Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mellow Yellow Monday - The Indian Festival of Holi - 3/1/10

Holi colors by kkalyan

 Colorful fellow by dvortygirl

 Holi pigments by alschim

Holi color seller by carol miller

To all my Indian friends and others who celebrate the Festival of Colors or Holi, I wish you a joyous celebration.  I am sure that Hitesh, Braja, Geeta, Deepak, Shiju, Rajesh  or our other Indian bloggers can better tell us about this spring festival which is celebrated by Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains and others, according to Wikipedia.  It can last up to sixteen days and many have participated in the ritual of smearing colored powder on each other and throwing scented and colored water.

Celebrated on the day after the first full moon in March, Holi is a time of fun, joy, music and dancing.  Learn more about Holi at: or

The Latest From Columbus, Georgia and My Mother

Please forgive me, my friends, for my long absence from cyberspace.  I try to catch up on all your wonderful blogs, partly as a way to stay grounded and less depressed in this difficult time, and because I miss everyone so much.  St. Francis Hospital has wi-fi but, it seemed as soon as I settled down for a moment to read or write while my mom dozed, a nurse would come in and need my help with something or it would be time to try to feed her again.

Mary Frances McGee Quinlan is better, I can say that.  On Friday, she was actually discharged from the intermediate cardiac care unit at St. Francis and her physicians deemed her fit enough to be driven to her assisted living and rehab facility near my brother's home in Atlanta.  When Charley arrived she knew that he was her son but she didn't remember her name.  Alternately during her hospitalization, she could identify that I was her daughter but she seldom knew my name.  During the drive, Charley reported that she was very quiet, asking on occasion, who he was and were they going home.  Once at Gwinnett Extended Care, she was so exhausted, she was just put to bed.  She is legally blind from macular degeneration so things, at best, are a little confusing for her. 

The facility, for this type of place, is actually very good.  My sister-in-law, who is also an R.N., used to work next door in the hospital, another reason we chose it.  With her medical problems, it is good to have acute care so close.  Also, she will have P.T. and speech therapy.  It isn't cheap - $6000/month.  For the first 90 days, Medicare pays, then she must exhaust all her own funds ( there go the CDs she put aside for my brother and I and her grandsons ), then Medicaid will cover.  The law now is that any assets must have been disposed of five years prior to admission to such a facility if you wish your heirs to have them.  My understanding is that this is the same in each state.  My mother was so upset about this when we discussed financial issues a year ago.  She wanted to take her CDs out then and give them to all the people involved but I explained that the state would come back to each person and demand the money back if she were admitted to a nursing home or extended care within the five year time frame.  She was despondent over this.  I guess it behooves us to be more aware of state laws regarding these issues.  The money is irrelative to us but it made my mother furious.

I have the task of clearing out her apartment and disposing of everything.  Fortunately, over the last few years, my mom has given us all her things of real value so it isn't so hard.  My two youngest sons, Alex and his fiancee, Laura, ( who is wearing my mother's diamond engagement ring as hers ) and Jeremy, and his girlfriend, Katie, will fly into Atlanta on Friday morning.  I'll pick them up at the airport and we'll visit mom and then drive to Columbus.  The boys wanted their ladies to see where they spent so many happy times and to visit my friends,
Beth and Luther, and to go out for catfish and hushpuppies one last time.  Saturday morning, my brother will drive down with a truck and the two hefty jocks will help their uncle load up any furniture he might want. 

The rest of the weekend, we'll spend visiting mother at the extended care and they'll see a little of Atlanta.  They fly back to San Francisco Sunday PM but I'll stay in Atlanta till March 10th.  I will be able to visit several times a  day with mother and spend time with my brother and his wife in their new home.   I am just so relieved that they moved back from their eight year sojourn in Florida this past December.  I have really had most of the responsibility mom's care since that time since Susan, my sister-in-law, has had to come to Atlanta once a month to oversee her own mother's care ( she was in a nursing home the whole time they lived in Florida! ). 

Another bright spot on the horizon is that I will see a friend of 51 years who was at boarding school with me in the 9th grade in Cullman, Alabama.  She lives in the Atlanta area and I haven't seen her since she and her husband came to the West Coast a few years ago to cruise the Pacific Northwest with us.  After the last ten days, I relish any bright spot.

I miss all of you and please continue your prayers for my mother and me.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Devil Went Down To Georgia - Flash 55 Friday, 2-26-10

The devil went down to Georgia,

I think he’s after me,

I seem to feel his presence here,

Along the Chattahoochee.

Begone, you sleazy, fallen one,

Plunge to the depths of hell,

You’re making one big fool mistake,

Messing with this Southern belle!

Keep your sights off me, Satan,

 My soul is not for sale!

If you would like to tell a tale in exactly 55 words, post it and go tell the G-Man

F is for Flowers - Alphabe Thursday

I am participating in Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday! 

F Is For Flowers

Exquisite art from nature,
To brighten up our world,
Little bursts of pageantry,
In remotest spots unfurled.

Colors of the rainbow,
From palest shades to bold,
Blooms in early springtime,
To winter's biting cold.

Scents emanate from many,
Some light and barely there,
Others are most potent,
Creating perfumes rich and rare.

From the smallest purple violet,
To the reddest crimson rose,
We have a floral love affair,
Where every planted garden grows.

Carmen Henesy

Copyright (c) 2007 by Carmen Henesy All rights reserved

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

Yellow Flowers, Butchart Gardens - Mellow Yellow Monday 2 - 22-10

 Yellow Flowers at Butchart Gardens, British Columbia - Mellow Yellow Monday, 2-22-10

 Check out the rules at Mellow Yellow Monday and join in the fun.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Just a Quick Update

I can never thank all of you dear cyberspace friends enough for your wonderful words of support and love.  I truly feel your arms enveloping me when I most need it.  Who would have ever known that computers could have given me access to such caring people. 

I stayed at the hospital about twelve hours yesterday.  For most of it, my mom dozed on and off or fidgeted with her blankets in a sort of oblivion.  When I arrived, I found her restrained in a posey belt so I knew she had been giving them a bit of trouble during the night - and her IV arm was completely enveloped in cling bandage.  The nurse told me she had dislodged two IVs and had told them several times she was going home.  When I walked in the nurse asked mother, "Who is this lady?"  My mom did respond, "She's my daughter."  The first time in three days, she actually recognized me.  She also called me, "Carmen," once during the afternoon but, for the most part, she is still totally confused.

Her doctor stopped by later and said that her heart rate is still too high but is slower on the medication.  Her lab work, suprisingly, was not too far from normal.  A handsome young cardiologist came in about 4PM.  He does not want to continue her on anticoagulants after discharge, he says, because he fears the risk of falls in older patients and, on "blood thinners", that could create a problem.  He feels that, once the atrial fibrillation is under control, she won't be so at risk of forming clots.  I immediately knew the doctor was from India and asked him.  I was right, of course, and we had a nice chat about his country.  He was rather surprised that a Caucasian in Columbus, Georgia had such knowledge about so many things Indian, including the world of Bollywood movie stars.  He told me about the ONE Indian restaurant in my home town so I'll have to go there before I leave, I guess. 

So things are progressing and I have the task ahead, with my brother, of trying to figure out where my mom will be placed.  That will be daunting.  Each night, I sit here, alone in this apartment, thinking about disposing of all these belongings that have been part of her life and it overwhelms me.  It is like disposing of my mother, piece by piece.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Home Alone

I am sitting at my  mother's house tonight, alone.  It seems too quiet here, without her relaxing across from me in her recliner, dozing, while I type.  In the eighteen years I have been visiting her at this Columbus, Georgia apartment, I have never spent a night in it without her present.  Even the past two days, when she hasn't been aware who I am, I could look across at her and remember times past.  Now I just feel so bereft.

Today, she slept until I woke her at 11AM.  She has stopped reading the morning paper or having coffee, two habits that have been part of her life as long as I have.  It took me an entire two hours to get her up and moving to make her appointment at Dr. Fussell's office, her board certified gerontologist.  She was so short of breath, even the slightest movement exhausted her and required that she stop and rest.  Getting her out the door and into my friend's truck left us both gasping and the situation repeated itself once we got to the doctor's office.  The nurse then attempted to do a geriatric assessment, asking numerous questions.  My mother did not know who she was, where she was, what state she was in, the year, and, of course, she still had no idea who had been harrassing her for the last couple of hours.  The nurse mercifully gave up on the rest of the questions.

Once the medical assessment got under way, we began to get some answers.  Her pulse was 173 and the two nurses were unable to get a blood pressure reading.  Her oxygen was extremely low and she was short of breath and very dehydrated.  After she was seen by Dr. Fussell, he said she had to be admitted to the hospital for atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure.  He felt she had probaby had a stroke, secondary to the atrial fibrillation.  According to the American Heart Association, "Atrial fibrillation is a disorder found in about 2.2 million Americans. During atrial fibrillation, the heart's two small upper chambers (the atria) quiver instead of beating effectively. Blood isn't pumped completely out of them, so it may pool and clot. If a piece of a blood clot in the atria leaves the heart and becomes lodged in an artery in the brain, a stroke results. About 15 percent of strokes occur in people with atrial fibrillation.  The likelihood of developing atrial fibrillation increases with age. Three to five percent of people over 65 have atrial fibrillation.  Several approaches are used to treat and prevent abnormal beating:  Medications are used to slow down rapid heart rate associated with AF. These treatments may include drugs such as digoxin, beta blockers (atenolol, metoprolol, propranolol), amiodarone, disopyramide, calcium antagonists (verapamil, diltiazam), sotalol, flecainide, procainamide, quinidine, propafenone, etc. Drugs are also used to help reduce stroke risk in people with AF. Anticoagulant and antiplatelet medications thin the blood and make it less prone to clotting. Warfarin is the anticoagulant now used for this purpose, and aspirin is the antiplatelet drug most often used. Long-term use of warfarin in patients with AF and other stroke risk factors can reduce stroke by 68 percent."

My mom is now at St. Francis Hospital in Columbus, Georgia, the same place where I worked as a candy striper fifty years ago.  I also spent three months there as a young medical-surgical R. N. when my infant son and I stayed at my mom's while my husband was at the Air Force's Squadron Officer's School in Montgomery, Alabama eighty miles from Columbus.  Of course, nothing is the same as it was then, other than their stellar reputation which has only grown.  Today, it is also Columbus' first and only Primary Stroke Care Center, accredited by the Joint Commission ( which really means something to us nurse types who always sweated through those inspections at our hospitals! ).  As soon as my mother got into bed, she seemed to relax and barely moved when her excellent nurse started her I.V.  I feel certain that, right now, my mother could not be in better hands.  I hope she is having a good night's sleep and that her heart, with the help of pharmaceuticals, will return to a normal sinus rhythm, and do the job it is supposed to do.  Perhaps, then, at least, she will be more aware of her surroundings and will be able to recognize the people who love her.

Where Has My Mother Gone? Flash 55 Friday

Where has my mother gone?

This wrinkled soul,

who sits staring into space,

and doesn’t recognize the daughter

she nurtured and inspired for 65 years,

this woman who once waltzed to violins

in Salzburg and learned to cook searing hot

food from her Thai housegirl, is now a

prisoner in the confines of her mind.

Carmen Henesy

If you would like to tell a tale in exactly 55 words, post it and go tell the G-Man


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

E is for Eleuthera - Alphabe - Thursday


E is for Eleuthera

When you mention the Bahamas to most people, they immediately think of Nassau which they have visited for the day on a three or four day cruise from Miami or Port Canaveral.  They might have taken a ship's tour around New Providence and gone over to Paradise Island for a visit to the Atlantis Hotel to see its aquarium and to do a little gambling.  When asked about the other islands of the Bahamas, they seldom can name any.  While Nassau and Paradise Island have their lures, I fell in love with the island of Eleuthera during a four day visit over twenty years ago and have wanted to return ever since.

For a number of years in my past, I was actively involved in the northern California chapter of the Caribbean Tourism Organization.  Most of my travel involved trips to that part of the world and I always attended their annual conference which was usually held on one of their larger islands, capable of accomodating the larger numbers, tourism heads, and ministries that attended such events.  One year, the conference was held in Nassau.  Our San Francisco group had a wonderful time and we met a representative from the Windemere Island Club in Eleuthera.  He issued an invitation to us and to our local Bahamian representative to visit and, with a little help from our friends at American Airlines, that trip became a reality.  For a ridiiculously small fee, our group of ten headed to the Bahamas, via Miami, flying first class.  From there, we took a small plane into Governor's Harbor Airport where a driver picked us up to take us to Windermere Island, only five miles long.  Our driver told us that this island was a mecca for the rich and famous, even royalty, most of whom had villas at Windermere (  even with its remote location, Diana, Princess of Wales, pregnant, was not able to escape the paparazzi when sunning at Savannah Sound ).  During our stay, we were housed at two of the villas which were available for rentals.

We spent our days in total relaxation, enjoying its five-mile long beach which Jacques-Yves Cousteau ( who had a home on Windermere ) considered to be one of the two most beautiful in the world.  The beach, protected by a five-mile long reef is a haven for fish and underwater flora and is a snorkeler's paradise.  There was a sense of time at a standstill.

We often crossed the bridge to the island of Eleuthera to enjoy its white and pink sand beaches.  We went from one end of the island - a hundred and ten miles long - to the other and laughed at it width, only a little over a mile!  We feasted on Bahamian cuisine - my favorite, conch of every single kind from raw, to conch salad, in fritters, conch chowder, cracked conch, 
rock lobster, fried fish, pigeon peas and rice, and guava duff, the most incredible dessert.  Of course, fabulous rum concoctions such as the famed "Bahama Mama" and "Goombay Smash"
were always on the menu.  At night, there were casual venues with fun Bahamian music most of it with African roots, stemming from junkanoo, calypso and soca.

If you're constantly obsessed with the internet, cell phones and a fast paced way of life, Eleuthera might not be the place for you.  If you REALLY want to escape from the world for a few days and would like to be in a paradise with someone you love and rediscover what is important in life, Eleuthera is the place for you!
 House, photo credit by Alain76

 Snail meal, photo credit mfrascella

Pink Sand Beach, Harbor Island, Photo Credit New Jersey Birds

Island resident, photo credit by teddyb

Man's sad presence in paradise, photo credit mfrascella

Georgia on My Mind

This song has been playing in my head so much the last few days.  Since I moved to San Francisco over 33 years ago, I have not spent so much time in my homeland, as I have in the last six months. I was there in September for two weeks and I was there for a month from the middle of October to shortly before Thanksgiving to try to get some things squared away for my ailing mother.  At that visit, I was able to get meals on wheels started for her and I got her to the doctor and she, at least, consented to restart her medication for hypertension.  She absolutely refused to go into assisted living which my brother and I wanted since she is legally blind from macular degeneration.  Her argument was that she knows every inch of the duplex in which she has lived for over fifteen years and she feels comfortable there. 

My brother and his wife, have, just recently, sold their Florida home and, thankfully, have moved back to the Atlanta area so they are, at least, only a three hour drive from my mother.  They would like her to go into assisted living in an area near them. They cannot have her live with them for various reasons.  That is what I am hoping to accomplish this trip but it will be a battle.  There is no question that my mother is becoming increasing confused.  She just celebrated her 86th birthday on the 30th of January.

I fly out of San Francisco at 7:30AM on February 17th and return on March 10th.  I will try to keep up with my blog and following yours and commenting as much as I possibly can, whenever I can.  Please bear with me as I know you will.  I'll miss you all, that's for sure and I could sure use prayers, on my behalf and on my mother's, to whatever deities you worship.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Memories of the Past - Participating in Magpies Tales, 2-16-10

Willow of Life at Willow Manor has come up with a new creative writing prompt blog, called Magpie Tales.  You can go there now to read about it and get your first photo prompt and sign up on the Mr. Linky Widget.  Then you should put your piece on your blog on Tuesday, February 16, 2010.  Every Friday, a new photo prompt will appear at Magpie Tales, along with a new Mr. Linky.  Your post related to the Friday photo prompt should appear on your blog the following Tuesday.

To quote Willow, "This blog is dedicated to the enjoyment of writers, for the purpose of honing their craft, sharing it with like minded bloggers, and keeping their muses alive and well".

Memories of the Past

We buried her last week,
Our beloved matriarch,
At a hundred years of age,
She surely left her mark.

Her face so creased in wrinkles,
Always held a smile,
Even as she was dying,
She asked me to sit awhile.

I remembered as a little girl,
We’d play at having tea,
One day she had a box in hand,
With a special gift for me.

A sterling creamer lay inside,
She’d packed it long ago,
When Grandpa died in battle,
For he had loved it so.

She wanted me to have it,
I’ve cherished it all the while,
Every time I fill it up,
I see dear Grandma’s smile.

Carmen Henesy

Copyright (c) 2010 by Carmen Henesy All rights reserved.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Meshach - Mellow Yellow Monday 2-15-10

 Meshach, Son of my friends, Jada and Paul


Check out the rules at Mellow Yellow Monday and join the fun.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's to My Blogging Family

Happy Valentine's to My Blogging Family

In one short year, my life has changed,
So much is new to me,
I’ve plunged into the blogging world,
With a whole new family!

You’ve helped me learn to navigate,
The realms of cyberspace,
And kept this fledgling novice,
From falling on her face.

I can’t believe I’ve followers,
From lands both far and near,
I’ve learned so much from each of you,
And, sometimes, shed a tear.

At Valentine’s, I think it’s time,
To send my love to you,
It’s great to have such loyal friends,
Who keep me from feeling blue!

Happy Valentine’s Day
to all my blogging buddies!

 Copyright (c) 2010 by Carmen Henesy All rights reserved.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

For My Husband at Valentine's

 For My Husband at Valentine's

I looked through rows of greeting cards,
But none of them convey,
The overwhelming sentiments,
In my heart each day.

Each night before I fall asleep,
I look at you and see,
The man I chose so long ago,
Who still means the world to me.

Of course, we have our ups and downs,
And we may even have a fight,
But I always feel a surge of love,
When I touch you in the night.

You may come home tired and weary,
But you find me for a kiss,
Regardless of the day I’ve had,
I feel such a sense of bliss.

You help out with the children,
And can cook a gourmet meal,
And even in your jogging clothes,
You’ve still got sex appeal!

I know that Valentine’s the day,
For chocolates, cards and such,
For me, I'd rather that you know,
You’re ALWAYS loved so very much.

Carmen Henesy

 Copyright (c) 2010 by Carmen Henesy All rights reserved.

( Please note - this is a work of fiction - I have been happily divorced for over 20 years )


Valentine's Day For the Geritol Set

Romance certainly does not have to end with one's advancing years. Hope springs eternal. I don't have a sweetheart, as such, in my life nor have I joined a geriatric dating service. If someone comes my way, it will be chance or fate and that is fine. I can do without chocolates and roses on February 14th. I manage nice wine and occasional champagne with good friends and even do dinner out.

I realize, on Valentine's Day, that, at my age, I don't really need much. I only have so many fingers and I have enough rings for all of them and quite a few extra. My collection of romantic CDs of wonderful music will last the rest of my life. I'm surrounded by treasures I've collected that give me a surge of joy when I look at them. I have eaten chocolate, truffles and marzipan in some of the most incredible places in the world ( as my ample waistline proves ) and I've strolled under a full moon in Paris, Sydney, Bangkok and Barcelona, for starters. I know how to say "I love you" in several languages and have had it said to me in on Valentine's Day in far off  lands.  I think that, for me, as for many older people, cherished memories are what make Valentine's so special. If we have lost our partners or don't have some one with us presently, we may not really feel lonely because we are blessed with memories, loved ones and friends who are there every day, not just a February date on the calendar. I might not don a beautiful red dress  on February 14th, open a bottle of Perrier Jouet and dance under the stars, but I am perfectly content. It is nice to be remembered with a call, a card or email but I may not be home. I might just be with one of my friends, celebrating in my own way - and, by the way, I wish YOU love.

I realize this song is about breaking up but it is beautiful and it will make you appreciate what you have, perhaps, so that you will cherish it all that much more this Valentine's day!