My Life - How I think and how I live...

My Scariest Surgery

Forced to Gamble

In 1977, I was the first pregnant patient with a Medtronic pacemaker, making me a case study or a pregnant guinea pig.  Everyone, except me, was concerned. The delivery entailed a full house, a cardiologist-approved obstetrician, a heart surgeon, Medtronic representative, and students from IU’s medical school.  All went smoothly, so from that point on my doctors and family relaxed.  I had two daughters.  The second daughter was of no concern.  The only doctor available ignored me as he ran from room to room delivering babies. When I screamed that I was going to push the baby out, the doctor ran in and caught her.  I rarely told friends I had a pacemaker.  My pacemaker peers were 60+ years old.

Over the years, pacers improved, but in the beginning, there were recalls, infections, one even erupted through my skin. Didn’t faze me. I was young.  I was immortal.

In 2015, forty-three years after my initial implant, my cardiologist said my surgeries were becoming complicated.  He referred me to “the best” electrophysiologist, Dr. Keating, who questioned me when I told him not to move the pacemaker location, “Leave it buried. I don’t want a bump on my chest.”  He looked surprised and asked if I still cared. 

“Of course, I care.  My chest is the only good part of my body.  I don’t want a bump showing!”

This young surgeon didn’t care if I had a chest-bump. Normal pacemaker placement is safer with easier access.  We scheduled surgery. I was glad he was skilled, but I wasn’t too happy with his attitude.

Following surgery, he came to the waiting room dripping sweat, still in his scrubs, “Tell your mom I did what she wanted.” He also replaced some leads and worked around lots of scar tissue.  He told them the next surgery would be major. I don’t remember if they told me.   I liked my new surgeon.

Six years later, on Labor Day 2021 Dr. Keating left me a very long rambling voicemail concerning my upcoming surgery. What?  Was he bored?  Was he going through a divorced? What doctor does that? My cardiologist told me not to worry, “He is very thorough and cares about his patients.”

In November, my daughters and I met with Dr. Keating concerning my next surgery. I had an old lead that needed to be replaced.  It was dangerous due to extensive scar tissue and debris.  My insides were a mess because of 40+ years of surgeries.  I needed a six-hour pre-op a week before surgery.  In the operating room there would be a heart surgeon and blood for a transfusion.  There was a possibility Dr. Keating could nick the artery trying to remove the lead, which would cause immediate drastic blood loss.  At that point I’d receive donated blood and the heart surgeon would perform open heart surgery to stop the bleeding.  The surgery could go one of three ways.  Most likely he’d remove and replace the lead, clean up scar tissue and move the location of the pacer. The second possibility was open heart surgery and the third, but highly unlikely, was death.

The surgery would be scheduled for January.  I didn’t remember much after he said “death.” The odds were good, but I don’t gamble if I can’t afford to lose.

Shortly after the appointment the doctor’s office called to see if I could do the surgery on December 8.  I told them, NO.  Who would choose to die right before Christmas?  I called my daughters.  They wanted it done ASAP.  I called the office back and we set up the pre-op, the surgery, and post-surgery appointments.  December 8,2021 could be my expiration date.

I had about three weeks to prepare. 

Surgery Prep

Prepare for the worse and hope for the best. If I died, I wanted the least amount of damage.  What scared me most about a December death was the timing. It would ruin Christmas.  I’ve pulled some doozies, but it’s always been funny after time passes.  This might never be funny. My mind raced.

I looked at my options. Option One was best, but what about the other two?  Which would be best?  With the second, I could end up needing too much care.  What if it led to dependency?  What if the kids, filled with guilt, reached their limits caring for me?  I think they would have chosen Option Two over Option Three, but I chose Three. If I died, I wouldn’t know it.  I’m pretty sure I’d make it to heaven, eventually.  Until then I’d probably sleep without dreams.  Not too bad.   

My girls and siblings lied. They told me I’d be fine. They weren’t worried.  My good friends threatened me. I was not allowed to die.

I discussed death only with Jan because she was brave enough to question me.  I told her that all mothers want their children happy.  If I died, I’d be fine. They were allowed to mourn, wail and become despondent for about a month, then move on!  She promised she would.  I was worried about Jill and Dee. Jan promised to take care of them.  Again, Jan told me the surgery would be successful.  She was not worried at all.  This from the kid who previously said she worried about me dying many times.

It’s unsettling to have a death date. I told very few people.  I knew there’d be lots of phone calls, advice, and false assurances. Even worse, if I didn’t die, I’d look like I wanted attention.  I needed to be alone.

I cleaned my house so when emptied it’d not be disgusting.  I paid two months of utilities.  I wrote long love letters to each child and grandchild. I sent a text to a priest friend telling him my kids might need him December 8.   I wondered if preparing my Last Will and Testament a few months prior was an omen or a coincidence. I’d put it on my dresser before leaving for surgery. Each night when I went to bed, I thought about my December death.  I talked to God, a lot.  How would I feel being dead?  Would I be able to see my body as I left it?  Would I have a choice to come back, but choose not to?  Who would go to my funeral?  If a memorial DVD was made, would the pictures be flattering?  Who would do the eulogy? Should I write my own? I didn’t have a church because I’m a floater. I had no funeral arrangements.  Poor kids.  Too late now. 

You can only do so much in three weeks.

The Surgery

When we arrived at the hospital at 5:30 AM, my brother Joe was waiting. Even though the hospital ruled only two people could be in the waiting room, my family ignores rules. Jill, Jan, Dee, Diane and Joe waited for over seven hours while Diane nervous rambled only to occasionally break down and say she couldn’t lose me because we were Thelma and Louise. We were supposed to die together. I wasn’t there, but I imagine all these confident people were anxious and very happy when Dr. Keating declared surgery a success. God chose Option One. 

Option-One Recovery

When I woke up, I did not realize this recovery would be much different than others.  My blood pressure hovered at 40/30 due to blood loss. I was weak and disoriented. Hospital discharge was delayed, but I was able to leave on day three with instructions on how to handle wounds and do medications to help blood pressure.  My girls spent the nights with me in the hospital and then they brought me home. They stayed around the clock. They charted, handled meds, fed me, and dressed me.  They took care of my dog, did laundry, and answered phone calls. They assumed nurse roles taking me back to hospital where a blood clot was detected.

My sister, Elaine came to relieve them on the 4th day.  Both girls were so excited that Aunt Elaine was coming, that they stayed.  Diane and Joe also came.  I witnessed a deep love and an intense fear of missing out.  Joe suggested a slumber party, which we planned for the following day.  I was still on pain meds when Joe arrived with hard coffee and good beer.  “Only for big surgeries, do we plan slumber parties,” he said as he entered my home.

Elaine stayed with me four additional nights, until I was able to spend the night alone. Alice sent such a wonderful treat basket that I almost reordered, but it was $75.  Neighbors left gifts on the porch. Diane brought snacks, food, meds, a blood pressure machine, and probably spent hundreds of dollars.  Pay her back? She’d refuse.

Jan and I went for a follow up appointment a few weeks ago.  My red blood cell count is very low, but not low enough for a transfusion.  It may be three or four months to get the count back up.  This makes me tired, but otherwise, I’m great.

I knew my family loved me, but I overwhelmingly felt it after surgery.  I could not be a more grateful or lucky person. I could not have come home without help and never did I worry.  I’ve got three siblings and two daughters who put everything on hold, even their own families, during the holidays to take care of me.

I’m so fortunate I got Option One.  I witnessed the girls sacrifice over and over to help me.  I’m one-month post-op and they are still checking on me every day, offering to help, and taking care of my baby Maltese, Ted.   Lucky for them I know how to set them free.

Thank you.  I love you.   I’m good.

Jill and Jan at The Trump Hotel in Miami Spring 2021 (on vac with Diane, Lori, and me)
Jill and me at Dominican Republic (of Mexico because we are crazy) Spring 2021
AFTER SURGERY Waiting on Aunt Elaine’s arrival next morning
Ted at his temporary home with PUG Marge
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Uncategorized

Neighbor Ladies – November 2013

Thursday evening, I miss Helen’s call, but return it in less than two minutes.

 “Are you screening your calls? You never answer when I call. We’re going to Lou’s to play euchre Saturday at 2:00. She wants you to come,” demands Helen.

“I’ll be there if my daughter is not in the hospital having a baby.” 

 “How will I know if you’re not coming? We need four players.”

I promise to call.

Saturday morning Helen calls, “I hope this doesn’t hurt your feelings, but to relieve your stress could you stay home? Jan might have the baby.”

“Relieve my stress? I’m fine,” Helen doesn’t worry about my stress.

“Well, Becky wants to go. I don’t want to tell her she can’t go.  We only need 4 players for euchre. You can both go. Maybe the place has a library. I’ll sit in the library.”

“No, Helen, you aren’t sitting in a library. I’ll stop by to see Lou. I don’t need to play euchre. It’s okay,” Nothing is simple with this group.

 I find Helen, Becky, and Sherry in the rehab parking lot. Sherry hugs me then looks at Helen. I know she’s doing a mental count.

 Lou is waiting in the reception area with a walker. “This thing is my savior right now. The doctor told me to not go forward, or sideways, or backward. What are you supposed to do? Stand and not move?” Lou pivots and we follow.  “I don’t know. The doctor is 10 years old. Everyone looks young when you’re 85, even you Debi. Let’s go play.”

In the dining room, staff is getting Lou’s table ready. They’ve got lemonade, tea, and coffee. Lou says we aren’t going to drink their coffee because it’s no good. Sherry’s made coffee and cookies.

We pull over a 5th chair. Sherry puts cookies on the table. Everyone except Lou takes a cookie. Then Lou tells me to put the cookies on the floor.  She doesn’t like them. She likes cookies from McDonalds. She buys them 3 times a week. “That’s nine cookies a week,” she tells us.

“We can multiply,” Helen says.

“Who wants a tattoo?” Becky asks.

What? Do you want one?

“Yes. Who wants one? Most people secretly want a tattoo.”

“Where would you suggest I put a tattoo?” Lou wants to know.

Helen holds up her arm and flips her flabby wing. She’d get an American flag and let it wave in the wind.

“Can we go Monday?” Becky asks.

“We’re dealing with walkers and oxygen and canes. Who’s going to tattoo this group? Let’s play cards. Becky and Debi pretend you’re one player, so we have 4.” Lou’s shuffling the cards. “Helen, I’m glad you don’t have that flat hair today.”

“Thanks. I guess that means my hair is okay today.”

“Well, there aren’t holes in it. When it’s flat you have holes in the back.”

“So, who wants to get a tattoo on Monday?” Becky asks.

Lou deals the cards, “What’s wrong with you, Becky? You can’t get a tattoo Monday…you could get infected. Some of those places are dirty. Do you want AIDS? Sherry, hearts are up.”

“Debi, why don’t you check and see where we can get tattoos?” Becky asks. “Want to do it on Monday?”

“Becky, seriously, I don’t have time. Lou, why don’t you check? You sit around a lot.”

“Speaking of sitting around, are you outside trying to run again?” Lou asks. “Has anyone seen Debi try to run? It’s not easy to watch. Scares me. Hearts are up. Who wants hearts? Anyone? It’s down.”

“Debi, what would you get tattooed on you?” Becky asks. “I want a frog jumping off a Lilly pad.”

I don’t want one, but if I did, I guess I’d get a ladybug.

“What’s trump?” Helen asks.

“There’s no trump yet,” Lou answers. “I liked your hair short. It looked good. No holes. It’s getting long again.” Lou continues as she pulls her hair down on her forehead with a little wink. “Keep the bangs off your forehead. Doesn’t look good. What’s trump?”

I’m not getting a tattoo on Monday, but if I did it would be a big fat ladybug with the words “I Love Crazy Women.”

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Our Country, Uncategorized

Obama: My Hopes and Disappointment

I did not vote for President Obama in 2009, but I was hopeful when he was elected 44th president of the United States.  Obama and his family could be wonderful role models.  Maybe he could help lift many blacks out of poverty, model the importance of education, employment, and intact families, while ending their dependance on government subsidies.  So much was riding on his opportunity to improve the standard of living for his African American brothers and sisters.  I was genuinely happy for black children to see they too could do great things!   We were not a racist country. Blacks made up only 13% of the population so they did not put Obama in the White House.  White people elected him.

My hopes were dashed within the first 100 days of Obama’s presidency when he apologized on three continents for what he viewed as the sins of America and his predecessors.  What?  Within a year or two I knew this man did not like America or white people.  His wife certainly didn’t stand for America when she stated this election was the first time in her adult life, she was proud of her country.  She backpaddled and Jen Psaki deflected, but too late.

Instead of building confidence in the black community, Obama induced fear.  He increased racial tension.  He defended Trevyon Martian by immediately accusing George Zimmerman of murder.  Had Zimmerman been a black man the incident would have gone unnoticed.  But when the US President says if he had a son, he’d look like Trevyon the pot is stirred.  Our new normal, thanks to Obama, was to declare all police or whites guilty if a black person was killed. Zimmerman was found not guilty due to visible injuries leading to self-defense.  In December 2021, our former First Lady told People magazine that she worries for her daughters’ safety every time they leave the house. She concluded that all those Black Lives Matter kids would like to not need to worry about their safety.  I guess it could be scary living at Martha’s Vineyard in their 11.7-million-dollar mansion.

President Obama was not only a disappointment at home.  He also helped cover up truth in the Benghazi tragedy.  He appointed Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, which led to the deaths of two former Navy Seals, and Ambassador and an Information Officer in the 2012 Benghazi massacre.  Islamic militants easily attacked and killed these Americans, who had called Clinton for 13 hours begging for help with no response.  Lies followed from Clinton and the Obama administration.  Investigation was minimal and later when asked what happened at Benghazi, Hillary responded with “what difference does it make.”

On January 17, 2016, Obama bypassed congressional approval and secretly sent $400 million in converted currency to Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror for hostage release. We don’t negotiate for hostages!  Another 1.3 billion was paid for what Obama called an old arbitration claim.   We were under no obligation to pay Iran then or ever.  Our tax dollars funded these transactions.  Obama left office declaring a dismal economy and slow growth rate the “new normal.”  

What a long eight years!  Obama ushered in Trump.  He would have ushered in any Republican, but Trump was needed to smash open the deep state corruption and wake the sleepy American voters. All hell ensued.  The guilty do not go down easy.  False accusations, lies, investigations costing us millions, and two meaningless impeachments followed.  It was much safer for our corrupt, lying, cheating politicians to bow to Obama. 

How sad our first African American president was such a dismal disappointment who failed to improve living conditions for the black community and all Americans.  I wanted to like him, It was impossible.

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Our Country, Uncategorized

Politics 2016-2021

I haven’t blogged for years because I’ve been distracted. In 2016, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. Prior to Trump, I had no idea how corrupt our politicians were and how most did not give one good shit about this country. Trump promised to expose the Deep State and it pissed off the Democrats, the media, big tech, big pharma, left-wing progressives, and millions of clueless Americans who listened to mainstream media and believed the lies. It also pissed off many Republicans because like the Dems they padded their pockets with special interest group money and payback for favors given to others including other countries. All hell broke loose.

Donald Trump was attacked and special investigations based on lies costing billions of dollars while dividing the country ensued. The left, which included The Squad; a group of four Democrat women Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib the most progressive, left-wing members of congress were relentless in spewing hatred toward America. They claimed Americans were either oppressed non-whites or white racists. All cops and all Republicans were despicable and guilty. Burning buildings, destroying businesses, properties, statues, and monuments, was called peaceful protesting. Our country was hijacked. Many conservatives, especially if they publicly supported Trump were investigated and their lives destroyed. Democrats on the other hand were able to lie, cheat, and commit crime with no repercussions. The Republicans were a divided weak force with no alliance due their greed and secrets. The American people were screwed and those who paid attention were seeing it. Americans who were either too busy to notice or too far left allowed it to continue. Black Lives Matter (BLM) and Critical Race Theory took over. The goal was to destroy white privilege, which was a privilege given to all white people, even those who lived in squaller. Whites Were Despicable. Period! Everything was racists – brands, names of athletic teams, books, schools, even interstates. Racist!! Many of the truly privileged whites jumped on the bandwagon, marching for BLM and already intact civil rights. Of course, they would shit if the ghettos came anywhere near their pristine neighborhoods.

In 2019, Covid 19 hit and shut down the country. Trump was on TV every day keeping Americans updated on the virus that originated in China. People were terrified. Democrat Nancy Pelosi, minority leader, said “never waste a good crisis.” The Dems took this as another way to divide the country and change the voting laws. They did mass mailing of ballots, which enabled mass cheating, which led to Joe Biden, 40-year politician and bumbling angry puppet to be the unelected President of the United States. It has been a shit show since. Inflation, loss of jobs, American military deaths, and supplying the Taliban with billions in state-of-the-art military equipment.

So, the good news is my family sees it. We know the country is under attack…. disagree with the progressives and you are censored. Even President Trump was censored and continues to be censored. Democrats will not stop until Socialism is ushered in with all the blind sheep grazing away at the pittance thrown to them by the government. A sad time, indeed!

(Written quickly, much is left out or not clearly explained. I realize this. It would take days and days to do this mess justice. I’ve decided I don’t want to give this one more minute. I have little control. Hopefully the next election will be a fair one. No cheating!

Trump Rally – Me, Diane, Jan, Phil, Emily and Elaine; missing Jill
Little Republicans
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Our Country

What’s Happened in this Country?

  beyonce       miley-cyrus1

Many scream about women being victimized by Trump’s predatory words, but consider this acceptable entertainment.  Beyonce did a fine Super Bowl half-time as she shouted power to BLM. 

Looking at our society and what is accepted by celebrity and our liberal government, I’m surprised that so many are rocked by the latest Trump Trash.  What?  We cannot allow the “P” word and nasty talk to make it’s way into our pristine White House?  I expect the liberals to dig up more Trump Trash.  Trump was a wealthy hot-shot in the entertainment business. He has an ego the size of Mt. Rushmore.  He’s crass.  He’s a braggart. He can’t control his Tweets or his mouth.  He’s offended just about everyone. He’s also figured out the establishment, the deep pockets, the money trail, and the corruption. He’s scaring the hell out of congress and senate members who vote to please special interest and Wall Street.  Why are  there so many bed-wetting, hand wringing, righteous Republicans willing to toss their party’s platform to the wind?  What happens if Trump exposes their mafia government; the government that has not been of the people, for the people, or by the people for decades?

I have intentionally watched CNN (Clinton News Network) for several days. Clearly, Trump is up against the media, the liberals, the debate moderators, Democrats, and establishment Republicans, special interest, and Wall Street.  This powerful group has convinced the sheep that moral character matters more than issues.  They’ve also managed to cause mass amnesia.  There is a large sector of the population that has set aside the fact that Bill Clinton set the bar about as low as it could go when parents had to be careful that their grade school children didn’t ask too many questions about oral sex; or the fact that Hillary defended him by degrading, intimidating, and threatening his victims.  Sanctimonious liberals and conservatives have fallen under the spell of celebrity and liberal media.  Unfortunately many citizens refuse to vote because they are so disgusted by the candidates; they can’t see past their furor.  Not good.

Trump has my vote because he’s the candidate most likely to prevent government-funded no-restriction abortion.  As a Catholic, I cannot in good moral standing vote to eliminate all protection of the unborn. I want closed borders, legal immigration, repealed Obama Care. I want cops to be innocent until proven guilty (like the rest of us), and I don’t want race relations to plummet even further.  I want our veterans taken care of…yes, allow them to get medical care in another facility if the VA can’t get to them.  I want new Supreme Court Justices to rule according to the constitution,  not according to their feelings or current society desires.  I want a stronger military.  I don’t want our leader apologizing for America’s past or present.  I don’t want amnesty granted to all the illegal immigrants.  I don’t want my taxes raised so I can support more government funded handouts and all the dependent un-vetted refugees that Hillary will bring into our country.  I want blacks to be able to pull themselves out of the ghettos instead of continuing the cycle of entitlement dependence, which ensures the high crime rate, black on black shooting, and despair continue.

This election, it’s either Trump or Clinton.  Let’s quit feigning shock at Trump’s discretion, and quit pretending the majority of our politicians are of high moral character by choosing Bill Clinton’s crimes over Trumps ridiculous bragging and crass ways. One of these men will occupy the White House. Bill will have a whole lot of time on his idle hands. Hope the Republican traitors sleep well when we are flooded with un-vetted and illegal immigrants and a new Liberal Supreme Court that takes even more rights away from state governments.

We are not electing a Spiritual Director and if we were Hillary would not qualify any more than Trump. Too many people have their closet doors locked as they sit on their moral high horses. Because both candidates are so flawed we have no choice but to vote for issues. It’s clearly black and white.

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My Life - How I think and how I live...

About us Catholics…

I did not write this.  I pulled it from a Catholic site. I can’t give credit because I can’t remember the site.  If someone else writes it,  and writes it well, then I have no problem stealing it.  It’s good info for my non-Catholic friends.

Not True…

Catholics Worship Mary

Catholics often carry and pray Rosaries or have statues of Mary in their homes, so it can appear that Mary is on the same level as God. However, Catholics do not worship Mary, and doing so would be a grave sin in the Catholic faith. Instead, she is given great honor. After all, Mary is the mother of Jesus, who is God. Therefore, Mary is the Mother of God and deserves honor and respect. The Fourth Commandment is “Honor thy father and mother.” Jesus would never break this commandment and neither should we. When Catholics say they are praying to Mary, they mean that they are praying for her intercession—that she will take their prayers directly to Jesus, her own son. It’s a similar concept to asking someone you know to pray for you. Intercessory prayer is very different from worship that is due to God alone.

Catholics Aren’t Saved

Many well-meaning Protestants try to “save” their Catholic friends and are genuinely concerned for their eternal salvation. However, Catholics define “saved” in a different way than Protestants. Catholics believe that the sacrament of Baptism is the beginning of salvation when the baptized person is cleansed of Original Sin (the sin of Adam and Eve, passed on to all humans). After Baptism, Catholics must remain in a state of grace in order to enter heaven at death. Certain sins, called mortal sins, are very serious and take away grace. To commit a mortal sin, the sin must be serious, and the sinner must know the sin is serious and willingly commit it. There is no “laundry list” of mortal sins, but such acts as murder, adultery and worship of idols could be considered serious. Grace is restored when the sinner receives forgiveness through the Sacrament of Confession. Therefore, a Catholic must be in a state of grace to be “saved” and enter heaven and eternal life with God.

Catholics Must Obey the Pope

Catholics view the pope as the leader of the Catholic Church, but he is not an absolute authority. Like any leader, the pope is human and is subject to sin and human weakness. He is entitled to express opinions and give advice to Catholics; however, these are not necessarily official Church teachings. The only time the pope is considered infallible, or giving a teaching that is free from error and inspired by God, is when he speaks “ex cathedra,” or “from the chair.” This rarely occurs; in fact there are only two ex cathedra teachings given in the entire 2000-plus year history of the Church. Catholics obey God and Church teachings and doctrines, which also bind the pope.

 

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The Aftermath of Abuse

What happens when plans are jumbled up, you don’t know what tomorrow holds, and you face the unknown?  There are no promises.  How can you do it without fear?  You can’t until you trust yourself.  Believing you have no control is absolutely wrong.  We have more control than we are led to believe.  Much of what happens is a consequence of what happened in our past.  We cannot change it, but we can look at it, own it, and learn from it.  We can accept that we did the best we could at the time.  We can ask for forgiveness if we hurt someone.  We can forgive those who hurt us.  Forgiveness cleans the slate and gives us a chance to start over.  We remove toxic people from our lives.  We keep people who feed our spirit.  We learn we have rights.  We learn to be assertive without being aggressive.  We learn how to take care of ourselves and let others be responsible for their actions and consequences.

Starting over is difficult.  Few people would choose to be knocked flat out with the grueling task of deciding what to keep and what to throw away.  What matters?  When life is good everything seems to matter… then suddenly not so much.  We become selective.  Relationships matter.  Health matters; being self-sufficient matters; feeling peaceful matters.  Once we recognize and loosen our grip on past we can move forward. It takes discernment and an openness to change.  We can have love and support, but we are alone.  No one can do it for us.  We must dig deep.  For Christians, it takes listening to the whispers of the Holy Spirit.    For others, I’m not sure what it takes, but still I’m sure it’s a solo journey.

My daughter is on that journey.  She is sharing with me things she didn’t realize until she dug deep.  I was in that past with her, but even so her journey was solo.  As she moves forward rebuilding her physical, mental, and spiritual life I walk beside her, but I can’t do it for her.  That for me is a most difficult truth.  While she is learning, she is teaching me.

 

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This Baby Boomers Real Life

Some Things are Meant To Be…

We run by Goodwill to unload Jill’s donation. Among the donations, I spot a perfect drop-leaf table for my new unfurnished room. I can put it against the wall so it will take up little space, but then pull it out to use as a dining table when family visits. I’ve got to have it. “Jill, get me that table.”

“Mom, I have a patient who works for Goodwill. They don’t do it that way. You can’t buy the table before it’s processed.” I tell her to at least ask the guy, but she takes her receipt from him and drives away.

“I can’t believe you didn’t ask.”

“Mom, we don’t even know if it will stay at that store. It might need to go to a distribution center.”

“Well it might not.”

Jill drives me back to Goodwill, pulls into a parking space, and says she’ll wait for me. I walk past the 6 cars dropping off donations and go straight to the source.

“Sir, I’d really like to get that table.”

“Okay, I’ll tell the manager. He’ll price it and put it on the floor.”

“Really?”

He nods.

“So, if I come back in 30 minutes I can walk in the store and buy it?”

“Sure.”

I skip back to the car (not really, I can’t skip) with a big smile. “I got it.”

We drive to my house to get my car so we can fit the table.

We return to Goodwill. “I can’t believe this,” I say walking into the store. “This is perfect. It’s meant to be.”

We see the table. Walking toward the table I feel my space being invaded. Why is this old man so close to me? Suddenly four of us are circled around the table – me, Jill, an old man, and an old woman. The man says, “I think we should check the leaves to make sure they stay up.”

I watch as he puts the leaves up. It’s perfect.

“Oh, this is my table. It was in the donation pile outside. I had the guy mark it and bring it in so I could buy it.”

He ignores me. “They work,” he tells us. His woman is glad they work, “Sometimes they don’t work.”

“Do you want this table?” I ask.

“No, it’s yours. You take it,” the tiny white haired woman says. He adds, “We were only checking to see if it works because she needs something to hold her oxygen.”

“Oh.”

They both smile. I smile back. Darn, they’re so nice. I notice her little pocket book hanging on her arm and his way too big for him jacket hanging on his bony shoulders. They look toward another table, but it’s too big. It won’t fit.

Crap.

“So, if I don’t buy this table then you’ll buy the table?”

“Oh yes, we’d buy the table. She lives on the 3rd floor and I live on the second. Retirement homes are small. I had to get a twin bed or I’d not be able to move in that place.”

“Oh, so if I walk away you’re going to buy the table?”

“We don’t want to take your table.”

“It’s not mine. I can’t buy that table now. God would smack me. So, if I come back here later the table will be gone because you are going to buy it, right?”

“If we don’t buy it will you lose your religion?” he asks.

“No, I’m not going to lose my religion.”

“Okay, we’re buying the table.”

“Promise?”

“Yes.”

I walk away, but I can’t leave the store. Maybe they won’t buy it. I hang out by the register. I watch them pay for the table. We leave.

“Jill, I can barely function right now. I also bought salt and pepper shakers at Ikea and got home and they were bent. I can’t even use them.”

“Mom, you might be focusing a little too much on material things.”

“Maybe.”

The only reason that table was on the floor was because I had it put on the floor. The only reason I didn’t get the table before the old couple appeared was because I wasted the perfect amount of time at home before heading back to the store. The table was theirs all along. It was meant to be…

Standard