Update on mom

St. Francis
St. Francis

I took this picture at the hospital on Saturday. I took it with my cell phone and used the software that came with it to remove the color. This will be my submission to Monochrome Madness (http://leannecolephotography.com/) this week.


 I forgot to mention in my post yesterday that shortly before I left the hospital that mom pointed at the upper portion of one of the room walls and said, “It looks to me like that wall is on fire.” I said that I didn’t see the fire, and asked if she knew that the wall wasn’t on fire. She told me that she knew that it wasn’t, but that she thought she saw flames.

She was drowsy but wouldn’t take a nap while I was there. I convinced her to close her eyes, but she wouldn’t close them for more than a few heartbeats. She told me that I should leave before it got too late. I told her that I wanted to wait until the shift changed and I could meet the new nurse. Her eyes closed, and so did mine because I was also drowsy. But my eyes jerked open when I heard her moan. She moaned again and then opened her eyes.

“You moaned,” I said.

“No I didn’t,” she said.

“Yes you did,” I said.

“Maybe I was humming along with the music they were playing,” she responded.

Perhaps she was hallucinating music again and was humming along. My mom has no musical talent and could never carry a tune. In fact she was the only person I knew who could whistle and hum simultaneously with no melodious sound. I guess hearing her moan and hearing her hum would be similar.

The old and new nurse came in for the changing of the guard. Mom was convinced that the nurse who had been on duty was a hospital administrator, and was surprised when she said she was leaving for the day. I left soon afterwards.

A few hours after I returned home, I got a call from my sister. She had arrived back at the hospital minutes after I had left. Mom had told her about my visit and had passed on all of the news/gossip that I had told her. My sister told me that a while later, however, my mom once again saw the flames on the wall and believed that they were real. She started screaming “Fire” and became hysterical. You can imagine how the other patients in that hallway reacted when they heard my mother’s screams.

After they got mom calmed down, my sister stayed a while longer before going home. Evidently there were no more episodes that night.

The next day, Sunday, I got a call from my mom in the early afternoon. She had been discharged and was back home. It seems that the IV antibiotics had helped enough, and she had answered the doctor’s questions well enough, that they had sent her home with my sister. Mom said that she now guessed that she had been wrong about the little people visiting the house. But then she went on to tell me that she still thought they had taken over the hospital. She said that it was so bad there that people were quitting. She asked if I hadn’t been in the room when one of the people quit. I told her no; that person had been the nurse whose shift had ended, and that she was just going home. “Oh,” said my mother. Still, she was happy to be home. I was wondering if they had discharged her too soon.

She called me again later Sunday night. She sounded better, and made no mention of little people, loud music, or fire. Perhaps the antibiotics were still making an improvement,

I’ve had one call from mom so far today. She sounded OK. She wanted clarification on one bit of news/gossip I had passed on to her. No, I had not told her that Barbara had gotten married when she moved to Louisiana. Then I talked to my sister.

She said that mom had been better since she got home, but that she thought that she was still seeing things but didn’t want to talk about them. Perhaps she thought she would have to go back to the hospital if she mentioned them. Then my sister said something that I had been thinking. She said that without her hearing aids, mom couldn’t hear anything, and yet she heard the songs that the little people sang. I said that she couldn’t see well enough to read anymore, but she could see the little people without any problems. We hope that the oral antibiotics that she takes now will help clear up some of the confusion.

Little people

A barn...really?
Another barn…really?

Someday I’ll count the number of barns that I’ve photographed. I’ve been taking pictures of them for decades. If I could remember where I took each picture I would put together a book of them for myself. I took this picture on Friday, somewhere in Montgomery County.


My mother is seeing little people. She also hears them, and sometimes talks to them. No one else sees or hears them. Since we aren’t seeing or hearing the little people, we call them hallucinations. When she first told me on the telephone what she was seeing and hearing, I thought it was kind of funny. Then I talked to my sister and heard some of the desperation (she wouldn’t use that term, she is too stoic) in her voice, I decided that it wasn’t all that funny. After driving up and spending time with my mother yesterday, I know that it isn’t funny. However, I’m going to share with you some of the things she has told me over the past two days, and if you feel like chuckling or laughing, go ahead. I would not be offended because I saw the initial  humor.

It started on Friday when my mother called me and told me that they had visitors. It was a group of little people who were part of an acting troupe, she supposed, and they were dressed like cowboys. She told me that there wasn’t enough food to feed them all. She also said that my sister was ignoring them, even when they spoke to her. Mom went on to say that she had read something about them in the newspaper, that one little woman didn’t have papers to allow her to stay in the country, and that they were putting on shows to earn money. She told me that they sang pretty songs. She thought it was very odd that they would stand on the floor and then float up to the ceiling. One of them, a male, had a very good singing voice and appeared to be their leader. Mom said that their leader was bi-racial and talked about what was right and what was wrong. She said that he was correct. That was when I asked to talk to my sister.

My sister, She Who Must Not Be Named, said that mom had been seeing the little people since the night before. She had told me before that mom had been hallucinating occasionally, but she had not mentioned little people before. I advised my sister to have mom see a doctor as soon as possible.

Some hours later my sister called me to tell me that mom had been admitted to the hospital. The initial diagnosis was a urinary track infection (UTI). Mom was getting IV antibiotics, and they had drawn a lot of blood for analysis. She gave me mom’s room number, the phone number for the nurse’s station, and the privacy code in case I called the hospital for an update. I told her that I would be up to see mom on the following day.

When I arrived the next day I found mom sitting in the chair next to her bed. She didn’t recognize me. I put that down to her terrible eyesight, not the fact that it had been too long since I last saw her. She complained that she was only supposed to be in the chair for an hour before getting back in bed, but that she had been sitting there for four hours. She told me to go find her nurse. Instead, I pushed the call button.

The nurse aide responded quickly. Mom told her the story of sitting in the chair for four hours, and she said she couldn’t rest because people kept coming in to talk to her, and that she wanted to go home, and that if the doctor didn’t discharge her she would get up and walk out, and that she was cold, and… The nurse said, “My goodness. I’ve not seen you this angry. You were so sweet earlier.” I commented that it was sign that mom was feeling more herself. The nurse aide gave me a hate filled look. I’m a bad son.

When the nurse aide left, mom told me again about the little people had done at the house on Friday. Then she started looking around the room and told me what the little people were doing there. I could tell from her line of sight that they were around ankle height. She asked me if I could see them and I said no. That didn’t seem to bother her. Then she asked me if I felt them, because they evidently were crawling on me. I said no. She told me that she thought that the little people had taken over the hospital and were doing a lot of construction work. They were also playing a lot of religious music. I decided to not go along with her, or to argue with her, but to tell her that I didn’t see or hear the little people when she mentioned them.

After a few hours I left to drive home. There will be an update tomorrow.

It’s another barn

Round barn at the crossroads
Round barn at the crossroads

I spent a little time on back roads while driving home from Montgomery County yesterday. I didn’t realize that there was a round barn in the area, so when I saw this one I had to stop and take a picture. A year ago I would have cropped the stop sign from the picture, but today I feel that it adds to the image. Gosh, I’m getting artsy!

Round barn design in the U.S. has been attributed to George Washington; others say it was the Shaker religious movement. I don’t know who to believe. It has also been said that the Shakers used round barns so that the devil couldn’t get them in a corner. I like that story.

I am submitting this photo Leanne Cole’s (http://leannecolephotography.com) Monochrome Madness. I enjoy trying to come up with an interesting picture each week. I am living proof that she accepts photos from non-professional photographers, though I feel the term “photographer” is too grand for me. I’m just a picture taker.


Festival and Updates

The Big Swing Band in the background
The Big Swing Band in the background

Cindy and I made our annual trek to the Apple/Popcorn Festival in Brookston, Indiana yesterday. We have been going there for a number of years now. You can guess from the words that I used, that I can’t remember how many years it has been. We both enjoy going there.

One of the highlights for me is listening to The Big Swing Band. They have been playing at the festival for as long as we have been going. I like the music, and we know the drummer, so that is an added treat. If you are interested, watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6ZEQirNQj4

Update #1 – I’ve posted fifty + photos from our vacation on Flickr at : https://www.flickr.com/photos/hoosiertourist/sets/72157647409662430 I may be adding more after I do some judicious cropping. This is the first time that I’ve taken a large number of photos from a moving vehicle (Cindy was driving!). I’ve been cropping the blurred near part of the image.

Update #2 – I had to call the cable company again yesterday. We lost the ability again to watch On-Demand TV on the family room television. It was working fine upstairs. So I called again, was put in the waiting queue, and finally talked to a tech person who cleared things up relatively quickly after I had demonstrated that I was who I said I was.

Later, however, I was upstairs watching TV when the cable box rebooted itself. I have never seen that happen before. I was afraid that I might be calling the cable company again today, but so far I haven’t had to. Cross your fingers; I’ve crossed mine even though it makes using the keyboard more difficult.

So, how has your weekend been?

Fun with the cable company

There will be a harvest soon
There will be a harvest soon

It could be that the next time I drive out to photograph this field, there will only be stubble. I’ve been checking on it once each month, but I may start going more often.


I had planned to take a few days off from posting, but things happened and I felt I should report on them before some of the threads of memory fell from the full fabric. You know how that goes.

A few days ago we had the cable company come to our house to upgrade our service and to install a home security system (burglars beware!). I wouldn’t have signed up for those changes, but due to the deal they gave me, we’ll be paying around $25 less per month, getting more stations than we could ever watch, upgrading two cable boxes, and the aforementioned security system.

Two personable, tech savvy young men came and did the work. I would tell you all about their work, but that would take more words than I care to keyboard. Suffice it to say that they were here for about four hours, and I was satisfied with their work. Cindy and I watched TV until around midnight.

When I woke up the next morning and turned on the TV there was a message on the screen that said the new cable boxes needed to be activated before we could watch anything. That seemed strange since we had been watching one of the televisions the night before. The message on the screen had a URL or alternately a telephone number. I tried the website and couldn’t get past the sign on page to access our account. The telephone number took me to an automated voice that announced that the office was closed and that I should call later. So much for call centers scattered around the world.

By the time I had tried the phone number twice, thirty minutes between attempts, Cindy woke up. After another short wait I tried the phone number again. This time I got as far as the automated voice that said all of the lines were busy and that I would be waiting at least ten minutes. Then they started the most godawful recorded music. It sounded like thirty years ago someone had taken a small tape recorder into an elevator where the Muzak was playing Kenny G on a bad hair day. It also sounded like a thirtieth generation copy of the tape recording.

At one point Cindy said that I should turn on the speaker phone. I told her that I didn’t know to do that. She told me that she could turn it on. I handed her the phone and she did turn the speaker on. She thought it was cool that she knew how to do something that couldn’t do. I told her that I never used speaker phone and mentioned that people who use speaker phone sound like they are talking from the bottom of a pail. I also said that I was creature of habit. She said that she knew that. I said something along the lines of, “That doesn’t surprise you?” At that point she gave me a look that was a mixture of humor and disgust.

After a twenty-minute wait I was finally connected with a young man named Troy who had an unidentifiable accent. I explained our situation and after he had confirmed that I was who I said I was, he started to work on the problem. It didn’t take him very long to re-activate the first cable box, so I went upstairs to turn on the second TV and let him work his magic on its cable box.

I came back downstairs and got on our laptop. As I was checking our email, Cindy asked me the password to the Apple account. I didn’t know. I had originally set up an iTunes account, but Cindy was the only person who used the account to buy games. She said that the password had to be changed so that she could download upgrades to her iPhone. So I took care of that for her.

I told her that I wasn’t sure, but I thought there were supposed to me more upgrades to the cable box upstairs than were manifesting themselves. I said that I was going to call them back. She told me in that case I needed to ask about On-Demand because that hadn’t worked for her after I had retired the previous night.

I called the cable company again, and this time I was directed to an automated voice that was female with a Hispanic accent. It was a shorter wait to be connected to a live person. I didn’t catch this guy’s name, and I detected no accent. I explained the situation to him, and since I was downstairs he decided to start with that cable box. I told him that would be fine, but that I had a Doctor’s appointment and would have to leave in about half an hour. He assured me that it shouldn’t be a problem. Twenty-eight minutes later he said that he had to put me on hold. I put my phone on speaker (I can be a fast learner) and put on my shoes for a fast getaway.

As I was tying my shoelaces the TV screen came up, so I checked to see if I could pull up a program On-Demand. I could! Leaving my phone on speaker, I went into the garage, got into the car, and started backing out of the garage. That’s when the tech came back on the line. I told him that I would call back about the other cable box when I got back home. I didn’t have to call back. Whatever he had done to fix the downstairs cable box had also healed the one upstairs.

This is where I should tell you about my doctor’s appointment and all of the interesting people in the waiting area. But not today. I’m going to turn on the TV and watch some Orphan Black On-Demand.

Words and pictures

Arizona 8/24/2014
Arizona 8/24/2014

I didn’t submit any of the pictures that I took while on vacation for Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness posts. http://leannecolephotography.com I worked on a couple of pictures to use, but I didn’t like how either of them turned out, so I held off. Today it occurred to me the real reason I chose not to submit a picture. Let me try to explain it to you so that you understand the way my mind works.

First, for me, the words are more important to my blog posts than the image is. I know that it doesn’t always seem that way, but I do fancy that my writing is better than my photography. Feel free to disagree and my feelings won’t be hurt.

Second, there’s a quirk that I have. I feel (not think) that color photos have a sense of immediacy while monochrome photos are more about contemplation. I’ve never read that anywhere and I have nothing scientific to back it up; it is just the way that I view pictures.

For my vacation posts, I decided to use a picture each day that visually said something about that day. That meant that I would use a color photograph because I wanted to say, “This is now.” So that meant I would not submit a vacation photo for Monochrome Madness while those posts were running. Vacation is over and now I can look back and ponder some of the pictures I took. I can grayscale a few of them and look at them in a different way.

And now for a confession. I’ve identified this photo as being in Arizona. I’m not certain that it is in Arizona. We traveled from New Mexico through Arizona, Utah and into Nevada on that day. This picture was taken from a moving car, which meant that Cindy was driving, and that narrows it down to New Mexico, Arizona or a small part of Utah. I’m 80% sure that I took this picture with my cell phone while we were in Arizona. I’m sorry if I am wrong.

Vacation – Days 12 & 13

Prison break
Prison break

It was another early morning. We got back on I-25 after filling the car with gas and icing down the cooler for the last time. We decided to drive awhile before stopping to eat breakfast. So we headed north and stopped at Raton, New Mexico. I hate to admit it, but we stopped at a McDonalds©…clean restrooms and cheap breakfast sandwiches.

While Cindy checked on the cleanliness of the ladies’ facilities, I snagged a booth near the front of the fast food joint. I was located within earshot of a group of local senior citizens who evidently met there on a regular basis. A couple of them gave me the old hairy eyeball as if wondering if I, a senior citizen from outside their clique, was attempting to join the group. I wasn’t.

I noticed right off that one of the group, a man who appeared to be their leader, was holding a fly swatter. I was only sitting there for a moment before I understood why he had the swatter. There was a large number of the flying pests in the establishment. They seemed to love the food, and he seemed to love swatting them.

I started eavesdropping on their conversation when one of the men said, “Who needs therapy when you can have a martini?” Off the top of my head I thought that I would prefer therapy because I dislike the taste of gin. I always went by the credo of “Never drink anything alcoholic that you could easily see through.”

I must have lost track of the discussion, because when I again focused in, one of the women was trying to explain the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s. The group consensus was that Alzheimer’s is just super-dementia. They also agreed that none of them wanted to experience it first hand. I silently agreed with that last sentiment.

Hard on the heels, or perhaps as an addendum to the Alzheimer’s discussion, one of the men stated loudly that euthanasia is beautiful. They went on to discuss the states that have legalized assisted suicide, but they seemed fuzzy about which of our fifty states had formalized the practice. To be honest, I can only name Oregon, but I’m pretty sure that there are a few more. The gentleman who raised the issue then said, “If it gets to that, most of us seniors keep a stash.” His friend with the fly swatter then quipped, “And your’s is probably in your greenhouse.” At that point Cindy came to join me, so we ate and got back on the road.

We crossed the state line into Colorado. We exited the Interstate highway and started taking state roads to the east and to the north, working our way towards I-70 East, closer to the Colorado/Kansas state line. On one of those highways, I forget which one, we came upon a correctional facility on the right side of the road. That is where I took today’s picture. The deer were moving fast enough that I only had time to pull out my camera and shoot through the windshield. There were actually six or seven deer, and they were escaping the area surrounding the prison. Rather than jumping over the barbed wire topped fence, they had found a shallow depression under the fence and were sliding under, one at a time. As they got to the area on the other side of the highway, they would stop and look back at the deer still to come, as if saying, “C’mon, Lefty, you can make it.” Note to Colorado Correctional Officials: You might want to fill in that depression before allowing any inmates near the fence, because if a deer can get under it, I’m pretty sure that human could as well.

Getting on to I-70 took longer than either of us expected, and Cindy was worried that we wouldn’t get enough miles behind us before we stopped for the night, so she suggested that we drive later in the day than we normally do. I took that to mean that she wanted to keep going until we were home. With that in mind, I continued to drink coffee, which I seldom do after noon, because it keeps me awake at night.

Somewhere in Kansas, around the time we would usually look for an inviting (non-Motel 6©) place to stop, I finally said that we would drive through the night. So we did. We crossed through Kansas and Missouri on I-70. (taking I-270 around St. Louis).  In Illinois we caught I-55 north to Springfield where we got on I-72 heading west. I-72 turns  into I-74. Are you confused yet? We stopped only at truck stops for holy four: gasoline, restrooms, coffee and snacks.

We stayed on I-74 into Indiana until we got to Crawfordsville. We got off there, and it was only a short drive home. We pulled into our garage between 6:30 and seven a.m. We had been on the road 23 or 25 hours. The changing time zones confused my fuzzy mind.

Cindy walked in and turned on the TV in the family room, laid down on the sofa, and slept for ten hours. On the other hand, I went upstairs, got on the computer for a bit, then hit the bed for a three-hour nap. Oh, and I swore to not drink any more truck stop coffee for at least a year. That stuff is nasty.

Vacation – Day 11

New Mexican montains
New Mexican mountains

We got up early so we could be on the road early. We took a different route out of Las Vegas because we wanted to avoid the mountains in Colorado. You can’t avoid mountains entirely between Nevada and Indiana, but you can minimize their effect on the psyche. So we first headed southeast to Kingsman, Arizona where we hopped onto Interstate highway 40 East. That stretch of the drive took about an hour and a half. Traffic was light and it was a beautiful day for driving. That was good because we planned on putting a lot of miles on the car.

We took I40 all of the way across Arizona, driving through Flagstaff area, which is pretty, and on into New Mexico. From Kingsman to the eastern state line took us around 5 hours since we stopped once to get gas and to eat…in that order. We continued to have beautiful weather, light traffic, and pretty scenery.

We crossed into New Mexico, staying on I40 until we got to Albuquerque. From there we took I25 north. As we passed through Santa Fe I realized that if we ever moved from Indiana, I could be happy living in most areas of the country. I had never thought of Santa Fe in that way previously, but the arid beauty of the area surrounding the city caught my fancy. I also know that there is a thriving artists community there. Though I am no artist, I wouldn’t mind being surrounded by people with an artistic bent.

We continued north on I25 until we decided to stop for the night. We had been on the road for another 3.5 to 4 hours since we crossed into New Mexico. Where did we stop? Why in Las Vegas, New Mexico. We have spent approximately 10 hours on the road driving from one Las Vegas to another.

Vacation – Day 10

Handsome lad
Fun with mirrors

We stayed in Las Vegas one extra day so that we could have more time with Wyatt, Michelle and Lee. They came to the resort in the morning and we all went down to the pool. There were no disreputable people there this time.

After spending time in the pool, Cindy did strike up a conversation with a stranger, a  woman who claimed to live on a mountaintop in Utah half the year and in Las Vegas the rest of the year. She told Cindy that she was a real estate agent, but didn’t explain how she could stay in business if she was gone six months out of the year. From what I overheard, I think that she was tying to sell Cindy another time share upgrade. Some days I wish that Cindy weren’t the friendliest person in the world.

We spent a few hours with them all, but then Michelle and Lee took Wyatt home so that he could take his nap. I don’t think that I can describe the depression that came over both Cindy and me when they left. It felt as if the sky had turned gray and that we were carrying around an extra thirty pounds. I tried to take a nap but I couldn’t fall asleep. Eventually I gave up and started packing for the trip home. Since we didn’t have as much time for the drive home, we planned on an early start in the morning.

Lee had told us that he used Tango rather than Skype, so I downloaded it to the laptop and tried to get it set up. I put Cindy on the laptop so that she could try it out, and after a few frustrating tries, we made the connection so that everybody could see and hear each other. Cindy was able to have a final farewell with Lee and Wyatt, and that helped a bit.

We then went back to the casino for dinner, and so that Cindy could play the slots for a while. There were no interesting people to observe this time. It was as if all of the mobsters had gone elsewhere on the strip. It was just as well. I didn’t want to be staring at them, wondering where they hid their guns.

When we had arrived at the resort we had been given a coupon book to use while we stayed there. One of the coupons was for $20 to use on the slots. I had to get one of their cards with the money loaded on it. I had to get it because Cindy already had a card from a previous stay. I turned my card over to her since I don’t enjoy gambling. She insisted, however, that I stay with her and watch. It was slightly more interesting than watching paint dry. I think she hoped that I would get the gambling bug and play the slots with her in the future. Sorry, Cindy. She did well on the machine and tried to cash out, but it only allowed her to cash out her winnings over the initial $20. Rather than quit and leave $20 on the card, she played until she got it down to 5¢. Still, we walked away with around $25 more than we started with. I’ll hold on to the card until the next time we go, and she can lose the final 5¢.

Tomorrow I’ll post about the start of our trip home.

Vacation – Day 9

The High Roller
The High Roller

Michelle and Lee were both able to take the day off, so they left Wyatt with a sitter and spent adult time with us. We drove to their home, and from there we went to a French restaurant for lunch. The food was excellent, and so was the conversation. I think that they enjoyed speaking in more than very simple declarative sentences outside of their work environments. Everything gets boiled down when speaking to a one-year old.

From there we went to see the movie November Man. They took us to a luxury theater where there are assigned seats that are recliners, and they sell beer and wine among the concessions. I must admit that I could get spoiled. As to the movie, we all enjoyed it. I seemed to be the only one who knew that the movie was based on a novel that was part of a series written by Bill Granger. I had read the books many years ago. The movie was based on the seventh novel, There Are No Spies. I’ll never understand why movie producers insist on taking a series of books and making the movies out of sequence. It upsets my innate sense of order. I suppose that points out the fact that I am a linear thinker. If I weren’t I would be posting about our vacation in a scattergun manner. And of course I wonder if they make a movie from the first book, what will it be called, because the book’s title is The November Man.

From the movie we went to ride on The High Roller. It is billed as the world’s highest observation wheel. At 550 feet, it is up there. I took a number of pictures from the cabin, but most of them have reflections in the windows, so I chose to use this picture from the LINQ promenade after our ride. I enjoyed the ride, but I suspect the views are more spectacular after dark. That is reflected in the change of ticket price between day and night.

We wandered along the promenade, window shopping and observing the people. There is a real cross-section of people living in and visiting Las Vegas. We saw hippies, dippies, chippies, people of all sexual persuasions, as well as a number of straight arrows. It was just like home, only it seemed…moreso.

We stopped at a restaurant for a light dinner. I have been eating good food on this trip, but I think the summer salad I had in that restaurant was my favorite meal of the trip. The avocado in that salad had the best texture and flavor of any in my experience, and the vinaigrette was the perfect complement to the greens and fruit.

Cindy and I had planned to leave Las Vegas the following morning, but we had enjoyed our time with the kids so much, we decided to stay another day. You’ll hear about that in tomorrow’s post.