HEIGHT OF TOILET SEATS AND OTHER EPIPHANIES

I’m writing for Marilyn today. Not ghosting just writing what she’s thinking. It’ll be awhile before Marilyn can actually do what she does best. Write wonderful blogs that touch many hearts and lives.  It’s the beginning of  her third full day at home. Marilyn’s return from nearly two weeks and five heart surgeries at Beth Israel Hospital is full of surprises, revelations and epiphanies. Not the C.B. DeMille grand scale things. Just very ordinary stuff we take for granted.

Take toilet seats, for instance. When you’re taking care of business do you ever notice how high or low your throne is? Most don’t. The biggest controversy is whether the guy remembers to put the seat back down. Well, listen up, Pilgrim!! A discovery preferably forgotten came when Marilyn was home alone. Nature called and Marilyn answered.

Sitting down on her throne, unlike comedy, was easy. Getting up, like live television, was hard and full of unpleasant surprises. The seat was lower than Marilyn realized. Gravity only takes you DOWN, she now recounts with a wry smile. Arising from her throne required a monumental effort. Marilyn says it was like having no legs. She kept trying, losing track of the number of efforts. Marilyn finally rocked back and forth, maybe a little Ray Charles movement, and after many dizzying efforts, she staggered to her feet. It literally took her breath away!!

Why was Marilyn left to her own devices? Mea culpa! I’d run a few errands. Marilyn asked me to do them as quickly as possible. As usual, I listened but didn’t follow her request even if I had the best of intentions. Good intentions don’t count when a person is left unattended in fragile condition.

Then there’s coffee. Any idea what nearly two weeks of hospital coffee will do to your palate? I had a sip while visiting Marilyn and my tongue rebelled. One of the first things Marilyn noticed upon her return home was the sound and smell of coffee dripping in the morning. Her first cup of real coffee elicited sighs and smiles.

Another delight for Marilyn was a shower. A REAL shower in her own bathroom. Using her own soaps and, with a little help, washing her hair. More sighs and smiles mixed with some groans as Marilyn gently cleaned the sensitive post surgery areas of her body. Wrapped in her own comfortable robe, Marilyn felt refreshed until another surge of pain jolted her reverie. Each day is a mix of small bursts of energy and longer periods pain coping that’s part of her recovery from the heart surgery that was so much more complex than originally thought.

Finally, there’s sleeping. We have one of those super-deluxe beds that lowers and raises your head and feet. It also vibrates, helping with some aches. That’s the good part. Marilyn aches from head to toe, in varying degrees 24 hours a day, even when in bed. Getting in bed is a chore. Finding the right position is another. Placing a heating pad over her bad right shoulder (muscle torn sometime during the hospital stay) is still another job. Getting quality sleep is a dream. A major problem occurs when nature calls during the middle of the night. Marilyn needs help getting out of bed and into the bathroom. I’m her faithful companion. But, as many of you know, I’m very hard of hearing. I take my hearing aids off before going to bed. Normal procedure.

However, when Marilyn needs my help at three o’clock in the morning, she either has to yell at me or hit me. I prefer the yell. It’s very, very frustrating for Marilyn. Consequently, both of us sleep fitfully. Marilyn because of the pain which never really subsides. Me because I hope I hear the nocturnal call for assistance. This would make for a bad Lifetime movie. But we’d gladly take the money.

Yesterday, Marilyn had her first visits from a visiting nurse and a physical therapist. We have a game plan. Better times are ahead, they promise. We can hardly wait!!

Marsh and Wetlands – Marilyn Armstrong

Along the river you will find marsh and wetlands. These are the places where the birds feed and breed, where fish lay their eggs, where turtles multiply and come out to sun themselves on the rocks.

Herons, egrets, and other water fowl make their homes here. Humans generally don’t like these areas much. Too many bugs.

Mosquitoes are thick in the air, but they make wonderful food for many of the smaller creatures that live in these areas. Rich with life of all kinds, the wetlands are fed by the same river that flows down from the Worcester hills to the sea at Providence.

The wetlands are beautiful and rich … Just make sure you wear a lot of insect repellent. And bring your camera.

The wetlands and marsh that spreads out along the river are the richest ecological areas in the region and are fragile. Around the valley, because the river so dominates our environment, the wetlands are to be found anywhere and everywhere.

Homeowners get upset when they are told they aren’t allowed to build on areas of their own land because it’s protected wetlands … especially when they didn’t know they had on wetlands on the property.

I think we have some wetland way back in our woods … a small pond too, though I’ve never made it there through the brambles. It’s not a place I’d ever think to build anyway. They are an inconvenience and we have to work around them, but we protect them because we need them. And they need us.