Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Vital Step

Hooray - this is the first morning of our gym time at MCHC with Ron. Everything went really well - we both got a good workout, and we enjoyed the staff and the other participants. I think this program is going to work out (pun intended) well for us. Afterwards we went out to breakfast at the Omelette Shoppe.

Stopped in at Bortz on the way home to say hi to Mom.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Moving Out

Today we moved Mother's personal items out of her room at Concord Place. We packed clothes in her suitcase and in a plastic bin, borrowed a cart and wheeled her clothes on hangers over to Bortz. We left some seasonal items in the closet so that Concord can use them in the future. The chairside table that was hers, we brought home to replace the one that Phil Neupert made for us back in the sixties.

After we arrived in Mom's room with all of her clothing, a really officious nurse showed up. The first thing she said that bothered me was "Oh I'm so glad to see someone here - I was beginning to think she didn't have anybody." Then she told us Mom couldn't have the Tylenol in her room because the facility doesn't allow self-medication. (OK, I can see why that's necessary.) Next she went on a long discourse about the patients not being allowed to have sharp objects or weapons or anything that could be used to attack somebody, such as scissors (and, I assume, nail clippers!). That part of the speech seemed especially unnecessary to me. Finally she informed us that Mom's name had to be in all of the clothing, even the socks so that the laundry wouldn't get the things mixed up. Originally we were told that the laundry staff would mark all of the clothing. Nevertheless, I put Mom's name on everything right there on the spot - and it wasn't so bad - it only took me 25 minutes.

Goodbye Concord Place.

Friday, January 26, 2007


Anyone who turns on their radio in the middle of the night and hears part of the Coast to Coast AM Radio Program will appreciate the humor of the following song by UFO Phil:

click here

I think it's a hoot!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

We're All Done With Therapy

When I say all, I mean both Mother and I are finished with therapy.

Dick and I went at 8:15 for my last session, and then went out to breakfast at Bob Evans. I had some yummy piping hot, nutritious oatmeal (that's what the menu called it). Then we went home - Dick's goal was to make soup, my goal was to finish the laundry.

Neighbor Shirley called to say that the church lady had visited Mother and reported that Mother couldn't eat or drink anything and that maybe I should check into that. It's true that I hadn't visited Mom when Sniders were here. I was glad that Shirley called to alert me.

I went to Bortz to "check into" things. I spoke to the nurse's aide, the head nurse, the nurse practitioner, the social worker, the therapist, the lunch lady, and the lady who cleans up. They all spoke to Mother, and we all concluded that she does not want to continue therapy, and she does not want to return to Concord Place in her current condition. She can be very outspoken at times, and doesn't hesitate to state her desires.

I discharged Mother from physical therapy, which is required by Medicare. This means that Medicare will no longer help pay for the nursing home charges, and she will be a private-pay patient.

She's been sick for the past week - and she can't keep anything down, food nor water, except for a 1/2 cup of chicken broth Wednesday. She feels ill and very weak. Believe it or not, the therapy staff was still taking her downstairs to do what exercises she can - in my opinion, she really can't benefit that much for all of the stress and discomfort it causes her.

Besides the inability to eat and drink much, she has a "pleural effusion", which means fluid around the heart. Her blood tests show that she has had a minor heart attack at some time recently because there are heart enzymes in her blood stream and the tests show evidence of the beginning of congenital heart failure. She has no memory of anything that she would have regarded as a heart attack, though. She remains mentally alert and able to express her preferences and opinions, sometimes vehemently. She wants to stay at Bortz and to stop going to therapy.

The nursing staff has adjusted some of her meds, and they all think that she'll be feeling better tomorrow.

Next week Dick and I will start Vital Step at the MCHC gym - we're really looking forward to it.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Movies! Popcorn!

I had therapy at 7:30 a.m. and Dick had a meeting at the Agency at 9:00 a.m. We were all back together for lunch here, and we read, watched TV and gossiped!

Jan and I went to see Night in the Museum, and we really enjoyed it. It's a great movie for kids (for everyone, really) - excitement, adventure, history, humor, and villainy. Jan and I wondered who cleaned up all of the mess in the museum before opening every day - except the last day, it didn't seem to be cleaned up. I guess if you go along with the fantasy (T. Rex fetching a bone, etc) then you can go along with magical clean-up. Ben Stiller is fun to watch, and Dick vanDyke still has it. Mickey Rooney was enjoyable too.

We met Dick and Bill at the Mongolian Barbecue for dinner and it was all very mellow.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Sniders are Coming!

Bill and Jan got here around 11:30 a.m., and it was great to see them. We were very laid back and just enjoyed reminiscing and gossiping for hours. For dinner, Dick grilled steaks and baked potatoes outside even though the weather is bone-chilling.

They are expecting one new grandbaby in March (Eric and Tammy). Her name will be Emily Grace. Another new grandbaby will arrive sometime in July (Reiko and Bob). That will give them a grandbaby total of SIX !!

We watched Heroes, but we missed Ugly Betty :)

Saturday, January 20, 2007


Dick went over to the Convergence site around 10 or 11 a.m. - I stayed home by the fire! When the chili was hot, and the food was set out, he came home to get me (it's only 5 miles away). There must have been 50 people there when I came - there was a long line for French fries! Dick roasted hot dogs for us, and it was a hoot. We were dressed so warmly that the day didn't even seem cold (especially near the roaring fire!)

It was great seeing everybody and catching up on their latest adventures. Watching Heather and Kimberly roast marshmallows was the best part, though. Those girls are experts!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

In Good Hands

It snowed and snowed and snowed - about 6 new inches of snow on the ground this morning. Dick got outside really early and used the snowblower on the driveway so that we could get an early start because I was due at therapy at 7:30 a.m.

After therapy we were off to Bortz to "supervise" mother's trip to the dentist. I wanted to be there to calm her down a bit because she was a little agitated about leaving the building and traveling around in the snow. While we were waiting to go, Betsy from Concord dropped in to see how Mom is doing.

Bortz provides a driver and a van; the driver, Kathy, is also in charge of transferring Mother from van to wheelchair, pushing the wheelchair, etc. Wanda, one of the aides, went over to Concord and brought back Mom's boots and some more clothes from her closet over there. Wanda is very thoughtful, cheerful, willing, helpful, and respectful. Mother likes her a lot and appreciates her help.

The trip went well - it was uneventful, really, and effortless on our part. The dentist made 5 or 6 adjustments to Mom's partial - I felt vindicated - no wonder I couldn't get it to fit in her mouth! We stopped on the way home to get some batteries for her remote control.

When she was back in her room, 3 different staff members stopped by to see how she was doing. That is very reassuring to me. The remote worked fine with new batteries, so now she's back in business.

I realized afterwards that the Bortz staff really is capable of transporting her to where ever she might need to go in the future. It's a wonderful feeling to know that she's in such good hands should we happen to be out of town in an emergency.

We ran a couple of errands and then had a delightful lunch at Amical. We sat right by the fireplace - so warm and cozy.

Talked to Laurie this afternoon - they're coming for the weekend to talk to their builder, Sean McCardel, whose project is called Verndale of East Bay. Could this mean that they're really, really going to move here? Stay tuned!

Monday, January 15, 2007


Dick went to the Agency this morning, and did an exhausting amount of work. The major part of it was helping a lady with a medicaid application - it took them 2 hours!

I had a 9:30 appointment with Dr. Burke - just a routine 3 month checkup. Holy cow! Dr. Burke said he was thrilled with my progress! Now, that's a first. My blood test numbers were so good that he cut my medication again. It's a very good feeling, and it's a novelty to feel optimistic about the future.

After the appointment I went to Tom's 14th, walked around the entire store, and was not exhausted at the end of it. Pardon me for bragging.

Dick began downloading World of Warcraft on his computer so that he can join us in the family fun.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Very Relaxing

NFL playoff games, reading the Sunday paper, playing computer games, visiting Mother, KFC for dinner - an ordinary day.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


The family had a date for noontime to play together on our new computer game that Tom got us all for Christmas (World of Warcraft). It was a ton of fun. We teamed up, and it enabled me to complete several quests that I would never have been able to complete by myself. Jana was very solicitous, staying by my side the whole time and looking out for me.

I'm not sure how long they played - I lasted for 2 1/2 hours, and they were still going strong. It's wonderful to have TeamSpeak - it's much more efficient to be able to just talk to each other rather than typing back and forth.

The funniest event was Laurie saying "OK, I'm going for a walk around the neighborhood, so you guys are babysitting Dylan." It was fun being the babysitter, even from 2,000 miles away!

Friday, January 12, 2007

J & E

I had to make a quick visit to the Clinic to get a blood test, so we made an outing of it. Afterwards, we went to the Omelette Shoppe for breakfast. Then we did some minor cache maintenance, and went home.

Jim and Emilie drove up from Saginaw today to visit Mother in her new location. They came out to the river afterwards for debriefing, coffee, and cookies. They were pleased with her situation, and reported that they had a good visit.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


It appears that W plans to send 20,000+ more soldiers to Iraq. He's not calling it an escalation though - he's calling it a surge. Anbar Province and Baghdad are the most dangerous places in the whole country, so that's where the surging new troops will most likely be going. Those places are teeming with insurgents, and so I'm calling the new troops the outsurgents.

Here's an excerpt from an interesting article by Nicholas von Hoffman in The Nation, entitled Tax the Rich, End the War:
The Democrats can tax our way out of the war. This would be a Victory Over Terror tax to be levied on incomes of $5 million a year or more. It should be a surcharge of 20 percent over and above what people in that rarified income bracket are already paying. It should be levied on all income, regardless of what form it takes, so it would include stock options, jet plane rides, company-paid-for health and life insurance, retirement programs, golden parachutes, the use of apartments in Paris, cars and drivers.

The people in this stratospheric income category have enjoyed the big tax cuts that have gone into effect while the nation has been attacked and been at war. Individuals making $1.25 million a year have gotten tax cuts of almost 20 percent, but many of these would be spared paying the Victory Over Terror tax, which only cuts in at the $5 million level.

Needless to say, those paying this tax do not represent the Democrats' voter base. As these things go, this is politically pain-free. The tax is aimed at war profiteers, overpaid CEOs and grossly fat cats in general, most of whom carry a lot of weight at the White House. If there is any group of people in the world whom George Bush listens to, it is this bunch of billionaires. Call this a backdoor use of the power of the purse. And since the surcharge expires when the war on terror is won or declared over, those taxed will have a powerful incentive to tell the President it is time to get a move on.

Therapy was at 7:30 this morning - there were lots of people there - I was surprised. Kari says that next week we'll be adding weights. Oh dear.

Today I became durable power of attorney for Mother. We waited and waited for the lawyer to turn up - she was half an hour late. All was forgiven when she arrived though because she's very young and fresh-faced and due in April. The procedure was short and sweet and Mother was able to sign the document with no problem. So now I keep doing what I've been doing for years, except now it's legal.

Dick went to the VC to help Kathee fold 750 pizza boxes for the chili cook-off. Each box contains a napkin, a spoon, and 8 cups for chili samples. If we want to go, we get in free. Except that Dick reminded me that I have an appointment to help Dylan storm the castle with Tom and Jana at noon, so we might not be able to make the chili cook-off.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

More Historic Photos!

Here is my mother, Marian Geib Kanitz - taken in Grand Rapids.

Mother and friends at Lincoln Lake - Mother is on the far right. She was always tall for her generation - around 5'8" - now at age 98 she's 5'3".

Valentine and Ellen Bowman Geib, Christmas, 1905
Jennifer called this picture "two bundles of uncontainable joy"! I love the picture - it's so ... I dunno .... historic looking!

Rick sent me a link to a blog (http://jenny.standland.org/) that contained these great pictures of Mom, plus pictures of Valentine and Ellen Geib, my great grandparents. The blog belongs to Jennifer Ruth Geib, my first cousin once removed - daughter of Rick and Mary (and Fritzie).

It's really a thrill for me to get these pictures. Mother never liked having her picture taken, so we don't have many good photos of her. In the ones we have she's either making a face or waving her hands as if to push away the camera! So this is a real treat for me. It will be interesting to see her reaction when I show them to her!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Historic Photo

Rick sent me this great picure of our great grandfather and great grandmother, Valentine and Ellen Geib (the couple on the right). They are the parents of our grandfather, Fred Peter Geib. The notations on the margins are so valuable in identifying everyone. I'm thrilled to have the picture to add to my collection. Rick promises to send more! Hooray!

Therapy was scheduled for 8:15 this morning, but when I got outside to the car it was completely snow and ice covered and I couldn't even get the door open. Eventually things got warmed up and cleared off, but I was 15 minutes late for my appointment. Kari is very understanding and she wasn't the least bit upset - we did everything we usually do, just faster than usual. Thursday I'm scheduled for 7:30 a.m., so I promised her that I would go out and warm up the car before breakfast. Therapy went well - I can tell my leg is getting stronger even though it's still very weak.

I dropped some books off at the Library, drove through downtown, and then went shopping at Tom's 14th St. I haven't been there for ages - we've been shopping at the new Oleson's mostly. Got a pot roast for dinner.

Walked into the nursing home, but Mom was not in her room - they said she was in therapy. So I dropped in on her downstairs just to say hi. Her therapist is very nice - her name is Pam. She had Mom bundled in microwave heated pads on her right shoulder and her hands. I was glad to see that Mother is very cooperative with Pam.

Yesterday Dick went to Dr. Tim to have a troublesome spot removed from his nose. He didn't spend much time at the Agency - just came home and rested a bit. I know he was feeling better later though, because he went out to find some new geocaches that have appeared in our area. I took the day off yesterday.

More geocaching for Dick today. He went down to the Manton area and found 3, and he placed a special coin in one of Koda's caches. It was cold, windy and snowy - so he came home to stoke up the fire.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

A Benzie Day

This was a good day for a drive to Benzie County. Dick had a list of caching fun, repair, and coin placement - so off we went.

The first stop was a nature preserve, with a trail that was mucky underfoot. The area was so swampy/waterlogged that the roots of the trees were above ground level, with big spaces between the bottom of the trees and ground level. It was otherworldly looking - it reminded me of a fairy tale setting - Little Red Riding Hood maybe, or Hansel and Gretel. It was a spooky place.

Dick found everything he was looking for, and finished the tasks he had set for himself. At the Art Park near Crystal Mt., he walked up a huge hill - it was quite an effort, but he was successful. I walked part way up the hill just to see if I could! It was interesting driving around Crystal - they've made snow, and one slope was open and very crowded! We were surprised because we're not skiers and we had no idea that slopes could be kept open when we've had high temperatures and no snow for weeks.

On the way home we stopped at Hofbrau in Interlochen for lunch, and walked into a very nice brunch totally unaware. We went on towards Traverse and went to visit Mother. She's not feeling well. She's not very happy with Bortz - in fact she said she was happier in the hospital. Jana has said several times that Mother may be depressed - I'll mention that to the Bortz Doctor - who knows?

This evening, Tom (Oxbow), Jana (Moonlytte), Dylan (Zoroan) and I (Nanzia) played World of Warcraft (the internet sensation - inside joke) together. It was very much fun. Dylan enjoyed escorting me around and clearing the area of monsters for me. We didn't find the right harpies, though. At the same time, Dick was trying to download his new maps and it was overwhelmingly frustrating. I heard phrases that I haven't heard for a while.

One time this evening I went downstairs for something and I found myself walking like an actual human! It felt very natural, with no limping. It was a ray of sunshine and hope for the future! It only lasted a few seconds, but it's been such a long time and it felt so good! I've had weeks of therapy, and I've been doing the exercises at home, and it seems to be working.

Friday, January 05, 2007


We met Tim and Susie for breakfast at the Wild Onion in Alden. (That's the place where one of the omelets is named The Torcher - cracks us up every time). We had fun chatting - comparing caching experiences and Holiday stories. They told us they logged the Fountain of Youth cache on the way 5 minutes after we did! We compared notes and tried to figure out the damage that has been done to the little park where the Fountain of Youth cache is located. Someone drove onto the grassy area and churned up a lot of loose, wet, black soil. There are deep tire tracks all around. The picnic table has been torn apart - we think whoever drove in there backed into it and smashed it. Probably somebody imbibed a bit much and used poor judgement.

After breakfast, they wanted to do the Alden Historical multi-cache, and we were interested because we never were able to locate stage 2 of that cache, even though we did find the final stage. We decided to stick around and see if they could find it. Susie has naturally built in cache radar! They struck out too on stage 2, and Dick and I felt gratified that we aren't the only ones who couldn't find it!

Visited Mother on the way home - she claims that nobody is paying any attention to her. She wanted a specific pair of shoes, so Dick went over to Concord to get them, and brought back the shoes and the white pointsettia from church. She is not happy. Somehow her golden years have been tarnished.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Mother at Bortz Health Care

After a week in the hospital, it was determined that she was ready to be discharged yesterday (Wed.) to the nursing home. We decided to make the transfer by ambulance for the general ease of everybody involved. The transfer was made in a timely manner, and she was ensconced in her new room by 1:45 p.m.

It should be explained that Bortz Health Care is not the silk stocking nursing home of Traverse City. It is definitely down-at-heel, and could use some redecorating. But it has a good reputation, and many prominent Traverse Citizens have made it their home. It is well staffed with well trained personnel. They all seem to be very friendly, smiling and helpful. Everybody has been very nice to Mother, and I think that is the most important thing - even better than a new paint job!

I was relieved to see that Mother is in a private room with all the amenities. It has a sliding door to the outdoor courtyard, a private bathroom, a closet, nice chair, and a comfortable bed. She seemed glad to be out of the hospital at last and into a homier environment. If you visit, though, don't expect the Taj Mahal !

We spent the afternoon going through stacks of paper with the head nurse - signing the contract and several other things, and then initialing another couple of reams of paper. She is most definitely and certifiably registered!

Today when I visited, I watched her eat lunch - and her appetite seems to have returned - she ate almost everything. So it's evident that she is feeling better. She reported that this morning they took her downstairs to physical therapy, and that it was no fun. They had her doing some strengthening exercises which she tolerated well, but she said that she was very short of breath. While I was there, she was practicing some of her leg exercises - could have knocked me over with a feather.

So the report for today is very optimistic, and I'm confident that while she is still very weak and frail, she is improving by leaps and bounds over last week at this time.

We have no idea how long she will be in the nursing home. It could be for two weeks or two months. We are keeping her room at Concord Place so that she will be able to return to familiar territory.

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year's Day in the Morning

As you know, Mother has been in the hospital since Thursday. She's showing some slight improvement. For instance her voice on the phone seems stronger compared to the very weak voice we were hearing before.

She still doesn't feel like herself, and she's not eating much, but she is showing an interest in what to order for breakfast, supper, etc. However, when the food arrives she's really not very hungry. She's sitting in a chair for much of the day now, and she's cold most of the time. The nurses wrap her in blankets, including those wonderful warm blankets that are heated.

Mother is continuing to miscall words - they just don't come out right. She is also beginning to be very repetitive in her thoughts and comments.

She is mentioning more and more how sore her shoulder is, and she's taking Tylenol for that.

Most of the time Mother is examined by a team of Hospitalist doctors. There are two who take turns checking her every day, although any member of the team can substitute. Yesterday while I was there, Dr. Auer, her personal physician, stopped by to check things out. He's ordering an X-ray of her shoulder - he feels it may be dislocated. The shoulder needs to be stronger for her to be able to use a walker.

Dr. Auer noticed her repetitive comments and he said something about a "memory pill" - I'm not sure if he's intending to prescribe something or not.

He recommends that when Mother is discharged that she go to the nursing home side of Bortz Health Care. He feels that she is so weakened by her "near death experience" that she will need more skilled nursing attention in the future. We still don't know when that transfer will happen - we're playing it by ear and complying with all medical advice.

Mom is not at all happy. She feels unlike herself, sick, and bored. "The days are so long here." She refuses all suggestions for relief of boredom, such as TV, magazines, newspapers, etc. She needs some diversion, but I can't figure out anything that appeals to her.

She also feels slightly neglected because she has it in her head that the woman in the next bed is getting more attention than she is. Along those lines, she was really thrilled by Dr. Auer's visit!

We're naturally hoping for the best, and we're wishing that Mom will soon be more comfortable and contented.

Happy New Year!