My Week: My Sister’s First Birthday

Seventy-six years ago today, my sister was born. I wouldn’t come along until seven years after that. So, you ask, “How is this her first birthday?” Here’s the answer. This is the first birthday since she passed to her rest in April. Do I miss her? Yes. I’ve missed her longer than just eight months, though. I started missing her when she declined so much she could no longer email. She completely lost her hearing so there weren’t any more phone calls. That’s when I feel like I truly lost her. Back in the days we’d sometimes email four or five times in a 24 hour period or talk on the phone for an hour and a half, I had no idea what it would be like not to have that communication. Now I do, and I don’t like it at all.

I’m getting ahead of myself again. I’m supposed to be chronicling my week as if anyone cares, anyway. Here goes…

Sunday, I got up bright and early and made ready to go to the prayer breakfast. I’d missed two since the only one I’d been to and I was determined to go. We had a really good time, the six of us who showed up. There was one other person but she didn’t stay long. Pictures were taken but I don’t know if I’ll get any of them or not. We made Christmas cards and I earmarked mine to give to Genese. I left there and went the long way around through parts of town I seldom see. The gas was getting low in the tank so I took care of that as well as getting a few groceries.

Monday, I don’t remember what I did. It was no doubt something but not anything noteworthy. Sometime early in the week, my neighbor/cousin called and asked me to feed the critters. I think I did that a total of three times. The Squatter knocked on my door one cold night and wanted me to call and get permission for him to watch NCIS. I thought he had a key and asked when I called. Yes, he had a key. He was just being a dork. He’d even ask permission to use the bathroom. A couple days later when I went in to do the feeding, he was ensconced on the couch and in a talkative mood. I let him ramble on (as if I could stop him), did the critter-care and left.

My hearing exam appointment was on Tuesday. The waiting room was empty when I got there. I peeked around the doorway and asked if I should check in. A sheaf of forms was thrust into my hands along with a pen. Would I fill those out? It took me several minutes to tell all about myself.

A man came in and sat down. Evidently, they were expecting him, too. It wasn’t any of my business what his mission was. All I know is that it didn’t take long and I was called in to be examined.

I was shown to a little booth where my ears were covered with headphones. A little thing that looked like a call button in a hospital was what I was supposed to operate whenever I heard a series of beeps. I thought I was doing pretty well but I guess not. Then I wasn’t to look at The Examiner as she gave me words to repeat. Once again, I figured I was answering correctly but it doesn’t seem so. A different sort of thing was put on my head so I could hear through my skull, thick as it is. I did better with that. The Examiner peered into my ears with an otoscope and I could almost swear she was thinking, “Tut tut.” Another little machine beeped loudly into each ear and then printed off a result.

She’d already let me know she wasn’t happy with me. With the results spread out before her, she gave me the news. I’m not ready for aids. That could be translated to say she isn’t ready to fit me with aids. I have one (or maybe more) of the 450+ diseases that can affect ears. Most are handed down from mother to daughter (thanks, Mother) and rarely, from mother to son. My mother and all of my siblings have been/are hard of hearing to one degree or another. As far as I know, I’m the only one being referred to an ENT. The one she recommends is more than 70 miles away off an Interstate I loathe to drive.

I’ve tried to find someone closer. My PCP told me who he sends patients to but when I looked on the Humana web site, he isn’t listed as a provider. I called the office and was told he is. I called Humana and was told he isn’t. I’d take my chances and go to him except for the fact that, if he is truly not in network, my out of pocket jumps from $3400 to $5100. OUCH!! If I have to have surgery (a possibility that was mentioned) I could hit that easily. My part would switch from a copay of $30 for a specialist to 30% of the approved charges. Big difference, eh? So the search goes on.

Thursday and yesterday were spent getting ready for the Lunch with Genese. A couple of months ago, one of the ladies mentioned we should surprise Genese sometime by a bunch of us taking lunch to her. It sounded like a good idea on the surface but it had its flaws. First, who would want us to stand around and watch her (or him) eat? Second, it’s not that easy to surprise Genese unless arrangements don’t have to be made. I suggested we do something closer to Christmas and take lunch to eat WITH her. It took on a life of its own.

I let Genese know what was going on and emailed the executive secretary to reserve the chapel. Now, the word “chapel” brings to mind a little room with pews and stained glass windows. Not this one. It would be better if it were called a conference room. It would be perfect for our meal.

Later I emailed her again and made sure we could drive to the entrance closest to the chapel so we wouldn’t have to carry our food so far. Sure! The gate wouldn’t be locked and that would be fine. She even went to count the chairs (21) and told me the table seated 10 plus there would be other tables available. We were all set.

During Sabbath School class, I drove to the nursing home to see if anything had changed as far as where we would need to drive onto the lawn. It hadn’t. I’d lead the caravan as soon as church was over and we could get everything loaded.

As we snaked our way, I had to drive more slowly than usual. We might lose someone and I did want that to happen! I parked and opened the gate. Directing everyone to the chapel, the ladies got busy setting things up. There was a lot of Educational Stuff in the way which needed to be moved. Not wanting to take the responsibility for it, I headed out to find someone to help. And that’s when the plans started going south.

I was informed the venue had been changed to the dining room. Going back to the chapel, I had to tell the ladies to pack everything back up—we were moving. One of the aides located a large cart that would hold all the food and we were on our way. I’d anticipated walking short distances in my dress shoes. Ha! The dining room is clear at the other end of the building.

The tables were pushed together and the food set out—again. Genese was wheeled in and her place was established at the head of the table. The dining room was even better!


I loaded a plate for Genese and had to make two trips so I could take her dessert to her without tremor-ing it onto the floor.

She was just being Genese in this picture:


In this one, she was saying, “Now you KNOW I don’t like having my picture taken!”

You know I don't like this!

Then there was the visit by our littlest diner.

The Littlest Visitor

The group (plus some more who joined later including the area’s newest nurse) gathered around and sang Christmas carols. Genese signed “Silent Night”. Her movements are so graceful when she does that. She joined in singing, as well, and later posted on Facebook

What a wonderful afternoon of fellowship. I was happy to meet so many new friends and i was glad to see some folks i’ve known a while. The food was fabulous. It was great fun to join in the caroling. It’s been so long since i have sung like that with a group. Thank you for coming and sharing part of your Sabbath with me. I enjoyed every minute and I hope each of you feel welcome to come visit any time. Wishing you all many blessings and a very merry Christmas! ~~Genese~~

After I’d hugged her goodbye, all the lunch stuff was loaded onto a cart to be (we thought) taken back to the church where we would claim our dishes. I had agreed to take a couple of people to the church. When we got to the car, there was an “Oh, no! I forgot my coat!” Waiting for much longer than it should have taken, I wondered if she thought I was going to pick her up in front of the building. She came bursting out about then and said the cart had been sent back with our stuff still on it so she’d helped load it into someone else’s car.

We made one stop on the way and then continued on. When we pulled up to the Fellowship Hall, there was only one car there and the door was locked. After trying the door numerous times and knocking, the door was opened. None of my stuff was in the kitchen. I asked one of the ladies to call the one who had my things. We found out they’d stopped at the church but had gone on home thinking no one was there. They figured I’d be staying for the Christmas program (I wasn’t) and they’d bring it then.

Rather than have me come to their house, she’d meet me at the end of their road. I was thinking about all this convoluted mess and wondering how I’d blog it tonight (which, as it turns out, is not too well) and sailed right by the turnoff. I had to backtrack. That’s when I met the vehicle carrying my possessions. We stopped in the road and transferred everything. Turning around again, I almost pulled out in front of a pickup truck. Stopping, he waved me on and I waved back my thanks.

My feet felt like they could start cramping any time. As soon as I got in the door, I changed shoes and unloaded the car. I was feeling sorry for myself until I happened to think that Genese would love to be able to say her feet hurt from walking too much. I’m blessed and I don’t realize it.

Twinkle is being Twinkle. She parked herself on my lap but got up without a word and ambled off. I had to add more pellets to her new cat box yesterday. She kicks a few of them out but it’s nothing compared to the way she used to track the other litters through the house. Yes, that’s LITTERS, plural. I’ve tried just about all of them and this system is a winner.

I could go into all the tragedy that’s happened this week but if you don’t mind, I won’t. I’ve been praying for everyone concerned and that’s all I can do. I think Morgan Freeman said it best. If you haven’t read it yet, take a few minutes and do just that.

6 Responses to My Week: My Sister’s First Birthday

  1. Mary Jane December 16, 2012 at 10:57 am #

    I agree with much of what Morgan Freeman said. I have thought, too, that if the names of the killers were never published it would take away a lot of the incentive to commit such unspeakable crimes.

    • Tommie December 16, 2012 at 11:08 am #

      It’s human nature to want to know. What’s best is a different matter.

  2. Lila December 16, 2012 at 7:04 pm #

    Genese must be some kind of a special lady, judging from her pictures. Oh, that we all could be so cheerful under adverse circumstances!

    • Tommie December 16, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

      She IS special. It’s not all smiles and sunshine but her outlook is positive more than not.

  3. Genese December 17, 2012 at 10:11 am #

    Aww! Ya’ll make me blush!

    It was easy to be cheerful with so many coming to share their Sabbath afternoon with me. I was amazed and thrilled. It was wonderful to meet everyone. The meal was delicious. I loved singing the carols. There was a time I could have signed them all, but “Silent Night” is near and dear to my heart and so lovely in sign language.

    • Tommie December 17, 2012 at 10:19 am #

      Your face matches your hair, then!

      Gary hasn’t been well lately or he would have probably been there, too. He went home to spend time with family that had come in from out of town. Shirley was a good representative, though. Maybe next time more people can make it.

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