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Thursday, March 30, 2006


I’m up with a cup of coffee ready to visit a minute while Rocky still catches a few winks. He’s been sleeping later since he’s no longer answering an alarm clock and I for one am glad. Healing takes place in the body with rest….and in the mind when decisions are made for fight or flight. Rocky has put on his gloves. Look out!!

Yesterday was fun. It warmed up quickly and we went out mid-morning to do the raking I told you about yesterday. I watched my boy closely and when I saw him leaning against a tree I went for a lawn chair and a stool………we both sat down and enjoyed a Pepsi and looked at the piles of twigs we’d raked up. Accomplishment comes in small packages sometimes…….and ordinary things you wouldn’t give a second thought to otherwise become a big deal. We were proud of what we were able to do.

After our break, Rocky came in to watch judge shows and I stayed out longer to hopefully finish that side of the yard. Callie, Lovey and Chevy enjoyed leaping into the wheelbarrow now and then but eventually tired and ended up laying under it for shade. It actually became warm with a little activity. Short sleeve warm. Napoleon had strayed on up Becky’s way. Now that it is good eating with all the new vegetation he isn’t on hand to eat my goodies as often but he still likes to see me come with something in hand.

I took turns raking, sitting, dumping the load and coming back for more. At one point I sat down in the lawn chair and called my cousin, Dale with the cellphone. It was good to hear his familiar voice rather than emailing. Rocky appeared and disappeared as he felt up to it and I was near my finishing line when little Davey from next door came home from school. He rode his John Deere battery vehicle around a few times and then spotted me. “HI GRANDMA!!!!!” I gave him a hearty hello and he darted in their house.

As six year olds do……he reappeared in no time with a picture in a frame….his school picture. He was all slicked up and looked like he was on his way to a prom or something. He’s one good looking six year old. Davey doesn’t have any grandparents……and he has grown up thinking I’m it. I like to spend time with him….us old codgers have a way of getting into their heads and giving them a different kind of TLC along with the reality pill. Grandparenting is a wonderful opportunity to sprinkle some wisdom with a special kind of love. And did I mention that we also need and enjoy the love that those little guys give back to us? Oh yes!!

I asked if he’d like to come in and see Rocky and he immediately headed for the door. He “took up” with Rocky when he married “grandma” and brought his big Freightliner and trailer to the neighborhood. In time Davey got to ride in it and hear the big horn. As he grew older he would run to the window every time he heard it coming or going. All little boys like big trucks…..a lot of old boys, too.

Rocky asked if he’d like to see where the doctor left a scar and he said “yes” so Rocky pulled up his Tee-shirt and showed the impressive battle scar. Then for drama, he peeled one of the small pieces of tape off right in front of Davey’s eyes. It was a heroic moment only men understand.

Davey and I went back outside and he watched as I picked up the last of the day’s twigs and then run to bring me the hose and turn on the water as I scoured and cleaned the bird baths. He saved me a lot of steps between three bird baths and the water hydrant. His dad has trained him well in the correct way to do things. He is a six year old going on twenty-five.

When I came in, Rocky was ready for his walk and left while I began fixing supper. The “kid” who is having the new house built across the street was inspecting the day’s progress after work and Rocky stopped to chat with him. Pat sold cars for years and Rocky hauled them in his early days of trucking so they made a quick connection.

The day ended quietly…..leaving the Rockenbach Acre with the gift of a normal day.

Those are the best.

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Today is a great day. The sun is shining, signs of Spring are everywhere, we are watching a new home go up across the street from us………and today we get to go outside and play.

Rocky made the big announcement last night that he was tired of “laying around” just watching TV. Oh he has walked every day, even increasing the length of his walk…..but…..you know how it is. Whether a caretaker or patient, we are all tied to “the situation” together. Eventually, the healing process tells the brain it is ready to move on.

Along with all those “Spring signs” came the fact that we had lots of little twigs…some bigger than others…all over one side of our yard. Rocky had observed them as he walked out to the mailbox every day and I have noticed them on my little jaunts to fill the bird baths. It was Rocky’s decision that today we would let it warm up first, then after lunch we would take the wheelbarrow and rakes and begin gathering them up.

I think I heard music playing just then. (sigh*)

The cats and Napoleon will love having us out in their domain. Any time we are out we draw a crowd….Callie, Lovey, Chevy and Napoleon. I’m sure they will enjoy our exercise period today. The thing I will enjoy most, is having all of the critters I love, together and having fun.

Yes, Rocky is one of my critters.

Until next time,
Essentially Esther

Monday, March 27, 2006


We are finally home after numerous trips for medical reasons today and to sign up for Medicare D which should take care of medical needs for a a few days. We’ll see if it all works as well as advertised. Being from the “Show Me State” we will have to be shown.

OK….not to delay with what you’re all waiting for. The surgeon released us and thought Rocky had done well in his healing and recovery. He told him to take it easy for another four weeks or longer to give his body a chance to rest up. As for the liver biopsy it was what they all thought it was and spouted off a big long name of something I can’t even remember. The bottom line is…..it did come from the same cancer that was in the colon.

He secured a date for us to see Dr. Morgan, the oncologist who will inform us of the options we have. We didn’t ask Dr. Eck about how bad or how much because he clearly wanted to leave that up to Dr. Morgan. I’m finding out the more informed we become, the better our chances seem.

However, upon seeing our local doctor this afternoon, he told us the kind of cancer Rocky has in the liver doesn’t usually respond well to chemo or radiation. Not to be fool-hearted but also not to just sit down and give up……..we decided we would not become alarmed…….but simply wait for the facts from Dr. Morgan.

Our appointment with him is April 6th so we’ll know a lot more then. We’ll just hang in there and make appropriate decisions at that time. Thank you all for your prayers, support, love and friendship……you are all appreciated.

As for us…….today is Becky’s birthday so we’re looking forward to her coming home from work so we can do our part to make her day special…….life goes on and there is always more to be grateful for than the bad things that happen. A little light looks mighty bright in a dark tunnel………and to find the way out we just need to follow the light.

Until the next time,
Essentially Esther

Sunday, March 26, 2006


Today is Sunday. Not just any Sunday but one that comes before our big day on Monday. We are scheduled to see Dr. Eck at 8:30 in the morning when we find out just what the biopsy says about Rocky’s liver. It will be two weeks to the day when Rocky underwent surgery for his colon cancer.

We had great faith in Dr. Eck, who is a young and positive man. He should wear a sign on him that reads, “capable and able”……..if I were judging him by Military standards, I would say he is a tough Marine. He doesn’t mince words but gives an educated plan on how to combat the cancer. Talking with him was a strategic look at what we could expect.

There was no plan for retreating.

……and so we find ourselves through stage one of the “plan” and now we will soon be into plan two. If Rocky is released from Dr. Eck we should soon be seeing Dr. Morgan who is the top-notch oncologist in this area. If I had qualms about going to a small hospital in a small town……I am no longer a skeptic.

At one point in our post-op visit I told Dr. Eck that he wouldn’t be around our area very long…..he was too good. I expected he would be going to Springfield to the larger hospitals in the near future. To my surprise, he told us he had been affiliated with one of the major hospitals in Springfield but they had such administrative woes it was always a huge battle and the patient was the loser. Aside from that, he was more or less “owned” by the hospital and didn’t have a voice in his own profession.

He went on to say that many of the surgeons and physicians are leaving the large hospitals because of overcrowding, incompetent administrators and working against their own convictions. Dr. Eck liked the smaller town to raise children and live a simpler life.

I read an account one time of the angels asking Christ why he would leave it to fishermen, tax collectors, doctors……all simple uneducated men to carry the story of salvation to the world……and if he was afraid it wouldn’t work…and if he should have a back-up plan. Christ simply said…… “There is no other plan.”

I don’t reckon ourselves on that grand scale……I only know that what we find out tomorrow is a perfect plan…and there is no other. Having done all we know to do, (as Paul wrote in Ephesians Chapter 6:`13.…..“having done all, to stand”)…..in a Christian’s life, there is no retreat…….his shield is only made to protect the forward side, there is nothing mentioned about being shielded on the back side.

Faith cannot lose the battle……it perseveres whatever the outcome.

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Rocky and I got out a little today. We drove over to Houston which is a 28 mile drive from here and since Rocky’s unexpected illness caused both of us to retire, we took our time and enjoyed the ride. We have no reason to hurry along now and we had a chance to check out the baby calves along the way….in our area, that’s a lot. It’s fun to look at all the little black dots on the green hillsides with proud mama’s eating nearby. I’ve never figured out how the females pick the one to be the baby sitter but there will always be one watching the nursery while the other mama’s are eating. Got to make milk for those hungry little guys.

Life gets sweeter as the years go by. Mainly because we do have time to stop and smell the roses. When you think about the beauty God puts in our life every day, sprinkled with some good lessons and funny little things that nature can produce……it’s a shame if we don’t observe all we can. He went to a lot of trouble to put it all there for our pleasure. Think about it….a changing canvas every day….just for us. Now that’s a good reason to get out of bed every day.

Rocky did some walking this afternoon and is feeling very well considering his recent surgery. I’m sure his doctor will be very pleased with his progress when we see him on Monday. In fact, we have two doctor visits to make then as well as celebrating Becky’s birthday. That’s a lot going on for one day but we’ll make the rounds, I’m sure.

About dusk we walked outside to see where Napoleon was so we could give him his last slice of soft bread for the day and we bumped into the man across the road who is having a new house built. He was out inspecting what the gravel haulers had done for the day so we got to welcome him to the neighborhood. At first I was sorry when our road became a through street and buildings began going up across from us but I have softened my opinion. I realize others see the beauty of the area as we did and I’m willing to share.

We watched Napoleon fly up and the last of the cardinals leave our feeders……the sun went down in a cloud bank tonight…..but there is the earthy smell of Spring in the air. God is good.

Until next time,
Essentiallly Esther

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Tuesday update on Rocky……..he is doing well. He is eating good and very sensibly….he is active in his recovery. For a little treat he rode up town with me this morning to the Post Office and a stop at the Drug Store. We are getting information on Medicare prescription benefits and trying to make a good choice to benefit our needs. Not an easy thing but we’re working on it.

When I finished the Andersen-Stricklett saga and wrote of my own life…….I wondered what I would write about next. Well, I didn’t have to wait very long to find a new subject. It seems the timing was perfect for me to begin the journey for Rocky and his battle with cancer.

We have all been saddened by Ellen’s plight with cancer as well as others we know and it just seems such a terrible waste of those we love the most. Hardly any of us can claim it hasn’t touched our family or friends…..even acquaintances……and how thankful I am that we are living in a time when medical strides are overcoming several of the varieties of cancer.

I was young when cancer first came to my knowledge….an aunt died of breast cancer when I was so small I just remember the one night we went to the hospital and stayed out on the lawn to wait our turn to see her. Only one or two at a time and certainly not children. The one thing I remember most is the attitude of my parents and the other relatives. I deducted that this was a very serious thing to make them all so quiet and sad. Misery was on every face.

In a time when there was no hope and contracting the disease meant certain death it would have been impossible to imagine someday there would be cures. Yet, here we are, within one lifetime……there is hope and there are cures. We live in a great time for overcoming many illnesses.

Whatever we face as we grow older, it is comforting for me to know “hope” is alive and well. Cancer cannot conquer what hope can keep alive.

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Monday, March 20, 2006


Rocky slept better last night and I believe will sleep even better tonight. It is because they had taken some of his medication away when he went into surgery, substituting or deleting some until he was released by the surgeon. This is the third day back on the ones he’s used to and I believe it will benefit him once it kicks in. We are finding out that us golden oldies don’t like changes in our routines too much……and we don’t like morphine at all.

He is functioning normally, no fever, regular diet. He went outside for a little fresh air and to help me fill our 7 or 8 bird feeders. The cardinals were wondering where their supply of feed was as their feeders are seldom empty. They came from every direction when they saw them go back up. We always enjoy the many song birds who inhabit our yard……Napoleon is around where the cats are most of the day. They are his only friends and they have formed a nice alliance together…..Napoleon is happy if we or the cats are out and about. He is doing well.

It has been cold here all day to welcome Spring…….a little bit ago it began raining. I think the weather is to make a couple of changes yet before we can honestly say Spring has sprung. The buds are popping out all over and it is so refreshing to view the daffodils and forsythia. They are especially pretty this year.
Rocky's weightlifting medals

Rocky's weightlifting medals

We are one week away from the big surgery now and we have one week to go until we visit the surgeon to see if we will be released to the oncologist at that time. So far we haven’t heard from the biopsies but we are not anxious about it. Thank you all for the expressions of love and the prayers…….they are felt and appreciated. We’ll keep you up on his recovery. I’m sending a couple of pictures to John who will put them on my site, I feel.

Until next time,
Essentially Esther

Sunday, March 19, 2006


Hi everyone. Rocky and I came home last night….very tired after six days in the hospital. He is doing well…..we both need rest . You know that’s hard to find in a hospital. Today we were getting into a little routine and just relaxing. I’ll write more tomorrow but I know a lot of you have been wondering.

Thank you for being so kind and remembering us. You’ll never know how it strengthened us by your prayers. You are loved.

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

More Rocky Info 

Here is the latest from Esther (mom) herself:


John........I came home about 2 1/2 hours after Becky so I have some better news to report. Rocky finally got to walk again and sat up for about 45 minutes before going back to bed. He got cleaned up some and that made him feel better.

He is almost off of any morphine.....he hasn't used much yesterday or today and they took the timer off this morning so he only uses it if he really needs it. He is much more lucid the longer he is off the morphine........Holly arrived at 7:00 tonight so I came home.

I woke around 2:00 this morning and couldn't go back to sleep. Got up at 5:00 and hurried to the hospital after Becky told me what happened. He knew I wouldn't hear the phone as we sleep with our door shut (cats) and I don't hear it from the spare bedroom where our office is. Therefore he called Becky but you know the rest of the story.........I've been at the hospital 13 hours today with little to eat (cafeteria food is terrible) so I'm going to get a shower and get to bed. I want to be there by a little before 7:00 in the morning to hear what the surgeon has to say. He's excellent but the hospital is the pits..........it's our last time at West Plains for hospital. The Cancer Center is run much better so we'll try that I guess............

Thanks for your prayers and posting for me. I do appreciate it a lot.

I'm gone..........good night.



Let's hope he continues to improve. John

Wednesday Evening Update: 

Thanks to Becky and her email reporting, I have another installment on Rocky's condition:

Hi to all.

I am exhausted, but have better news this evening. The kidney situation has evened out, but there is still some irregularity there that was also present before surgery. ???? Hard to say. Rocky seems to have no ill effect from the fall except that he pulled out his catheter and feels bumped and bruised. He is sitting in the chair some and walked once with one more walk this evening. He is cranky. He still seems to be a little confused, and has been trying to get out of bed all day. Hmmm. Wonder how he fell? Anyway, he wants to come home, but can't because he hasn't started passing gas through the colon yet. Once that happens, he will start getting some soft food and they will begin taking away things: morphene pump, IV/s, catheter and oxygen.

Rocky's daughter is arriving this evening to take the night shift at the hospital while mom and I sleep. I have to go back to work tomorrow, so they will begin 12 on 12 off. He can't be trusted. ha. Better news, which is welcome. To the big questions you have, still no answers. Maybe by Friday.

Off to feed mom's cats, Napoleon, and my Chicky. And Amber. This is a mess. I am ready for a vacation. !!! Will keep you posted, Love to all, Beck

p.s. Please continue to pray! He isn't a very good patient.


This is certainly better news. Hang in there Rocky, there are a lot of prayers going up on your behalf.

John Strain

Wednesday AM Update: 

This is the text of an email I received from Becky at 5:30 AM on 3/15/06 - John

Good morning to you all,

I got a call in the night, about 2:30 from a lady here in town who got a collect call from Rocky at the hospital. She had transposed two numbers I guess. Anyway he had fallen out of bed and wanted me to call. The switchboard won't ring through to rooms in the middle of the night, so I got the floor nurse. He wasn't too helpful of course, saying that Rocky had 'climbed ' out of bed. He is very confused due to all of the meds he is on, and was sitting up in a chair. Suffice to say that after my debacle falling after abdominal surgery, we are headed back to the hospital this morning. I will contact you John, who can post updates for everyone on either your or moms blog.

I will email this evening and let you know what is going on. Prayers are welcome and necessary!

Love to all,

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Latest Rocky Update 

Becky called me at 4:30 PM to update me on Rocky's condition.

He is hooked up to a morphine pump and not in any pain he admits to. He was awake more in the morning and talked, and has slept a lot of the afternoon.

There is concern because his kidneys have not started back up yet. Two IV pushes have been performed, but no good results.

You know how doctors are so neither Mom nor Becky have a clear understanding about what is going on in a cause and effect way. There is little output and no one is saying much at this time.

There are a number of spots of cancer on the liver - fairly extensive. Still, no news on prognosis until tests come back toward the end of the week.

I'll keep you posted. When I know something you will too.

John Strain

Monday, March 13, 2006

Rocky Update 

by John

I got a call from mom this afternoon. She said Rocky came through the surgery well. She was on her way to his room to wait for him there.

The surgeon removed about one-third of his colan. I told Rocky he has a semicolan now. It was nearly blocked so he would have been in for serious problems had nothing been done.

Biopsies were taken of the liver cancer. The surgeon could not offer any information other than there were several spots. The kind of cancer and prognosis will come later.

Mom said the doctor said Rocky was a candidate for chemotherapy.

That's the news so far, but so far so good.

I will post more information as it becomes available.

John Strain

Saturday, March 11, 2006


It is 8:51 p.m. and it’s been a long day, which started at 5:30 this morning. We had people who traveled from Illinois and Iowa as well as other cities around Rolla so the APA` was well represented. Like any sport, you soon begin to see the same “regulars” at the Meets but there are always new people coming on which is nice to perpetuate the competition.

Rocky equaled his Bench Press of his last Meet in December (200 pounds) and beat his own record in the Dead Lift…..285 pounds. Considering he is 74 years old and is fighting colon and liver cancer, I think he has done exceedingly well. His family and I who were at the Meet were sure proud of him and all the guys from his gym were making a lot of noise for the “old man.”

Bench press 200 lbs
Bench press 200 lbs.

Dead lift 285 lbs
Dead lift 285 lbs.

Piece o cake
Piece o' cake

Thank you all for your prayers and interest in his sport…….and now we prepare for the big event on Monday. We report into the hospital at 11:00 a.m. and surgery will follow. I will have John or Becky keep you posted on Rocky’s progress for a few days as I will be turning all of my attention to his recovery.

You might say a few prayers for Dr. Eck who is his surgeon…….from here on in, it’s up to him, God and Rocky, (not necessarily in that order.) We think that’s a pretty good team………..

Until the next time,
Essentially Esther

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Rocky and I have both been through a valley since I last posted. We were making what we thought was a routine visit to our family doctor to be informed of something like “irritable bowel syndrom.” However, we were presented with the fact Rocky has colon cancer which has metastasized and has gone to the liver.

At a time like that, you tend to sit looking at the doctor like he just said Mars had invaded the U.S. The statement is so out of the realm you have been expecting it’s like putting mustard on ice-cream. Nothing made sense. Did we just hear what we thought we heard?

Dr. Lowendowski’s demeanor told us we heard right. He is a young doctor and a very good one. He is a runner and has always celebrated John’s caliber of running. He humbly says he is only about a 5-mile a day guy. We brought him a tee shirt from the Boston Marathon last year which he was so proud of he still tells everyone about it. He is always bragging on Rocky’s weight lifting achievements and says he is his prize example of living well at 74. He is a friend as well as a doctor. To tell us what he had to was incredibly hard for him.

We had about an hour with him and came home stunned. The world turned upside down and the normal activities planned for the rest of the evening seemed rather inappropriate in view of the weight we now carried. It seemed a cruel sentence for Rocky who has survived two heart attacks, prostate cancer, and a brain tumor as well as dealing with diabetes.

The next day we began trying to form a marginal line of action. We decided we were not going to let this “invader” ruin our lives. We took the first volley of the surprise attack but it wasn’t going to send us on the run. We would stand and fight and maybe go down, but fight we would. I’m sick and tired of cancer and what it’s done to our family and some of our friends.

You may be thinking we should have had a colonoscopy which would have warned of the impending danger. Think again. He had one two years ago and when I mentioned this to the doctor, he said one out of every three diagnoses fail to find the cancer. I asked why his PSA count was zero when he had colon cancer…..the doctor told me he was only cancer free in the prostate……it wouldn’t tell about the rest of the body. So, if you are carrying false ideas around…..you’d better check it out. I also had heard that older people have slow growth rates so therefore the cancer grows slow in us older types. Think again!! Old wives tales and old medical views. Cancer is totally individual to the person who has it. There is no way to compare and certainly no way to cliché’ your way out of it.

Our education was beginning. We had a visit to the surgeon yesterday and came home somewhat hopeful. Again…..the doctor was younger than my youngest child. He came into our room armed and ready for action. He won us over in the first 30-seconds……he had a little booklet with pictures of before and after diagrams and we sat mesmerized as he went on to tell us of the surgery plan and what we could expect. He and his pictures made perfect sense. Rocky told him he planned to compete in the Power Lifting Meet in Rolla this Saturday and the doctor said… “fine……when do you want to schedule your surgery?” We both said, “The sooner the better…how about Monday?” It was agreed.

Rocky has been training hard for this Meet. He knew his level of strength was low compared to the last Meet he was in. He kept working harder and harder to bring it up to where he wanted it. When informed the cancer has been there for quite a while which would have diminished his strength, I am amazed Rocky could be lifting at the level he is. He has truly been training under a handicap. Rocky isn’t competing against anyone else…he wants to beat his own record.

He is the “old guy” at the gym who trains with “kids”…….but he is respected and has inspired all those who hope they can still compete when they are his age. He will do his best on Saturday and on Monday the surgeon will do “his” best to make sure Rocky is at the next Meet. I began this by saying, “We have been through a valley” so please notice it is past tense. We are through the valley and on the other side and we are hopeful.

I’ll keep you informed as we take this next journey together.

Until then,
Essentially Esther

Thursday, March 02, 2006


Forty-nine years ago at this very time I’m writing….9:15 p.m….. a very important person was born. He made our family complete. I always said, we had a boy and then a girl……and then we had John. John kept his brother and sister on their toes and made our lives a lot more interesting. At the moment, he and Barbara are dining with friends in Covington and I’m sure they will roast Mr. John in fine fashion. He and his friends have little respect for one another’s dignity and love to put each other down every chance they get. They have been friends for a long time and know just how to insult one another in good fashion.

At the moment of his birth I raised a glass of wine, pointed towards the South and wished him a happy birthday. John called shortly after I got home from work and we had a nice visit. When I picked the phone up, a voice said, “Happy birthday.” He knew I would be calling to wish him the same so he beat me to it. His mind works like that. Among other things, he said he was glad I had him. Well, that makes two of us, John, I’m glad I was the one who got to have YOU.

For all the things you’ve overcome, for your wonderful sense of humor, your ability to put a finger on just where someone is hurting, and all the other good qualities that make you special…….I applaud you. I know your father, brother and sister are thinking of you today and have dropped by to wish you well on your special day.

May you have many more and may I be here to share a few more with you. Rocky and I wish you a very happy new year………



Wednesday, March 01, 2006


How many of you have spent time in a hospital? Either as a family member or the patient? I have spent a good deal of time around the medical community with close family, friends…… and three times with the birth of my children. Other than a couple of colonoscopies, that has been my record as a patient. However, I have spent years sitting by bedsides, anxiously watching loved ones go through valley’s of pain and recuperation.

I realize this doesn’t make me an expert on the medical profession but I have noticed changes over the years that seem strange at the least. With the birth of my first child I was ordered to stay in bed for two weeks. When child number two came along three years later, I was informed that hospital stay after childbirth was five days. By now, I was wanting to stay longer, knowing full well what awaited me once I got home. There would be an active three-year old and a new baby.

I survived.

With child number three I was ordered to get out of bed the same day only hours after the baby was born. I told the Drill Sergeant who was posing as a nurse that she surely didn’t mean ME because I had just delivered six hours ago. She pulled the covers back, pointed to the bedside potty and told me to get up, get out and get busy using the facility. I felt like I’d been hit by a Mack truck but I was in no shape to argue. In three days I was carted down the hall in a wheel chair with baby number three in my arms to reunite with a six year old and a three year old looking at me like I’d given them up for adoption. I can still see their accusing faces.

For all the dear family members who have passed on and the time spent with them in different hospitals I learned a lot. A lot about medical people, about fellow patients in the rooms…..and the many waiting rooms I shared with the public. All the above comes down to this. There are folks who try their best to meet your need…whatever that might be and as best they can. There are others who are not “there” for you and let you know it.

That brings us to the waiting room. There are those who love to give you long recitals about their reason for being there and you are forced to look interested even though you are not. There are children fussing and crying because they don’t want to be there…..they’ve heard the story too many times and they want to go home. There are people who pry into your reason for being there…..even when you don’t feel like talking. There are “squatters” who save their choice spot by rotating family members…..this insures their sleeping area each night.

God bless the people who give you a little space and quiet, whether they are the staff, other patients or visitors. It is a difficult time for all. For the ones who go the extra mile, who try to lighten your load and who leave you with a smile……these are all precious commodities in the waiting room.

Times have changed now. Whereas children were not allowed in the rooms with the patient previously….whereas even family couldn’t go in a room if there were three visitors already….now the rooms are full of friends and family gawking while the baby is being born or someone has just come back from surgery…. loud noise with all the laughing and joking going on, cell phones going off and staff running around in colored clothing making it impossible to know who the nurses or doctors are.

The older I become the less I understand the masses who make sure they are bombarded with noise and activity 24-7. Hospitals who used to enforce calm and quiet to insure the patient’s rest have given in to the demands of the general public. The walls are wildly painted in bright color to give the patient a more “homey” feeling…along with halls and rooms full of people coming and going. It’s more like a hotel than a hospital. Visiting hours? Anytime you drop in!

It’s been a while since I’ve seen white uniforms and the white caps which designated the school the nurse graduated from. Old people fuss about changes and it’s full well because some of the changes are not for the better. I am wondering what the kids of today will fuss about when they are the “old folks”……I don’t see how our world can become louder and more disorganized, but I’m sure there will be a way.

Us old timers are like “voices crying in the wilderness” but some things would have been better left the way they were…hospitals being one of them. It will only take another 25-years before today’s young people have some idea of what I’m talking about…….

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther