In Decision

The medications weren’t really helping, so his doctors decided to try alternative measures. TENS units, TED hose and PT were added to Jeff’s mix. None were working as well as hoped. When a sleep study proved he had alarming apnea, an oxygen concentrator and a PAP machine arrived in our home.

After our dog excursion, Jeff mentioned the puppies a few times. I shook my head each time. I thought we had enough troubles.

More than two weeks had passed and I couldn’t get the pups off my mind. Jeff was bored and lonely and, according to his doctors, beginning to show signs of depression.

As far as I could tell, Jeff was still Jeff. Still, I began thinking maybe a dog wasn’t such a bad idea. It’d keep him busy, provide companionship.  I was a little worried about what a puppy would put Miss Fred through, but then again, it was a big house. Freddie wasn’t fazed by much. She wasn’t a constant attention grabber or a snuggler. With the exception of drive-by leg-bumping, she wouldn’t get that close. She’d sit near you – maybe close enough for a pet, maybe not, and definitely not often. 

On my way out the door to work each morning, I left Jeff his daily list of to-do tasks jointly devised as a way to keep him occupied and helpful. We’d talk about it the night before and hand note what was needed on a pre-printed form I created. On Thursday night we wrote: make a grocery list, make dinner, wash bedding. Friday morning, finally in decision mode, I added an extra line item: call to see if any puppies are left. 

Within hours, he found out there were only two puppies left. On our weekend way back to the farm, Jeff of the Big Heart said, “You know… I’ve been thinking… maybe we should take them both, because they’re the last ones, and then one wouldn’t have to be lonely.”

I said, “I’m not even sure about one. I don’t think two is a good idea.”

“Well, how will I decide?” he asked. “You’ll just have to,” was my answer.

There was no commotion in the kennel, this time. Inside the barn, two babies slept peacefully in a hay-lined, low-sided wooden crib. Jeff lifted one in each hand, and set them both down both in the morning sun. While their tiny eyes adjusted into squints, I decided I’d try the ‘Kelsey’ test and plopped myself down on the ground to see what would happen. The next thing I know, I was playfully attacked by a little black and white streak. He ran around me in circles, jumping in and out of my lap and zealously yapping. Continually, and quite normal for a Jack.

The other simply one laid down near Jeff’s feet. The yapper bumped into her a few times, so Jeff picked her up to get her out of the way.

“Is she sick? Could she be contagious?” I asked, comparing her docile demeanor to her energetic brother. “I don’t think so,” Jeff answered. Because I was me, I adamantly encouraged him to ask. Because he was Jeff, he handed her off to me and set out for the house.

Quote for the Week:

2017 08 01 Comparing apples to apples isn_t always fair judgement jakorte 07 31 2017

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Apple: Facts

Apples: Applause

Puppy Diseases: To Watch For

 

 

 

Triple Dog Ambushed

Backing it up a bit….

Kelsey came into my life purposefully from the Nashville Humane Society. She was a three-legged motherless German Shepherd/Sheltie mix I met after the NHS experienced a fire. I’d gone to foster a cat, but was ambushed by a wicked fast furball that jumped into my lap, snuggled up under my ear and held on as if her life depended on it. She was so seriously quick, I didn’t notice her missing leg until I put her down a good 15 minutes later.

OK, back to the TN litter experience….

Cab was a black lab mix puppy from a purebred chocolate lab and … some other type of dog. This puppy boy was talkative in the way Cab Calloway sang: Ayow, ayowa, yowa, yow. He ambushed me with cuteness and sang the entire time I was driving. Yes, beginning in Tennessee, all the way to Michigan.

Anticipating the same sort of scenario in Michigan, I was determined not to reach in anywhere or pick anyone up.  Jeff seemed to know the farmer that let us into the dog run area. The man didn’t stick around, closing the gate behind him as he left. “I’m gonna finish my dinner,” he said. “Let me know when you’re done.”

We rounded a corner were completely ambushed by steady stream of roly-poly Jack Russell tumblers. I stopped moving at once and must have looked as surprised and terrified as I felt, because Jeff stopped, too. “What?” he asked.

“I don’t want to squish one!” I faltered. He laughed and advised me to move slowly.

“There are more in the barn,” he explained, grabbing my hand.

My eyebrows shot up and my eyes narrowed. “And you would know this how?” I inquired. “Because… I’ve already been here,” he answered matter-of-factly. I realized I’d been ambushed by my dogged husband, too.

Moving inside, it took me a moment to adjust to the dark. I was still squinting a little when one of the little spotters ran up to Jeff’s foot, sniffed and start a happy dance. “

Oh,” he said scooping it up to eye level, “you remember me!?” He scratched both ears, rubbed it’s pudgy belly and turned to me with hopeful puppy-eyes. “It’s a boy….” Jeff  offered, extending the little guy toward me.

I took him without fear, because, as I mentioned earlier, the pip squeaks weren’t ready to leave their momma, yet.

Quote for the Week:

2017 07 25 seeing past whats best for your jakorte

 

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

 The Right One: Animal Planet Dog Selector

Dogged: Persistence

Relief: Pets Against Depression

 

 

 

My Dogs Are Barkin’

While Nannee was staying with us, Jeff was attempting to sort out his medical problems, as well.

In December 2003, his feet became too painful to walk on and moved from sometimes-pain to constant-pain. Original suggestions of taking time off for pain management and keeping his legs raised for two weeks straight had not helped.

By February 2004, Jeff was still off work and having to use his short-term then long-term disability benefit. The diagnosis of Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy sparked a series of long trials attempting to ease the constant 7-8 pain rating on a scale of 1-10. On really bad days, when the pain jumped to a 10 or 11, Jeff used his sense of humor remained. He’d explain to me, his doctor, a nurse, anyone who really needed to know why he was moving so slow, “My dog’s are really barkin’!'”

In addition to his Type II Diabetes Mellitus and Venostasis (bursting blood vessels), the Neuropathy, Hypertension, pitting Edema, skin ulcers and possible Sleep Apnea were added to his diagnoses, as well. Jeff’s medication list began to grow: Percodan, Neurontin, Elavil, Lasix, Lipitor, Humalog Lantus insulin, Zestoretic, Lopid, Glucophage, Celexa and a multivitamin.

That was in 2004. By the time Jeff passed away 2.5 years later, the number of drugs he needed to take had grown to over 20 daily, with many taken multiple times a day. Those cute little regular daily pill containers were uselessly too small, and only had compartments for morning, noon and night. Jeff creatively converted two tackle trays into his medication monitor. He’d fill them up once a week and it would take him about an hour.

I do believe having Nannee with us was more of a blessing for us than for her. Up until then, Jeff had been spending his days mostly alone, trying to handle the pain. Weekdays, we spent about 4 awake hours a day together – one in the morning and three at night. Weekends, though, we were inseparable, much like our 24 hours a day for two days courtship.

On one of those weekends, Jeff casually suggested we stop by a local farm where a new litter of Jack Russell puppies had been born. I reminded him we had a cat. He said we were just going to look, because they weren’t ready to leave their mother, yet. The only reason I agreed was that I knew there was no possibility we’d be taking one home.

My only previous puppy litter experience was gained in Tennessee. A friend’s dog had gotten out in a storm and had a clandestine canine affair. The adorable yelping squirmers were contained in a makeshift arena for adoption. It was entirely up to you whether you wanted to lean in and pet them, or not. With no intention of adding a dog to my life, I simply leaned in to scratch a few ears… and came up with Cab.

Quote for the Week:

2017 07 17 Let_s Just Look jakorte

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Why Do We Love Puppies: Scientifcally? Oxytocin

Neuropathies: There’s More Than One

If You’re Diabetic: Pay Attention!

Milk and an Air Horn

About the milk:

I found this sweet-sad note from my father to Jeff. I don’t have Jeff’s original part of the email, but the subject reads, ‘Carnation Milk.’

From: Dad

Sent: Monday, May 27, 2002

To: Jeff & Jodi

Real funny! Keep them coming!

I really enjoyed your visit. I wish we could have spent more time doing things together that guys do. Maybe things will turn around someday for the both of us. Let’s keep the faith and try real hard.

Miss you already,

Dad  (It’s not often that a guy has three dads)

P.S. Jodi, are you going to change your email address to “Korte.”

About the air horn:

There’d rarely been a night when Jeff hadn’t woken up at least once. He’d wander the house, have a snack, watch tv or get on the computer. I’d gotten used to that and barely noticed anymore.

one night in early June 2004, Jeff had decided that he did not want to possibly disturb Nannee by using the computer in the office room next to hers. Instead, he’d gone to the den and fallen asleep to the TV.

In the morning, Nannee let Jeff know she’s had a very rough night. She thought she might have been having a heart attack and called out to us repeatedly. At the other end of the house, we had not heard her. She insisted she felt fine that morning, and p’shawed the suggestion that she visit her doctor, saying it hadn’t been that long ago that she’d seen him.

It was Jeff’s idea to provide Nannee with an air horn. I wasn’t home when they tested it. As we went to bed, I worried that we might not hear it with our bedroom door closed. Jeff assured me, we’d hear it, but left the door open to ease my mind.

The next night, I heard the air horn. Jeff heard the air horn, and with the windows open on that cool June night, most of the neighborhood probably heard it to. I was already jolted half out of bed, when Jeff took off from his side, closest to the bedroom door.

He got there first and called back to me to call 911. Nannee went by ambulance to Bixby, then by ambulance to Toledo. The Bixby doctor was quite angry when he spoke to us following some tests. He ordered a stomach pump, curtly demanded to know who her doctor was and then left us in the curtain-divided emergency room.

When he came back, he was more subdued. Nannee and her doctor must have known her digestive system was failing. She hadn’t shared that with us. She had told us, though, that she didn’t want to die in a hospital.

Quote for the Week:

2017 07 11 Not every profession can laugh at the jokes jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

An internet search found this joke. I’d wager this was likely it. ;-):  Carnation Milk Joke

Not true, but: Carnation Milk Snopes

Air Horn: There’s an App for That

The Shift

Humor is a veil and sometimes it gets a little hard to breathe under mine.

It’s also a protective shield that deflects from the intent of going deeper.

I’ve been thinking I’ve given myself a little more leeway than I probably should have with the sarcasm defence.

Having to dig for the spin from tragic to trippy is tiring. There are so many more funny stories waiting in the wings. Excerpts fly at me daily sparked by a song or a smell or a taste or a breeze that ruffles my hair.

I exercise my mind a lot trying to see around my metaphoric road block. I’ve heard enough that it doesn’t go away; as you move along, it dimishes. Every time you turn back to the way from which you came, it’ll be there – just as big and ugly as when it landed in your path.

Of course, you’ll go around it. It might not seem like that now, but you will. You might not notice the shift right away. You’ll spend a lot of time maneuvering in its shadow. Then one day, it will be beside you instead of in front of you.

That’s when the decision has to be made. Stand in the at-best momentary warmth of the sun knowing that it won’t always be that way; clouds will come and go. Retreat to the at-worst constant shadow of coldness where life doesn’t change much, but your back is always reliably covered by what it’s flattened up against.

Eventually, movement: until then timing rules the court. It holds us back or propels us forward. Timing is what drives us from soulless to soulful. For some, passing time is counted by continuing little claw scrapes, love bites.

For others it’s the proverbial bandage ripped from the anchoring erroneously unstable flesh surrounding our shredded hearts.

You can cry, but you  can still laugh, too.

Quote for the Week:

2017 06 20 Humor is a veil jakorte

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

The healing power of:  laughter

Mark Knopfler:  The Last Laugh

Might as well: Laughter Yoga

Legacy (Intermission 2)

I was pretty sure there wasn’t a name for it, but I went looking, anyway. Because, you know, Google. I’m often a bit too wordy in my searches, which always brings some sketchy results. I hopefully clicked on the search box and full-sentence typed in, “What do you call a biography about 2 people?”

The answer seems to be “Legacy Writing,” according to Dr. Andrew Weil.

‘Legacy’ though, is a multi-layered word, with an extreme spectrum. Summarizing from MacMillan, I’ll skip to the applicable parts:

Something that someone has achieved that continues to exist after they stop working or die.  

The principle that a thing which exists as a result of something that happened in the past can later be used in a different way

If I were to legacy, it would be for my thought. My style isn’t emulation oriented, except in the sense that it may easily be surpassed.

My grammar is not perfect: I allow myself sprawling loose liberties. My notes are not void of typographical errors, run-on sentences or devoid of undocumentable words.

Tuesday night writer’s fatigue often effects my error sharpness. Unlike my unguarded uncanny tendency to immediately zone in on the one menu misspelling at nearly every restaurant I’ve taken a seat in. My own weekly Knabble document review often self-relays what I meant to say and not necessarily how I typed it.

My messages cay be murky. I muddle through them, too.  I think I’m pretty good at casting an issue without aim or allude. This a humbly self-examinatory conclusion drawn on revsited archives. It’s quite clear I always have a point, but I’ve noticed I’m not always sure why I felt compelled to make it. (If I ever get to the end of this story, I’ll amuse us by republishing.)

The truth is the more I muddle, the less I understand. The less I understand, and the more I struggle. There are countless times I’ve heard this command: Be still and know that I am God. When I can stop thrashing, my muddy storm waters eventually settle. Maybe, when my deeper streams clear, I will be able to return and clarify.

I’m pretty sure having a writing obligation to anyone other than myself would not be met with enthusiasm. I don’t know that I could be placidly accepting of rejections intimating I do not have an amazingly wide-reaching professional talent.

I would rather continue to be a familiar folk artist, engaging in wide-open irregular keystrokes, portraying only the patterns in my life which might help you make sense of yours.

Quote for the Week:

2017 06 20 to share and encourage and enlighten requires love jakorte 06 18 2017

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Love Isn’t Love (Til You Give It Away)

Per Oscar Hammerstein: The Sound of Music: I spent an hour searching for a male version of this song. Frank Sinatra is the voice in my head with the added word ‘baby’ Couldn’t find it, but this is an interesting story of how the lyric made it into the play but not to the soundtrack.  16 Going on 17 (Love isn’t Love Til You Give it Away)

Per Reba McIntyre:  very similar, liberties, perhaps: love isn’t love (Til You Give It Away)

Per Michael W. Smith: different and a great message:  Give It Away

 

Cross Weave (First Intermission)

I write. I’ve always owned the question, “Why?” and avoided the questioning, “Why Not?”

There is a line of fear that I have not crossed and may never cross, either. The line exists solely due to a carefully balanced imaginary scale I believe will undoubtedly tilt my expression toward obligation or enjoyment.

It’s not always enjoyable. It’s easier sometimes than others. Drawing blanks is sometimes an issue. Deciding what comes next, what should come next constantly wars. True time telling lends logic to the story. Topically timely stories in tune with the season or current events bring bits of the past to current focus and perhaps make more of an impact then straight-forward biography. I’ve only recently recognized it’s just not straight-forward.

I can’t call my documentation a hobby because it is not always enjoyable. Always enjoyable seems to me to lack in purpose and nothing is created without an end-user in mind. Artists create for expression – it’s our process for making our thoughts and feelings known. We know how we feel. Our projects convey messages open to interpretation. No one creates to be misunderstood, and we can only hope they get it right.

It’s not an obligation because no one is demanding or commanding I must. I seek self-challenge. On my own terms. Unfortunately, imposing a non-challenge on me is a lot like expecting pudding to cling to a mirror. I’ll slide away. Regrettably, leaving little bits of me behind.

I acknowledge this: My perfection obsession has dwindled. My aim and style and candidness has surely evolved over 485 weeks. I’m no longer writing snippet excerpts. I’m no longer dryly paragraphing, ‘this is what happened.’ I’m imparting values, occasionally offering wisdom, attempting to cross-weave of all our lives.

Quote for the week:

2017 06 13 We cannot build a solid peace without the cross weave jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Write: Typos

Write: Legacy

Who is: Dr. Andrew Weil?