View From Here
By Katherine Veno
have battled illness...
People who have gone through intense moments, days, weeks, months and even
years of illness are like soldiers in battle. Myriads of intrusive needles,
tests, nakedness, embarrassment, bad tasting medicines, and hospital stays
are the tasks of these brave fighters.
Soldiers returning from war missing arms, legs, eyes, and abilities have the
rest of their lives involved in another type of war called rehabilitation.
They are always going to be fighting in a battle called living. People with
cancer, leukemia, diabetes, and other diseases go to the frontlines every
single day against their enemy.
Standing tall, they fight on for the most precious of all gifts, life
itself. My own mother endured eight strokes and blindness in her late 80s
and still fought on. She still managed to laugh through the pain and the
tears and enjoy a good meal or a joke. She loved to pet her cat and he would
return the love. He died just nine days after she did, and I believe a
broken heart can also kill us.
I know a very strong woman who lives with cancer everyday and chemotherapy.
She bakes banana bread, cakes, and sews old-fashioned Raggedy Ann and Andy
dolls. She makes sock monkeys and other things including baby receiving
blankets with matching caps. I know she gets exhausted, but she always makes
time for others and smiles through the battle. She is the type of warrior I
am talking about.
There is a man who loves my horses who cannot see, and even though disease
took his eyesight late in his life, he still laughs, enjoys the warmth of
the sun, and the way the rain feels, and whatever shadows he can see. This
brave man fights on for the best life he can have, and he would not quit the
fight voluntarily. Never ceasing to amaze me, he brings a certain type of
light to any situation, and his happy attitude is contagious.
A friend of mine battles on against liver disease, and another chronic back
pain that is almost crippling. They both are troopers and don’t let anything
stop them or get in the way, and go into battle each day armed with their
faith and a smile. One of my best girlfriends has endured her body’s
betrayal with breast cancer, and has triumphed through the ugly scars,
reconstructive procedures, which were painful, and still finds something
good about everyone and every situation. I marvel at the courageous spirits
of my friends, and thank heaven I am surrounded by such a strong support
Every time I go to a doctor’s office or to a hospital I see them. Sure,
there are the ones who have experienced an accident, or sudden illness, but
there they are, the soldiers of experience fighting on. They do not give up
easily, and they fight an enemy which oftentimes will take their life, but
they give it the best they have.
I wonder why I am always so terrified of doctors, tests, hospitals,
confinement, and illness. Just mention that I have to endure some procedure
or test and I am nervous, despondent, anxious and try to flee the fight and
But I am turning over a new leaf. I am going to be inspired by those around
me who endure so much more every single day to just get out of bed. I have
had my share of hospitals, doctors, nurses, and bad news, but for my age I
am in surprisingly good health, and for that I am going to celebrate. Then I
am going to arm myself for the battles ahead that just come with getting
After all, nobody escapes the final exam, but it is how we play the game,
fight the war, claim our spirit, and treat our friends and loved ones that
really matters. When I wake up on the right side of the dirt in the morning
I have won a victory.
So, let the sun shine, or the storm rage, I am thankful for all my blessings
like walking, talking, seeing, hearing, speaking, and most of all listening.
As I lead my big mare out to some green rye grass in an unusually sunshine
filled January day this afternoon, I will reflect on all the good things
around me, and all the things I can still do and enjoy that many cannot. I
want to become a good soldier and fight if I have.
Love, laugh, dance, and enjoy a wonderful dessert first, if I want. That is
the beauty of my age now. I can order coconut pie before my sandwich if I
want to do so. Nobody will think a second thought about it. My life is just
that. It is my life to live and I treasure each moment, so I will always
fight for it. I will do it for myself first, and for all those who are
braver, stronger, and who are winning, struggling, or have lost the battle
against an illness or disability. After all, I think Texas women make great
leaders, and therefore are natural soldiers.
By Emily Gail Lundy
It is not my purpose to spread bad news, or forecast what lies on the
horizon. But as a senior, one of the senility group or on the way, and for
those approaching, you must turn some situations around, make adaptations,
or you will be among the confused and lost. This news is worse than trying
to find a phone number even with bifocals.
First, telemarketers are getting hostile, and more desperate. These are
employees of companies needing customers, and more money. They are calling
the wrong people. My husband made the mistake of answering such a call
yesterday. During the conversation, the line broke. My husband hung up. Then
the caller dialed our number again.
“Please let me speak to the Mr. again,” he said. I answered, “He’s not
“How is that possible?,” the caller asked. “He was talking to me 12 seconds
“Well,” I replied, “he was standing on the porch, lost your contact, hung
up, and he’s gone.” I then hung up again.
One day a special envelope arrived, causing me to open it as it had “second
contact” on the left corner, loaded words used in getting a payment if I
ever saw one. Then in small print was the threat of criminal treatment if
the envelope was misused in any way, even a hefty fine. I opened it to find
a warranty pitch for a pickup a grandchild wrecked years ago. It was
totaled, sold for its good parts, paid off, etc. On what list would our name
for this truck still be living? What a waste of funds for such a fancy
The tone in the voices, the tricks used like the horn of a liner for a
cruise - all turn me into a hang-up.
Reporters or announcers are also speaking faster. If I’m where I can’t see
the speaker, only hear, it sounds as though five minutes of information is
being spoken in 60 seconds.
Sometime the phone message is a number I should call. The number rushes out
by automation with no pattern to it. We know phone numbers have a system, a
rhythm to repeating them. First, we say the area code, pause and give the
three-number prefix, and then pronounce the four-numbers, carefully saying
“zero” for “0.” If the number were given any faster, I’d hear a blur. So I
hang up clueless (or numberless). Of course, in sitcoms and other
plot-related shows, it would help if characters did not have the same color
of hair, same height, few distinguishable differences, but I stray.