Guest Appearances Can Be Deceiving / A Quiet Room Without a View

Seeing Her Face First

She drove past me, but I didn't quite see her. The car looked familiar enough, though. A dirty and dusted deep red, which is not unusual here in the desert.

Meanwhile, I was parked in my teal and tan geriatric cart underneath a palm tree in front of the building, the nursing home complex where I reside. One of the CNA's hastily ran me outside three quarters of an hour earlier, which was far earlier than necessary. But I didn't mind. Time gave me a chance to settle in.

Sunday's are slow here. There are fewer employees, which means fewer cars parked in the parking lot. And probably, there were more roaming rabbits than vehicles. Birds? Yes, birds doing bird things just ahead of me, in and throughout the empty lot. Tumbleweed and shrubs. An abandoned grocery cart. Remnants of deceased Palo Verdes. A singular Saguaro barely pushing up above the ground.

Quietude. Nature simple. Even the car wash across the way was idle, and mostly soundless.

With the sound of heel to toe footfalls fast approaching, I recoiled slightly. Yes. Her car was parked by now, a few slots down the way. But with a dirty orange setting sun blinding my eyes, I did not see her. But who else could it be? The timing was right. It had to be she. Then again, the timing was all wrong. Or maybe it was neither of those things.

My first point of recognition was her scent, her favored perfume… which now, was uncomfortably familiar. Without looking at her directly, I instructed her to push the cart directly towards the sun. So across the rough pavement we traveled, aiming for the end of the road.

She said a few things, asked where we were going, and I simply pointed and said, "over there." Of course, I didn't have an exact fix. Nothing was preplanned. So into the gravel we went, seeking out long shadows for shade talking.

Despite smoke from distant fires leaving a thick haze along the horizon, the incessantly shining sun still angled brightly into our eyes. And heck, I didn't mind so much. I mean, did I really want to look at her directly, experience her in any way intensely?

At least heat wasn't the issue, as 85° isn't all that bad for a late April evening. But curiously, I'd forgotten how any kind of breeze at all negatively impacted her, how it made her eyes water. Nope. It never even occurred to me. When someone drops out of your reality, key details get lost. Key concerns become someone else's.

Anyway, we finally settled in just shy of the bike path, which was, in turn, just shy of the freeway. There were Palo Verdes and other native vegetation aligned between each, generating just enough filtered shade to make it work.

She sat on the foot rest of my geri-chair, and immediately placed her hand upon mine. My initial inclination was to shake her loose, to protest in some obvious manner. But I resisted the urge. I decided that I needed and deserved human touch. And really, I take it wherever I can get it these days. I appreciate contact, because it makes me real. And I decided to look at her, and look into her eyes .. for the first time in seven months.

Ugh. That sinking feeling. You know it. You've felt it. In your gut. And I did, too.

She began. Words came out. I listened. I nodded. She cried. She apologized. I kept listening.

"Aren't you going to say anything?"

I did. Yes. Eventually. Eventually I said things. She listened. I didn't want her to be sad, but I mentioned things that made her sad anyways. She encouraged me to speak, to say those kinds of things. So I did. And it wasn't easy.

A couple hours in, we hugged. Of course, hugs feel good. They really do. People without hugs may suffer from sensation deprivation. That's what I call it, at least. Everything is called something, eventually.

After three hours passed, she wheeled me back inside. CNA Kendra wheeled me back into my room. And I ever so briefly assessed the state of my state.

Yes, I felt okay. And ways not understood, I felt relieved.

On the Move, Off My Groove

By the way, I live someplace else now. I have a new room. I have a new roommate.

And surely, you want details .. don't you? I mean, living with a host of different people (and their personalities) at bi-monthly intervals is likely uncommon in real life… unless you live in a nursing home like me, or if you are in the military, or rotting jail. So I feel my doing so, my explaining, has some semblance of value. And yes, that's what I keep telling myself.

Hmmm… the following may seem confusing to each of you, but I'll do my best to straighten out the angles, to soften the jagged edges.

Explained

They came to me in the courtyard, one by one. A procession, of sorts. Maintaining pure intentions.

In the first instance, a key administrator dropped by - her smiling eyes (and masked mouth) retaining inside information involving clues regarding my immediate future.

Indeed. A new roommate was in the making. An imminent displacement. She even indicated whom it would be. Yet, giddy as I may have been, I was sworn to secrecy.

Okay. I didn't necessarily want to lose my current roommate, but I knew my roommate presence with the new guy (Dan) would be positively impactful, as well as appreciated by my adoptive family. Yes, the same inclusive people that visit with me at least once per week (his wife, her daughter, and a grandchild. etc.)

Then the second in command, the woman in Social Services came out to speak with me. She asked if I'd be willing to make The Change (which, of course I was), but suggested I'd also have to change rooms. Again.

Argh! Switching out from the best room on the planet … —-!!!

Ummmm… I signed off anyway, despite what promised to be a lesser view.

Next, they had to explain the situation to my soon-to-be former roommate, the one that kinda liked having me around. The one with 38 year's worth of military stories. And I had mixed emotions, because he'd soon be paired up with The Unmasked Super Singer, in Unit #2.

Dan was originally supposed to move into the room with The Super Singer (the guy who takes to singing early and often throughout the livelong day), but they needed somebody to keep an eye out.. to make sure unfortunate things wouldn't happen to Dan (a long involved story having to do with debilitating difficulties perhaps caused by being overmedicated). In addition, they wanted us rooming as close to the nursing station as possible.

In any case, Super Singer has got a fine voice. I do hope it suits my ex-roommate.

Moments later the procession continued, as Dan and his visiting wife joined me in the courtyard. They were smiling and seemingly happier than usual, but hadn't been informed regarding the change of venues - or had they?

Losses?

My only casualty in the room switch was loss of the hair conditioner my little sister recently purchased for me.. some sort of apple essence. And I guess, really, that doesn't matter. Also, I am now facing the wrong way.

I see buildings, a parking garage, and cars intermittently parked along the side road. That's where the stray high school kids of Paradise Valley park. I do, however, have an easier view of the constant rabbits, both great and small. But the hawks? Well, they typically fly the other way. Better thermals. Better prey.

Pain Removal Machine

Yeah. The dentist happened yesterday. Tooth infection. Antibiotics on the way. And that's that. For now.

I'm also waiting on an ENT to help resolve my stupid left ear discomfort. Ten days of intermittent ear drops haven't resolved the impacted wax issue. But at least my other ear is semi-fully operational -

But great news on the "intolerable" pain front! Yes, the elephant in the room sitting squarely on top of my barn burning stoma hole agitation has been vanquished!

I found a powder that absorbs the burning bile fairly well. For seven long days the pain had become unbearable (literally), but now the open wound(s) are at long last healing. So if anybody has a similar corrosive fluid / wound issue, I highly recommend Adapt Stoma Powder. It's "for external use only" so don't get any wise ideas.

Side effects may (or nay not) include: imminent healing, death, dismemberment, disenfranchisement, dastardly disturbances, dander decimation, disco dancing, deranged dopamine dissuasion, domed dingo dissatisfaction syndrome, decadent doomsday depictions, and dizen dulcimer deprivation


And hey, before I disengage, what do you think of the following (which has nothing to do with anything)?

I have a woman who doesn't know squash.


Take care,
H


P.S. - if you happen to be kind of old, please suggest songs that old (and really really super old) people enjoy singing out loud - church hymns, battle hymns, commercials, theme songs, etc. THX


Hazy Sunset - Clear Conscience
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Sunsetting Again I Bother
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One (of many)
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Comments

Nice share Howard.:)

Some song ideas,
"You are my Sunshine"
"When the Saints Go Marching In"
"She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain."
" Oh Susanna"

Old Church Hymns,
"In the Garden"
"Do Lord"
"This little light of Mine"

Great to hear the stoma pain is gone! Most excellent news:thumbsup:

"I have a woman who doesn't know Squash" Is this a possible title for a new song or line of an upcoming song? Have no clue! Don't leave us hanging:squee:
 
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Hi Howard.....How nice to hear that your stoma is in the process of healing. Yes, I figured you had a tooth infection going on, so I'm glad the antibiotics were ordered.

I gather your visitor was your wife (buried in the recesses of your mind). It must be difficult to have mixed feelings (don't we all at many times in our lives), however I think you made the right decision. Another person from the outside is good....and you may have visits and hugs to look forward to, plus the fact that she may bring you different goodies, if you request them.

Do your sisters visit and how is Mom? Sorry you'll miss your old roommate, but isn't that just the way of things? I'm sure plenty of patients are considered "pains" by the other patients, and moving such people frequently must be a fairly common occurrence. Still, it's difficult, especially when you could look forward to sharing visits with his wife, daughter and granddaughter. It's especially nice when families include you...or can be, dependent upon the circumstances.

Music....well, I'm certainly old enough, but listen to very little during the day, although I like super-soft music at night when I'm reading. Takes me down a few notches. I find Johnny Mathis and his soft sounds are good for this, also like some beginner's opera music, Catherine Jenikins is fine. She sings in both English and Italian. Pretty basic to opera buffs, I'm sure...but we like it.

Our kids have COVID again, in spite of up-to-date immunizations. I think they're getting fed up with what isn't known.....got my 4th shot yesterday, but who knows if it will prevent the illness?

What it will prevent is hospitalization and hopefully, things like Long Haul Syndrome and other unnecessary side-effects. We also like Gordon Lightfoot, a folk singer. He is our age, so has been around a long time. Give him a try and see what you think....definitely different music than the type of your generation.

You did a very descriptive analysis of your wife, without actually using that word! Have you filed for divorce yet. Almost time for another weekend...don't the weeks fly on as we age? Trust me, they do. Yours, Lenora
 
Here's one of my favorite hymns. We would just sing the chorus several times though during song service sometimes. (Man, I really miss church).

Anyway, I find the words to be very calming.

One thing with videos is it's hard to just listen and not to watch especially with these face-in-the-camera virtual ones. Still, this was the best rendition I could find there.

Edit: Here are the lyrics. It's a very old song so we maybe don't use some of those words much anymore.
 
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What a relief. The Face to Face had to happen, otherwise its just too much in the lose ends department. I'm really glad she came by. I can only imagine how hard all that is/was/is/still is.

What a relief: stoma improvements...we want to hear that because its otherwise sound truly awful...and do they have enough bricks around there to toss through some glass windows?

Cottontail Rabbit: named for Audobon....is demonstrating it arid environment adaptation: many blood vessels in the ears, to disperse heat.

Sylvilagus audubonii

Old Songs:.... you kidding?

Every song on this album. Tennessee Ernie Ford.

Personally, I can sing every one of them. Sixty years later, I break down sobbing if I'm not prepared.


Ninety and Nine- a personal favorite.
 
OMIGOD!!! The Previous Lifetime visited? For THREE HOURS !!!!???!!!

Stellar !!!

I hope it was emotionally cleansing, and I'm so happy that she did the right thing ....

Your writing has improved impressively. It was good before, but it's reaching new heights now.

Am also relieved tht the stoma powder that you mentioned before has lived up to its promise and that you're feeling better .... betterish.

I remember Dan. And I think that it's impressive that the Admin is using you as a sort of healing presence, and asking your permission first !!! Excellent !!!

Better and better ....

SONGS ....
Anything from WW II ... their parents would have played those tunes endlessly .... ditto anything from the 50's (See The Pyramids Along the Nile, How Much Is That Doggie In The Window, etc) and very early 60's (Perry Como comes to mind) , pre-Beetles ....
Every song on this album. Tennessee Ernie Ford.
EDIT .... @Rufous McKinney 's rec of Tennesee Ernie Ford is inspired !!! Didnt he do 16 Tons? A total earworm, just great.

If you want super-old, there's some great tunes from WW I, like 'Over There' and a few others also apparently pretty shy about producing their titles.

HYMNS .. Walked in the Garden is one of my absolute favorites .... there are some others but they're not presenting for review right now Will be back when they do ....
 
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EDIT .... @Rufous McKinney 's rec of Tennesee Ernie Ford is inspired !!! Didnt he do 16 Tons? A total earworm, just great.
yes: the 16 tons Man. such a voice, such a presence.

I"ve actually GOT the album in the next room, original one scratches and all.

And I'll be playing it later. But like I said- I can just burst into tears when that one lost sheep gets retrieved.
 
I appreciate the song suggestions, and shall add them to the karaoke list. I'm hoping the residents here are at least familiar, and perhaps even .. know the words. :)

Also, the average age of the expected attendees is about 70 or so. Would that make 1955 to 1975 the ideal range?


@Tammy

Yeah, as long as I am dedicated to the cause (maintenance) the stoma area improvement is notable. :)


@lenora

Yeah, mixed emotions in regards to the former wife visiting. But no, that's been my only visitor this year (although, a former friend stopped by in November).

And really, I have enough people paying attention to me here (staff and residents) .. sometimes far too much attention! Lol

I hope you are still healing well. :)


@Rufous McKinney

It's funny how my anger dissipated once the physical pain diminished. I've not been an angry sort of fellow since 1992!

@YippeeKi YOW !!

Thanks, in regards to my writing. I seem to do better when things are actually happening - stuff worth describing.

And yes, I feel my presence here is beneficial at times. I relish the opportunity to be positively impactful, especially when it involves the most difficult residents. Most here deserve additional and personalized attention, but … with few exceptions, no one has visitors, and understaffing is a real thing.
 
Also, the average age of the expected attendees is about 70 or so. Would that make 1955 to 1975 the ideal range?
That's probably better. I might even extend that to the 1980's.

I assumed we were talking about the 80-ish age range ... but it's hard to guess what musical influences they experienced when they were growing up, or what drew them in in early adulthood .... it's all a grab bag ......
 
Howard.....How about the Beatles for your song list? The earlier songs would definitely be remembered by them. We were kids too, at one time. Yours, L.
 
SONGS ....
Anything from WW II ... their parents would have played those tunes endlessly .... ditto anything from the 50's (See The Pyramids Along the Nile, How Much Is That Doggie In The Window, etc) and very early 60's (Perry Como comes to mind) , pre-Beetles ....
Egad at 68ish, I'd be driven out of the room by Doggy in the Window.

just the idea of karoke : gives me a huge thrill. It was invented for somebody like me, and I"ve been deprived for my whole lifetime.

so it figures now I cannot sing at all: my throat was killed off by ME .

QUESTION: how do songs get themselves into the karaoke machine?

Can I demand Bowie?
 
Born in 1947, I remember "Doggy in the Window" as a thrill when my grandmother had it played on the radio for my 8th birthday (about then). I'd get a kick out of hearing it again today.

As a matter of fact, I'm going to play it right now! Elvis too, of course. I don't recall that he was mentioned. Thanks. Lenora.
 
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QUESTION: how do songs get themselves into the karaoke machine?
Still trying to work that issue out - probably simply using youtube videos containing lyrics and hoping each of these songs being suggested appear within -

Meanwhile, I'm watching the hawk hunt... so far coming up empty on the down-swoop this early Sunday morn

Note: hawks do not have any other bird friends (except other hawks!)

Thanks again for the song suggestions :)
 
Meanwhile, I'm watching the hawk hunt... so far coming up empty on the down-swoop this early Sunday morn
With all those adorable, helpless bunnies hopping around? What are hawks coming to? Is nothing sacred ?

Generally tho, I'm rooting for the bunnies. Maybe you could get some burger patties for the hawk? Maybe a nice fruit cocktail with a side of fries?

I dont think they're picky eaters ....
 
With all those adorable, helpless bunnies hopping around? What are hawks coming to? Is nothing sacred ?

Generally tho, I'm rooting for the bunnies. Maybe you could get some burger patties for the hawk? Maybe a nice fruit cocktail with a side of fries?

I dont think they're picky eaters ....
I am rooting for the bunnies, too! But then those hawks sure know how to glide!

Most of the residents here don't eat their food, so there are plenty of leftovers available.
 
Note: hawks do not have any other bird friends (except other hawks!)
the other day I switched from the Big Bear Bald eagles, dining on fish mainly (mostly carp)....

to Peregrins..on Anacapa. Oh wow. Here, the two babies are on a rock scrape. Nothing much soft or cozy. Mom Peregrin arrives with what is potentially some other bird. Much harder to process. Always a bit disconcerting.
 
QUESTION: how do songs get themselves into the karaoke machine?

Can I demand Bowie?
Possible answer: No, BOWIE music is likely COPYWRITED.

Possible details: Google Says-

What Songs Can Be Sung Karaoke?
Karaoke songs are typically well-known songs by major recording artists. However, you can sing karaoke to any song you want, as long as the lyrics are not copyrighted.


Sometimes karaoke bars or restaurants will have a large book of songs that they offer for singers. More commonly, they will have a list of songs on-line that people can look up using their karaoke machine’s monitor.
 
Well, good catch @Rufous McKinney. If Bowie is copyrighted, then we know for sure that the early Beatles songs are also. I'm sure @Howard appreciates this information. (Just as well that you're dealing with older people, isn't it?) Of course this means before copyrighting was commonly done.

At this rate they'll be singing to "Greensleeves." (Or something similar.) Lenora
 
At this rate they'll be singing to "Greensleeves." (Or something similar.) Lenora
there is this freeway exit...out in the countryside....Greenfield.

Just like my dad: I read all signs. I read Green Fields. And off goes that song.

Its so poignant. The longing expressed. Love, waiting for someones return. Time, passing. The Brother's Four.

Probably the room would break out sobbing. Its probably not included in karaoke machines.
 

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