* TToT: pebbles in my mouth

I can take my inspiration from Messy Mimi’s Meanderings for this week’s Ten Things of Thankful. It seems that we both had our struggles! Like right now, I cannot get the L in Thankful to join the rest of that link. I’d better go ahead with my list before I chuck the computer. I’ve numbered my ten things for which I’m thankful, just in case you can’t find them.

I wrote the book on how NOT to survive a trip to the emergency room. I thought I would do better the last time around. I took a nut mix (no, not me and my dearest teaching widower) plus water for the long night. [#1] I was relieved that its packaging did not set off the metal detector. [#2] In the end, though, my teeth were to blame for what happened. Sort of.

While trail mix may be delicious, you can’t just pour it down your throat. Of course, you are in the ER, so you’ll get medical attention [#3] about an hour after you choke to death. But your fingers must come in contact with the food, assuming you haven’t accidentally (or on purpose) chopped off your digits.

Everything in the ER is contaminated, including your pinkies, so the best policy is to wash your hands until they are bleeding. There was still some risk, but around 2 AM, I dug into my nut mix. [4] However, I have these tight-fisted teeth, the kind of molars that trap every irritating particle. I needed a toothpick, but you saw how the Swiss Army knife worked out on our last visit. I kept telling myself not to touch my teeth. [5] After a couple of hours, those nut scraps felt like pebbles in my mouth. It took all my willpower not to dig them out. [6 & 7]

Fast forward to a nearby person (uncomfortably close to the edge of our bed) waiting for his spouse to get medical care for her puking digestive issues. For some reason, he kept shaking our bloody hands! He crawled on the floor to hunt for his missing phone and then held out his hand. Again! So I used more hand sanitizer and then braved the nasty bathroom for additional scrubbing. [8]

And on my way back to my dearest widower, I did it. I plucked an offending nut from my teeth.

I got sick. I got really cranky. I got better. [9] My dearest teaching widower asked me today how I was feeling about retirement. [10] I growled.

* Do you feel like hurting yourself?

That’s the first question we get during our intake at the ER. No matter what. My dearest teaching widower had another medical emergency so it was Round Four. The follow up question is: “Do you feel like harming someone else?” I felt like killing someone as I pictured the interminable night ahead of us. The nurse stared at me as I stifled giggles.

No matter how you feel upon your arrival, the ER ‘rooms’ are cleverly designed to drive you crazy. Every hallway has been partitioned into these spaces where we listen to the intimate details of others’ misery. Some poor woman groaned for about two hours, begging someone to stop. A neighboring roommate talked incessantly to us about burial plots for several more hours. I tried to read but I kept hearing, “Do you have a history of vomiting at work?”

Eventually we were offered a choice, a no-brainer, really. Did we want to stay in the hospital for two more days or go home and come back. See ya later, alligator!

* Not the sharpest blade….

My dearest teaching widower has heart disease and so we’ve spent our fair share of time in the ER. Our current visit has been long and we’re dealing with a new medical issue now.

And then there was the issue of me being a threat to public safety. With my Swiss Army knife. I didn’t realize it was in my backpack when we got here but the X-ray machine caught it. I rambled on to reassure them I wasn’t a danger to anyone except myself (I had sliced my thumb trying to open all the gadgets). They stared at me while I explained I’d been a Girl Scout/Girl Guide and always wanted another special knife. Eventually a police officer showed me doodads on my weapon that I didn’t know I had! Who knew there was a toothpick? Or tweezers? Of course, they confiscated it but concluded I was harmless and certainly not as sharp as my blade….

* TToT: my week

I’m joining a blogging challenge to share Ten Things for which I’m thankful this week. Here we go!

1. My stitches were removed from the finger I nearly lopped off almost 2 weeks ago. Whew! Glad to be on the mend.

2. This bunny friend comes daily to feast in our overgrown yard. He’s adorable!

3. Speaking of animals, oh say can see our patriotic deer? Thankfully, this one is in a neighbor’s yard.

4. The smoker my dearest widower won for Father’s Day was full of water and rust when we opened it yesterday. And it still worked! Here’s why the water got in. Not thankful for Dorian.

This photo was taken from the inside of the cover.

5. I prepared a rockin’ potato salad today! Thankful to Gimme Some Oven for the recipe.

And following ClarkScottRoger’s awesome book of rules, numbers 6- 9 are open for someone else to contribute! PLEASE!

As for number 10, I am grateful for my new, mostly-retired status: just hangin’ around!

* Go away, Dorian!

As we watch Hurricane Dorian ravage the coastlines of North and South Carolina, I’m reminded of a kiddo who was ravaged by your everyday storms. Ellie (not her real name) had a serious anxiety disorder, a compulsion to obsess on anything weather-related. We all knew that this stemmed from the trauma in which her twin died in a car accident; it was one of the first things she told me about herself. Given the vagaries of the brain, her fears had latched primarily onto the weather, although she had numerous other anxieties.

(We are getting wind and rain but are not in the worst of it.)

Do you know how hard it is to keep kids from talking about things like hurricanes and tornadoes? Ellie and her classmates went into overdrive regarding catastrophic events, only Ellie couldn’t stop panicking. I wonder if she has ever received any cognitive behavior support for those crippling fears. I hope so. For Ellie and all the rest of us, go away, Dorian!

* “The Van Gogh Deception”

Deron Hicks is the author of “The Van Gogh Deception” and I hope he turns this into a series! It’s a fast-paced mystery for upper elementary/middle schoolers, with a strong emphasis on art. In fact, the main character, Art, ‘wakes up’ in the National Gallery of Art, with no clue as to his identity. He’s suffering from trauma-induced amnesia and is quickly placed in emergency foster care. Mary Sullivan and her daughter, Camille, have no idea who they have welcomed into their home- or the danger they will face. Poor “Art” doesn’t even know if that’s his name.

The author uses QR codes to linked to works of art referenced in the story (although one of those didn’t work for me). “The Van Gogh Deception” pits Art and Camille against a criminal mastermind with clever plans to sell a fake Van Gogh. Suspending the reader’s disbelief just a little, Art is more than up for the challenge of staying alive. These two youngsters are chased all over Washington, DC by a team of operatives who are rather shocked (literally) by Art’s ingenuity. It’s a fast and fun read, with a lot of art history packed into the book.

* “Call of the Wraith”

Kevin Sands has created another winner in his Blackthorn Key series. “Call of the Wraith” is his fourth mystery featuring Christopher Rowe, apothecary apprentice living in the 1600s. Christopher is shipwrecked in Devonshire and suffering from amnesia. While Christopher is searching for healing, his loyal friends, Tom and Sally, are hunting for him across the wintry English countryside. Locals believe a phantom is kidnapping young children and the three friends end up entangled in this deadly scheme.

Visit the author’s page here.

Call of the Wraith” does not disappoint. The characters remain fascinating and the plot is amazingly complex. Readers are given a fascinating glimpse into an era of witch trials and piracy. Christopher is scared and hampered by his amnesia but still manages to use his love of explosives to full effect! Themes of courage, loyalty, and prejudice are well worth exploring through this book. It’s also a great way to introduce some Latin to your middle schoolers’ vocabulary!

* I can’t hear you!

Yes, I wear hearing aids. A teaching assistant and I both lost our hearing after more than a year of daily testing a kiddo’s hearing aids without proper equipment. The student would end up with a cochlear transplant and we ended up saying, “Huh?” By the time the district finally hired a hearing specialist, it was too late.

So, a couple of weeks ago, I was tutoring a young fellow on a Monday and was distracted by my itchy ear. I ran my finger along the hearing aid to make sure it wasn’t falling off. No problem there. The itchiness continued and I developed cold symptoms. I felt miserable: low grade fever, ear ache, runny nose, sore throat, worsening congestion. While taking a shower on Wednesday, I rubbed my sore ear and felt something move! Yikes! I quickly aimed a spray of water into my ear and although it hurt, no critter crawled out. Whew!

Because my dearest teaching widower was tired of me yelling, “What??” I decided to try my hearing aids again on Friday. I noticed that the dome was missing from one hearing aid but figured it had fallen off somewhere. Duh. You know where it was, right?

As I forced that hearing aid into my ear (DUH!), I yelped in pain as the previously ‘lost’ dome pressed against my eardrum. After a few hours of panic at the ENT, the errant click dome was retrieved and I was taught how to attach it properly.

I had to laugh as I overheard a nurse asking, “How did she get a COMB in her ear?” Huh? What’s that?

* TToT: miracles

Ten Things of Thankful is a great weekend post, a celebration of the good stuff. I have a lot of that good stuff, so let’s go!

  1. I’m able to walk! I was in a wheelchair for 2.5 years and could not stand for long and could walk only about 30 feet. God answered prayers while we were at the beach in 2011. I enjoyed a walk just now. On my own two feet! I don’t take that for granted anymore.
  2. I have two ugly feet but as a PT told me, the folks with prosthetics for feet would give anything to have my ‘ugly’ tootsies.
  3. I could have chopped off my finger or hand last week while cutting hedges. Or worse. I’m grateful for all 10 fingers.
  4. I could be paralyzed (or in heaven) after a serious horseback riding accident. I only suffered some mild brain damage, which is less evident with spell check and word suggestions.
  5. Our son helped us with taxes today, exhibiting patience that he did not inherit from me! My dearest teaching widower is sooo patient!
  6. through 9. We have air conditioning, hot running water, a wonderful house, and a peaceful neighborhood.
[While we were at the beach, my dearest teaching widower and I had these “opposites” for glasses. That’s a reflection of how we are, with me always tilting off in some direction and him always steady. (But that’s his margarita!) I love him dearly.]

10. We are saved and loved by Jesus, so our lives are in perfect hands. No matter what happens, this is the worst it gets for Christ-followers. One moment with Him is worth a trillion of anything else. Christopher likes to play the “What would you do for all the money in the world?” game. I used to think all the money in the world was a great idea. Now I realize there are so many other, better things! What about you?

* Patti + Ricky

Wow. If you are a parent or teacher of a child with special needs, this website is for you! Patti + Ricky is an online shop for folks with ‘disAbilities,’ stocked with over 2000 items and created in partnership with 65 designers! From items in braille to footwear for prosthetics, you can find an incredible array of adapted clothing and accessories for men, women, and children.

Remember how we had to create a chewie necklace for Christopher? Patti + Ricky have the coolest “chewelry” ever! I have never seen a site like this with so many compression, weighted, and modified products. It’s simply fabulous.

Pattie + Ricky grew out of Alexandra Connell’s love for her mom (Patti) and Ricky (cousin) who inspired her to provide options for folks with special challenges. Her story was captured by the Today Show on NBC. It’s well worth the watch. You can follow her on Facebook, too!

I could have used the wheelchair and crutch accessories for years….