Archive for the ‘Nyel’ Category

He offered. I refused.

Friday, June 26th, 2020

At The Stevens’ Salon

Yesterday Nyel took his barber’s kit and disappeared into the garage.  Being the worrier that I am (and with the excuse that I needed to document The Great Haircut Event) I followed.  I knew he’d be standing on his one good leg on the cement floor and with both hands and head busy.  In my mind, a formula for trouble.

Feeling Like A New Man!

But, it  went perfectly smoothly and didn’t take long at all.  Just enough time for a few pictures and a little sweep-up of a lot of hair.  Wow!  What a difference a few dozen swipes with an electric razor makes!  Not the designer cut that our wonderful Elizabeth has been providing in recent years, but neat-and-tidy counts for a lot.  Plus, he reminds me that he used to cut his own hair for years…  I had forgotten.


After I finished clapping and cheering, Nyel asked if I’d like him to do mine.  I have to tell you, I was just a tad tempted.  However, I don’t think a buzz-cut is my style of beauty.  Not that long, gray, and shaggy is either, but … oh well.  This too will pass.  And meanwhile, what a good-lookin’ feller I have to admire!  Plus, he says my Sheltering Shag isn’t all that off-putting, so not to worry.  What a guy!

An Escape Artist Extraordinaire!

Thursday, June 4th, 2020


After lunch yesterday, Nyel and I parted ways for the afternoon — I, to go into my office hidey-hole and finish up a writing project and Nyel, heading outside to enjoy his chickens in the sunshine.

It was some time later that my concentration was broken by a familiar noise from the past.  A mower.  But not just any mower.  Not Chuck-the-church-guy’s mower and not Tom-our-lawn-man’s mower.  IT WAS OUR MOWER!!  Which could mean only one thing — Nyel had escaped!

It’s  been three extensive surgeries on his left leg and well over a year-and-a-half since Nyel has been on that rider mower.  His left leg is shorter by four inches than his right leg; he cannot yet put full weight on it.  Nor can he walk more than a few steps WITH his walker and wearing his specially built-up shoe.  Which were both in the bedroom where they had been since sheltering began and physical therapy stopped.  What the hell??

I went out to the garage to have a look.  There was his empty wheelchair and a blank space where there had been a mower.  Nearby was a battery charger and a (probably empty) gas can.  What the bloody hell??

On The Road Again!

The path between our east fence and the meadow — the path that Nyel likes to keep mowed to certain high standards that probably only mower-guys understand — had been freshly mowed.  That’s where the familiar noise had come from but all was quiet by the time I got there and no Nyel in sight.  What???

Then it started again — way down the street, along the verge  in front of Willard’s Bench.  Part of Nyel’s old “responsibilty” for the upkeep of the village — now mowed by other volunteers.  He looked so pleased with himself and so content on that mower!  Every bit of angst I might have  had was overwhelmed by a heart full of gladness,  Yay!  Let’s hear it for determination and grit and, ultimately for escape!

“How did you get from your wheelchair to the mower?” I asked him later.

“I hopped,” he said.  You should have seen his grin!

Conflicting Thoughts and A Long Day

Monday, August 26th, 2019

Travel Assistance

Today Nyel and I head for the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle for a second opinion about his “ID”(Infectious Disease) diagnosis and treatment.  At the present time, our understanding (which is admittedly confused) is that he is harboring at least three infections in his fragile old body — two (with complicated names) in his thigh in the area of the surgery, and one (chronic myelitis) in his bones, also in the area of his surgery.

After eight weeks of antibiotics by IV in the hospital, Nyel was released without any follow-up medication.  In the time since, he has been in various degrees of pain — from the excruciating-impossible-to-sleep-and-drugs-won’t-touch-it pain to the minimal “only-when-I-move” variety.  He mostly has no appetite and no energy.  And, of course, thus far no one can say if any or all of those symptoms are caused by the infections or by healing or by something as yet undiagnosed.

Meanwhile, the ID team at St. Vincent’s has given conflicting information as to Nyel’s ongoing treatment.  Twice (and by two different doctors) he has been told that they were doing cultures to determine exactly which antibiotic(s) would be most effective, and twice it was decided to let his own immune system deal with the infections for fear he would develop resistance to a drug he might need in the future.

Causing us further angst is the fact that car travel, even when involving short distances (like the drive to Nahcotta!)  plunges him back into a miasma of leg cramping and unbearable pain.  Or so it seems, though we don’t know why.  Right now (and for the past thirty-six hours) he is essentially pain-free after three sleepless nights in a row.  Both of us feel in our bones (so to speak) that the trip to Seattle is likely to have a dire effect on his fragile pain-free-for-the-moment status-quo.  But… on the other hand…

Wound Care Supplies

The final say, of course, is Nyel’s and he feels strongly that we need to pursue this avenue.  So off we go in an hour or two.  It will be an up-and-back trip today.  A three o’clock appointment.  Picking up food as we go and eating in the car.  Only one car exit for Nyel — at the Medical Center.  More than one in-and-out is way too hard on him and just the thought of staying over night anywhere is a nightmare — wound care and dressings and transfers from wheelchair to walker to who-knows what.

It will be a long day.


When is enough enough?

Thursday, August 8th, 2019

Broody Svetlana 8-5-19

Ms. Svetlana is still broody.  It’s been more than a month now.  According to the experts:  When a hen is broody, that means she wants to hatch her eggs and raise chicks. A breed known for frequent broodiness has hens that often, individually go broody. These hens may not even need eggs to set on to be broody–they may brood in a nest with no eggs. Or in a corner on rocks.

Well, Svetlana is a bit more rationale than that, but not much.  If I remove the eggs from under her (despite her pecking at me), she waits until one of the other girls lays in the nest box next door and, as soon as the hen vacates the premises, Svetlana moves in.  She is one determined fowl!

Frozen Okra

I’ve read that the chicken farmer might be able to break the broody cycle by putting a bag of frozen vegetables, say peas, under Ms. Broody.  Since a raised temperature is one of the symptoms of broodiness, the icy underpinnings may break the cycle and the unrequited mother hen will return to “normal.”  We happen to have a bag of frozen okra (OMG!) in our freezer and tomorrow I’m making the ultimate (NOT!) sacrifice.    (When I asked Nyel why the okra, he said that before he fractured his hip, he was thinking of making gumbo.  I repeat: OMG!)

And speaking of Nyel’s health matters…  we DID get an appointment in Seattle for a second opinion on his osteo-myelitis diagnosis.  Not at the University of Washington Medical Center’s Infectious Disease Department, however.  They informed us that they no longer take Medicare patients.  Say what???  I’m trying to figure out how to get them to sit on icy bags of okra — or a human equivalent of something to break through their unreasonableness.  No Medicare patients???  Really?  I wonder if that comes under elder-discrimination.  (85% of Medicare patients are over 65.)


Thanks for asking!

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019

Internet Down!

The wires (actually, the wireless) have been humming on the way to our house — so many readers asking if everything is okay.   Wrote our friend Ruth:  I checked your blog and found that your last one was 4 days ago…What is happening? We’re concerned. Praying, sending love and hopes for good news.

I am so sorry for my silence and want to assure everyone that all is well.  The first three no-blog-days were due to no internet service.  Yesterday, for some reason, was “just one of those days!”  Time ran out and before I could get to the computer I hit a wall and went to bed instead of  blogging.

It probably boils down to Time Management or lack thereof.  Yesterday, for instance, I needed to get the car across the river for servicing by 10 a.m. (Check!), drive home to get Nyel and take him across the river to have him measured at Evergreen Prosthetics and Orthotics for another “platform shoe (Check!);” take a load of stuff to Goodwill (Check!); do some necessary shopping at CostCo (Check!); go to the Pharmacy and Jacks and do some recycling (Check! Check! And Check!).  Too much for one day but this morning my car goes to George Hill for some repairs and we will be home-bound at least until Friday.

Betwixt and between all of that, of course, were coop duties, meal duties, put-away-the-grocery duties, check the rat trap duties, and, most important of all,  the nursing duties.  Unfortunately, Nyel’s MSSA infection (a gift from St. Vincent’s) has returned and that requires additional dressing changes etc. etc.  “They”  are not prescribing antibiotics “yet” hoping his own immune system will kick in…

Dumb Cluck Svetlana – Still Broody 

Long story short: no time for blogging.  Maybe not having a car will free up some time in the next few days and I can catch up to myself.  Meanwhile… Thanks for asking how Nyel is doing.  I apologize for not keeping up.

Another step forward… almost!

Monday, July 22nd, 2019

Nyel In The Driver’s Seat

I don’t think I’ve felt quite as unsettled in the passenger seat of my own car since my son Charlie had his learner’s permit back in 1971 or ’72.  It isn’t, of course, that Nyel isn’t an experienced and knowledgeable driver.  It’s just that pesky left leg and its attendant left shoe with its four-inch platform sole that’s slowing him down.

But… he had asked his surgeon at last week’s appointment if he was “okay to drive.”  The doctor paused a moment, looked at his leg again and then had an apparent epiphany.  “Oh!  It’s your left leg!  Of course you can drive.”  He didn’t ask if we had an automatic transmission (which we do) but then I guess that’s an old-fashioned question these days.  Or maybe he realized that Nyel wouldn’t be asking if we had a clutch.

Of course, there is still the difficulty of getting him into the car and situated — especially with his pesky wound-vac.  And, usually, the wheelchair needs to be wrestled with in order to stow it behind the passenger seat.  (Were I stronger, it could go in the trunk.  But I’m not.  So it can’t.)  This time though, we were headed for Ocean Beach Hospital where there is a goodly supply of “guest wheelchairs” so Nyel only took his walker along.  He was to have some blood work done for his cardiologist in Seattle.  (Another modern-day miracle — this instant communication between far-distant and unrelated  medical facilities!)

As it turned out, we got only as far as Nahcotta.  “I don’t think this is a good idea,” he said.  I responded with something like, “Say what?’  It seemed that his left leg was being recalcitrant and turning inward so that his foot with its gigantic shoe  was interfering with the brake pedal.  “It’s all right if I don’t have to stop suddenly…” he said.

He pulled in at the recycling center and we traded seats — which sounds a lot easier than it was, even with a walker.  I know Nyel was bummed out.  “But,” I kept telling him, “now you know what you need to work on with the PT crew.  As soon as those muscles get strong enough to hold your leg in position, we’ll try it again!”  One step at a time, as they say!