Jun 18, 2008

Where Anna Has Been

by Anna Arnett

I’m becoming quite a gad-about. When my daughter Kat said she was going to Florida to see her fourth-grade granddaughter sing in a school musical, I volunteered to go along. Not only did I go, but it was worth it. Rylee amazed us by her clear, on pitch, belting out of her solo, and her projection of a saucy personality. For an elementary school (grades K to 5) they outdid themselves in costuming, props, and presentation. Based on Dr. Seuss’s ‘Cat in a Hat’, ‘Horton Hears a Who’ and ‘Horton Hatches an Egg’ (did I get the little articles right?) and full of peppy songs, the whole production fit. Some of the voices, especially in a trio toward the end, totally lacked harmony, but their sweet, young voices were nonetheless very pleasing. The music department worked on it the whole school year, and it showed. That alone was worth the trip.

Kat rented a Suburban so we could all travel together, and she put on nearly a thousand miles as we toured all the way from Ft. Meyers to Key West and back. We counted alligators that surfaced in a muddy lake and marveled at the birds as we air-boated in the everglades. Best of all, though, we played games and visited with Eileen, Ryan, and their four children.

I got home in plenty of time to do my blog, but lost interest when the ANWA blogsite told me I was not a member of any blogsite anywhere. So I went to bed, planning to do something about it the next day.

Then I flew to Cape Cod for a grandson’s wedding. Wayne’s oldest son Doug finally tied the knot. We really enjoyed Maryjane’s family and, believe I or not, I finally got my first taste of lobster. Well, eating it didn’t come handy before. Loved it. I’d been home three days, but I still didn’t blog May 21st. I seriously considered telling Marsha to get somebody else to take my place permanently. Don’t ask me why my mind seemed consumed with lethargy. Maybe it was the TIA that did it, and my three days in hospital getting every kind of test they could devise—all of which turned out normal.

Actually, it was very interesting. I’d just finished the first of a series of eight classes I’m taking along with Cecily M. and Margaret T. and was chatting outside with Barbara L. when I realized the sounds coming out of my mouth had no relationship whatsoever with what I was trying to say. I hugged Barbara goodnight, and walked the couple of car lengths to where my car was parked, and got inside, talking gibberish aloud to myself all the way. I might have thought I was speaking in tongues, had there been an interpreter there. I assumed I was having a stroke and asked for guidance. Was it safe for me to drive home? After pondering it several minutes I still felt comfortable about it, so I turned on the key and set out, still talking aloud incessantly and weirdly. About half a mile down the road my speech returned. The last sound to surface correctly was the ‘d’ sound at the end of a word. Nevertheless, I kept talking aloud all the way home. With nothing better to say, I recited the alphabet forward and backward. To my surprise, by the time I got to ‘k’ going backward, I’d switched to forward. So I tried again, with complete success. I started reciting a poem, but my interest wasn’t really there, and I was almost home.

Kat was talking to someone, so I bee-lined it to Jerry’s office, and asked for a blessing. He didn’t refuse, but asked “Why?”

I told him.

“I can’t believe this. Smile, Grandma.”

I smiled.

“Raise your arms above your head.”

I did.

“Stick out your tongue.”

By now this was tempting.

Jerry pointed to his computer screen. I’d caught him in the middle of reading something his brother had forwarded, about the symptoms of a stroke.

After he gave me a priesthood blessing, Kat joined us and we discussed going to the hospital ER. Jerry suggested Banner Gateway, because he had just read it had the shortest wait in the emergency room. Kat drove me over. Jerry’s information was correct. At about ten or eleven at night, my wait was less than five minutes.

After all the testing, the doctors recommended Coumadin for the rest of my life. I resisted. The doctor reassured me it was the best available.

“Doctor,” I said, “doesn’t Coumadin have to be taken at about the same time every single day?

“That’s right”

“I’m eighty-three years old, and I can’t think of a single thing I had control of that I’ve done at the same time every day for even a whole week. Maybe I could do it, but it scares me."

“I think I’ll recommend something else.”

So, I went with my youngest daughter, Karlene, to a Naturepath, and I now swallow two tablespoons (that’s one ounce) of cod liver oil, or fish oil, usually before noon every day. If I miss I can take double the next day. Dr. Huber told me it would do everything Coumadin would do without the side effects. My one blood test since was “perfect” whatever that means. By the way, don’t feel sorry for me for the fish oil. It has a slight lemon taste added, and I take it with ease—it’s just having to remember.

I have no excuse for not blogging on June 4. Oh, I was busy enough, but it’s rather like missing Church for a couple of weeks in a row. It’s just harder to get back into the swing of it. I’ve not been caught up with reading my email nor the blogs for a month now, and have hardly even tried to read the book selections for the book club I joined. I wish I’d been smart enough to blog about why I didn’t have time to blog. That was really clever. I simply didn’t do it. Instead, I packed my bag and my fish oil for a drive to California, a one-day trip to Catalina Island, and my grandson Greg Ethington’s graduation from University of California Irvine. He’d played basketball there. I remember how shocked I’d been when I read the low percentage of athletes who actually graduate, until I discovered how few credits they could earn each year because of the enormity of time spent in practicing, let alone the travel and game time. But Greg made it.

Greg graduated June 15. That was also Father’s Day, and my 63rd wedding anniversary. The third one I’d spent without a husband by my side. Once he was in Iceland, the second time in Vietnam. The happy/sad feeling seemed about the same.

This morning, at about 1:30 I awoke still sitting in my LaZboy (I wonder why they don’t call their more dainty recliners LaZgirl) with my book still in my lap. When I was still awake an hour later, I lay there reciting poetry, trying to remember Delsa’s poem about aging skin, and wondering why it had been so long since I’d even been tempted to write in verse. As I began to think about what I might compose, I got up, found pen and paper, and wrote the following. I haven’t decided on a title yet, but “I think I’m getting old” might do. Or maybe, “Why I Can’t Remember When it Happened” How about:

My past seems like a river
fed by sparkling mountain streams
springing from melting glacier,
growing from hidden springs,
augmented by cool showers,
gurgling on its way
over cobblestone or boulders.
It sings and laughs at play.

Joined by tributaries,
it grows steadily and strong.
Rejoicing, it flows onward
though obstacles seem to throng
along the way. It merely swirls
and froths around each rock,
trusting in its destiny,
strengthened by each block.

Then as the landscape flattens,
it flows calmly and serene,
rejoicing in its memories,
re-living what has been.
Still nourishing the teeming fish,
supporting bathers and boats,
smiling at past pleasures,
recalling anecdotes.

‘Til flowing smoothly over
the edge of an unseen wall,
it plunges quite majestically
in an awesome waterfall.
And much that happened in the past
(details, how long ago)
mix to an unclear jumble
in the rainbow froth below.

Anna Laurene Arnett


  1. Anna, your poem takes my breath away. I love the imagery. It resonates through my entire being.(hmmm...I like that word...resonates...maybe I'll write an essay about it.)

    Anyway...I am delighted that you have had such grand adventures and fun times with your family. I'm glad you wrote about it..and I am thrilled you found a natural treatment rather than the coumidin...that is scary stuff. I am going to tell my mom about your fish oil!

  2. Awesome post Anna. I have strange medical problems and have had for 6 years that no doctor/specialist can figure out. The symptoms at times drive me nuts and admittedly depress me but I'm still hanging in there and so are you!!!!

  3. Anna, I love your poem, I love the "rainbow froth below," and how that perfectly describes the blur of wonderful memories - "rainbow froth" - exciting to read such perfect words.
    I'm guessing it was frightening to hear gibberish coming out of your mouth. Please stay well. Your family loves and needs you. So do we.


Thank you for visiting. Feel free to comment on our blogger's posts.*

*We do not allow commercial links, however. If that's not clear, we mean "don't spam us with a link to your totally unrelated-to-writing site." We delete those comments.