition to all the handshakes and hugs the spirit of God was still there. That spirit, that feeling of God’s presence in that room was over whelming.  I have to say that I firmly believe that Jesus was and continues to be with me every step of the way. If that were not true I would not be here today.

In rehab my brain/memory was slowly recovering. I remember trying to say the Lord’s Prayer, I could not get all the words. It took almost a week for me to remember all the words. I remember a great feeling of accomplishment.

 

It has been about a year since I have posted on the blog. I have been sick and I have tried to put down that experience. It’s a bit long so I have divided the story into 5 chapters. I will publish a chapter a week. So here goes.

Chapter one

It has been a long time since I have written on my blog.  I think that my memory has recovered enough that I can put together the past year. Where I cannot remember some of the specifics I will rely on my care giving team, without whom I would not have survived, Linda, my loving and caring wife, my two kids, J.R. and Christina.  They were there for me almost every day even though I was not aware of their presences. I will not name all the folks involved because we all make mistakes and because no one can remember who they were, especially me.

I have had COPD for several years and it started getting worse about 5 years ago when I was hospitalized for the 1st time. From that point on every time I went to my Doctors or to the ER I was told, “You have COPD and chronic bronchitis take this antibiotic.” I would go home and would be better for 3 or 4 weeks then it would start again. I can’t breathe enough air even with Oxygen. Every time on follow up visits to my doctors. I would tell them ‘”you give me antibiotics and I get better but you don’ make me well’” This went on for over a year. Each time I went to the ER x-rays were taken yet nothing amiss was found other than COPD. I continued to get worse and on Thanksgiving Day 2016 getting ready for the family feast while trying to move the dining room table so we could all eat together, I broke a leg off the table.  The next 2 hours took its toll on me trying to find a table. Off to Walmart to buy a table that after getting it set up only to find that it is too long and much damaged.

Called my son, JR, for help, I need a folding table 4-6 feet long. Any ideas and he said, “I think I have one in the barn.” I then drove 5 miles to his house and returned with a table perfect for the occasion.

By the time the family arrived I was totally wore out and was not a very good host. After dinner I was spent and if I remember correctly I went to bed for a while. Sorry kids but I couldn’t help it.

Over the next few days I did not get better and on the evening of 11/28/16 Linda took me to the ER and was admitted to the hospital. On the third day I was beginning to feel better but that night I crashed and was moved to ICU and they called Linda telling her she needed to be there now.  I am told that if it hadn’t been for Linda and Chris holding me in bed I would have been strapped there. I guess that day I was given a CAT scan that showed nothing amiss with my heart and also the COPD. The heart doctors at the hospital said I almost died twice from Cardiac Arrest.  The bottom line was that I had sepsis and that was causing all the problems with my heart. I can only guess that the sepsis was caused by the cancer I would soon be diagnosed having. Through all this my back was hurting so bad I could hardly walk by myself. The hospitalist (these are doctors or nurse practitioners who see you every day but rarely two days in arrow)  along with  the heart doctors decided I was well enough to leave but they thought I should go to a rehab facility for a few days.

I was taken to the rehab at the Franklin United Methodist Community. (FUMC) Now what I learned that night and subsequent days later (April/May) I don’t ever want to go back there again! They had none of my prescription meds and Linda had to go home and return with pain medicine that they gave me and that was the last I saw the nurse. The only aid I saw after that was when at 3:00 am I asked for a cup of coffee.  I could not lie down on the bed because of extreme pain but I could set in a chair without pain. So, I spent all night setting up and playing a game on F/B until morning when they brought breakfast that I couldn’t eat. I have never in my life eaten biscuits and gravy. I can say with certainty that from 9:00 pm until 7:00 am except for when I asked for coffee no one came to check on me!

I started, “pardon my French,” raising hell” about leaving and lack of care and meds. I saw the FUMC  DR. and told him that I was not being taken care of and could not lie down without severe pain and I needed to get to my own bed NOW! I was released within 2 hours. I guess my 25 years as an Allison supervisor paid off. No one said no. When I got home I ate a bit and went to bed. No pain and I must have stayed awake at least 5 minutes.

Shortly after the early Dec. hospital stay I noticed a swelling on my breast bone where the collar bones connect.  Over the next few days the swelling increased and it began to hurt and on Christmas day it hurt so bad that after dinner with my mother at the “Big House” I had the house nurse to take a look and she sent us to the ER. They took x-rays and sent me home saying they had no idea of what was wrong. Put on this pain patch and take these antibiotics.

During the next 2 weeks I had follow-up appointment with my Cardiologist, Pulmonologist and family Doctor. The only good to come out of these appointments was referral to Dr. Robert Daley who ordered a PET scan at St Frances on 12/29/16 and a follow-up on 1/10/17. Dr. Daley showed us the cancer and it was in a lot of places. Dr. Daley ordered a biopsy to determine which of three types of lung cancer I had.

The biopsy was at St. Frances on 1/19/17 with a follow-up with Dr. Daley on 1/23/17. Going to Dr. Daley’s I knew I was just about gone. I hurt even with the Hydrocodone and had no energy and could just barely walk.  Dr. Daley explained that I had small cell carcinoma and it was stage 4.  I knew right then that without a miracle I would be gone, dead. My miracle happened in the next hour! Dr. Daley said there is hope and he looked at Linda and said, “go get in your car, drive out of the parking lot and turn right onto County line Rd.  And go to Emerson Ave. and turn left and go to ST. Frances hospital Cancer Center.  Do not stop for any reason until you get to the office of Dr. Nadeem Ikhlaque. He is the best oncologist for small cell carcinoma. Dr. Ikhlaque explained the treatment schedule and what I remember was the results of that treatment were 80% survival at 8 years.

Within ½ an hour I was admitted to Dr. Ikhlaque’s Cancer treatment floor at St. Frances. And after reliving my whole life time medical history and a bite to eat the fun began. I think it was about 10:00 pm that I was taken down to Radiology for them to locate and map the cancer areas; my brain, breast bone, Lung, and 5th lumbar vertebra. The pain from lying on the scan device was so intense I could not lay still. I was yelled at for not laying still and I was in tears because it hurt so badly but I wanted the pain to go away. Finally I was back in my room and got some sleep.

It was early on January, 24, 2017 that the treatment plan was explained. The radiation treatments would begin that morning and continue Monday – Friday for 20 days and the chemo therapy would start that afternoon

And it would be three days of treatment then an injection for immunity then 2 ½ weeks off and then 3 more days of treatment, until six treatments were completed. On March 6 had an appointment with Dr. R. Daley who had an x-ray taken and said the tumors were shrinking; chemo and radiation was working.

For those of you who are blessed with never taking Chemo you have no idea how fortunate you are. For me it was, with everything else going on with me, devastating. I had no energy, no appetite, everything I did eat tasted like s—t and I do know what that taste like but that is another story. When I finally recovered from my last chemo treatment I weighed 140 #. The weight loss had begun in the late and early summer when I weighed 180+.

The chemo treatment was hard on me but Linda was the one being hammered the most along with my daughter and son.  So, my son volunteered to baby set me if Linda could get away for a couple of days. Linda put together a plan to stay with her sister Carmen for 3 days. So JR and I started our great adventure which was going well the first day and a half and then thru no fault of his turned bad, but probably saved my life.

The week before the great adventure my left elbow swelled up with a big knot and then the left arm from the elbow to the first knuckles began swelling until it was almost 2 times the normal size. It was 3/20/17 and I fell which scared my son because he didn’t know what to do but he helped me up and into bed. After a few minutes I asked him to call an ambulance to take me to St. Frances. The ambulance attendants and the Franklin Firemen were really great. I think they took pity on this old and dying man. When we got there the hospital was full and I got one of the last ER rooms.

The ER surgeon came and examined my arm and told Linda he needed to lance the elbow and that he would be back. A half hour later he arrived with his instruments and numbed the elbow and proceeded to open and drain the elbow. He wouldn’t let me watch but Linda said he got lots of: “stuff” to drain from the elbow.

I was in the emergency room for almost 18 hours before getting a room. The room assigned was in the bone marrow transplant unit, the only vacant room at St. Francis.  Dr. Ikhlaque came to see me and said that as soon as he had a room available on his floor he would have me moved. This move happened the next day but for the next 36 hours whether coming or going from my room my family or any visitor was required to wear masks and gloves when not in my room. They were very happy when they moved me to the cancer floor.

After being move to the cancer floor the stream of doctors started. They were looking at my left arm and elbow and they also trying to figure out why I was falling “a lot”. Finally it was decided to operate on my arm and also try to determine what antibiotic was needed to kill the bacteria causing the infection.  They opened up my arm from the elbow and drained considerable infection from the arm, so I was told, and packed the incision so it would heal from the inside out. The next day the laboratory said that the antibiotic to stop the infection was CIPRO. The lab determined that my infection was MRSA.
Then started twice a day IV’s of Bactrim and vancomycin for a week. It worked and I was sent home 3/27/17 with CIPRO pills that I took for another week. Now starts a part of my life I do not remember and the information I relate is mostly from Linda with assistance from daughter Christina and son JR.

Have you ever noticed how people don’t listen to what you say to them, especially when you answer their questions? It’s like they already know what your answer should be instead of what you really answer. It bothers me because I try not to be wasteful and so at restaurants I try to be very specific as to what I want or need. To other service folks I try to give instruction as to my preferences that are simple and straight forward. The following are examples that show not only how folks don’t listen but also how wasteful they are because they don’t listen.

We were at Cracker Barrel the other day and I ordered coffee and said to the waitress,” No cream”.  A few minutes later she brought the coffee and low and behold she started to put creamer on the table. I again said, “No cream please” and handed the small containers to her. She had not listened. This was not the first time this scenario has happed at Cracker Barrel and other restaurants as well. It seems it must be ingrained in wait staffs that everyone uses cream in their coffee but I’m sure the creamers cost something and also that anything left on the table either used or unused becomes trash.  To me this is a waste of money and a needless waste heading to the landfill.

Next we go to MacDonald’s. It used to be that the stores had the individual packets of ketchup and everyone grabbed a handful of these for their fries. Probably only used 2 or 3 and put the rest, probably 4 or 5, in the trash. The same grab a handful mentality was used to get salt and pepper, and it is still that way. Someone at MacDonald’s saw the waste and cost and they changed every store to the hand pump dispensers of ketchup which makes a handful of ketchup very messy. If the dispensers are empty and you go to the counter and request ketchup they will ask how many and only give you what you ask for.  However, if you go thru the Drive thru and ask for ketchup you will most likely get a handful of packets and will probably throw most of them away.

Next we go to Taco Bell. I love Taco Bell! The boss asked how, since I do very little cooking, what I would do for food if something happened to her. My reply, “me and Taco Bell will become really great friends.” I love Taco Bell but I’ve already said that. When I make a taco run I generally go thru the drive thru and order 3 taco Supremes and a Chulupa. “Any sauce” They ask. “Yes, 3 Fire and one mild please. And no thank you I don’t drink Pepsi,” I reply. When I get home what do I find? There are at least 20 packets of fire sauce and 10 packets of mild sauce at the bottom of the sack.  Now I’ve already got a drawer full of various condiment packets from various places and I don’t need any more. I sure hope the critters at the land fill enjoy the Taco Bell sauce on their entries as well as the lost profit. I often wonder if the manager of our local Taco bell has any idea how much money, lost profit, goes out the drive thru window.

The reason for this piece came about from a visit to Great Clips to get my ears set out this week. That’s a haircut in Hoosier speak for my non Hoosier friends. When I set down in the chair I told the young lady, “Please, don’t trim my sideburns. Just blend them in.” I thought she did a really good job cutting my hair until I got home and discovered that she had shortened my sideburns by about a ½ inch. She didn’t listen! It is obvious that she has no idea what a pain it is to regrow sideburns! They must be nurtured and fertilized and coaxed back to life.  We are not allowed to have chickens here on the reservation so I am trying to get the regrowth without the proper fertilizer. So far I think in a week or two, about the time I will need another haircut; the “burns” will be back as good as new. Hopefully the next hairdresser to cut my hair will listen to my instructions. Maybe I’ll write a note and hand it to her. Perhaps the written word will help her understand my wishes.

Thanks for listening.

Richard Isley

Watching

February 11, 2016 — 1 Comment

Watching, maybe more precise to say observing. It seems I‘ve done lots of watching in my life.  I have always been curious about things that people do. Carpenters, brick masons, plumbers, electricians, and the many machine operators I watched in later life. By watching I learned to do lots of tasks simply by remembering what I had watched them do. I’ve been a DIY’er all my life even with all the frustration of not everything going as planned I know I saved lots of money! Isn’t that the reason we do these things by ourselves not just to say we did it but to say we saved lots of money!

Since I retired about 13 years ago I have fine-tuned my watching skills to the point where I can say I am an expert in several fields of watching. I am indeed an expert in watching paint dry and grass grow and snow fall and other folks working.  It is really neat to have these skills. I mean they are really important to keeping one mentally alert and avoiding that bottomless pit of mental decline that lurks around every turn in our lives path. Not to brag too much but, I have seen falling rock. You’ve seen the signs along the road to “watch for falling rocks”. Well I did and I did indeed see them fall somewhere down in Kentucky.

After getting settled in here on the reservation I have worked hard to continually hone my watching skills and because we live on one of the ponds I have gained considerable knowledge about Mother Nature.  For instance, baby ducks don’t live very long on the pond. Baby ducks must be the daily meal special for the several snapping turtles that come out of hibernation extremely hungry just about the time for the spring duckling hatch.

Another phenomenon I have watched is that ducks and Geese, as well, make babies in the water. I’m not a voyeur but you can’t help seeing what happens in broad daylight. Not much different that the rest of the animal kingdom, humans included, he asks and she says yes or no. Stop by this spring and I’ll show you all I know about the sex life of ducks and geese. No appointment necessary.

But, last night I think I had the ultimate in watching experiences, absolutely the pinnacle of additions to my resume of the art of watching. Last month the pond froze over twice and remained so for several days. The second time it froze it froze pretty deep because when it warmed up the first part of Feb. it took several warm days to melt away. It took so long to melt that the resident fishermen couldn’t fish those couple of days when it almost got to 60 degrees, can’t fish on a frozen pond. Then this week it has turned bitter cold as you know. Windy and cold, almost unbearable. The wind was so strong that we almost had whitecaps on the pond. Day before yesterday and that night and yesterday the wind kept the wind chill in single digits but the pond remained fluid.

After supper last night I was setting at the kitchen table reading another book on my favorite subject, The American Civil War when I happened to look out my window on the pond and noticed that the water had calmed down. With light from the street lights and maybe a little help from the moon it was obvious that the wind had died down and as I looked upon the water it froze! Almost in an instant the entire surface turned into ice. I can now say “I saw a pond freeze. “ I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to top that but I will keep watching.

Thanks for listening.

Richard Isley