Monday, November 28, 2011


This and/or similar observations of our English language circulate the Internet, but I find this one uniquely, partially set to rhyme. As it came the circuitous route of "forwards" no author was listed. Just in case there is one, apologies for no attribution.

An Ode to the English Plural

We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?
Then one may be that, and there would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!
Let's face it - English is a crazy language.
There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger;
Neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren't invented in England
We take English for granted, but if we explore its paradoxes,
We find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are
Square, and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
And why is it that writers write, but fingers don't fing,
grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?
Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend?
If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?
[N.B.:  I would call it the odd one at the end.
If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English,
Should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.
[N.B.:  Maybe we were, and just don't know it.]
In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?
We ship by truck but send cargo by ship...
We have noses that run and feet that smell.
We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.
And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same,
While a wise man and a wise guy are opposites

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and in which an alarm goes off by going on.

And in closing, if Father is Pop, how come Mother's not Mop? 

No wonder it is difficult for legal immigrants to learn the language before they can become American citizens! --NitWit1

After a lovely meal with church friends who have embraced us in the tradition that the Christian belief teaches, and, later, an afternoon and evening watching my favorite sport, football, where most of my favorite teams won, I read a few chapters of my current book, TALE OF TWO CITIES.

This is a rather dark setting of two cities, London and Paris, during the French Revolution. Despite its ominous setting, it is a characteristic of much writing during this period that I term morality themes, mostly how human beings treat each other. In this story, it was less that decent--in fact downright evil.

Afterward, I reflected how thankful many of us are who live in countries, where human decency encompasses compassion for us when we err, even court systems which provide a decent trial of peers. It is by no means perfect, and sometimes errs in its decisions, but it is the best that man has determined.

The setting is 1775 and the "American problem" is vaguely mentioned in the TALE.

My reflections included my personal year of frequent mountaintop to valley experiences, the wonderful vacation despite my infirmities, our humble contributions to those less fortunate than myself, the deepening of my health problems, and the continuing joy of having found fellowship in a caring church family after searching most of my life, which may be no reflection on any certain church as my finding some peace within myself.

Some facets of these experiences have been shared with you, often with humor pointed at myself. Once in a while I whine, but laughter at my own infirmities and shortcomings is far more palatable.

Now we are entering the season of remembering the season where emphasis is good will and giving which are supposed to reflect the message of the belief, not only of the Christian belief, but also other beliefs.

Now, with this long soliloquy finished, I am now transitioning Christmas Season which all to often becomes frenzy, madness, depression and utter lack of its original intent.

We feel most blessed to have arrived at old age, with reasonable stability, to be able to share with those who have not been so blessed. We have changed our focus over the past years to a far more gratifying mission of spending more of what we allotted to so called Christmas frenzy, to the many opportunities help others anonymously.

We have settled into a routine of (1) adopting a Christmas Wish family (more description) later, (2) assisting in fulfilling the needs of 3 families our church Life Group adopts from area schools, and taking close friends to dinner so we all enjoy friendship, (3) taking a few personal couples to a special restaurant for good food and fellowship. (4) Decorations are nil. (5) Christmas Day-duel solitude and reflection. (6) Gifts?

These ideas are further detailed below -if you care to read them:

(1) One of the charitable ventures we choose at Christmas is sponsored by the area daily Baxter Bulletin newspaper of Mountain Home, AR called Christmas Wish. The program started as a way to manage needy persons who slip through the usual charities to find some help. It mushroomed so greatly, it was morphed into a charity whose goal is to provide families with children some semblance of Christmas. Their entire focus is on children, other than some food provisions.

Christmas Wish  participation may be in several ways: (1) adopt a wish, (2) provide items needed, (3) volunteer. Therefore, persons who do not have sufficient funds participate in some way, like volunteering--always needed, or buy some only a  few items that may be needed by dozens of wishes.

How they do it I don't know, but the 400 plus wishes will be fulfilled in some measure before Christmas Day. I love this program, because it gives people several ways to contribute--not just money and shopping. They always need more volunteers who have time to help sort, the multitude of merchandise given them, sorting gifts, calling the families requesting help.

We have chosen to adopt a family this year. My husband picked one family out of the 400+ letters submitted. The family had one boy and two girls, and wanted help with a Christmas dinner as well as clothing and reasonable personal list of items for the children. The program has shopping guidelines  for those who adopt a family which makes the adopted families wishes conform similarly to those not adopted. anonymity is carefully guarded.

My husband (H) picked the Christmas Wish letter he wanted to adopt. Being childless, we are not accustomed to selecting clothing, much less toys. He picked one that the children were older and did not have a long list of toys.

H did his shopping early for the boy-having no trouble with a male teenager. He finished on a couple of hours one morning, and picked up one more item later.

Now to my shopping trip on Black Friday. No, I did not participate in any midnight sprees. A decade ago I did stand in ques to fight over deep cuts in merchandise, often on ourselves vs. the true spirit of giving.

A decade ago I did stand in ques to fight over deep cuts in merchandise, often for ourselves vs. the true spirit of giving. But I did venture to the king of merchandising, WalMart on Black Friday afternoon to shop for a family we adopted via a very successful charity established by our area newspaper.My trip caused more angst and anxiety, than pleasure, as I obsessed on being sure I got the appropriate requests an sizes right.

 I can barely shop clothing for myself being very short and chubby. The females on our Wish request were a subteen and barely a teen, both, apparently large. I drove the ladies at the dressing room desk nutz! nutz! nutz!, before I left. I also bought two, what I perceive to be, wallets for them. Then I had Best Friend (BF), who works for the Baxter Bulletin, re-check my purchases the same evening.

Sunday BF and I returned to WM for one additional "feminine" gift for the girls-makeup kits. This week we will carry our bounty to the Christmas Wish center for distribution.

(2)  Our Life Group has adopted three families, one from each of three schools in our area. H an I provide a fully cooked Christmas Dinner boxed by a local grocery chain. We bought 6 which is 1 extra, and one for us. We have given funds for other in the group to shop. We also contribute to the purchasing of gifts, while blessedly we have others who like to shop, usually in Branson, and wrap packages.

A Life Group shares in all facets of a project. Some cannot provide funds themselves, but they will shop, or wrap packages, deliver, etc. Some are able to do many things. We choose to give monetarily on gifts, but have tackled some sticky problems like last year we found a good used bicycle for boy. H cleaned it up and touched it up. We happen to know a citizen who renovates bicycles. Everyone shares as they can; no one is judged by what they do, or don't do.

(3) Then we take some couples from our circle of friends to dinner at a well-known fine restaurant, instead of buying gifts. This way we have the joy of their fellowship and friendship. This has proved more satisfying than gifting.

(4) After years of storing and putting decorations outside and inside, we gave away most of our outdoor decorations to a neighbor with children. We can enjoy them from afar. They live behind us. I put up two tabletop LED Christmas items, IF there is a clean table for them. If not, no big deal.

(5) Christmas Day, we lounge around, and I cook a box precooked Christmas turkey from local grocery chain. It has servings for 8-12, which we share around the neighborhood and with best friend, who is food editor where she works. She COOKS all year, as anything she prints she first runs a trial effort. Not to cook a huge dinner for two is relaxing, and she probably enjoys a day from doing work, but she does love to cook. Occasionally, we have all bought dinners at the local VFW, too.

(6) After years of trying to get appropriate gifts for each other, a couple united from diverse heritage, education and culture, we agreed to personally purchase one "gift" for birthday and one for Christmas. These are not necessarily done at the specific date, nor is there any price limitations. However, I usually mention my choices. My birthday is Oct. 13 but this year I purchased a new lens for my camera in August so I would have it for our Sept. vacation. Christmas will probably be a camera body which will also fit the same lens. No doubt this purchase will be made after Christmas.

And if something else pops up, we help, too. This goes for the whole year. Yes, we have been scammed a few times, but we learn to discern, without judgment.

For me personally this year, my part in these efforts has been somewhat tiring, but it is a pleasant "tired." 

Hanging over our heads is the limitation the present heart medication is effective has expired; I can tell the next step, whatever it may be, is looming, probably this coming year. I have had a few fibrillation episodes through this drug routine, but they have been short. The episodes are becoming longer but so far, no more frequent.

I hope to be back with another episode from our trip, probably the Badlands.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Bountiful Thanksgiving
[Broderbund ClickArt]

For all who cross my post today, I wish you Peace, Gratitude and Blessing. Whatever your or my lot in life today, I realize many in my own town, maybe my own family, my country, and, by extension, the planet, who are not as fortunate as we are.

As we observe an age old tradition, not only in America, but other countries have rituals of Thanksgiving, too,-- may we go forth tomorrow to embrace the larger world of family and friends, especially those who need us, too.

Interestingly in our language Family and Friends both begin with F. In my life there have been those where the line of definition is all but the same, and I feel doubly blessed.

-- NITWIT1 & LUCKIE of Coward's Corner with Luckie.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Deadwood Street Scene and Trolley
The second city is Deadwood, South Dakota and its woman of note is commonly known as Calamity Jane. While Dorothy Hulstead might be universally viewed as an inspirational, devoted wife with a common sense idea that grew wings, Calamity Jane defies defining with adjectives, yet in some moments of her life, she, too, inspired some groups of people.
Deadwood Hotel Awnings

Deadwood is National Historic Landmark whose early highlights were 3 Gs: Gold, Gambling and Gunpowder, all of which created both real and legendary events immortalized in books, movies and tales regaled from generation to generation.

In 1874 the presence of gold was the principal attraction which drew people to the area, and precipitated gunfights and gambling. The news of gold seems to spread even overseas to places like Scandinavia. After all America was always the 'Land of Opportunity!' Gold was found in a gulch filled with dead trees and a creek full of gold; thus Deadwood was born.
Mustang Sally's [We Ate Hot Dogs Here]
[Husband's photo]
There were few restrictions mining gold; people of all stripes and persuasions found themselves striving for a piece of the action from bull train freighters, Chinese laborers,  hard rock miners, cavalrymen, merchants, madams, gamblers, merchants. Some came to mine or pan for gold and others came to cause the fortune finding miners to part with their prized findings.

In nearby Mount Moriah Cemetery many victims as well as some famous outlaws found a final resting place. A short list of legendary characters include Wild Bill Hickok with Calamity Jane buried next to him.

View From Our Outdoor Table
At Mustang Sally's
Other legendary personalities were Madam Dora DuFran, Potato Creek Johnny, Preacher Smith, Seth Bullock, Al Swearington and Colorado Charlie Utter. All created legends as much as history; it is difficult to sort it out fact and fiction.

Wild Bill Hickok came seeking fortune, but died at the hands of gunslinger Jack McCall in  Saloon #10 while holding a poker hand of aces and '8s', forever after known as Dead Man's hand. Besides his exploits making him a folk hero, he was a peace officer. Hickok was famous for his accuracy with a Navy revolvers, his weapon of choice.

Deadwood Street Scene - Colorful Storefronts

Although linked with Calamity Jane, any infatuation was on her part, not his; Hickok is reputed to have disliked her more than a little bit. She is buried beside him, supposed as a perverse joke by those who laid Calamity Jane in her final resting place. Although she claimed a child by him as well as marriage there no reliable records supporting the claim.
Here We Are At The Stockade;
Guess We Didn't Pay For
Hot Dogs
{Passerby Took Photo]

Deadwood's famous woman was Calamity Jane, a.k.a. Martha Jane Cannary Burke, born in Princeton MO, then Virginia City MT, Salt Lake City UT and Piedmont Wyoming. Her parents died early, leaving Calamity Jane in charge of 5 other siblings. At or near age 16 she worked whatever jobs she could to feed her siblings and herself: dishwasher, cook, waitress, dance-hall girl, nurse, ox team driver and finally scout at Fort Russell. Also in this time frame she was an off/on prostitute at Fort Laramie Three-Mile Hog Ranch. (This link is quite interesting, too.)

When you compare the lives of Dorothy Hustead and Calamity Jane, most of us would probably hope we compared favorably with Dorothy, at least I would. Yet I am a tad ornery and suspect there is a little more than I would ever admit of Calamity Jane in me.
Deadwood Brick Street
[Husband photo]

Her unconfirmed claim to the name Calamity Jane is she rescued a Capt. Egan before he hit the ground after he was shot in an Native American uprising. However, she was known to prefabricate and/or exaggerate stories about herself. This is her story and no evidence exists she and Egan were ever together in any unit. 

Deadwood 4-Way Stop

Even when her parents were alive they seemed to move a lot across the western frontier without putting down permanent roots anywhere she could call home. She lived by her young wits, growing up  without tutelage among men who were often interested in their own immediate pleasures.

She gained fame claiming to be an acquaintance of Wild Bill Hickok and a professional scout fighting Native Americans. Her infatuation with Hickok was not mutual according to others.

Besides gold prospectors there were the Indian Wars, a wild frontier, some of which was yet to experience statehood. As she matured she was also known to show extraordinary kindness and compassion to the sick and needy. Education wise she was illiterate, so she lived by her own wit, developed by personal experiences.
"Wild Bill Hickok' Outside Saloon 10
[Husband Photo]
The above seemingly at odds personality traits made her both famous and infamous. She wrote her own autobiography, most of it unsubstantiated by facts. Under other circumstances, she might have been a novelist as her imagination and exaggeration of facts, or completely falsified reasoning made for a larger than life reputation of a frontier woman who survived to age 51 by wit and life experience.
View Up A Side Street
Note Deadwood Is Built
On Hill Sides
It is believed she married as many as three times but even that fact is not well documented.
Calamity Jane at least provided fodder for many films, books, music and even a comic book.

So believe such a person did exist, but a historically correct biography will probably never be written, which always seems to be the case for a person who become larger than life, a legend.

Our tour bus deposited us at Saloon #10 which is still  a saloon offering card games and slot machines. A man dressed similar to images of Wild Bill Hickok sits on a bench outside the saloon, talks to tourists and allows pictures to be taken.

Deadwood Building Date with
Decorative Gold Trim
Husband and I were really tired as this was 4th day of touring and we had a banquet still to attend that night. We were content to walk a block or two, eat a hot dog at a outdoor restaurant and observe the unique architecture. Climbing the hill to Mt Moriah was not even given a thought.

The main street is still red brick. The sidewalks are jammed with tourists. I bought a souvenir shirt. We had our picture by a giant statue outside a "stockade."  The architecture  is very interesting.

Most of our group headed to the top gambling spots, so we enjoyed the street scenery. There was a free shuttle bus tour but we weren't sure we'd be back in time for our bus, so we stayed in same general area.

This was our last tour stop and time for reflection. We realized we could stay in that area for a month and see something different every day. Somehow I never thought of South Dakota as a tourism mecca.
'Romeo and Juliet' Balcony
Deadwood -Same Building
As Above w/Gold Trim

Photos by NitWit1, Except As Noted

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Photo of Map  in Wall Drug Store Brochure
[I hope you can enlarge it.
It is like touring a maze.]
 NO! not the classic by Charles Dickens [A Tale of Two Cities] about London and Paris during the French Revolution!

This 2-part post is  two small cities with different stories to tell of their existence in South Dakota: Deadwood and Wall, SD. (Which reminds me, I added the Dickens'  book and his complete works to my Kindle (99 cents) as some of the classics's precepts remind me of the current uprisings of today in US and around the world.)

(I made photo of picture in brochure)
Both S.D. cities show the very different aspects of settling (or maybe a tad unsettling), evolution and determination of participants in  U.S. frontier.

One city is Wall, South Dakota. Wall, SD,only a speck on the map, became famous by the idea of a pharmacist's wife, Dorothy Hustead, who simply tried to help her husband keep the doors open of a very small pharmacy, Wall Drug Store, population 326 'poor people' in a very small town in 1931 during the Great Depression. Its citizens and surrounding area were near destitute from drought or the Great Depression.
The setting: In or near winter, 1931, a pharmacist, Ted Hustead (with wife, Dorothy), bought a small pharmacy in Wall. He had worked for other employers for two years, and lived in Canova, SD. Then his father died leaving him an inheritance of $3000, which was a lot of money in 1931.

When he embarked on hunting a place to make a living, Dorothy had one criteria--there must be a Catholic church nearby for daily attendance, Ted preferred a small town. They toured Nebraska and South Dakota in a Model T. Personally, I might add, almost every pharmacist, more commonly called druggists in those times, dreamed of owning their own store. [I am glad my dream was unrealized. My life has led me in so many diverse directions I would not trade it, for being chained to a demanding regimen required to operate any successful entrepreneur endeavor, chained to ever increasing federal and state regulations.]
Wall Drug Store Scene Backyard of Horse-Drawn
Western Wagon Railroad Station
Wall met the Hustead's two requirements, but their families were skeptical with discouraging analyses, as 'God forsaken,' 'middle of nowhere,' and people were 'flat broke busted.'

After devout prayer by all their families, they forged ahead with their plans to set their fate in Wall. Dorothy chose to forfeit her talents as a teacher in literature, to work in the drugstore that seem doomed to failure. Ted taught himself veterinary medicine, increasing his area of expertise to fit the area's unique needs. They lived in a make-shift apartment created in the back of the store.
Wall Drug Store Backyard -White Object
in Background is Huge Jack Rabbit with Saddle.
A One-Ton Petrified Log Is Visible at Left.
*See footnote at end of post.
A five year time-frame was set to determine their success or failure. In 1936, nearing the end of their self-imposed time-frame, plus two children, business had grown only slightly.

On a hot July day, Dorothy was unable to nap with the children because of traffic noise outside. She returned to the store front and with a single sentence that changed their world said: "I think I finally saw how we can get all those travelers to come to our store."
One Ton Petrified Log
There Was a Petrified Area of Wood Somewhere
But Was Not On Our Tour Agenda
(Photo by Husband)
The idea involved a near free item, but scarce to find for the dusty, weary travelers and/or tourists on the road by their small store - a  free glass of ice water.

With some skepticism it is said, Ted and a high school boy made and posted homemade signs. Before all the signs were posted, thirsty, dust-covered people began to stop for the free ice water.

Before the day was over Ted was chipping more ice off the ice blocks, and travelers were even buying other items like ice cream cones.
Train Schedule
(Photo by Husband)
When the day was over, the couple on the verge of failure were reflecting on the astoundingly successful day and, no doubt, gave thanks their prayers were answered.

As any spunky wife would do, whose idea had been somewhat dismissed, said, " I guess the ice water signs worked."
Quite an understatement! especially during the Great Depression in a 'God-forsaken, 'middle of nowhere' little town named Wall with 'flat broke busted' citizenry.

The next summer eight girls were hired to handle the summer touring season.

Today, Wall Drug is a complex, similar to a mall, with many shops, some catering to souvenirs for tourists, various food shops, and a Back Yard Mall addition. It is a medley of tourist knick-knacks, several eateries, artisans, history, artist and various craftsmen galleries, historical relics and quite a lot of humor and a small pharmacy that really filled prescriptions. There was supposedly a pharmacy museum, but like so many of our stops we did not really get to see all we wanted to see.
Wall Drug Store Totem Pole
(Huge *Jack Rabbit on the
Back of Pole -I don't know
significance. See footnote at
end of post)
The complex is still in the family. It is located off the service road of Interstate 90, still in town of Wall, SD. You will not miss it as the signs are so numerous, you would be blind to miss them!

Ted and Dorothy died in 1999 and 1996, respectively. Their son Bill assumed management along with his wife Marjorie. Bill died of Lou Gehrig's disease. Marjorie and their sons, Rick and Ted plus their wives are still active in operations. The sons, (grandsons of Ted and Dorothy) are Chairman and President of the Board.

Ted and Dorothy would be both humbled and proud!!

The sign idea grew, much like the Burma Shave signs; Wall Drug Store signs, a la Burma Shave signs, with mileage to the store have been seen in other countries including Germany. The original jingle read: 'Get a soda...Get root beer....Turn next corner...Just as near...To Highway 16 & 14.. Free Ice Water...Wall Drug.' [Links provided are Wall Drug's own web site and Wikipedia, both well worth checking out!]

Free coffee and donuts are offered even today to veterans, military personnel en route to their assignments, honeymooners, and other special groups. One cafe alone seats 530. On a very good summer day 20,000 people pass through Wall Drug Store's door.

I visited the pharmacy which is only a very small portion of the complex . I chatted with a FEMALE pharmacist, which fits in the not too subtle theme of this post: the POWER and INFLUENCE OF WOMEN.
All pharmacists who stopped by the pharmacy sign a register and the school or university of their training, as did I. (My graduating class at UT-Austin in 1960 contained only 5 women; someday I may write a post on the discrimination and sometimes humiliation women pharmacists suffered in the workplace.)
Wall Drug Store Statue
Tribute to the
Ranch Cowboy
Today, Wall, SD has a population of less than 1000, and the number of households hover around 400. Yet the family owned pharmacy still exists, albeit not the crux of their highly successful tourism business. The pharmacy seized the success and tradition of free ice water, added items that attracted tourists and became a unique, enjoyable tourism stop in and of itself. 

And the signs multiplied faster than rabbits or possums reproduce, or flies and ants invade an outdoor picnic!

Wall is one of several gateways to the Badlands and within driving distance of Rapid City, and several cities with appeal to travelers/tourists. Fortuitously, it is just an exit off the heavily traveled I-90, the first East-West completed Interstate.

Wall derives it name from the fact it is build on the edge of the northern extension of the "Badlands wall."

NOTE: This history post is based on Internet reading and the brochure handed to our tour. A part of the brochure history contained excerpts from Guideposts Associates, Inc. Carmel, NY.

All Photos by NitWit1 unless otherwise identified.

Hint to PART 2: The other city is Deadwood, South Dakota; its woman of note is commonly known as Calamity Jane. While Dorothy Hustead might be universally viewed as an inspirational, devoted wife with a common sense idea that grew wings, Calamity Jane defies defining with positive adjectives, yet in some moments of her larger than life biography, she too inspired some groups of people.
Rabbit Spotted on grounds of Chapel in the Hills
(SOOC-Straight Out OF Camera)
*We were bombarded with so many facets of South Dakota in a compressed 4 day tour, that I must have missed the significance of the huge jack rabbits at the Wall Drug Store complex. The map included with the link provided does include South Dakota as the range of the jack rabbit in US.

Texas has jack rabbits, a very large wild rabbit with seemingly out of proportion huge ears, but despite all Texan bragging, the state does not have a monopoly on the species which is a desert animal.

I saw no jack rabbits in our short drive through the Badlands, Custer State Park, or other tours where wildlife was present. I saw a small wild rabbit at the Chapel in the Hills, cute but not a jack rabbit.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The New Math of Old Age 2 + 2 = 1

Tikosyn 250 mcg. x 2 = 500 mcg. b.i.d.
 (twice a day).
Yep! my math skills have only been average from 1st grade. In fact I was more skilled in geometry and trigonometry than plain ole 1,2, 3 and algebra. I made "A's" in 'trig' & 'geo' subjects at the college level but college algebra was a nemesis. I finally took it in summer school where it was taught with a different slant. My grade transferred to UT at Austin as a "B."

I am being a tad facetious here, but I can count to 100 so I passed pharmacy school and for reasons unknown, am very good at compounding which requires weights and measures. In fact I was the only student in history at the time who graduated with a perfect score in compounding lab at the University of Texas School of Pharmacy.

But the allegedly simple manipulations of common numerals was never good and certainly not in my head. [Thank goodness for small calculators (early in my adult life) and later computer programs]. I use Quicken to keep my checkbook in balance and even then it is a challenge.

However, paradoxically, I made 'A's in accounting in both high school and university levels where we were allowed calculators at that time span of my education.

I suppose, like many professors I knew, I understood the principles, but application and manipulation were different stories. Who knows?

I am not sure my deficiencies in numerals led me to a potentially deadly mistake Saturday morning. I think not, but my other deficiency, an inability to multitask, probably did.

I have a number of chronic diseases; hence, I take a handful of medicines; all twice a day, my favorite medication regimen, short of once a day. [I have one COPD inhaler that is once a day.]

Those who follow me semi-regularly, as that is how I post, know I have a common heart rhythm irregularity know as atrial fibrillation. Since I live in a rural state with few high faluting heart institutes like Cleveland Clinic, I rely on the best care available. In this case a cardiologist, specializing in heart arrhythmia flies into my area twice a month. He is well known in Arkansas.

His theory of treatment is first try the non-invasive treatment before the more invasive ones, a common sense approach by most physicians. After a myriad of tests, he determined to try me on a limited distribution drug called Tikosyn. It has some potentially deadly side-effects, so I was admitted to the Arkansas Heart Institute to initiate treatment, which was non-eventful.
I have been on this medication one year and carefully set an alarm clock that sounded like a fire bell, since it was most effective taken at evenly spaced intervals twice a day[not with my usual twice-a-day medications, nor same time]. Each dose is comprised of two capsules. I have had few heart episodes since we finally eliminated some other medications that deterred its absorption.

This type of drug is usually effective for about a year then the heart rhythm mechanism finds a way around them. I have passed one year.

However, there are capitalized, italic caution paragraphs in the provided literature NOT to take missed doses, if realized, etc. just wait until next time.

Original setup  each morning.
Saturday was a hectic day. My husband had made arrangements for a farewell dinner at Cadron Fish House in Harrison which is 50 or so miles away from home; hence a car ride. A church friend of ours spends 6 month/year here and 6 months in Arizona.

My fatigue in riding has not yet subsided since our 3000 mi. road trip vacation.

Then Sunday we have church and Life Group. The latter includes a meal to which we all contribute food. I hate to cook so this is stressful, but I had assembled ingredients for an old recipe of my mother's that required no cooking. But part of it required assembly on Saturday and finished Sunday morning before leaving house for church followed by Life Group.

All this was on my mind upon awakening. My usual early morning routine is set out my day's medications, feed dog, make coffee, read e-mail, etc.-- sort of wake up slowly.

I take some of my meds during this time frame and then wait for the alarm to go off. However, the alarm is so loud, it awakens my husband, I often take the dose a few minutes early and turn the alarm off, to reset later for evening dose. I followed this action Saturday morning. Bad mistake since the alarm is a tool which increases lucidity and consciousness.

I settled in for more coffee and e-mail. About 30 minutes later my brain wires criss-crossed and went crazy; I thought I haven't heard the alarm and I'm 27 minutes past time to take the Tikosyn. Without a second thought, I jumped up, went to kitchen, grabbed the medicine cup and swallowed the pills. I stayed up doing some minor chores and went back to kitchen, only to realized TWO medication cups were empty.

Panic attack! However, I maintained enough presence of mind to call 911 and awakened husband. In a rural area the local rescue unit arrives and does what little it can, until ambulance arrives. In this case it was administer oxygen, take vital signs and wait. An average wait for ambulance is 30 minutes; Saturday was no different.

The sum total of it all resulted in a 3 day stay in hospital for observation, after a few hours in ER.

This drug may cause torsades de pointe, a deadly heart arrhythmia, much more serious than atrial fibrillation. Rather than a long technical explanation of this phenomenon, read link provided.The part of a EKG which was carefully monitored is known as the QT time or interval.

In the end my QT time did elongate but not drastically. The net result was the incident scared the bejeebies out of me, but otherwise I escaped other possibly deadly events or consequences.

New set-up with morning (AM)
dose already taken.
To aid in preventing a subsequent repeat of this error, my best friend provided me with two different colored cups like used for side sauces and about the size of medication cups for me to use. I mark one AM and one PM. I take one dose and turn the cup upside down.

All my other oral medications are in regular medication cups, the AM meds in one cup and the PM, in another.

Properly humbled and chastised, I was discharged Monday with increased respect for one definition of a drug I learned over 50 years ago in pharmacy school: a drug is a controlled dose of poison.

Over the years we become too lackadaisical  and comfortable about drugs we ingest and their warnings; even the high tech insecticides, fertilizers, household cleaning supplies, etc., even our utilities, such as electricity, gas, or water and sewer we encounter DAILY. I am just as guilty as the next person, maybe more so. 

The only medication advice to myself and everyone, is to BE CONSCIOUS and EXCEEDINGLY CAREFUL, but not paranoid! TRIPLE CHECK what you are about consume, via oral, nasal, rectal, vaginally, eye, ear or topical routes!!!

Photos: NitWit1

Apologies that this post is not Tale of Two Cities and Two Women as promised but it is in the works. LIFE HAPPENS!

Also, there is another trip to Little Rock VA Nov 21-23 for husband to receive new hearing aids. I'm forever hopeful they will be better and more comfortable for him than his present ones, so that he might wear them more. [Luckie gets another visit to her unfavorite spa.]

Tuesday, November 01, 2011


Modern Rendering of TeePee Tribute
To Indian Culture at I-90 Rest Stop
[SOOC Straight Out of Camera]
Although I am in the midst of a series of posts based on our Moroccan Reunion Tour in South Dakota, I am forced to take an interlude this week, due to medical appointments in Little Rock, and our beloved Luckie's illness, plus no housekeeper, I being the very poor fill-in.

Husband (H) has hearing recheck at VA in Little Rock; my Best Friend (BF) and I have appointments with our asthma/allergy/COPD physician in Little Rock on the same day. For once we got it altogether and did not have to make separate trips.

BF and I have used the same physician together since 1991. I seriously doubt I would be breathing today, were it not for his diligent, persistent care in seeking solutions since I have all three maladies....and this week will learn about my heart problems.

This physician puts us in the same room at the same time and we 'entertain' with some of our escapades as he examines us. We only see him once a year, unless one of us as a severe change in our condition.

Luckie, our beloved, spoiled rescue dog, now about 13 years old,  went off food/water Saturday and i noticed she and difficulty two drops. Since the vet's office is only open 1/2 day on Saturday I quickly called for appointment and headed out of town. It is about a 15 minute drive. Thankfully  Monday, she is much better, eating, drinking, and eliminating, however had regurgitated some grass early Monday a.m. So Doc wanted to observe her a few more hours.

Plaque Accompanying Above Teepee With Info About
South Dakota - SOOC [Straight Out Of Camera]
When I remembered our out-of-town trip, I told them to keep her until some time Thursday. Doc was pleased, hopefully for Luckie's well-being, not $$$, but then that is involved!!!

I think she has continuing erhlichiosis. This tick-borne disease can become chronic in a dog. Re-testing is futile before at least one year has past, as you get a lot of false positives.

So I am behind in reading (posts and books) and writing. To tease your expectation, the next post is entitled A TALE OF TWO CITIES AND TWO LADIES.

Also, I have started reading CARAVANS by Michenor. The setting ins timely-Afganistan. Since Michenor writes epics, I feel sure I'll be on this one quite awhile. I like the way he intertwines his settings in detail to the story.

BF and I are carrying our Kindles as we expect some sitting time everywhere. A new area library has partnered with Amazon to allow check-out of digital books for two weeks, much like the library card, except there is a fee of $30 (I think). I am not sure if the fee is annually, or a one time fee.

We may be hillbillies living in the mountains, but we have no excuse to not be educated!