Saturday, November 13, 2010


Things have to change. I had a dream the other night. About Vivian. Yes! That's right. For those of you who don't know, Vivian is a crazy, evil woman on Days. WAAAAAY TOO MUCH DAYS! I got hooked after spending months on end on the couch. (Justification)

Anyway, my kiddos were all coming home (minus Jami) for the weekend and I wanted the house to be spic and span. I went to turn on the TV to keep me company. I got a very uncomfortable feeling of brain freeze (that happens when I have lots to do and it kind of paralyzes me. My brain goes spastic and I basically go in circles not accomplishing much of anything) so I decided to turn on the CD player instead. Josh Grobin. I played it over and over and over again, with David Foster's Symphony Sessions in between. Brilliance! And I can hardly wait for Andre Bocelli Christmas. He hits CRAZY, RIDICULOUS notes! He jumps an octave and a half during one song. (Can't remember the name right now) WHOA! I don't think I'll wait til after Thanksgiving. Today is a great day for a little Andre.

I got so much done that day. And my soul was filled, my spirits lifted. I could conquer the world, AND I had a shiny floor. I was filled with such gratitude for my life. And especially for the gift of music. It is spiritual to me. It takes me away to places deep in my heart. I am grateful to such artists who have used and developed their God given talents.

I used to have the CD player on 24/7 while my kids were young. My piano was always playing. I was either playing or teaching. My kids used to love hearing me play. They still do though I don't play very often anymore. Many times I would be practicing in the morning before they woke up. I especially remember Chelsea bringing her blanket and pillow and lying on the floor (which was hard wood) just so she could listen up close and personal. I didn't know she was there. Curtis does that now. He begs me to play. Actually, all my children do. OK. I will.

Which leads me to Thanksgiving. I am going to post all my November entries on things that I am grateful for. And today, thank you God, for gift of music.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dear Cathi

Dear Cathi,

Congratulations! You made it. Your graduation day, as you always referred to it as, was Mon. Nov. 1st, the day you passed from this life to the next. So many things I would like you to know.

The last time I came to see you was about one month ago. You were not having a good day so I only stayed a few minutes. You were also intent on listening to Stake Conference which had been piped into your home. I really wanted to come back, but just couldn't. Of anyone, I knew you would understand. I knew the time was very, very close.

Today as I was lying in bed, I thought of some of the times we shared. We were pregnant together, more than once. Bryson and Andy would have been the same age. When I lost Andy, you brought me over a beautiful CD of hymn arrangements. I wore it out. When I was pregnant with Curtis, you brought me dinner, not after I had him, but the week before. How sweet.

We both dreaded January. For others it is a time of starting fresh. For us it was a letdown. You always complimented me on my garden. When Christopher was getting home from his mission, I was lucky enough to come and plant and weed for you, though you were not supposed to find out who it was.

More than anything, you taught me how to live with patience, purpose in the smallest of things, and long suffering. In dying you taught me quiet dignity and endurance, relying on a power heaven sent, because it was constantly sought after.

I'm happy for you Cathi, for you suffered, and now, that suffering is over. I pray for your family knowing that they will be OK. They had the greatest teacher.

I love you.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Johnny and his friends

I woke up yesterday morning and noticed a few more deformities caused by MCTD. When I pointed them out to Ron I commented that it won't be long before he won't recognize me. He tenderly replied that he will always recognize and love me just the way I am. He then asked me if I felt any joy. Yes I do. All in all, as noted in previous posts, I am doing quite well.

Which brings me to Johnny. He is my Downs Syndrome nephew. I was lucky enough to attend his Special Olympics basketball game last Saturday. To watch all these kids (and I say kids though there was a gentleman who had to be in his late 60's) play their little hearts out was truly inspiring. Katie. She made her very first ever, basket. Jerry, or his name might have been Terry. Jason. He is around 47ish, very short. Under 5' I think. Running up and down the court clapping trying to get the fans involved. Another girl all decked out in her sports goggles. That was all she needed to feel like a winner. And Remi, short for Remmington. We sat by his dad. He kept almost losing his shorts. And Heidi was there to watch, though she never saw the game. She kept her head bent down always looking at the ground with those sad dark eyes. She is autistic. She won't ever speak. She is painfully shy. literally. Her mom was so darling. Her countenance radiated love, just like my sister.

And of course John, my sweet nephew. He's 20 yrs old. He would run up and down the court. You know his coach told him where his spot was cause he would run to it every time, and stay there. John shoots underhanded, as do many of the players. He came soooo close several times but the shots just didn't fall that day. He's a great shooter.

Then there was Bryan. Bryan looked to be the most physically disabled on the team. His left arm was completely immobile. It took it's place at his side, elbow bent at a 90 degree angle, and his hand hung at another 90 degree angle as well. And it was so thin, I'm sure from muscles that had never been used. His legs were very bent. His knees were so knocked that he would have to take an extra swinging motion just to get around each one to walk/run. As if that were not enough, his feet pointed in to one another, yet another obstacle to navigate with each step. Bryan looked like he could have cerebral palsy.

Bryan made one of the three baskets of the entire game. A hook shot because he only had the use of one arm. He was the first to run up and down the court in his ackward kind of way. He knew how to defend. He would put his arm up in the face of his 6'3-5 opponents. Yeah, the other team had some TALL players! Thus, only the 3 baskets for our Huskies. I commented to my sis how inspired I was by Bryan. She told me that his mother was told he would never walk. NEVER! As I said, he was running.

The Huskies lost. The score was 6 to 30 something. John wished he would have made a basket but he and the whole team felt like winners. Because they are. i learned so much last Sat morning, by sitting and watching and cheering. They are so dear and innocent. Which reminds me of one of my favorite stories. One day John got out of the shower and came walking out without a towel. Linda told him he needed to remember to wrap a towel around him next time. So the next day, sure enough, he came walking out with a towel, wrapped around his head!

God bless these sweet people. Actually, God bless the rest of us. for we will be the ones who really need those blessings.

Monday, October 4, 2010


I had a great weekend! I was honored to be involved in a wedding of one of my BFF's son's at Log Haven, up the beautiful Millcreek Canyon. That night Ron and his brothers and their sons went to the conference center for the Priesthood session. Then out to dinner afterwards. I admit. I enjoy the alone time to do whatever I want. (I do that anyway!) Many ideas, such as shopping, kept running through my head but I opted to watch the Sat morning conference session. I can't be guilted into anything, except making dinner for Curtis, so my choice to watch was because I really wanted to.

I loved conference. Probably one of my favorites. I was deeply touched by many of the talks. Many hit close to home. I'll first get to the one that got me and most of my fam in a way that wasn't so good, quite unsettling actually. You know the one I'm talking about. It's already the scuttlebutt on the internet and within the Mormon gay community. The church has made much progress in their teachings of homosexuality, and I felt this talk put us many steps back again. Our daughter Chelsea is a gifted writer and expresses her feelings so well. I ditto all she said about it on her blog. I could go on and on about what a beautiful human she is, but you can capture that yourself by reading her blog. (Don't know how to link it. If anyone out there does, link her post in the comments please.)

Then comes Pres Ballard's talk on addiction, prescription pain pill specifically. My heart ached, and I cried for the woman he spoke about. She lost everything. What started as an innocent and legitimate need, became her master. She was the slave. She was in bondage. I pray she has found her way out of her prison. As most know, I was addicted to pain pills for many many years. (See first posts if you want to read about my journey) I know that the problem is great. And addiction to pain pills, especially for women, is way way too high for members of the LDS church. And we are not alone. It is a worldwide huge problem! Know that there is a way out. And if I can talk to, or help in any way, please please please let me know. I understand. Please read Pres Ballard's talk. It was full of hope and love.

I loved Pres. Holland's talk. I always love his talks. But I loved Pres. Monson's talk on gratitude most of all. Now back to the wedding up Millcreek Canyon. I love the mountains. I love nature. I love this time of year. I love all the colors of Autumn. I love the sound of rushing water, of birds singing, of trees rustling in the wind. I love the smell of pine in the air. I love the wild flowers that are getting ready for their winter nap. I was filled with such gratitude. I was thinking of a friend who commented that my disease must be a very tough thing to handle every day. Sure. I wish I wasn't sick. I wish I had the energy to do things I used to do. I don't especially like looking like a blowfish face, or that Darth Vader is a constant companion. BUT, would I be the person I am today had I not gotten sick? I like who am so much better now. I'm more calm. (I know. That kind of happens when you can't breath. No more yelling and screaming around my house! well, sometimes.) I appreciate simplicity. I'm content with what I have. (Except I really really want a grand piano. That will never change..) I'm more in love with my husband than I have ever been. I feel peace. I have come to see that God's plan is perfect and personal. I so love and appreciate each member of my family. I have experienced their love and care for me though it has been difficult many times, as I should be the one giving and serving as they are doing. With that comes the lessons I have received from being on the "taking" end of service. It has taught me humility.

There are many other lessons I have learned. Could I have learned in any other way? I don't know. Would I trade these lessons, or who I am now, for good health? I should probably say no, but I don't know the answer to that either. What I do know, is this is the way it is, and I am grateful. Very very grateful. Would I trade being BFF's with Nemo and Darth? Yes! I would.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The joys of oxy-gyn, not contin

I have noticed how very nice and helpful people are, more than before oxy. Checkers always ask me if I would like the drive-up service. Uh...sure. I'm on oxygen you know. Standing in long lines gets me at least sympathetic looks. Or maybe just pathetic. Sometimes I just butt to the front and when I get dirty looks I respond with, Can't you see I'm on oxygen? Duh! Even the security guard at the DMV told me to have a nice day as I walked out. What! I didn't think they could speak! At the ice cream store the clerk said, I see you're on oxygen. Would you like another scoop for free? Sure. And how about my poor son who has a mom on oxy. Can he as well? And can I get a coupon for a free cone for my husband since he isn't here? And really. It would be so helpful if my family and I could get ice cream free for the rest of my life. Of course. This establishment is oxygen friendly. When I make mistakes of any kind, it's because of lack of oxygen. When the dishes aren't done and beds aren't made, know, I'm OO. Or when I don't fix dinner. I know I know, I rarely fixed dinner before, but I get a little more mileage out of it now.

My favorite of all was when Jami and I were 1/2 hour away from her new home in Minnesota. It was 11:30 at night. The kids had had it. The car was packed SOOO tight, we couldn't fit the pool floaties in without deflating them. And, I had all my oxy stuff. Anyway, Jame was driving rather quickly and sure enough, we got pulled over. Cop. Did know you were speeding? Jame. No shit Sherlock! Take a look in here. You would have been too! (K. Slight embellishment) Can I see your licence? Uh, I don't have one. I mean, I lost it. But I have my passport. Cop. Where are you going? Jame. I don't know. We are moving from Utah. Cop. What is the address? Jame. I don't know. C. You're moving and you don't know the address? J. No. What's so weird about that! C. Do you have anything with the address on it? J. No. I pipe in. We do have google maps. C. Let me see that and your passport. Me as cop is walking back to car. Oh, and I am almost out of oxygen so she was hurrying. C. Should I call an ambulance? Me. Uh.... no dork. I'm just WANTING TO GET OUT OF THIS CAR! And guess what? We didn't get a ticket.

I think there is alot of oxygen envy out there. And with Halloween just around the corner, I see the look on my neighbor Charles' face when he hears the Darth Vadar sounds coming my way. Who wouldn't want to sound like Darth during October? or anytime for that matter. Yes. Every time a take a breath, which is fairly often, I sound like Darth. (I;ve learned to hold my breath during prayers at church. So please, keep em short. And the accessory options are all taken care of. Think about it. Nose ring, earrings and necklace all in one. Try and beat that!

So I've decided that I will share the joy. If you're in a hurry and need to speed, give me a call. If you want to get free chocolate or books or clothes, give me a call. (You try asking first then let me know how it goes) If your children are driving you nuts, tell them you can instantly turn them into Darth Vadar. If you want to lay around all day watching Days of Our Lives, (which I hope you are all doing regardless,) and not get anything done, give me a call.

Oh yes, things are lookin good!

Monday, September 13, 2010


It's been just over a year now. And I have been horrible about blogging which I want to change. So, I will.

Many people ask how I'm doing. I try with all that's in me to stay positive. With that being said, I am going to try and give an honest lowdown, (Is lowdown a word, and if so, is it one word or two? Just askin) I had a really great summer. I spent lots of time with my grand kiddos. They have a way of making everything better. They lived with us for about 6 months. It was a treasured time. It was a time where Jami and I really bonded in a way we had not before. We laughed, cried, and cried some more, talked (though I wish we would have talked more) watched trash television, went to the pool, (many times); basically she and the kids got me out of bed doing. What a great blessing. The house has been very quiet since they moved out.

Anyway, back to how I'm doing. I can't quite remember if it was the end of July or August. It doesn't matter. My toes and feet started turning all these funky colors. It was kind of cool having a built in rainbow! But I knew something wasn't right. And it wasn't. after taking a biopsy of my toe, it came back that i had auto immune vasculitis, whatever that is. The doc was quite concerned as it could go to major organs, and that wouldn't be good. When he said I had to up my prednisone 8x's, Tears started streaming. He also put me on yet another heavy duty auto immune suppressant. It made me really sick so I wouldn't take it. The trade off is worth it to me. I want to live while I'm living even if it means taking a few years off my life. So far so good. Other things that have been going on. I have numbness in the right side of my face and mouth. Speaking of mouth, something is going on. Heat and cold really hurt it. Chocolate makes that all better. It makes everything better! One thing that is really hard on me is my what I call brain freeze. In my mind I have always been so funny and witty, (Come on. You know it's true!) words would just come to me. Not now. I can't think of the most simple of words. I taught a relief society lesson a few weeks ago. I used to do that kind of thing rather easily but I totally bombed this time. Someone commented after that they had heard me teach before and that she knew I used to be able to. I wasn't in the least bit offended. It's true. And I can still play a mean piano! Sometimes. Though I never play anymore.. It takes me all day to accomplish fairly minor chores like cleaning the kitchen and family room. It took me hours with many breaks. But I did it. Right? I get out of breath and my heart races. My oxygen hasn't been as good as it was the beginning of the summer. But that's ok too.

More than anything, I get down sometimes. Especially lately. I have a dear friend who has a disease similar to mine. I read her updates daily. She has such an incredible attitude. She is 80 lbs now and has pretty much round the clock care. She has lost her hearing in one ear, and the other is having problems. She wasn't expected to make it through last year. She still goes on. She has a productive life doing small projects as she can. I get sad and scared when I read her updates. I fear that that will be me in the future. It's not the dying that scares me. It's the living on and on like that. As I told Curtis, I don't know how to be a spectator.

I am still fairly new into this whole sick thing. Nils asked me last night if I feel like a well person with sick days, or a sick person with good days. I said the later though I don't really know yet. I dream of great runs or doing other things I have always loved to do. In the morning between the time of being both asleep and awake, I think, I'm going a run. It's such a beautiful day. Then I wake up all the way and reality hits me.

So my goal is to set goals, to find passion in my life, maybe to be a well person with sick days would be the way to go. Yep, that's what I need to do though I feel even as I'm typing, that that isn't an honest answer.

Thank you all for your continual love support and prayers for me and my family. I'm ok and it is my favorite time of year you know!

Friday, August 27, 2010


I've never been a fan of change. Think about it. Change a diaper. Yuck. Change a bad habit to good. Hard. Change at the grocery store. Pennies. They are useless. I vacuum them up. It takes too much time trying to dig them out of the carpet. Nickels and dimes? About the same. Quarters. Now they are worth the effort. They are actually useful. Changing clothes. Usually because I don't like what I'm wearing. Or it doesn't like me.

There are all kinds of change. I just drove with Jami and the kiddos to Minnesota for their next big adventure. Change in all that is comforable, in all that is safe. The drive was beautiful. I loved seeing a different part of the country, a change from what I have ever seen. I loved seeing Mt. Rushmore. I was filled with such a great love of our nation. I loved seeing the rolling acres and acres of farmland and felt grateful for the food that magically appears in the grocery stores.

And I loved seeing the Lamborn's new place of residence. Their home is very lovely, and spacious, a change from what they've been used to. The view from their back window is spectacular. No mountains for a change. But fields of greenery and towering pines. Tol and I went exploring in them yesterday. I am so excited for Jami and somewhat envious that they have this opportunity. I know there will be times when it will be hard. For all of us.

I know change is good. And I need to embrace it. It's about time, wouldn't you say? I'm trying, as my life has done a 180. I'm doing pretty well for the most part, but at times I feel sorry for myself and wish I was healthy so I could do what I have always loved doing....being active. With that being said, I am a fighter.

My prayers are with my children, especially Jami right now, that they will learn how great and exciting change can be.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Organio or Pianorgan...Whatever!

Those of you who are pianists will fill my pain. Yesterday I was asked to play that, whatever it is, in Relief Society. (I was so happy to feel like I was contributing in some very small way.) So I sit down and start to play. No sound. Oh yeah. I have to turn it on first. Who turns on a piano! Where is that power switch? I am not accustomed to turning on my piano. Then some horrible ghastly sound comes out. Freak! What have I done? I know. I have ruined any kind of reverence that may have been there. And all the notes were correct. It was too loud and just plain ugly! You would think I could play softer and the organio would respond respectively. But no. Now what do I do? There must be some kind of volume control on this thing. Oh good. There it is. I think I will slide the notch to the third bar. Too soft. OK the fifth. Too loud. The fourth. Not loud enough but it will have to do. Then the prelude begins. YUCK! is all can hear. Even when played perfectly.

Maybe that's the problem....It's all too perfect. Or all the same. There is no "music" in this kind of music. I would say instrument, but it makes me cringe to call it an instrument.

What would Beethoven or Mozart or any of the masters think of this thing? I don't think pianos or organs like it too well either. I bet it's very confusing to the organio. I mean, what would you call it? Musexual or organiosexual? Yeah, that's what I would call it, organiosexual.

No wonder it has a horrible sound. It is confused and frustrated. It needs to come out of the musical closet.

Actually, it needs to go back in the closet never to be heard from again.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Its all about the Name

23 years ago today, I walked into the Hallway on the 6th floor of the LDS hospital and screamed, “It’s a BOY”. It was loud, and I was told by Shar’s doctor that I woke up all the patients in the ICU wing. The ICU wing was two floors away, so I took that as a compliment. I was excited to have a healthy baby but the yell was to tell Rob Young that I was having a boy. He was in the adjacent room with his wife only minutes away from them finding out they were having another girl. It would be a surprise to them….but it wasn’t. It would be their 4th daughter. (They were happy, but Rob had told me that he was hoping for a boy just an hour earlier) Rob and I grew up in the same neighborhood. He is the same age as my brother Jeff. I would have been happy with another girl. But we new it was going to be a boy, so I was just rubbing it in a little. Maybe a lot. I look back and think I was a little silly. I guess I still am.

Within 15 minutes of delivery, my parents, Shar’s parents and our three daughters, Jami, Jessica and Chelsea arrived at the hospital. Jami was 8. Chelsea was 4 and Jess was right in between. Chelsea swore that day, in front of the whole family, that she would never have children and that she thought dogs would be better. She was in the room when the Doctor was finishing his work and of course Chelsea saw a little bit more than we would have wanted. 23 years later Chelsea has a dog, and NO children.
NOTE: Sometimes parents should turn off the TV.

Shar and I had debated about the name that we would call our first son. Nils was a family name and I thought Nils Nelson was a little bit too old and a lot of bit, to Swedish. Shar thought it was perfect and so it is. Nils Stephen (name of Shar's younger brother) Nelson.

In the mid 1800’s another Nils was born. This baby boy came to this earth under much different circumstances. Within a few days of his first breath, my great grandfather was left on the porch of an orphanage in Ostersund Sweden. He never got to know his parents. He never got to know their names. He lived his first 8 years of his life in that orphanage where somebody who worked there gave him the name of Nils.

At the age of 8 he ran away from home. It is hard to know the exact reason why he made his choice, but as a Nelson, he would have been counseled to get out if he was being miss-treated. What courage, or would it be stupidity, to move out on your own at the age of 8. He lived on the streets for the next 7 years of his life, working odd jobs and stealing for the right to eat his next meal. He lived in the cold and had little clothing and personal belongings. A small cloth bag held everything he owned and most of what he owned came from someone’s garbage or was stolen.

He hated living on the streets but years later he told his son Nils that it was much better than the treatment he was given at the orphanage. It was a tough life for a young boy.

During the winter of Nils’s 15th year he was bedding down in the town cemetery. He would stay up and keep moving to keep the blood moving in his young weathered body. He would do this until exhausted and then collapse and try to sleep.

A few weeks before Christmas, he was walking too the cemetery to start another long night of freezing cold in hopes that he could find a bite to eat along the way. This night would change his life, even though at the time he had no idea of what was ahead. He was just looking to be warm and for something to eat. He heard some music. Singing… Christmas Carols. He followed the sound to an open Hall in the town square close to the cemetery. There he met a group of Mormons who were taking food to people in need. Fredric Nelson was the branch president for the small group of LDS church members and found conversation with young Nils on that bitter night. Nils was invited to go and spend the night, out of the cold, and have a warm meal at the home of my adopted great, great grandfather. Within a weeks time he was staying in the Nelson home full time and within a year he was baptized into the LDS faith and adopted into his new family. On the records of the church he was given the name of Nils Fredric Nelson.

A year later they left Sweden and traveled to America and on to Utah to join the latter day saints in Salt Lake City. 16 years later my Grandfather was born. Fredric Nils Nelson. There is a lot in a name. Some of us just don’t know the story.

Happy Birthday Nils. We give thanks for him and his younger brother and our three beautiful daughters and people like Fredric Nelson who have given to our family in such abundance.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A New Life

Have you ever felt like you don't belong? Maybe a new school, a new neighborhood, a new job? Maybe the one who just didn't fit in. You're just kind of there taking up space, trying your best as you either do or don't know how.

Being chronically ill puts you in many different places that are new, just like the school, neighborhood, job, whatever. It is a strange place that is very uncomfortable if not depressing. And depressing it is, at least for now while I am trying to find my way. A brand new way. A way I got used to navigating with Ron when he was the sick one.

It has been 10 months since I have been down and I am not used to it yet. Not even. I feel as though I am in the middle of nothingness as life is happening all around me. Many days, at least lately, I go to bed in the same "clothes" I wear all day. What's the point? I don't go anywhere and do very little.

Last week I had so much anger inside, I felt as though I would literally explode! And when I wasn't exploding, I was constantly crying. I hated feeling so out of control.

Now that the doc appointments are just on a follow up basis, I realize this is my life. For how long, who knows. And I am having such a hard time trying to find meaning in what I do, or don't, as the case may be. Actually, I am not doing much of anything. Not yet at least.

I know I need to make plans for a new life. To do things in a new way, do different kinds of things. I pray that the depression will lift and that I can find joy and meaning in each new day being grateful for all I have been blessed with.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sometimes it is Sad

Have you ever been sad? What does sad feel like?…

It was October 17 1969. I was a sophomore, no driver’s license yet. Steve had celebrated his 16th birthday a few days earlier. No one would have guessed that he was two months plus a few days older than me. I was 8 inches taller and could grow a beard. 5 months earlier, Steve threw the ball to me that became the result of one of the most embarrasing moments of my life. With most of our school watching, and after catching the ball and runnning for a touchdown, Bryan Tucket went for my flag but caught my pants and they came, exposing me in my jockstrap with my butt mooning the student body. I am still reminded about that catch 40 years later. I can laugh about it now...but can be tough. Lucky I was bigger than all of them.

There was a homecoming stomp at Highland that night. He called me and asked if I wanted to go…Of course we went. We both danced a little…I don’t remember who with. I have always loved to dance. Shar’s biggest fight with me was over dancing. Well... It was her company party at the Fort Douglas Club. The dinner was fabulous and the band was even better. Shar and I danced a little…It was obvious she didn’t enjoy it as much as I did back in the late 1970’s. Her boss, who was stoned drunk asked Shar if she would share me and let me dance with her…a little part of Shar was happy to have her boss try her skills on the dance floor with me. She let it all go and didn’t remember a thing the next day…So did I, and I remembered everything. Half way through our second dance, I noticed everybody had stopped dancing and now were circling us and clapping and urging us to get even wilder. We did…Shar left and went and sat in the car. She was so embarrassed. If she could, she would join me today and we would dance the night away. We had that opportunity a few years ago at my cousin’s wedding. The band was fabulous. So was she.

Steve and I eventually found our way sitting on the hard wood floor in the far Northeast corner of the Gym. It was noisy but the conversation soon blanked out everything else as though we were the only ones around. We were friends…best friends…and we could talk about anything but didn’t very often…we could talk about sports and girls and school and homework…this night the discussion started with the World Series. Brook Robinson, the hall of famer 3rd Baseman was the most valuable player in a 5 game series that surprised the experts. The Baltimore Orioles beat the Big Red Machine of Cincinnati. Steve was a baseball player. He was a really good baseball player. He was a sure thing when it came to making the varsity team as a sophomore playing 2nd or 3rd base, but that would have to wait until spring. He was going to try out for the basketball team so we talked about who would letter first. Getting your letter jacket was a big thing back in 1969. The things kids talk about. I was hoping to make the basketball varsity team in a few weeks. I had played most of the day shooting at the ward house on Foothill preparing for tryouts. Steve was hoping for the sophomore team.

We left the stomp early. The girls we liked didn't show up. We were happy by ourselves that night. I called my mother from the payphone just outside the gym to let her know that I would call her from Steve’s house. There was a bank of three phones attached to the red brick entry wall where we would always enter when there was a game or when I was late for school. When was the last time I used a pay phone? I don’t remember. We walked with a pace of a turtle. We were not in a hurry. We stopped a few times just to layout on a lawn. We laughed, probably waking up kids that their parents had just put down to bed. We were loud. The things we learn as we age.

It was a warm October night and the moon lit up the sky. Steve's street is the same today…it was lined with large Elm trees. The trees always made Steve’s street seem very dark. There was always shade on those hot summer days. No sun block was needed. This night you could see for a hundred yards or more. The moon light wove through the drooping branches of the trees. We talked about how weird that was.

We sat under the tree in his front yard leaning up against the large edgy trunk where the conversation turned spiritual. Steve was to be ordained a Priest the next morning. We talked about that and our belief in God. We asked the questions that no one has the answers for. I am still asking those same questions. We laughed, we even cried when Mark Newsom was remembered. He had died in a motor cycle accident just before school started in August. He was so talented. Music was his love. Perfect pitch…nobody had perfect pitch, but he did. We sang in boy’s glee together. I miss him.

I had forgotten to call my mom back until after midnight. I heard about it when she finally came to get me. It was almost 1 AM. Steve waited with me until she came. His parents had gone to bed an hour earlier. As the car lights glimmered from around the corner we both stood and gave each other a sporty hug and told each other we would see each other on Monday. I wished him luck with his ordination and told him I was going to get my letterman’s jacket first. “I will make the team”. He laughed, and I was gone.It was around 6:00 PM on Sunday. Less that a day had passed when my dad called me to the phone. It’s a girl…Ann Barker, who I had a crush on in the 9th grade was calling. Have you heard the news? She was crying….Steve is dead – Steve is dead. I was Curts age...15 years old. "What do you mean?" ….He was with Bruce Nelson and 4 others when there jeep turned over and crushed him. He died instantly…nobody else was hurt. The reality had not sunk in but the words hurt and I began to cry. I thanked Ann for letting me know and then went to my room and cried all night. My parents came in and cried with me. What do parents do? I appreciated them that night and the following months. They helped me through. I got some of that same practice with Jami when Jeff died… and when Ashley died, I was there to tell Chelsea. You can never get those moments just right. You can only just be there. All three died in car accidents, even though Steve was in the hills, off road, when the jeep rolled. He was on the back passenger side of the topless jeep. He was in the wrong spot at the wrong time. I spoke at his funeral. Highlands’s baseball coach, Mr. Hardcastle, came and awarded him his letter just before I spoke. I cried as I shared our conversation from just a few days earlier and then somehow got through my talk. Everyone I knew was there, and we all cried and we were all sad together.

Someone asked me how I was feeling yesterday. I responded, “I am sad”. My friend urged me to talk about it. “I don’t know if I have ever felt more sad”….and then I thought of Steve. It is hard to compare…

Shar’s illness has changed our lives. She is sad about it. I am very sad about it. She is more sad. The ability to change the way things are is hoped for, but the reality of today is hard. There are many diversions that take place everyday that make it easy not to focus on the sadness. We thank everyone for the diversions you create in our lives. We appreciate, so much, the love that has walked through our front, back and side doors. We love the cards and the jokes and the meals and the visits. Everyone has helped take the sadness away. We might get used to this change, but it hasn’t sunk in quite yet…I hope it never does. We hope that things will improve. Hope is a great thing…but waiting…day by day by day is hard and sometimes sad.

As we have gone through this past week we are sad to hear how people treat people when it comes to political things. How sad…The things we think and say and do, sometimes create sadness. We should all listen and show respect even if our expeience and thoughts and feelings are so different. We should all love a little more and more often.

Sadness is one of the emotions that I have experienced over the last few months. It is not my favorite, but it is teaching me. Shar has not written on her blog for a few months…She has been too sad…She just told me she looks like a blow fish…I think I will go in and paint blue and orange stripes on her face. Oh, what we do to push the sadness away. The great thing is that sometimes it really works. Sadness comes and goes…Through it all we are greatful and surprisingly...OK.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Lets Go For a Run

About 10 years ago a treadmill ended up residing in our basement. It had been living at Shar’s parent’s house for quite a few years, but was feeling badly for its non use. Over lunch, hot chicken soup and home made rolls; the decision was made to move it from one basement to ours. It sat in its new surroundings rarely being used because Shar ran outside and I wouldn’t touch it. Shar is a runner. If she is not running, she is thinking it. This morning she wanted to go run. THIS MORNING. The walk from the bedroom to the kitchen did her in so she sadly gave up the dream, at least for today. “Today would be a fabulous day to run around the lake”. Do you want to go?” I looked at her, not quite knowing how to respond. I could feel her deep frustration and sadness. Today she would not be able to run.

Once in a blue moon, whatever that means, Shar would hop on the treadmill and give it a spin. She could run for miles when she was out in Gods beauty, but inside, she would only go a mile or two or three, sometimes just to warm up, or sometimes in the early evening, an hour or so after dinner, when her running partners were not available. It was always in winter, for night came quick and early and Shar was always about safety, not wanting to run alone when it was dark. I had told my sweetheart, on more than one occasion, that we should get rid of that treadmill, that it was only taking up space, and that I would never use it. I tried again when it was time to give the treadmill a new house. I hated to run. Well, I disliked it very much. I couldn’t run. On these occasions I was not her sweetheart.

Shar’s first Marathon was in Las Vegas. I thought she was nuts when she signed up. A trip to sunny and warm Las Vegas would be nice so I did support her, even though I thought she was crazy. I would take my golf clubs and hope to play at the Desert Inn. It is nice to know people, but that didn’t happen on this trip. We traveled down with two other families (dear friends) who had runners and with the original owners of the treadmill and two of their Grandchildren, Jami and Jessica (our two oldest daughters.) Oh, they were cute when they were young. They remind me that they still are.

We were all going down to support Shar and her running friends and hoped to have some fun. The sleeping arrangements were poor. Sleeping with my father in law is similar to trying to catch a few minutes of shuteye inside a hanger where they are testing jet engines 24-7. The only thing to do at midnight to five in the morning in Vegas is to sit at one of the million blackjack tables and try not to loose $20.00. Free orange juice throughout the night was a plus and it sure beat trying to use my imagination to come up with the best sound barrier that I could use to shut down the noise that was going on in room 166. I was not successful and vowed I would never make the mistake again of rooming with my in laws no matter how much I love them. It was 5:00 AM when the gambling money ran out, so I took a walk outside to check the weather. There was a McDonalds that had just opened and it was close to the hotel. I went for some pancakes and sausage, my favorite meal at McDonalds. They had it 30 years ago and you can buy it at your local McDonalds today plus inflation…before 10:30. I have always thought McDonalds could do even better business by serving breakfast all day long. I would visit more.

The walk, across the street and down a half of block, was miserable…it was cold…it was blowing…it was snowing…in VEGAS…I ate quickly and then retreated back to the hotel to make sure Shar was up. Shar, Melissa Wood, her first running mate and best friend (2nd cousin too – they found this out while running one morning when they were talking about a family reunion they both needed to attend) and Rich Pugh needed to get to the buses that would take them to the starting line; 26.2 miles away from the finish line. I was hoping the weather would give the runners a break and the wind would stop, or start to blow in the opposite direction. I knew that for the first 20 miles or so the runners would be running north, which on this morning was like running in the Alaskan Wilderness in a 30 mile an hour head wind. The wind chill was below 0…in Vegas.

They boarded the cold bus and were gone. Many of the runners didn’t even get on board. It was too cold. More of the runners never got off the buses when they reached the starting line…it was freezing.

I returned back to the hotel and laid down for an hour or so. Pres was up and out getting breakfast for he and Carol, and I was beat but it was silent. I couldn’t allow myself to sleep because I was worried that if I did, I would miss the race. A few years later I had a very similar experience with a group of golfing buddies. Rooming with Steve McPherron was like rooming with Pres. Let’s just say I got very little sleep on that trip, but, I did play a lot of golf. The race was beginning and I had a little time before I needed to get the girls up so we could go cheer on their mother. We had to stop at McDonalds for breakfast, the second stop for me that morning. The same cashier welcomed us. No smile. It might have been because she had braces. We ate our pancakes and then we were off to the course. Again, no golf course could have been played in Vegas that morning. The drive was slow for the roads were wet and very slippery. I was happy I had a good set of Utah tires. Even the Vegas Strip was barren and even the gamblers had stayed into hibernate.

We stopped at mile marker 13, the half way mark and waited. We had to keep the car running so the car heater could keep us comfortable. The visibility was about 100 yards. About 40 minutes passed before the runners started to appear through the blowing snow. No one told us the race would start late. No one could. It was miserable and it was so colder than cold. The girls and I would jump out of the car with our home made signs each time we would see someone coming. We were sad each time it was not Shar (mom) but happy to get back in the car where it was warm. Almost an hour passed from when the first runner went by, to when Shar appeared. Her head was down focusing on only her next stride. She was clothed in her red sweats, heavy coat with her blue hat and black gloves. She hadn’t dared to take them off. As she got closer we yelled as loud as we could and I cheered like I never had before…I had never seen her run…I was so proud....she looked up with a quick smile…and then back to the grind…and as she disappeared back into the cold grey sky, I cried.

We stopped again at the 20 mile marker. The snow had let up some but the wind was still howling. She was one of the last runners to pass that point that day. I was hoping she wouldn’t be disappointed.

We waited at the finish line. Melisa and Rich had finished almost an hour earlier when Shar crossed the line with the biggest frozen smile you could ever imagine. She had finished. Her time 4:31:26. It was slower than she had wanted…but when I look back now…She was moving. Just over 10 minute miles in that weather…Amazing.

Shar ran 3 other marathons in St. George. The weather was always better and her times just went lower. She broke the 4 hour mark twice. 8:45 per mile. Wow! I was always there at the finish line in total awe of her, and a tear would always form in my eye from the emotion that would fill my soul watching her RUN and realizing what she had mastered. She had some of her happiest and joyful moments as she would cross that line and know she had accomplished her dream.

I run around the lake now. I started last year. I did it for the first time this year just last week. I still enjoy swimming in the lake more than running around it, but that will have to wait another few months…for now, I run, I really do it…and…I like it.

Last night, the same as the night before, I stepped on the treadmill that sits in our basement at 11552. I have stepped on it many times this past winter waiting for the sun to warm the earth and for spring to introduce itself to me once more. I run about 3 to 4 miles and then step off. I like it, even though it does not come close to running outside on the worn pavement. There are two things that are sad each time I step off that treadmill. The first is selfish. My per mile time is not even close to what Shar ran back when…I blame that on my age, even though I know better…and second; I realize that when Shar ran…I could not. Oh, how life likes to fool with us.

Last summer, Shar and I strolled around the lake, sometimes just together, sometimes with our Grandchildren in their Blue and read double stroller and sometimes with our children and friends.

I hope for the day when she can run again and that her wishes come true, so that one morning when she wakes and wants to go for a run, WE CAN.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Waiting Room...(From Ron again..)

The Waiting Room

We wait……We wait for almost everything. I am sure the list changes for everyone, but we wait. We wait to read……We wait for children, Ok, children wait for their parents too. We wait for the time to go to bed, for our favorite TV show, for dinner, breakfast and snacks in between. We even wait to wake up from a great sleep… how wrong is that. We wait at stop lights, in front of schools, in a grocery store line. We wait for the most important days and moments of our lives; a first step, the first word, the first love, first kiss, graduation getting married, for some getting divorced. We wait to go on vacation and then we wait until it is time to come home. We wait to go to school and then when we get there we can’t wait until school is over. The same goes with work and with church but let’s keep that one silent and please don’t wait to go to either. We now need to wait 4 more years for the next Winter Olympics. Yea…How old will you be then? You have to wait.

We wait at Hospitals. They actually have rooms. Waiting Rooms. What are you waiting for right now?

Every Waiting Room probably has or maybe just needs a Helen. Have you ever just hung out in a waiting room without waiting for news about a member of your family or a dear friend? Have you ever just done it for fun, or for the experience of it? You should. I have. The people you meet…. But that was a while ago. Maybe I will tell that story someday, but you will have to wait.

Helen should just hang out and tell her story For all that would listen, my sense is that it would make everyone’s visit to the hospital go so much faster and hopefully give others the feeling that MY LIFE IS GREAT EVEN THOUGH I WAIT.

I did as I was told by Shar’s nurse, and checked in with the lady at the desk in the WAITING ROOM! She was a small and very slender oriental woman. I could hardly understand a word she said. She asked what the patients name was three times. Read My Lips - S.H.A.R.O.N. N.E.L.S.O.N. She was a volunteer who had a phone and computer, but it was obvious she did not know how to use either. The other people in the room seemed to hold their breath each time the phone would ring or someone new would walk in and give her a patient’s name. I thought a hospital concierge would be much nicer. It would be nice to be led to all the fun spots of the hospital and know there was a spa waiting for those in waiting. Wouldn’t that be great? Everyone should be able to get a massage or sit in a hot tub or go sweat on an elliptical or treadmill or pump some iron. After a nice shower, someone would deliver the meal of your choice and we would sit in chairs that reclined with warm blankets with a nurse or trained foot tech who would pull up over our feet a pair of those warm green with white striped hospital socks, and don’t forget the deserts from Kneaders. Most people in the hospital can’t do these things…at least while they are cooped up…but for those who wait…why not.

Helen was waiting for her mother. I sat down in a double blue seater close to her with one chair separating the two of us. I had walked the halls nervously and made a few business calls that couldn’t wait until the next day. I was worrying about Shar and pictured her waiting to drift into sleep. I also took time to stuff my pockets with shortbread cookies from the treat basket next to the water cooler. They are the best treat ever, in a waiting room. After the last phone call I decided to settle in for the long haul. The chair was not the most comfortable but after I tested it out for a minute or two, it felt OK. I glanced over towards the lady with the white but graying hair and our eyes caught each others so without any thought of what was to come, I said “Hello”. Helen was 57 years old. She looked like she was 75, so when she told me her age, I hope the look on my face was not sending the same message that was being registered in my brain. I wanted to run to the nearest bathroom to take a good look in the mirror to make sure I didn’t look that old. Her mother was having some surgery due to her 3rd stroke in the past year. The surgery was to open up some blood vessels in a certain part of her brain that was “bloodless”…her word, not mine.

She was her mothers care giver and has been living in Utah for the past year or so... She had moved to Utah from Wyoming and doesn’t see a way back home until her Mother passes.

Talking to Helen was easy…she would have shared anything, in her slow, Wyoming drawl, that would increase or decrease in its decibel range depending on if someone was talking with the concierge (oriental lady). As we talked, she talking and taking up 95 percent of the conversation, her phone rang. The sound was the same ring tone as mine…I reached for my phone that was hiding now in the right pocket of my black vest, but it was her phone that needed to be answered. That was probably a sign from heaven that maybe I should change my ring tone, but I will wait to do that. The call was from a friend, Bernice or Bernie as she called her. “OH NO… Damm It” ….. “What am I going to do? … Is he going to be all right? The conversation lasted a few minutes…I wish I could have reached over and put her phone on speaker so I could hear the other side of the conversation. Helen became anxious, and from what I could gather from her words, was that somebody else she knew was on their way to a hospital, and that it couldn’t wait.
She hung up…her head fell to her hands for a minute or so…and our conversation…it slowly started up again, but it took a few minutes, for now I was somewhat speechless, not knowing what to say…and she visibly was a little emotional and in shock. She held her phone like she needed to call someone…but no… She started to shake a little…This was not expected from this rough, on the exterior, women from Wyoming who wore Wrangler Jeans, a yellow plaid long sleeve shirt with a brown vest. The material looked like oxford and there was a tear in the material just above her waist close to the bottom button. She did wear Nikes on her feet which I thought was cool.

Her son had just had A STOKE – Coincidence – You have to be kidding (I thought) and they were rushing him to a hospital in Sheraton. “What should I do”, she asked.

I went through what I thought was an appropriate response asking if she had any other relatives or friends that could come and take care of her mother… how long her mother would be in the hospital. Nothing I said seemed to click. She had no one. I asked about other children….Wow…wrong question?

One of her sons is down at the point of the mountain (Utah State Penitentiary). She sees him once a week. She loves him and his name is Michael. “He did some bad things, but he is turning his life around” - How much longer I asked “I think about 3 more years”.

Her son that had just had a stroke, Brent or Bryan, well it started with a B. Too much information in a short amount of time. Sometimes it takes me a year or more to get to know people’s names. You know, waiting to eventually get it right.
At my age, I am now waiting to forget the names of people I know. That has happened to you. Right?

I felt so sorry for Helen, but the story…it just kept going….one thing after another... Her 3rd son, whom she has not seen in over 5 years, and at the age of 27, was just indicted on 11 federal counts of forgery, money laundering and drug possession and dealing. “I have had it with him. He got started on that Meth and it ruined his life…He started ruining mine so I can’t deal with him right now”. I wondered if she was waiting for him to turn himself around-It obviously was going to take along, long time. A long, long wait. As we continued to talk, she kept saying that she needed Bernie to call her back, she was waiting for that call when the Doctor who had performed her mothers surgery, dressed in green hospital scrubs with a white and light blue hair cap, came in to give the news. He was young…I thought 25 – but he had to be much older…Helen needed some of what he had. “The surgery went fine. We were able to do everything we wanted…………………………..” She stood and walked over to the wall of windows, away from most the people gathered in the Waiting Room, with the surgeon.
“So she is going to LIVE” She seemed to shout this for everyone to hear. She sounded surprised and disappointed as the words slipped out. I wondered at that moment if her mothers dieing was her way to get back home to B___ in Sheraton, but now that short lived plan was up in smoke. What was she going to do? How long would she have to wait? She sat back down and started to gather her things. She had 3 bags. I am not sure what was in them except in one she had a diet Pepsi and in one she had her phone. I thought that one of the bags probably had her mother’s things in it…but, I will never know. It didn’t matter. She was a little pail from the news of the day…or maybe it was the news of her life, and from what I was witnessing and feeling, I thought she needed to be admitted to the hospital for a month or more…Just to get a break…But who would visit…I would have visited...But, maybe not…Life moves on.

“Is there anything I can do for you….”NO, but thank you” was her response…My body jumped a little as her phone rang again. I was hoping it was Bernie.

The person on the other end of the line was Donald or Donny, who was calling Mom about B__, but the conversation turned to his diabetes which was flaring up and he was unable to go to work for the last few weeks. As I was listening to every word – I got this great feeling of compassion for this woman whom I had just met. A mother, with 4 sons…one on his way to the hospital…one on his way to prison…one in prison…and another in his own prison.. At 400 plus pounds, all his mother could utter was “Please take care of yourself….You need to take care of yourself or You Will Die!”

The conversation soon ended…she packed up her things…I wanted to give her a big hug, but all I could do was wish her the best and she was gone.

I got up and changed scenery for a minute….Out in the hall across from the Waiting Room bathroom, I planted myself on a soft green chair…Just for a minute… for there was a person inside that bathroom that had to have had beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the past week for the sounds that were coming through the door could be heard from 100 feet down the hall. I couldn’t stay seated. I was worried the smell would soon follow and I was laughing so hard, along with everyone else who was close by. It was like we were a bunch of 10 year olds…I couldn’t just sit there and wait to see who this poor, feeling lousy, person was…I was hoping it was a guy because the sounds were not lady like...Nobody could take that embarrassment when they had to walk out that door, so I had to remove myself and go wait somewhere else. I moved toward the bank of elevators and rode down a floor. I went to the cafeteria and had some beans for lunch…just kidding…a half a sandwich…Turkey and Swiss on Wheat…with a coke. My stomach was feeling the pain and I didn’t have to wait too long.

As I returned to the waiting room, I realized that over 4 hours had passed since I kissed Shar just before they took her away. Wow…Within about 20 minutes of really waiting by myself, Dr Caine showed up in his hospital green scrubs, without the hat. “I am sorry you have had to WAIT…..Everything went well……her lungs don’t look great…BOOP…It is going to be a few days before we have any further results…We talked for a few minutes. He laughed when I told him a little about Helen and the person in the bathroom. A Thoracic Surgeon…He was a very good friend with Shar’s brother Steve whom I had known when he was in high school. He was still the fun, smart and practical jokester except now it was appropriate to call him Doctor, even though he insisted on Bill.

I took two books and my knitting but I didn’t get to any of it in the Waiting room, well if two and a half pages of The Greatest Generation, counts, I did read something. For the most part, of my visit to the hospital, my mind was diverted away from Shar and what she was going through. Maybe it is the diversions that get us through. Otherwise we would all just wait until….What are our diversions on the route to the inevitable?

We have had to talk about it lately…for it is staring us in the face as it has before…even though this time it is much tougher for me, for we are talking about Shar this time, my wife, my sweetheart, my best friend. She knows me like a good book and has found forgiveness for me for the bad. The news has come almost as fast as the news I received from Helen. One thing on top of another, until I can hardly breathe.

We wait to die…we deny it…but we wait…we try to keep our lives busy with diversions so we really don’t think about it that often…we don’t like to talk about it…and it is much to early to think about it for my bride for eternity. But we wait still…wait for more tests…wait for results from Stanford and from the Mayo Clinic…we hope still and pray still. We look forward to today and tomorrow, but don’t venture too much beyond that except for our wait for the next Doctors visit or Curtis next Basketball game. She is a trooper of all troopers. She is waiting so courageously and valiantly as her life is becoming a whisper of days past. She is in bed a lot and does not move from our home, hardly at all. We wait for spring and warmer days. She waits…and we wait…not for the inevitable but for another minute, hour, day, month, year and who knows with other diversions that will be sure to come, we hope a lot longer. We wait for a visit or a phone call from family or a dear friend. We wait for more hope. We wait for increased faith. We wait for continuing miracles.

So knowing we all wait, I guess the question is how we do it? I guess the answer is different for us all… for life is a lot like a few hours with Helen; A bunch of diversions that for moments occupy our every living cell, and then are gone, only with memories, good and bad, hard and sad. I will always remember that day with JOY!

I just got a call from a friend…he asked me how Shar was and I started to answer…when…he put me on hold…so…I am waiting…

Monday, February 22, 2010

Space Invaders..with love from Ron

Have you ever felt like “your space” was being invaded….It can happen in many ways….someone sitting at your place at the table….someone taking over responsibilities at work…finding something missing when you knew you had put that something – (wallet, keys, cash, etc.) away in that … it only belongs here place. How about someone else writing on your blog.

Last Week, a dear friend came and invaded my space. She is really Shar’s friend, but since I know all about her and because of her love for our family she is like family…a dear, dear friend. Well, I got home the other day and our home was spotless. No more signs of Christmas. The house smelled new and clean and perfect…the floor shined like new, the countertops had nothing on them collecting dust…I could even find the jam in the refrigerator without having to take things out and then finding out it had been left with the Peanut Butter on the laundry room countertop. Yea, that happened a few weeks ago…I’m pretty sure it was me, but I don’t remember….

I could go room by room and tell you how grateful I was that someone had invaded my space…but my closet….who knew the things that were hiding…Not only had my closet been transfigured from a hell looking existence…but nothing was where I had left it. Everything was hung up….everything except my shoes. But it was different…all different. My things were hung on Shars side of the closet, on her rods….There were no clothes piled up on the floor…zero….The closet even smelled better….I never noticed it smelled bad…but now it smelled good….I remembered how my daughter Jessica could argue when she was smaller that she always new where things were, even if you couldn’t see the carpet on her floor. Well, the closet wasn’t that bad, and I couldn’t say where everything was…but…now…it is like one of those closets you see in the movies. Everything was in its place…different place…but as I stood trying to take it all in..and trying to find the irritation in my soul…I couldn’t…All I could do was cry and feel grateful. (Yea, don’t spend a lot of time trying to picture the tears)

Thank You for invading our space.

How grateful I am. I left one day for work…arrived home and accomplished in that day what Shar has been asking me to do for years.

This is only one of the million blessings that have come our way in the mix of trying to find our lives intertwined with Shar’s illness as the people we love have started the invasion of our space.

How is she? ………………..Not very good physically. Shar had surgery last week. The Doctors wanted to do it because her lungs are failing. She has lost 32 to 47 percent (depending on the test) of her lung capacity, function, diffusion and volume. She is on Oxygen 95% of the time…the other 5% she is OXD – OXygen
Deprived because the devise is driving her nuts…two months ago she said she would never go on oxygen and now here we are…I have tripped over the plastic tubing that follows her where ever she goes and almost killed myself after one of those adventures. Happy to say I survived. My mother went through the OXD and thank goodness we laughed when we could. We all tripped over her lines and yes.,…she almost killed herself by tripping over it. I once arrived at 1866 finding her on the floor with no ability to get up by herself. It was serious at the time, but we found laughter. If I get home one day and Shar is on the floor…I have already let her know that I will leave her there. I hope she has her phone at the time so she can text.

BOOP – Bronchiolitis Obliterans with Organizing Pneumonia – is the diagnosis, or the diagnosis based upon the first diagnosis, or should we just say a secondary condition which has brought worse news than the initial or primary diagnosis. It is not a Pneumonia treated with antibiotics – the real term should be Pneumonitis or just Inflammation of the obliterates or the small airways in the lungs. For some unknown reason, other than the original disease diagnoses of Mixed Connective Tissue Disease, Shars lungs have begun to crystallize which is making life different….disease has started to invade her space, the space she needs to breathe

Our space (our home) is being invaded. Dear, dear friends keep showing up…I think we haven’t known a few people that have come that voice that we are their bestest of friends…but who cares when they bring a gallon of burnt almond fudge Ice cream.

I came home the other day and was concerned that my wife had a heart attack. I had no clue that a heart attack could bring so much joy…..Hearts with notes taped all over our bedroom and bathroom. Even Connie did not have the heart to bring them down…for in every heart ….we find light…

Life is hard…but the harder it seems to get…the more JOY we seem to feel. Interesting!

I will leave the diagnosis of that statement for each of you to figure out….Good Luck!

We would love for life to return to normal, with Shar getting well and with Shar telling me to get my clothes off the closet floor. We hope and pray for that day, but for now it doesn’t matter. It hasn’t mattered for months now. I have always been amazed at what people go through to get through. For years I met hundreds of people trying to get through and from time to time I would get some understanding of their situation to realize that miracles happen in all of our lives, even in the darkest of moments.

For every miracle there is still sadness and worry….Mortality is just that….Mortal. The things we do and think and worry about….Some, I guess, really do matter.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

What's in a name

I never liked reading as a kid. In fact I didn't like much of anything that had to do with sitting still. Except for playing the piano. Somehow I could do that for hours and hours. I would have been in big trouble had it not been for cliff notes. I was the kid who organized neighborhood softball games in the field, or sneak onto the nun's tennis courts in our backyard. I loved my 10 speed bike.....anything that had to do with being outside.

Many years ago, I discovered the great adventure books take you on. And now I love to read. Mostly historical. Yep, I love history. I love learning new words. I love learning.

With that being said, there are some words I just plain hate. Like hate. It is sharp and mean. Whimsical. What a great word. It is just as it sounds. And then obese. What a crappy word. it never even makes it out of your mouth. It just sits there until it's swallowed and left to rot with last nights prime rib dinner. Yuck! Another part of a word that does not mean good things is a doctor who ends in "ogist." It became very clear the first time I saw my rheumatologist. An older gentleman was asking how I was that day as we were sitting in the waiting room. The nurse called my name just as I was answering. When I got up and headed to the rheu's door, the man said, you can't be that great if you are going through that door.

Don't get me wrong. I am so grateful for ogists, but think about it. Ogists are specialized. Usually because something is not right. Except of course, anesthesiologists. I love them. They take pain away no matter the cause. And because my son in law is going to be one.

So, do words become their meaning, or does the meaning become the word? Hum...SO deep I know.

The same is true with people. You hear a name and there is a definition. Take Gordon B Hinckley. Master communicator, gentle giant. love for all mankind. Hitler. (What, right after Gordon B Hinckley) Evil, dark, wicked. Sick. (I've been reading WWII books and am loving them) George Bush....different for many. Here's a hot one...Sarah Palin. (I need to throw her in) Oprah and Ellen. Good souls. Sami, on Days. Whatever. Abe Lincoln. One of my hero's. etc etc. You get the idea. My friend Connie. Angel. Salt of the earth. unassuming. Loving. Service. And of course, runner.

So what is Shar Nelson going to be a definition for? Right now, probably sick. I don't want to be known as sick. But it's ok. I do the same thing. Hopefully music. I love music. Nature. Nature is spiritual to me. Of course family and friends and all those warm and fuzzy things. Really. Testimony of the Savior and His atonement. Even prankster. I love playing pranks and was pretty darn great at them. Man I came up with some good ones, or was involved with them. But I was usually too chicken to carry them out so I had my fall guys do that!

Heavy thought for the day. Making our names synonymous with what we hope they will mean. That is my goal.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Grateful for oxygen

It was a beautiful day yesterday. I got to spend it at the docs office. I'm having surgery on Thurs, an open lung biopsy. I don't have to be filleted. Good. I have never liked fillets. Prime rib for me. I do have to stay in the hosp. until Sun or Mon. Not all bad. Do I hear morphine? JK! or not.

There were lots of runners out. Usually I would be jealous, or lately, smile. Neither today. I wanted to stop each one and tell them to be grateful. Don't take those miraculous lungs and heart for granted that pump life's energy throughout, that allows them to do what they love. But they will. I did. That's what we humans do. Until it's taken away. And that's OK. Just like my eyes way back when. Who is thankful for eyes that see perfectly? Not me, until I couldn't anymore. Or the very oxygen we breathe. Never did I thank the Lord for oxygen. But now I do. I don't have enough. And for doctors who figured it all out.

I'm sad right now. And that's OK. It won't last. I count my many blessings several times a day. Doing that can't keep me down for long. I have too much to be grateful for. Relationships, kindnesses, incredible outpouring of love and service. SOOO grateful that I still have it when I play the piano. Well, maybe not like in the past, but I'm just sayin!

And who says I can't go "running" in a sweet Jazzie! Yeah, not me either. Not yet. My oxy tanks and I are really getting along well. We might go slow, but I can see us out walking soon.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Phew!!! I made it..

Nice! january is OVER! But I must admit, I had a new take on the whole miserable month due to the last comment I got. You are right Jennie Jo, Dec. would be a hard act to follow. And Jeff Judkins. What a pretty great guy. I'm sure I had a crush on him as well. As well as whom? Anyone pretty much. But he had such a cute smile. And it's OK. Cause he did marry Ron's old girlfriend.

As pretty much everyone knows by now, we got some pretty discouraging news about my health, or lack of it as the case may be. My family held a fast that people were involved in all over the US. and even outside the US. It was overwhelming and humbling. I have been carried by such a outpouring of love and support. Many friends and neighbors met at our home to open the fast with prayer. I walked in the room as everyone had arrived. I had neighbors that were not members of my faith. I had friends of friends that I don't know very well, and I had all my children. Not the soap opera mind you. My mother and father were there as well. Tears started streaming. What a lucky person I am.

But most of all, I need to pay tribute to the sweetest man who is my husband. Words could and will never express the love he has shown me. There are many many times during our adventures together, when he has deserved better. We have been through many tough things, like all I suppose, and I am forever grateful to his stubbornness to stick with me through thick and thin. And I'm not speaking weight of course! After 32+ years of marriage, I am more grateful now than ever. The fabric of our tapestry is so full of richness with threads of all colors and hues. It wouldn't be nearly as beautiful without all those different shades.

I love you and thank you my sweetheart.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


January and I don't get along. I don't even try anymore. I have come to grips that we have a hate hate relationship. What is there good about January? Not a darn thing as I see it. New beginnings. Whatever. New years resolutions. Stupid. Inversions. Hate. Air you can slice with a knife. Deadly. Skiing. I haven't been in years. But, that was one good thing about Jan. back in the day. I had a seasons pass every year and skied every Saturday. Fun. Actually, awesome.

But this January seems to be worse than ever. We just got the Christmas tree down last night. Man, isn't it weird how something you love becomes a "raspberry seed in your wisdom tooth"? SO annoying. I have been spending most of my days in bed, or at least on the couch. I have literally felt awful. It seems I can't take 10 steps without my muscles, or what I left of them, killing me. And so out of breath. I feel my body deteriorating in a hurry. I couldn't even make it to one of Curtis' b ball games last week. That never happens. I pray for patience. I've decided that isn't a good idea anymore. You know, the old, be careful what you pray for. Maybe I'll pray to start being grateful for January. I don't think so. i don't even want to be grateful to such a horrible excuse for a month. Our relationship is OVER! Unless, or course, I start skiing again. Then I'll think about it. But not until I get an apology.

Let's just blame my feeling so horrible on January. January doesn't even deserve to be capitalized anymore.

So, bring on Feb. and Valentines Day. Let's skip january altogether from now on. Yeah, that's what I'm going to do.

No spell check. january is NOT capitalized! even at the beginning of a sentence.