Way to Go, Old Guy!

 

Elderly man crashes into license facility

By Ted Gregory and Suzanne Baker Chicago Tribune 10.10.17
A state driver’s license facility in Naperville has reopened after a 79-year-old Downers Grove man accidentally drove through the front window earlier this week.
The man had completed his road test shortly before noon Tuesday and had driven back to the facility at 931 W. 75th St., Naperville police Cmdr. Louis Cammiso said. With an Illinois secretary of state’s office employee in the passenger seat, the driver shifted the gear of his SUV to reverse and stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake, Cammiso said.
The SUV crashed through the front window and short wall of the state facility. No one was injured.
The driver, who failed his test, was not charged, Cammiso said.
Elburn resident Vince Szafranski said he was seated in the photo area behind a wall waiting for his name to be called in the final stage of renewing his license when he heard the crash.
The noise of the SUV crashing through the window sounded like a bomb going off, he said.
“Honestly, I thought it was a terrorist attack, with all that’s going on in the news these days,” Szafranski said. “All I could think is that this is going to be my last moment, and I’m at the driver’s license facility.”
As he peered over the wall to check what happened, his next concern was for people waiting in the lines by the door, he said.
“There are chairs right there. All I could think of was I hope no one got run over,” he said.
Realizing everyone was fine, Szafranski couldn’t help but laugh.
“You don’t see that every day,” he said. “I was laughing so hard when the lady tried to take my picture. I had to take 10 minutes to get my composure.”
The secretary of state’s office closed the facility after serving people already in the building, spokesman David Druker said Thursday. The building reopened Wednesday morning, he said.
“Thank goodness no one was injured,” Druker added.
Two years ago, an 87-year-old man who was taking his license renewal test crashed his vehicle into a wall at the driver’s license facility in Deerfield. No one was injured and the facility remained open.
Suzanne Baker is a reporter for the Naperville Sun.
tgregory@chicagotribune.com
subaker@tribpub.com

__________________________________________________

A few years ago, I went to the Wilmette Public Library, parked in the lot beside the building, and  spent about 15 minutes inside.

When I came out I saw  fire equipment and police in the lot.  I was told a woman had driven her car into the library trying to park diagonally just outside the book processing office.  The front end of her car  was in the big windows of that office.  I didn’t learn her age.

I had heard nothing when this happened nor felt a tremor.

Now we have  a row of 4′ steel bollards guarding the building

That was not long after someone drove into the I-HOP here.

RJN

Whoops! More Good Folks

I love to report on good-deed-doers.

This morning as Alice was making pancakes, I told her I was going out to get the newspaper, one of my little morning chores.

Leaving the front door I saw the paper on the ground under the tree in the parkway where the ground rises a little and there are exposed roots.  Using my cane I got down the stairs and onto the sidewalk, but I didn’t take enough notice of the ground and went down on my face.

By now I think everyone knows that an old guy lacks the strength and agility to get himself up after a fall.  In warm weather, windows open, I would have called for Alice, but I knew she would miss me eventually.  It was only a little chilly this morning and I knew there would be passing cars, dog-walkers, others who would notice the old man down.

A couple of cars went by; a young man walked by on the other side of the street; I’m acquainted with him, don’t think he notices anything.

The the breakfast cook remember me,  She hurried out the front door in her robe.  In previous falls, Alice has been able to raise me with a handlock and a good pull.  Not this time.

 

Then two things happened at once.

— A car stopped along the curb about 30 feet away and a brown-faced young woman in scrubs started to get out.  I waved at her.

—  I felt strong arms close around my chest from behind and heard a voice say, “Relax” as he put me on my feet.  I turned around and saw a stocky man about 50.  I thanked him several times and shook his hand and he walked to his car.

The girl in scrubs watched Alice and me until we had gotten safely in the house.

Alice makes good pancakes, serves them with little sausages, and Canadian maple syrup from a jug marked with a price about the same as pretty good whiskey.

RJN

 

 

 

 

Youth and Age

 

I dedicate this to my children who think I may have lost a step or two on the basketball court.  JC

The old crow is getting slow.
The young crow is not.
Of what the young crow does not know
The old crow knows a lot.

At knowing things the old crow
Is still the young crow’s master.
What does the slow old crow not know?
-How to go faster.

The young crow flies above, below,
And rings around the slow old crow.
What does the fast young crow not know?
-Where to go.

John Ciardi

Ciardi made a book called Limericks Too Gross with Isaac Asimov in which they say that a limerick must be just a little dirty.

For a long time, Ciardi had a 5-minute show  on  National Public Radio about words and meanings.  On one show he explained how his Italian name had evolved from the German Gebhardt–he was descended from the Germans who invaded northern Italy.

RJN

 

_____________________________________________

I admire lithe young ladies
(especially their thighs)
striding by my winter window,
seriously postponing age and death                                                                                        or what may be.
And I’m so glad that I’m alive
this day and upstairs there’s
a warm and wise old woman,
seriously postponing me.

RJN

_____________________________________________

Youth and Age

by George (Lord) Byron
THERE'S not a joy the world can give like that it takes away 
When the glow of early thought declines in feeling's dull decay; 
'Tis not on youth's smooth cheek the blush alone which fades so fast  
But the tender bloom of heart is gone ere youth itself be past.
 

Then the few whose spirits float above the wreck of happiness  
Are driven o'er the shoals of guilt or ocean of excess: 
The magnet of their course is gone or only points in vain 
The shore to which their shiver'd sail shall never stretch again.
 

Then the mortal coldness of the soul like death itself comes down; 
It cannot feel for others' woes it dare not dream its own;  
That heavy chill has frozen o'er the fountain of our tears  
And though the eye may sparkle still 'tis where the ice appears.
 

Though wit may flash from fluent lips and mirth distract the breast  
Through midnight hours that yield no more their former hope of rest  
'Tis but as ivy-leaves around the ruin'd turret wreathe 15 
All green and wildly fresh without but worn and gray beneath.
 

Oh could I feel as I have felt or be what I have been  
Or weep as I could once have wept o'er many a vanish'd scene  
As springs in deserts found seem sweet all brackish though they be  
So midst the wither'd waste of life those tears would flow to me!

George Lord Byron

 

More Kindness

When Susan and I had arrived in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, for my sister Carol’s funeral, she remarked on the courtesies we had received en route, she with her arm in a sling and  I with my cane, but the best was ahead.

After we checked into the Hilton Garden, I went back to  the parking lot to get my bag.  I found our rental car by opening the trunk with the button on my key.  I reached in, grabbed my bag and yanked it out.  The bag came easily, but it was heavy and took me to the concrete with it.

(One of the problems for old guys in taking a fall is that it’s impossible to get up without something pull on.  I don’t know now where my cane was.)

I lay there wondering what to do, until a small woman showed up and grasped my arm.  She wasn’t strong enough to get me off my butt, so she called for her husband who came behind me and put his arms around my chest.  He was no bigger than the woman, but together they got me on my feet. By that time their daughter had showed up, a head taller than her parents.  By their appearance and speech, I took them to be Japanese.

We were all smiling as I thanked them.  It was fun to see them at breakfast next morning.  We all smiled some more.

RJN

End-of-Life Option, Ray’s Story

Choosing end-of-life option, Ray Perman’s Story

In 6 states, those facing terminal illness can decide when to die

Five years ago, 64-yearold Ray Perman was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Perman, a designer and consultant who lived in the San Francisco Bay area, had sarcoma carcinoma, a rare and terminal cancer that affects only about 200 people a year in the United States. He also had a common, low-grade, progressive prostate cancer, not unusual for men his age.

The sarcoma caused a large, rapidly growing tumor to form in his prostate and nest against his colon. At the suggestion of his oncology team, he immediately underwent surgery to have his prostate, bladder, numerous lymph nodes and other flesh removed.

At the time of surgery, biopsies showed that both forms of cancer had metastasized, spreading the cancer to other lymph nodes. For a year, he and his doctor decided to wait instead of pursuing further cancer treatments.

A year later, the sarcoma reappeared in the form of a 5-inch, football-shaped, rapidly growing tumor in his lower abdomen, and later 12 quarter-inch and 1-inch tumors appeared in his lungs.

He was told he had two to six months to live.

Perman, at the suggestion of his oncologist, decided to try an unusual combination of two of the most powerful chemotherapy drugs available: Taxotere and Gemzar. The treatment was predicted to have about a zero to 30 percent chance of “doing something.”

The combination was so toxic, Perman said, that it caused his legs to swell, his fingernails to fall off, excessive bleeding, loss of body fluid and neuropathy, a nerve disorder that causes weakness, numbness, tingling, pain and balance problems in the arms, legs, hands and feet.

Miraculously, the treatment worked.

The large, aggressive abdominal tumor in his lower abdomen and the 12 in his lungs shrank, extending his life.

A second round of chemotherapy began about a year and a half later, when more sarcoma tumors appeared in his pelvis, tailbone and rib cage, but this time it had little effect.

“When it became obvious that treatment wasn’t working, that the side effects of the treatment were worse than the disease and that I had only a few months to live, I knew I had some decisions to make,” said Perman. “And I decided to seek only palliative care through hospice at my home and began to investigate the use of the California End of Life Option that went into effect on June 9, 2016, and authorizes medical aid in dying.”

Barbara Coombs Lee, president of Compassion and Choices, a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding and protecting the rights of the terminally ill, says that where end-oflife options are legal (Oregon, Washington state, Montana, Vermont, California, Colorado and Washington, D.C.), the fear of liability has been lifted and patients are able to talk frankly with their doctors about their fears and hopes and how to end life peacefully.

“When you’ve watched someone suffer, you will quickly become a convert for peaceful end-of-life options,” said Coombs Lee, adding that when people don’t have options, they revert to denial.

According to a recent Gallup poll, 69 percent of Americans said they agree that “when a person has a disease that cannot be cured … doctors should be allowed by law to end the patient’s life by some painless means if the patient and his or her family request it.”

And doctors mostly agree, according to a Medscape survey of more than 7,500 doctors from more than 25 specialties. In the 2016 survey, 57 percent agreed that “physicianassisted dying should be allowed for terminally ill patients,” while 29 percent were opposed. In Medscape’s 2010 survey, 46 percent were in favor and 41 percent were opposed.

Dr. David Grube, national medical director of Compassion and Choices, said he’s found that in states where end-of-life options are legal, patients most often bring up the topic with their doctors. Those doctors, he said, are then ethically bound to be sure their patients understand the parameters of end-of-life laws.

To participate in end-oflife options, a patient has to have a terminal disease with less than six months to live as corroborated by two doctors and has to be psychologically capable and physically able to selfadminister oral medication.

“One third of those (in Oregon) who do get a prescription don’t use it, but it makes a huge difference for a person to know that he or she is in control and has the right to self-determination,” said Grube.

For Ray Perman, once it was clear that there was no further viable treatment for the cancer, the key issue became quality of life.

He spoke with his exwife and adult children, who had been supportive, and began the end-of-life options process required in California. He got confirmation from two oncologists that he was terminally ill with no chance of recovery; told his doctors of his wishes; and was competent and able to self-administer the life-ending medication.

His prescription was filled.

“I know I am going to die, and this end-of-life option has given me the freedom to enjoy the rest of my life without the fear of losing control over my own existence,” Perman said. “I don’t want to be described as struggling or battling cancer. I am living and breathing and singing and playing music with cancer, and most of all, I’m enjoying the profound beauty of life.”

On Feb. 4, Ray Perman took his end-of-life medication, and surrounded by his family, he died peacefully.

Visiting Her in Queens . . .(poem)

 

Visiting Her In Queens Is More Enlightening

Than A Month In A Monastery in Tibet

 

For the fourth time my mother

asks, “How many children

do you have?” I’m beginning

 

to believe my answer,

“Two, Mom,” is wrong. Maybe

the lesson is they are not mine,

 

not owned by me, and

she is teaching me about

my relationship with her.

 

I wash my dish and hers.

She washes them again. I ask why.

She asks why I care.

 

Before bed she unlocks and opens

the front door. While she sleeps,

I close and lock it. She gets up , unlocks it.

 

“What I have, no one wants,” she says.

I nod. She nods.

Are we agreeing?

 

My shrunken guru says she was up all night

preparing a salad for my breakfast.

She serves me an onion.

 

I want her to make French toast

for me like she used to.

I want to tell her about my pain.

 

and I want her to make it go away.

I want the present to be as good as

the past she does not remember.

 

I toast white bread for her, butter it,

cut it in half. I eat a piece of onion.

She asks me why I’m crying.

 

Michael Mark        The Sun, March, 2017

 

 

 

 

Good Folks Out There

 

Image result for photos cane

I value the courtesies given me as a somewhat disabled old guy, and I enjoy telling about them, spreading the good news–there are good folks out there.

First a word of caution.  Being nice can be dangerous. When I drop my cane, someone always picks it up for me.  Recently, I was waiting in line at a Starbucks when I dropped my cane and two people jumped to get it, could have cracked heads in the competition to do good !

Two days ago, I took my car to Jennings Chevrolet in Glenview for an oil change. Yes, Jennings VW is still there, too,  where a service writer did me a favor once.

After leaving my car, I went into the waiting room for a bagel and a cup of good coffee, noticing four older people watching the Today Show and a young woman sleeping,

I toasted my bagel, drew my coffee, and found I could not carry both to my chair with the cane in one hand, so I left the cup behind for another trip.

One man had his legs extended to the center of the room and I thought, “Well, old guy, you might just get stepped on,” but he pulled his feet in and I said, “Thank you.”  I put my bagel on a table  and turned to go back, finding Mr. Longlegs right behind me.  He said, “Here’s your coffee.”

A little later, the young woman woke up and caught me looking at her in a grandfatherly way.  I was concerned when she left the room that I might have made her uncomfortable, but she came back.

I must have dozed finishing my coffee, because I felt something at my hand holding the cup–the girl was taking it out my hand very gently to prevent a spill.

I thanked her, told her I done that a couple of times, had spilled a drink into my as I fell asleep.  She said she understood.  Said she worked in a nursing home where “They do it all the time”.

RJN

 

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year ! –Photo

New Year's Eve 2016Nugent and Foote

New Year’s Eve party of Penn State alumni  Rose Bowl tour in hotel in Los Angeles was held at 7:30 with pastry and cheese and speeches.  Several hundred tourists celebrated the New York new year at 9:00 with party ending at 9:30.  I intend to write about this trip for the blog.  RJN

 

 

When you see a man with his pants down . . .

What do you do when you see a man with his pants down, his shoulders and torso wedged between the toilet and tub?

You laugh of course.

Image result for photo woman laughing

Anyone would!

Alice did.

She had heard my shouts from the lst floor bathroom at her 2nd floor workbench.  Came downstairs calling, “Where are you?”

When she’d gotten over the fun, she made some suggestions for getting me up, or out.

The one that worked was to pull my pants off, freeing my legs, so that I could roll over into the tub and use the bars there to stand up.

Why did I stumble backward and fall?  Maybe I was just careless.  Maybe I slipped on the dry bar of soap on the floor–strange it should be there.  Strange also to see a cat toy in the toilet with some kleenex.

I checked.  I did have my Medical Guardian device in my pocket so I could have pressed a button for help had Alice not been home.

A lady we know fell in her living room, broke a bone or two, and struggled to her telephone to call for help, forgetting the Med. Guard. button she was carrying.

I’m haunted by the story of the fat woman who fell in the shower, broke a leg, and sat in the tub for 2 days before someone found her.

RJN

Good Things to Do With Your Body

Donating body for research

People’s reasons and science’s uses are many

Students from Texas State University’s Forensic Anthropology Center search for the remains of a missing person. ( Texas State University)
Image 1 of 4

By Kay Manning  Chicago Tribune 10.26.16

Patricia Kelly had to watch her husband, William, descend into dementia, but he never wavered from a desire to give his body to science, and what followed his donation inspired her — and now their daughter — to not only pledge to do the same but to become fierce advocates of the idea.

When William Kelly died in 2011 and Patricia Kelly in 2015, they became part of an unusual program at the Indiana University Northwest in Gary, which teaches anatomy while encouraging communication with donor families through letters, visits and a memorial service.

Her mom cherished the letters she received from International Human Cadaver Prosection Program students, said daughter Susan Ellingsen, of Munster, Ind., “taking a big magnifying glass (she was legally blind) and reading them over and over. They were very personal and told us all they discovered about my dad.”

“My mother made a video to let students know why she donated her body and what hope she had for them to be the best they could be and to always take their patients’ lives and families seriously,” she said.

Ernest Talarico, who runs the prosection program, said he was troubled in medical school when all he knew about a cadaver was a number and maybe a cause of death. Fellow students disrespectfully named bodies, he said.

“The tradition in anatomy lab is to focus on the science, not to get too attached,” Talarico said. “What we do is a new paradigm. And research shows it makes better doctors.”

Many bodies donated for research have poignant back stories. William Kelly had a number of ailments and wanted science to more fully explore them.

Judy Clemens, of Hebron, Ind., had a progressive form of multiple sclerosis that so frustrated her that she took her life, but not before asking that her body be studied to better understand the disease.

Other donors are educators, scientists and members of law enforcement who know the importance of hands-on learning to solve crimes, find missing people or bodies, and bring closure to aggrieved families. They even designate that their corpses be used for such studies as how fast vultures decimate a body, or how cold or hot weather affects decomposition. Still others specify that their remains be used to train cadaver dogs.

Some bodies are donated by families seeking to save money since many programs pay for transportation and stage a memorial service for the deceased or return the cremated remains.

A future purpose for donated bodies involves recomposition, the turning of human bodies into nutrient-rich compost. A prototype for what the project director sees as an environmentally friendly alternative to burial and cremation is expected to be built in Seattle in the spring and will accept bodies for a pilot program to fully test the process.

“There’s scientific value to donating your body, but there’s a huge educational value,” said Cheryl Johnston, director of an outdoor facility at Western Carolina University, where eight bodies are in various stages of decomposition. The training they afford “is benefiting people by applying things in the real world.”

Daniel Wescott runs the largest so-called body farm in the country at Texas State University, where researchers and cameras document the rate of decay of 70 bodies above and below ground, bodies clothed, unclothed and wrapped in tarps, bodies protected by wire cages and bodies left vulnerable to scavengers. When reduced to skeletons, the bones become part of a permanent research collection.

The Forensic Anthropology Center simulates conditions under which bodies or people may be found if they are victims of crime, or are missing after wandering off or a natural disaster, such as a flood. A decomposed body produces soil that’s darker in color and vegetation that reflects light differently, allowing a drone to pinpoint a location to be searched. That saves time and money, Wescott said, and then experts can determine how long a body might have been there, leading to quicker identification and finding or eliminating suspects in criminal cases.

“It’s all for justice, not just for law enforcement, but to keep somebody from going to jail if innocent,” he said.

Decomposition research and technology have better prepared Texas to handle the border-crossing deaths of immigrants, Wescott said. Bodies are buried without names, leaving loved ones uncertain as to the refugees’ fate. The facility is trying to identify some 80 corpses, but “the very, very slow process” has led to only 10 names so far, he said.

Donated bodies also help train dogs that can detect human remains. Lisa Briggs, a professor of criminology at Western Carolina University, started training her golden retriever Laila at 7 1/2 weeks, and the 2-year-old has found three bodies and several people alive.

Briggs said she feels fortunate to have whole bodies with which to teach Laila because using synthetic versions of decomposed remains or even a single body part such as teeth or a placenta, as some trainers have to do, is inadequate.

“Drug dogs are trained on one scent — maybe marijuana — but with humans, there are so many variables, such as what they had on, whether it was cold or hot, medicines they were taking, if they drowned,” Briggs said. “No one can understand how important it is” for dogs to be exposed to all those factors.

She said she remembers an instance in which Laila was looking for two people presumed by police to be dead. The dog found the bodies in water by smelling the gases bubbling to the surface, Briggs said, adding she can be asked to help on up to 20 cases a year.

She’s seen the pain families go through when a loved one is missing. “I can only imagine what it’s like not knowing,” she said.

Brittany Winn said she knew her adopted “nana,” Clemens, was donating her body to Indiana University Northwest in hopes that something could be learned about multiple sclerosis. But Winn was unprepared for Clemens’ suicide in 2011 and the quick disappearance of her body.

“We didn’t know where her remains were. It was heart-wrenching for us,” Winn said.

Months later, a Manila envelope arrived from Talarico’s program, and his students’ first contacts with the family “had us in tears,” said Winn, who has gone on to participate in the program for four years as a student and team leader and is working as a medical scribe for a Fort Wayne, Ind., endocrinologist. She wants prosectors to understand the donor and those closest to him or her.

“It’s not just a cadaver but a person who meant the world to my family,” Winn said. “Words from the prosectors are the beginning of closure. And seeing that they get everything they can from the program makes me feel better. What they learned will be with them for life.”

She has registered as a donor, she said, but donations also can be arranged after death. Requirements vary, but programs generally will not take the bodies of severe accident victims, those with infectious diseases or bodies that have been autopsied, embalmed or had organs removed. Some have weight limitations; some will take cremated remains and body parts, such as amputated limbs.

Katrina Spade, founder and executive director of the Seattle-based Urban Death Project, started searching as an architecture student for a new way to look at death, out of concern that the existing options of burial and cremation are expensive, harmful to the environment and often shortchange traditional rituals surrounding a death. She realized the method used to compost dead livestock could be adapted for humans.

“All of nature is based on dead material being turned into new life,” Spade said. “It’s a renewal, but we’ve destroyed it through cremation or by pumping bodies full of chemicals and burying them in concrete boxes. It couldn’t be farther from what nature wants to do.”

She envisions nonprofit recomposition facilities being built in urban areas where land is scarce and there are unused structures such as churches or warehouses. Bodies could be carried by family members in a quiet candlelit ceremony or to the accompaniment of a brass band, she said, and then covered in wood chips to begin the transformation into soil.

“It’s a really beautiful way to treat bodies after death,” Spade said.

Kay Manning is a freelancer.