Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Of E.R.s and I.D. cards

Oy vey, I have not posted in a very long time.
It has been a very eventful summer, to say the least.
Some highlights:
  • I've spent time in four different hospital emergency rooms since May. Not as a patient. Four different hospitals. In two states. I am getting gooood at this shit. I don't want to be. (Both family members who needed emergency medical care are now much, much better. I don't want to sound like I'm whining; I'm very glad I was able to help out. It's scary. It's hard not to count your blessings, sitting in an
    They hide the washcloths in those cupboards up there.
    emergency room. We were lucky in our cases; everything was going to be okay, and with some work, even better than before. A lot of other people waiting with loved ones weren't getting good news.)
  • I swam across a lake. I participated in Women Swimmin', a fundraiser for Hospicare of Tompkins County for the first time. It was tremendous. Beyond being such a great thing to be a part of (and having an amazing romp of girls to train & swim with), it was my bright spot throughout three really difficult months at
    My beautiful Misfit Otters
    work. Every time I got a notification that someone else had donated to my swim, it made my day, even when I'd just spent two hours on the phone with someone explaining to me in great detail exactly why it was important for him that the toilets in our new development have elongated bowls, not round. (You don't want to know. Trust me.)
  • My dear friend Ledbetter moved to Ithaca. LB got a job at Ithaca College, our alma mater, and moved to Ithaca. Now she works less than a half-mile away from me and is available for adventures! So far, we've done Feast Fridays, went out for cocktails, spent loads of time at Wegmans, and attended meditation class. We've watched documentaries on the Dust Bowl, a homeless camp in Nashville and a Filipino guy who is now the new lead singer for Journey. I am so proud of her for
    I don't wanna hear it, Ledbetter,
    I love this picture of us.
    being so brave- moving to a new state, starting a new job, facing off with spiders.
Anyway, one of the things I HAVEN'T done is keep up this blog. I stumbled after I ran out of letters of the alphabet and even though I initially thought numbers were a pretty easy (and infinite) source of blog post inspiration, it didn't do anything for me. Then I had to do resident ID card photos yesterday.

Twice a year, we take residents' photos for ID cards. They're completely optional- folks are required to wear nametags here the first seven days of every month to help everyone get to know each other, but they don't need anything more than the little pin-on card with their name that they get when they move in. But some people requested a nametag with a photo, like the staff have to wear, so we offer up photo day twice a year.

© Tom Hussey. Go here: http://www.tomhussey.com/
to see the rest of this series called Reflections from an
award-winning ad for an Alzheimer's medication.
I have a piece of black fabric I put up as a backdrop, snap their mugshots, and then laminate them up a nametag. It's actually kind of fun. I get to meet the new people who've just moved here and joke around with them to get them to smile. But it's a little sad, too. Most older people really don't like getting their photo taken. For one thing, this generation is not the "selfie generation" we have today. But the photos also show how time has changed them. We all have an image in our minds of what we think we look like; it's often an image from a younger time in our lives. It's a bit of a shock sometimes when I show them the screen of my camera and they see an old person looking back. I hear that a lot- "Who's that old person?" I also hear, "Well, I guess that's me." Even though they may look in the mirror every day to shave and put on makeup, they don't expect to see clouded eyes, wrinkled skin, lopsided mouths, discolored teeth when they see themselves in the camera.

I had a lull in activity and I was poking around the game room where we stage the photos while I waited for the next group. I saw a little lucite box filled with cards- white with black print. The first one said, "Who do you sorely miss?"  It struck me, because I had recently been missing my grandma Genevieve more than usual. I flipped through the other cards in the box; they were discussion questions, table topics, part of an old game. I liked the questions they asked, so I've decided to use these cards as my blog post themes until they run out.

So, tune in next week, when our theme will be Who Do You Sorely Miss.
And please share your answers as well.


  1. Who do I sorely miss? The quick answer: we visited western NY Saturday, the town I lived in more years than any other as a kid. I hadn't visited there in years. I miss one friend so much, Evan was sort of my mirror reflection when we were kids, or maybe a reflection but also someone who I wished I could be more like. We lost track of each other at 11th grade, because.....sigh....we had moved away and he was not one of those people who easily reads and writes and he does not often reply to letters in those pre-FB times and people get busy and all.... anyway, I next heard from him when we were 26, because our dads knew each other. He had also been interested in art as a kid, and SURPRISE! Without knowing it until later, we had both gone to college to study painting and ended up studying pottery instead. Again, I heard nothing back for another 20 (!) years, until we were 46 a couple of years ago. There he is, on FB, with a wife and young son, working in the ceramics dept. of a college in LA. We have both made lives in pottery...he is still the same modest and quiet guy, and I see more of him on FB than over the years, but I have missed the presence of him in my life, you know?

  2. and OH, awesome about your swim, and LB! sheesh, need to see her myself....maybe Penny the wife and I should visit my favorite farmstand Saturday and..?

  3. FB is actually good for a lot of things! There's a lot of people I never would be in touch with if it wasn't for facebook. And yes- we've been needing to plan a little get-together. LB misses her some Spike. (And you guys, of course, but we're all used to taking a backseat to our pets!)