May 2021


Every day, this is more green in the woods. The Paper Birch at water’s edge, which we sit under for shade in the summer, is leafing out every single day in the warmth and sunshine. The rivers and streams will soon be flowing with snow melt and the lake level will begin its annual rise. Don can hear the frogs on Saxton’s pond when he goes up to feed the kitty in the garage at dark, and the loon is making its haunting call on the lake in the early dawn. The Canada goose couple swam by the other day with three new little babies between them. Spring moves along no matter what is happening to us human beings.

I’m moving along in my recovery as well. I finally had an appointment with the vascular neurologist, who I’ve anxiously waited to see now for the past six weeks. I wanted him to read my palm and tell me my fortune. It was, overall, very promising, as he felt that I could see really significant improvement by early July. Just in time for the start of summer here in the north country. And, the speech pathologist told me Friday afternoon that she was ready to discharge me one week early, as I am coming along so nicely and can–very carefully–eat most foods again without choking.

Realizing I could now eat Friday night pizza, I went through the drive-up after my therapy appointment and bought us the usual. As I was driving home, I felt a bit unmoored to think I wouldn’t see the therapist again. Three times a week, for six weeks, I’ve sat in front of her for 45 minutes, as she watched me through a face shield, her mouth and nose covered in a mask, while I made 150 swallows of food I was directed to bring from home. I can only imagine what I looked like to her–eight electrical stimulation leads taped to my neck and an ace bandage wrapped around my head and neck to hold them in place. She used a counter to record the swallows, and in-between times, we talked about my stroke symptoms, and her daughter’s track meets, my grandchildren, how overworked she is, and we wrote recipes down for each other. Then, poof, she’s out of my life. She works four ten-hour days, seeing different patients every 45-60 minutes, and I am sure we all just whizz quickly through her busy work day. But, it feels like a relationship to me, which has abruptly ended. This is the person, after all, who taught me “rescue breathing”. I am reminded of those two weeks of lonely nights in the hospital, when a nurse would come into my room for vitals and to administer medications. It was rare I would have the same RN more than two nights in a row, but about every third night, Adam would be the nurse who showed up. Maybe he was one of the many traveling nurses, as he didn’t appear to have a relationship with the various CNAs who accompanied him into my room, like the other nurses did. He was always very quiet. But, every time he left my room, he looked at me so kindly and asked me if there was anything he could do for me, and he squeezed my foot. And, he was the only nurse who remembered to turn off my lights and shut the door. I would have liked to have said goodbye to him.

Well, we’ve moved on in this troubled world, making it to May 2021, and many things are truly better. This summer has loomed so promising in our imaginations with the accelerated rate of vaccinations. I hope it is what we’ve hoped it will be. In our forecast, for this merry month of May, rain is predicted at the end of the upcoming week. Whether we get a soft rain or a soaking rain, it will be most welcome, to prepare the grass, the trees, and the flowers, for those longed-for summer days to come.

There Will Come Soft Rains, by Sara Teasdale

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white,

Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

2 thoughts on “May 2021

  1. Mary Barry

    This one got me in the gut. So many people have come into our lives at the most critical times. The nurse who “saved Frank’s life” in New Hampshire… and I will never be able to say thank you. The speech therapist who taught you rescue breathing. Poof… we leave them or do they leave us? Thankfully there are those who never leave us and we never leave them. Love Love

  2. Haley

    This one got me as well. What a great reminder as a nurse that the little things matter so much. I’m following your journey every step of the way and sending hugs, love, and prayers each and every day. Yay for pizza and beer! Love you. Haley


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