Sunday, March 29, 2009

Dad is doing worse

Today Dad was not doing as well as he was yesterday. He is due to come home tomorrow, probably by ambulance.

I may be away from posting on this site for a few days.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Dad has a good day

I spent a good part of the day in my father's hospital room. I was surprised to see him doing very well. He had read the newspaper and was sitting up watching television. Prior to today his TV set had been off and he had been prone on his bed. He seemed to be in good spirits. We were pleasantly surprised at his "recovery." Of course, this does not mean he is well. Maybe there is more hope for him than we thought.

He is due to come home on Monday. We had been thinking he would need an ambulance to get him home, but after seeing him today we are starting to think he may be able to ride in a car.

I just hope that tomorrow brings another good day.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Update on my father

Today my father was taken down to the second floor where medical personnel tapped his left lung and drew off a quart (plus a little more) of fluid. Then he was returned to his room. He ate little throughout the day.

I took my Mother to the bank so she could add a few items to the safe deposit box.

My Dad did not say much during the day. Periodically medical personnel would come into his room and take his vital signs.

Dad is supposed to come home next Monday. We will have assistance from St. John Hospice for his remaining days.


In other news, I believe I forgot to mention that last Sunday we attended the service at First Unitarian Church. We were members of that church back in the early eighties. Very few of the current members were members when we were members.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Status of my father

It came as a surprise to us when we heard Dad's doctor say they have done all they can for him. He is supposed to come home next Monday to hospice care. We were told he might have six months to live, or he could die tomorrow.

Dad has been very weak since we put him in the hospital back on the 16th, if I remember the date correctly. His doctor says his condition is terminal. I believe the term he used for his prognosis was "guarded." He had his left lung "tapped" to drain fluid a few days ago. The right lung was given the same treatment today.

There is a person at the hospital whose job it is to make sure that patients who are terminal are aware of their condition. She came by yesterday to talk to us. We spoke with her for a half hour during which Dad cried. Dad is a Christian, and as such believes he will be going to heaven following his death. He must have been crying about the prospect of being separated from my Mother for a period of a few months or years. They have been together for 63 years now.

Dad lies in bed all day, and while he can speak, his voice is weak. His mind is still sharp though. Some of Dad's loyal friends from his church drop by to visit him.

He is receiving excellent care at the hospital. The staff is most compassionate, showing concern for my mother who is also age 86.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Listened to prez

This evening I heard President Obama's news conference. Actually I just heard his opening statement. I had to leave when they got to the questions.

I did not walk this evening, althought I thought about it. Walking in the hallway is getting old. I need to move outdoors and walk there.

Later I played the electronic keyboard. I began by playing some songs from a jazz fakebook which has over 600 songs. The songs in that book are all reduced in size from the standard size. They are shrunk about 50%. That makes it a bit more difficult to read chord designations. Also, I did not have my piano glasses with me. I eventually gave up and just played some boogie woogie which I can play without music. I like to improvise based on a certain chord progression.

Monday, March 23, 2009

About Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time

Below is a quote about Marcus Borg's Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time:

All Christianity is, to some extent, idolatrous. Christian worship is a response to a worshiper's image of Jesus, and all images of Jesus fall short of his reality--in the same way that all biographies and portraits fail to depict a whole person. In Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, New Testament scholar Marcus Borg attempts to understand how popular images of Jesus connect Christians to their savior and isolate them from him. Borg writes about his own evolving ideas of who Jesus was, considers the scholarly and popular religious evolution of Jesus' public image, and investigates with special care the effects of Historical Jesus research on contemporary images of Jesus. Meeting Jesus Again is written in an affable, gracious, and unflinchingly honest voice. Borg's description of his own faith particularly exemplifies these qualities, and gives the reader a simultaneously safe and unsettling new perspective on the peasant from Galilee: "[T]he central issue of the Christian life is not believing in God or believing in the Bible," he writes. "Rather, the Christian life is about entering into a relationship with that to which the Christian tradition points, which may be spoken of as God, the risen, living Christ, or the Spirit. And a Christian is one who lives out his or her relationship to God within the framework of the Christian tradition." --Michael Joseph Gross

Saturday, March 21, 2009

When bad things happen to good people

I recently read a sermon by my friend Galen Greenwalt of Riverside, California. Galen and I worked at Glorieta, New Mexico the summer of 1966 at a Southern Baptist retreat center. Galen is a good man, having devoted his life to living out the gospel in his community. He has lived among and ministered to "the least of these," as the Bible might put it.

I'm sure it came as a shock to him when he suffered a heart attack a few weeks ago. Here was a man doing God's work. If God has to visit a heart attack on someone, why one of his most devoted servants?

This was the subject of Galen's sermon. Why do the wicked prosper while the righteous suffer?

I would offer my own explanation for God's refusal to intervene.

There is no God available to intervene. This lets God off the hook. No need to question why a nonexistent deity fails to act to do the right thing.

I know this explanation will not sit well with Galen. I wish I had the opportunity to read and discuss with Galen some books from my library. I would be willing to do the same with him and his library.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Library program, back pain, and hospitals

I did not mention the books I have read in the TCCL reading program currently underway. They are:
* The World in Six Songs by Daniel Levitin
* Freethinkers by Susan Jacoby
* The Age of Unreason by Susan Jacoby
* An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore
* Meeting Jesus Again For The First Time by Marcus Borg
* Me of Little Faith by Lewis Black (still reading)

I have been free of back pain since the surgery I had in January 2007. However, it came back last night. Following a shower, I attempted to put on my underwear while standing up. I have done this many times. It's no great feat, but I am 61 years old now. I guess I felt like I had something to prove to the world. After getting the last leg in my briefs, I landed solidly on the floor standing up. I immediately felt the pain of old. Right away, I went to bed.

When I got up next morning, the pain was still there. We drove to the hospital to visit my Dad. Across the street is a Walgreen's. I walked over there and bought a bottle of Aleve. I went back to my car and got a bottle of water out of the trunk and took one pill. Soon the pill took effect. Later on I went back to my parents' apartment and took a nap. I also called the office of my neurosurgeon (he did the back operation). They told me he was out and would not be back until Monday. (This story is to be continued.)

My Dad is holding up as well as can be expected for a man 86 years old. His doctor said he will probably have to go into transitional care after being released from the hospital.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

About Henry Binkley

About a week ago we arrived in Springfield to visit my father who was in St. John's Hospital. At that time he shared a room with another man: Henry Binkley of Bois d'Arc, Mo. Of the two men, my father looked the worst. Henry was up moving round, while my father was lying prone in his bed. Henry was in good spirits and wanted to go walking out in the hallway. He was talkative, and from looking at him you could not tell he had a medical problem. Henry told us he was suffering from congestive heart failure. It had been recommended to him that he go into hospice.

Shortly before we left the hospital that evening, Henry asked me to tie the strings at the back of his hospital gown. I did so, and that was the last I saw of him. He died that night in his bed next my father.

When he expired, he set off a monitering device of some kind, and the nurse came rushing into the room. She went to my father and check his vitals. My father said he felt all right. Then they checked on Henry and found him dead.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dinner and a new book

Last night J and I ate our dinner at TGI Friday. It was late when we got to the restaurant. By the time we got out, it was 9:20. We went over to the Border's Bookstore not far away. I needed to get another book.

I am taking part in a library reading program whereby if you read six books by March 27, the library will give you a book tote. I brought a couple of books with me, which I have completed reading. So I needed another book, preferably a short one. I looked over the books at Borders and bought Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time by Marcus J. Borg. I have read a few pages of this book and am liking it. The book is only 137 pages long. I will have more to say about this book in future postings. I will plan to post some quotes from this book. It is that good.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

More on our trip to Norman

The last time I posted here, I was in a hurry. Now I would like to give a few more details on our trip to see Richard Dawkins.

We started the day by my driving to QuikTrip to add some air to the tires. Then I went to Braum's and got two sausage and egg biscuits and took them home for breakfast.

We rendezvoused at Randy and Dawn's house at 1 pm. There were five of us. The Bradleys made the trip in their small convertible. In our car there was myself, J., and Marilyn. When we got to Chandler, we got off the turnpike and went south to Shawnee. From there we went west to the OKC area. We took I-240 to Moore. Our motel was just a mile off the interstate highway.

We checked in to the motel and then went to the campus just a few mile to the south. As we arrived near MsCasland Field House (site of the speech), we saw a large crowd gathered in front. As we approached, we recognized Bob N. waiting in front. We spoke to Bob, but Randy was hungry, so we made a bee-line to the student union. Once inside the union, we noticed that most of the restaurants were closed. However, there was one still open. We got some food there and ate it.

When we got back to McCasland Field House, we went past the security check point and entered the building. Inside were a group of people selling t-shirts. We noticed several people wearing black t-shirts with a bright red "A" on the front. The "A" stood for "Atheist." The Dawkins web site ( has these shirts for sale.

The place was at 95% capacity as the program started. We had expected to see some protestors in front, but there were none. the only protest took place inside the field house during the Q&A session following the speech. Security came and escorted the protestor away.

Following the speech (I would give more details, but it was difficult to hear. We were more than a half-court away from the podium. Dawkins, from that distance, was unrecognizable as himself), Randy was again hungry (Randy eats a lot but he is not heavy. He burns up the calories in a hurry. He runs marathons.).

We walkd across the campus to a area were a lot of student go in the evening. We saw an Italan Pizza place and went in there for a late-night snack. The proprietor seated us in a separate area from most of the students. This was sort of a private area, which suited us fine. The proprietor asked us if the music was OK (It was Frank Sinatra singing), and we said it was fine. We ordered from the menu. I ordered Baked Halibut, but the waiter said they were out of the halibut, so I ordered the salmon. We soon had our food and ate it. After we had completed eating, we headed back to the campus. I led the way, but the others were not in a hurry. When I turned around to say something to the group, they were a long way behind me. The group had stopped to look at an historic building.

We got back to the car and drove to the motel in Moore. The motel was cheap ($44.10) and I was afraid it would be a dump. But the motel turned out to not be bad. There was a group of kids staying there who made some noise and the soda machine took my money but gave us no drinks, but after I went to sleep I heard no more from the noisy kids.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Brief summary of recent events

Friday. Traveled to Norman and heard Richard Dawkins speak. Spent night in motel in Moore.

Saturday. Found geocache near motel in Moore. Drove to Old School Bagel Shop in north Oklahoma City where had breakfast with Bob N., Randy and Dawn B., Marilyn C., and J. While there received a call from Paula telling me that Dad was back in the hospital. Left immediately for Sand Springs.

More later.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Scans looked great

I began this day by going to Braum’s and getting two sausage and egg biscuits and a gallon of orange juice. I brought the items home and we had breakfast.

I was at Dr. Uy’s office by 11:00 am for my appointment. The scans came out great. I will not have to go back for more scans for a year.

At 2 pm Gail came over and we played piano until about 3:45 pm. We played mostly ragtime pieces. Then I went to the TCC Fitness Center and did my three-mile walk for the day. I came home and then watched the evening news on TV.

I received an e-mail from my friend Galen out in California. He had heart bypass surgery, but has been released and is home now.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Scans at SJMC

Yesterday, J. and I went to the Performing Arts Center and saw The Pajama Game. I got a call from a friend who said he had two tickets for the show. He had to stay home due his wife having a back problem.

I needed to stop at the Brookside Library anyway to make a room reservation. His son-in-law works about a mile north of the library. So I made the reservation at the library (Saturday the 28th, 2:00 pm for the FFRF group) and went by and picked up the tickets.

Although not every seat was taken, I would say the auditorium was at 95% capacity. The song “Hernando’s Hideaway” is one of the best known songs in the musical.

Today I had scans at St. John Medical Center. I had both CT and MRI scans. While there I passed Dr. Rapacki in the hall. Dr. Rapacki is the surgeon who operated on my brain.

Once we got back home we made a trip to the library. I had a book that was a week overdue. I turned it in and paid my 35-cent fine.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Recent activity

On Saturday we had our February Food & Fellowship gathering at The Rice Bowl Café on Sheridan Rd. This was the first time for many of us to eat at this café.

We discovered they have a pretty good deal on lunch. You can get two entrees plus your drink for $5.75. I think we should return to this place more often.

The next day was Sunday. I went to Church of the Restoration, as is my usual practice. We had a lay led service, with Barbara Frey speaking on the Harlem Renaissance. One of the chief poets of the Harlem Renaissance was Langston Hughes. I read his poem “Harlem Sweeties” to the congregation. It is one of my favorites by Hughes.

This morning the phone rang around 9:00 am. It was Gail. She said she was not feeling well this morning so we cancelled our duet practice. We went to the TCC West Fitness Center where I did 120 reps at 65 lbs. on the abs machine. I then walked three miles. I rested a couple minutes and then did 20 reps at 110 lbs. on the abs machine.

We came home and Gail called around 1 pm to offer us two tickets to some kind of a ragtime concert for this evening in downtown Tulsa. J. declined the offer as we already had plans for Nick to come over with his children for supper.

Nick, Ayla, and Luke came over around 5 pm and had dinner with us. Jennifer was at the Methodist church taking a class of some kind.