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Thursday, November 15, 2012


You know disaster to a child can be not getting the toy at the checkout counter.  When you are a teen a disaster can be a pimple on the day of The Dance.  A really bad tasting meal or burning the toast when a woman is a young wife can send some into sobs.  Finding the baby diaperless in a fecal covered bed, wall and child can be more than a disaster, it can send some parents running for the nearest trash can or stool.

Natural disasters are measured and rated by the Richter, Saffir-Simpson or Enhanced Fujita scales.  Never been near an earthquake that I felt.  Live too far from the ocean for hurricanes.  We have had tornadoes withing 1/4 mile of our home.   We met a skidding car on a narrow, ice covered overpass the regained control about 10 feet from our car.

I do not know of a scale to measure a health disaster.  Irreversible damage, life threatening, near death, at the brink, on hospice care and septic shock come to mind as terms used in the conference rooms with doctors.  These doctors were accessing the condition of our fathers' conditions in the days and hours prior to their passing.

In 2007 after driving for about thirteen hours in a blinding snow storm Gene evidently developed a blood clot.  It took several weeks for any symptoms to manifest.  After a few days of xrays, antibiotics and a CT scan, it was determined Gene had a massive saddle blood clot in his left lung.  Imaging, also, revealed what appeared to be pneumonia in the bottom of his right lung.  He was immediately admitted to the hospital and anti-clotting meds were begun.  That was on Wednesday, April 19.

On Friday morning, April 21,  Gene, who had been somewhat uncomfortable, experienced a sudden, sharp pain.  Tests were run all day.  A morphine drip was installed.  Gene's pain just continued to increase.  Our son and his family from Texas arrived after lunch.  All indications were that Gene was doing okay.  The pain was probably just the pneumonia spreading as a CT scan had shown over half of the right lung now showing problems.  The morphine drip was increased.

Around 5 PM John Roger, our son, took his family to our house to get some dinner.  He would help get the boys to bed and return to spend the night with his dad allowing me to go home for some rest.

At 9:40 PM my husband went into coronary and respiratory arrest while I stood holding a pan for him to throw up.  His assigned nurse who had been working to determine why Gene's blood pressure was dropping dangerously low had stepped down the hall to consult by phone with a doctor.  Alarms were sounding at the nurses' station as the young PA crawled across my husband to pull the cord signalling a code blue.  All I could do was repeat very loudly over and over, "Not now, God, No, No, No, it is too soon."  I was inconsolable.  I had seen those dead looking eyes before at my father's bedside.

Within seconds the nurse was on Gene's chest beginning CPR.  As the room filled with the Code Blue team I was escorted to the hall by a nurse.  From nowhere the chaplain was by my side trying to get me to stop screaming.  She got my cell and we called first my son who did not answer.  I left a message for him to call immediately.  Everything had been "fine" with Gene when John Roger  had left the hospital so he was not keeping the phone "on him".

When unable to get through to our son, the chaplain had me call my sister who was in Texas.  Arlene was a dinner.  She was a little short telling me she could not understand anything I was saying and I should calm down and quit crying.  She had no idea till months later that the code blue team was working on Gene as she and I spoke.   I managed to calm down enough to tell her it was not good.  She had asked earlier in the week if it she needed to come to be with me.  I told her no then.  But this time I said yes without any hesitation.  Meanwhile the team pulled Gene back from the brink of death.  A nurse pulled me to the bedside while another nurse finished the conversation with my sister.

Gene was moved to CCU where he would be for the next 8 days.  Our son returned my call.  I had to say the words that we had lost his dad for a short time.  The team had gotten a heartbeat and he was breathing with difficulty.  Everything was extremely critical and unstable. That his dad was transferred into CCU and what floor that was on.  I instructed our son which door to come to get inside the hospital at this time of night.  We hung up both being in shock at the turn of events.

I returned to the room to gather belongings to take up to CCU.  There were all the electronic gadgets Gene loved to have around him.  His cpap machine, my stuff, his dirty clothing and I was still gathering stuff when my son walked into the room.  He had made the trip from our house to the hospital, walked through the emergency room entrance, gone to the CCU and came to look for me.  It seemed to be only minutes since we had spoken but it takes 10 minutes just to get to the hospital from our house.

The next 48 hours had doctors in conference rooms with John Roger and I.  The doctors were saying all the words I had heard before.  In addition there were new words like infarction, ruptured, bled out till no room for heart and lungs to work.  That is called a thoracic event not dead.  It is not dead till there are no brain waves.  Vena cava filters, arterial heart monitor, intubation, pump assisted abdominal drains and dopamine drips.  Then the "if he makes it the next 24 hours he might have a chance" talk.

There were wonderful health professionals.  The nurses in CCU worked very hard to keep Gene alive.  Dr. John saved his life by coming back to the hospital in the middle of the night to install the thoracic drain that removed enough blood to allow the re-inflation of the lungs.  This procedure also gave room for the heart to beat with less stress.

The next day Dr. John said the dark part of the lung had not been pneumonia but was an infarction.  The bottom lobe was dead, it ruptured and Gene's chest cavity had become filled with his own blood.  Later Dr. Rivers, the hospital doctor, said research had not turned up anyone who had lived through this type of event.

My husband has almost no memory of most of the events of Saturday the 22nd and Sunday the 23rd of 2007.  This amnesia is due to the heavy pain medications and a merciful God.  At one point Gene recalls how good it felt to quit hurting and thinking it would be okay to stay at the "not hurting place".  Then he remembered me, his son and his son's family.  He decided we all still wanted him in our lives and he should not let go of the pain. And he started hurting again ... for us.

Gene just went to bed here on November 14, 2012.   Our grandsons via an email from their dad said they are looking forward to seeing us in a few days.  So is our son, my sister and her family.  Life is good.  And I still believe in my heart of hearts that yelling "not now" was really a prayer from the Holy Spirit.  A prayer that was answered when Gene decided not to let go of the pain.

Second Blooming
Second Blooming

Sunday, November 11, 2012

In Honor of Family Veterans

 My Mom had four older brothers that were "too old" to serve in WWII.  Her two younger brothers both waited per Granny Chandler's request to be drafted.  Having grown up on a farm in Collin County, TX, during the depression, Uncle Clay had a different take on being in the service.  He said it was the warmest coat and the best pair of shoes he had ever owned!

Both brothers served in the European theater under Patton.  Uncle Clay was in a tank division.  Uncle Bud was a conscientious objector that served in the infantry.  He loaded the guns for the others to shoot.  Uncle Bud would literally not even swat a fly ever.

Uncle Bud's infantry group advanced with and actually rode on the tanks of Uncle Clay's division on the road to Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge.  Uncle Bud was not part of the campaign as he had trench foot and was hospitalized at the time.

The brothers returned safely from the war.  Neither spoke much of the war until later years.  I did not get their stories on video which saddens me.  Uncle Clay did have a piece of shrapnel in his right arm.  I remember as a child touching it when sitting in his lap.  He was my Claydie and I was his Sam.  I miss both my uncles.

There were no males of age to serve from the Chandler side of my family until this year.  Aunt Opal's grandson Zach Whitehead is active duty in the Navy.

Home on leave for funeral of older brother killed in a truck wreck in Texas.

Gene's Uncle Raymond was the only one of the four brothers that went into the service during WWII.  He, too, at his mom's request waited to be drafted.  A farm boy from the rocky soil of Lawrence County, MO, the war opened up a new life for Raymond as it did for so many of the era.   Raymond spent much of his service time working in a psych ward for soldiers.  But he did end up in Germany during the final year of the war.
These pictures were made of a couple of the souvenirs Uncle Raymond brought back from Europe.  The Hotel was captured by the Allies.  In its basement Uncle Ray found a false wall hiding a huge stash of wine.  He was a popular guy with the officers when he showed them the find. The second picture is of a memorial service program in May of 1945.  It was held in Germany for the fallen Allied soldiers.

Uncle Pete Muth, who would not fall for him!

Gene's Aunt Jo married Pete Muth.  Pete was a sailor in Pearl Harbor on that infamous day in history.  Best we remember he was on the ship next to the Arizona.  He made several trips back to reunions with his shipmates until his passing.  His grandson, Josh, is committed to 20 years in the Air Force.  He is currently stationed in Germany.
Muth grandson, Josh

Gene's Aunt Lorene married Atwell (Pete) Young.   Pete served in the Air Force during WWII until retiring to Missouri in the early 1960's.  I do not have a photo of Pete in uniform.  Uncle Pete and Aunt Lorene were stationed in Germany during the Berlin airlift.  Uncle Pete was a maintenance crew Chief.  He is our only surviving WWII vet in the family as of today.
Uncle Pete (Atwell) on his 90th birthday in 2009.

I have two cousins that served in the Navy.  Phil was a "lifer" beginning his career in 1959 or 1960 and staying in for 20+ years.  His younger brother, Ronnie, served in the mid 60's.  Ronnie's daughter, Danielle, is currently a Navy nurse.  She has deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq as well as other areas supporting those two war zones.
Ret. Chief Phil and Chief Danielle

Danielle and proud Uncle Phil are celebrating her promotion to Chief.  She is wearing Phil's fouled anchors.  In addition Phil's grandson, Jessie Malvaney is active Army having served in Afganistan.

No picture of Gene in uniform is scanned in as of now.  Gene served three years in the Army beginning in 1959.  My late brother in law, Jack Baldwin served in the Air Force in the mid fifties.  Those were the Cold War years along with the Korean Conflict.

I am ending with such a benign looking picture until you realize who it is.  Evil.

Postcard to Granny Chandler from one of her boys after the surrender.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hateful Weed

I hate henbit.  I hope that God will forgive me for hating this plant.  It invades my flowerbeds and walkways. The last three days have be joyfully spent working in the back yard.  I love being outside and getting the yard "in shape" for the winter.

But part of the process is eradicating the henbit.  It sprouted almost overnight it seems.  I pulled, hoed, cursed and sucked up any that come in contact with the leaf blower.  Gene even pulled some out of the front flower beds.

Tonight I googled henbit weed killers.  All the sites recommended an application of a preemerigent to be applied in the fall.  Now to see if there is a place I can purchase some of the stuff.  Or possibly a call to the Greene County Extension Office or the Greenlawn service.  I have weed murder on my mind.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pre Production

For about 20 years of my work life I was in a department that was defined as a preproduction group.  The work done by the different sections within the group prepared the artwork used to image circuit boards.  Factually, I worked in this type of work for around a total of 25 years for three different employers.

Production was considered the driving force for getting the artwork made to the highest quality possible.  When I first started in the circuit board work it was actually in the integrated circuitry chip imaging process.  The next job in a preproduction setting was working as a touchup artist working on the phototools.  With opaque ink, a sable brush and an exacto knife the tools were prepared for layup and eventually the tools sent to the imaging areas.

The size of the defects that the touchup folks were to correct were at times only about .001" of an inch.  That was an exacting talent to remove small specks or cover pinholes in the circuits.  This work was done for many years perched on a stool looking through bifocal microscopes.  In later years more of the work could be done on computers leaving the phototools requiring almost no touchup.  Machines would scan the phototool for defects and mark for final touchup.  The circuit board industry has mostly moved out of the US.

A thousandth of an inch is equal to about 5 human hairs.  That is small.  I am so glad I do not have to do anything that accurate any more.  I missed being exposed to and learning the technology advances through the years.  Other than that, I have not missed working outside the home.

But it bothers me that so many people complain that me and others like me are living off the government.  I thought all those years of work where I was building phototools to be used in the production of everything from rockets, radios, computers, data servers, satellites to CT scanners that I was helping build a future for our nation.  I was helping build the things soldiers used to make this land free.  I was working sometimes 13 days straight with only one day off to meet production requirements for IBM, Burroughs, Intel, Schlumberger, AT&T, Texas Instruments and Nortel just to name a few.

Now I read posts on Facebook about all the lazy people cashing in on today's hardworking folks.  Yes, I draw a Social Security check and I use Medicare.  I paid FICA taxes, Medicare taxes and federal income taxes that help support the needs of the Greatest Generation, Gen X and what ever the heck folks in their 20's and 30's are now.

So while I did not report to work for a paycheck today I did clean my own home.  Vacuumed leaves for 3 hours and dug up weeds in a couple of flower beds.  No, it is not paying a dime in taxes to have me doing these things, I was still productive.  I am realizing all those years of supporting other folks needs by working and paying taxes were my preproduction years of a time when someone else is footing the bills for me.  Thanks for taking care of me.  It was my honor to have cared for your needs.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

In Memoriam: Willie Frances Farnsworth Rogers

Grandma in profile, Christmas 1958 at the Farnsworth house.
This week is In Memoriam week for The Spin Cycle.  I decided that instead of creating something new, I wanted to honor Grandma Rogers.

My Grandma Rogers was a dignified, former schoolmarm when I knew and loved her till her death in 1974.  Grandma was a profound Christian.  The closest to a swear I ever heard cross her lips was, "Good Sakes!"  She was a single teacher in the rural community where my widowed PawPaw Rogers was raising my dad, Arleigh, and my Aunt Sissy/Amelia.

I do not remember the story of how PawPaw and Miss Willie, as my dad always called her, became "an item".   Anyway, she and Paw Paw met, courted, married and Daddy eventually had another sister, Billie Frances.  And my Great Aunt Lillis, PawPaw's younger sister, was no longer the primary female caregiver for Daddy and Aunt Sissy.  But that is a story for another day.

My dad, Arleigh Rogers, passed in 2004.  Aunt Sissy passed on Feb. 22 this year.

I guess I really do not know a lot about my Grandma Rogers as a young child.  She grew up in the house I called the Farnsworth house.  It was located on Thompson Lane in the community of Chambersville, TX.  Grandma's name was Willie Farnsworth.  She graduated from from The Nazerine College in Commerce, TX.

Grandma had several brothers and sisters.  Dave is the only name I can recall tonight.  Of course, there was Great Grandma Farnsworth who could be quite rude to any and all.  She was "a little touched in the head" in her later years was the explanation for the behavior.  There are a few other names from the Farnsworth side of my past that float into my mind.  Mary, Kenneth, Novella, Rusty and Aunt Clara, the last is Grandma's younger sister.

Grandma lived with Aunt Billie almost as long as I can remember.  Aunt Billie, omg, divorced an abusive husband sometime in the early 1950's.  With a very young daughter to support it just made sense for the now widowed Grandma Rogers and and "grass widow" Aunt Billie to join households.  So that left Grandma caring for the child, Brenda, while Aunt Billie worked.

Aunt Billie at Community Drive home, 1957
Brenda and I were only about 3 years apart in age, many times I spent Christmas night with them after the big Rogers' Christmas gathering.  As we grew older summer vacations were opportunities for me to visit Brenda.  In our teen years summer visits included summer romances with Brenda's male schoolmates!

Brenda, Christmas, 1957, Community Dr., Dallas TX
Aunt Billie had bought a home on Community Drive in Dallas by the mid 1950's.  It was directly in the landing path for Love Field.  Indoor plumbing, rollerskating on sidewalks and playing in the sprinklers was like visiting a 5 star resort for this country girl.  Back at the Farnsworth house there was at best running water in the kitchen by about 1957.  We still bathed in a galvanized tub out on the screened in back porch there on Thompson Lane.

Oh, my!  Grandma Rogers was a patient woman with Brenda and I during those visits.  And she made some of the best teacakes for us while we would use her peddle sewing machine for making doll clothes.  The teacakes would just melt in your mouth.  Around 1959 Aunt Billie moved the trio of  (shemales as Daddy would say) to the Irving Northgate community.  A brand new home with all the fancy cooking stuff for Grandma and the teacakes were still melt in your mouth good.

Once Brenda was making us a snack.  I am sure we were just making another mess for Grandma to cleanup.  I surely remember her saying another one of her favorite phrases, "You are just messing and gomming in here!"  That expression matches so many situations!  Gene and I have copped its use especially for some of my yard projects!

Now my challenge to myself is to show the patience and respect for my friends, family and especially my grandsons!  The next time one of them does something that might not be the best choice, I need to just say, "Good Sakes".  Thank you Grandma Rogers.  I still love you.

October, 1961, last Sunday living at the Farnsworth House.  Grandma Rogers is the second from left with Aunt Billie and Brenda next.  I am to the right of my mom who is holding a grandson.  Daddy is the tall guy in the back.  My older sisters are on each side behind me.  My baby sister is in front of Grandma Rogers and Brenda.  Two brothers in law, four nephews and Grandma Chandler, who passed in 1969, complete the group.  Jack Baldwin, one of my brothers in law,  is squatting holding his son.  Jack passed in 1999.  Miss these loved ones.

Second Blooming

Monday, November 5, 2012

Red, White and Blue

As we come up to this election day, I have been avoiding all the news programs.  I find the ads during regular programming to be aggravating instead of informative.  So full of junk, name calling and just plain uncivilized language.  While I have a political affiliation, I do not have the need to destroy the opponents.

It did get me to thinking about our nation's flag and how the media has tagged certain states red or blue.  I began to wonder where the white is in all this.  The white makes up an equal amount of the flag.  It "holds" the red together as well as highlighting the blue field of our flag with the star for each state of the union.

None of the white stars are bigger that the others.  All states are equal in the flag making all 50 important to the makeup of the flag and our nation.  The red and white stripes are equal in width and length.  While there is one more stripe of red, the field of stars seem to make up the difference.

So while I might lean to the right or left, I feel like I belong to the "white" portion of the flag.  The part willing to compromise for the common good.  The part of the population the puts our shoulders to the grindstone of life.  Even as a retired persons or young children, the part that are living, loving and giving care to one another.  You know the part that is in the middle holding the whole nation together.

God has blessed this nation with so much.  Let us not fall short in the appreciation and handling of our blessings.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Halloween Fun

Ok, I admit we were having fun Wednesday preparing for the Halloween evening visitors.  Gene's favorite thing is the battery operated bat that flies in circles above the walk to the front porch.  With red eyes looking into the night, the kids are either scared, fascinated or wondering how it is done.  Some try to grab it, others just try to avoid being hit by it as they approach the door.

My time was spent making a lighted ghost, gluing a trio of ghosts to the outside walls of the house, hanging a skeleton and placing a rubber spider too near the doorbell.  In addition a lighted pumpkin was placed near the door.  With a series of screw eyelets and strong nylon string the pumpkin would rise up off the table below when the front door was opened.

I was rewarded with a scream from one preteen girl.  A teen boy told me I must be MacGyver's mom to get that pumpkin to float up and down and make the creepy noise with the string.  One mom was forced onto the front porch when her child could not ring the doorbell because of the spider.  I almost felt bad about that so that child received extra candy.

Hope you can enjoy the little video we made of a few of the Treaters we Tricked.

Second Blooming