a life well lived

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I have asked Elsa to be a guest contributor 03/27/01

It has been an interesting four days.  I have learned a lot about my daughter and a lot about how businesses can operate.  It has been an education. 

Instead of trying to convey second hand what happened, I asked Elsa to do the honors.

- - - - - - -

from Elsa

It was last Wednesday that I hit the wall at work, when my psyche simply said, "Hey, no more of this unhappiness.  It's time to stop."    

On Thursday morning, I realized if I went into work it would be to submit my resignation.  So, I didn't.  Stayed at home.  That night, I sent an e-mail to two of my bosses.  It''s  sort of hard to argue with a mind that just says, "No more."

Yesterday, I got a call in the afternoon from the VP in charge of Customer Service.  He offered to transfer me back to my previous division after I got everything tidied up where I am.  That sounded good to him.  For a  moment, it seemed  a solution - not ideal, but a solution.   

It took me a while to realize that what he was willing to do was very general.  So, I zapped off another note - written around 4:30 this morning - expressing my concerns.  I got a phone call at 7:00 a.m.  He wasn't too happy.  He thought everything had been resolved and that I'd be at my desk this morning.  As far as he could understand, the problem was simply one of getting in my car and heading over to work.  "You know how to get here, so what is the problem?"   

Apparently, the man never experienced acute, unmitigating job stress. 

I offered up thanks for having realized that the "solution" wasn't as clear as it sounded on Monday.  He couldn't get that my problem was putting an empowering image in my mind to allow me to walk into the office without running screaming back into the parking lot.  I don't know what threw him more - the way I felt or the fact that I hadn't any qualms admitting it.

After talking to him this morning, an unsatisfactory discussion on both ends, the solution hit me like a ton of bricks.  Instead of trying to make an unworkable situation work - impossible - crank it up a couple notches. My suggestion, with the approval of John and Mom, was for me to put in an extra 2-3 hours every day.   

For the next 8-10 business days, my work will be my  life.  John will handle all household responsibilities, including shopping and meals (I anticipate a lot of take out, laid in a supply of Lean Cuisine & Healthy Choice frozen entrees, and will take up Women's Guild on the offer of a casserole).  I expect to be at work until 8:00 or 9:00 each night and in bed by 11:00 (early by Lockphy Murphart standards).  I'll still get up withMom after John comes to bed, but other than than, he will shoulder responsibility for her care.  

That might sound looney, but it's the best shot at making it workable for me.  Weekends are untouchable. I'm treating these next 8-10 business days as if I submitted my resignation today and am responsibly prepping my cases before leaving.  Then, we'll see what happens.  In the meantime, I certainly won't sit on my hands.  I'm checking out other opportunities.  The people I work for have put in a lot of work doing their best to get me to stay.  If  they see my value, other people will, too.

My whole viewpoint has changed.  They say that adversity builds character - well, for the next 8-10 business days, I'll have an incredible opportunity to build character and inner strength. 

I've enjoyed 3 out of the past 4 days off.  Monday was a bummer.  Thursday, I took Mom out to lunch to my favorite business cafe near work.  Friday, I  worked on unearthing our den.  Yesterday, I felt low - it was getting to me.  Today, John and I spent time together.  We drove down to Bachmann Industries and he dropped off an assignment (an illustration of Track 9 3/4), then he took me out to lunch afterward.  Oh, and I've requested that the company pick up 2 of those 4 days - this whole thing could've been resolved by end of the day Friday or Sunday at the latest if anyone had called me up to discuss it, instead of waiting for yesterday afternoon.   Whether they okay it or not, at least I put it on the table. 

It helped a lot knowing there were people all over the world hoping everything would work out.  We'll see how it goes, but I have more hope now than I've had for 7 weeks that I'll still be with my company by the end of 2001.

Mom's gotten a kick out of this.  She's experienced how people tend to value us when they know we genuinely value ourselves and what we offer.  She's been fascinated by the lack of passion and the depth of principle-based actions.  She's been amazed by how much time and energy some important people have put into my sticking around.  She's realized I didn't care what my company ultimately did or didn't do.  There's a quote in the April edition of Oprah's magazine - "What we risk reveals what we value."  I read that late Thursday afternoon.  Thanks to the past few days, I understand what it means and trust I'll never forget.

I now return you to Mom!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I am going to miss Elsa.  It has been lovely having her home for these past three days.  It has been an interesting experience living in a house that should have been filled with tension and worry and which was instead calm and filled with serenity.  I think that Pete would be proud of his daughter - not of her ability to get a good end, but that she stood up for principle in spite of what the end might be.  I am not looking forward to her putting in long days and I will be worried until her car drives up and she walks through the front door.

feeling small and ineffective 03/31/01

a series of e-mails, all related to John being seriously ill

John woke up this morning not feeling very well.   When Elsa took his temperature, it registered 103.  Thinking the thermometer must be out of whack, she shook it back down and took it again.  Same results.  They called their doctor's office and the covering physician prescribed and antibiotic and cough medicine. 


Elsa zipped down to pick them up and nipped across to the grocery store for John's favorite staples - cantaloupe and a couple cans of albacore tuna.  He came downstairs after she got home and had a lunch of cut-up cantaloupe and almost an  entire can of tuna. 

By tonight, his appetite was gone and his temperature has hit 104.  A second call to the doctor instructed him to take Tylenol to bring down the temperature, to no avail.  They are waiting for a call back from the doctor because John is definitely getting worse, not better. 

It is all very well and good to say that high temperatures are the norm with streph (sp?) infections, but is alarming to see him and to touch him - he is so hot. 

I feel small and ineffective.   Keep us in your thoughts.  John's M-I-L

Subject:  "One Jim Henson is enough."

Date: Sat, 31 Mar 2001 23:37:49 EST

My second posting of the night.  It is going on midnight and I am ready to turn in.  That is not exceptional.  It is not unheard of for me to start for bed after midnight.  What is unusual is that Elsa had to come home from Holy Redeemer Hospital ER in order to do her tucking in duties, and will head back  when she is done here.

John and Elsa went over to the ER around 9:00 p.m. after the third call of the day to the on-call doctor, who was almost as alarmed as Elsa to hear that John had been incoherent for five-ten minutes.  Elsa asked him questions and could not get coherent answers.  Because she had years of experience working with managed health care coverage plans, she hones in on diagnostic approaches that would never occur to me.  All she had to say was that John had been incoherent and that his chest sounded juicy, and the doctor told her to get him over to HRH pronto.

John has been diagnosed with aspirational pneumonia.  If the doctors can get his temperature down to 100 within the next couple hours, he will come home.  If not, he will spend at least one night in the hospital.  

That would be strange - me going to see John at HRH instead of the other way around. 

As the day went on and John's condition got worse instead of better, in spite of taking two prescriptions and Tylenol, Elsa kept muttering, "One Jim Henson is enough."   

I could not figure out what she could mean.  She reminded me.  Jim Henson died of a virulent strain of pneumonia which went untreated too long.  He died of a nasty but treatable illness which he had dismissed it as a bad nasty case of the flu. 

  Image result for jim henson

Yes, one Jim Henson is enough.

John is in good hands.  My prayer is that he can come home tonight, where Elsa can keep an eye on her OTB.  What a break that John was sleeping, his temperature hopefully going down, leaving Elsa free to hightail it back here.

I had tried to contact Peter to see if he could swing over to do tuck in duties,  but we were not able to connect.  (The only time I feel truly dependent is at bedtime, since I cannot lift myself up once I am down  Curses on you, torn rotator cuff!)

It has been a long, scary day.  My thoughts and prayers are with my dear s-i-l. 

Nite nite and God bless.     Love - Budgie's M-I-L

Subject:  my third posting of the night (not a good sign)

Date: Sun, 1 Apr 2001 03:29:27 EDT

It is 2:30 a.m. (3:30 to those who remembered to spring their clocks forward an hour) and Elsa just got home.  Alone.  John's temperature came down just one degree to 103.3, so he will be in the hospital for at least 36 hours of care. 

Elsa is beyond bedraggled.  She came home before he was admitted because she worried I might need help.  (Peter was not able to return my calls, so I was home alone.)  I did.  If she had stayed until he was settled, I do not know how I could have managed.  Just as I was getting anxious, I heard her car drive up.  What a day.

Subject: John's fever broke and he had a restful night

Date: Sun, 1 Apr 2001 09:20:23 EDT
After giving me a boost out of bed about twenty minutes ago, Elsa called the nurse's station on John's wing for an update.  He is doing well.  She is going to Contemporary Service, nip back here to get me out of bed (I said in my last posting that Elsa was bedraggled, but I did not realize how bedraggled I was), then she is taking books and a radio over to John.  I cannot imagine John without a radio and something to read. 

I am glad we have turned the corner out of March and are safely in April.

Thanks for your caring support and loving thoughts - The Gramster

Date: Sun, 1 Apr 2001 21:33:44 EDT

Subject: Mindwalkers - what a blessing the Internet is
I have experienced many blessings due to my "cyber circle."   It would be difficult to explain how it has felt these 24+ hours.  Keeping my cyberspace circle updated on our drama with John's pneumonia has been a remarkableexperience.   

I know that being able to post the information as seen through my eyes was a godsend to Elsa, who would have found it hard to share in the first person.  For me, it was a release to be able to do something, since there was so little I could do and it is such unknown territory to me.  

I am the one - not John - who is normally at HRH.  He is the one who is familiar with how to comfort and support Elsa.  Being able to compose my thoughts makes me feel like I did my part.

My life was made so much better today through the friendship and caring of Carole Grisin, who brought lunch over so Elsa could be left free to spend time with John without worrying about the homefront.  We talked about so many things.  She is a special lady.  We had a lot of laughs.  We walked over tothe Spring Tree, with it's clear ornaments filled with pictures of loved ones and we had a grand time as I filled her in on a who's who.    
The gem I would like to share with you has to do with how Carole deals with disagreeablepeople - she changes her attitude by thinking about something the person is good at.  One woman was so rude, she almost stumped Carole in her quest to find something positive until it hit her - the woman was good at being rude.  

What a good life attitude.  What a blessing to have this daughter-of-the-heart.  It does not seem possible we met for the first time last week! -   What a difference she has made in my life today and what a difference her kindness made to Elsa. 

It is an understatement to say that I am heading off to bed a much happier lady than I was last night.  

Love to one and all - Grammie Kay (and Bon Voyage! to Julie!)

And now, a word from Elsa - -  "Fingers crossed, John should be home  tomorrow.  His temperature is back to normal, but he still is having problems with getting enough oxygen into his system.  His breathing seems fine, but it seems that fluid in the lungs is keeping the oxygen from doing whatever it is supposed to do.  He is really tired;  every time he drops off to sleep, a  coughing spasm shakes him awake.  I can't wait to get him home and healthy.

My own thanks to Carole, who is the very definition of friendship.  I was able to get in a brief visit with her myself when I took a 2-hour break from hospital duties (John asked me to stay all day and I wasn't about to say no, but did need a small break).  I was happy to see her car still outside when I pulled up and happier still to find her all comfy in the visitor's chair close by Mom's.  

(Interesting side note  -  the pink tulips she brought on her first visit last week - she is participating in a discussion circle at our house on the book "The Best Year of Your Life!" - have evolved from looking like beautiful tulips to resembling the palest pink exotic iris.  All three of us marveled over the transformation.)  

Obviously, Mom had a  wonderful time and we have both been well fed by the bounty of Boston Market goodies that Carole brought over.  Carole - thanks, thanks and more thanks!"