Saturday, August 29, 2020

And now…the end.

Concho Pearl RV Estates, San Angelo, TX – August 29, 2020


As most of you probably know by now my father, Bill Putnam, passed away on July 28, 2020. This was particularly hard on us and I’m sure it was on him also since we had not been allowed in his room since March 16, 2020 with the exception of a single day on July 22.

I am bitter, annoyed, upset, whatever you want to call it, that our country chose to make this virus a political issue. This led to hysteria at all levels of government with each politician trying to outdo the next one by laying on more and more restrictive measures to “protect” their constituents. How many folks lost loved ones and were not able to be with them? How many patients and elderly residents felt like they were abandoned by their families when that wasn’t the case at all? Oh sure, some medical facilities would let you visit on the final day of life after the patient or resident was comatose but what good is that? You want to be able to visit while they are still aware and are cognitive and know that you are visiting them and that you love them.

We are so grateful that our lifestyle has allowed us to spend so much time here in San Angelo, Texas over the last three years. Although Dad was fiercely independent, he had been needing more and more subtle assistance. We tried to make life simpler for him. We put his bills on autopay. We added my name to his bank accounts so I could do transactions for him. We took him to doctors appointments. We hired a physical therapist to help with strength training and balancing. We hired a lady to cook supper for him and to keep his pill dispenser full. In short, we did our best to make his life free from hassle. Our family did their part to by visiting and calling to keep his spirits up during his last few years.

Terry and Joy, my brother and his wife, helped to celebrate Dad’s last birthday, his 98th on June 18. My sister Fran and her family sent many cards for the occasion. The four of us sat outside his room with an open window so we could see him and talk to him. Communication was difficult at best, but at least we could see him and he knew we were there for him.

Since March that was how our visits went. Sometimes we had to argue to get the staff to open his window so we could visit. Once we had to involve the manager of the facility to pass the word down to staff that it was OK. Towards the end, the facility passed down the stupid rule that communication had to take place through a closed window. Understanding the impossibility of that working, staff remained accommodating and would open the window for us. For the last 5 months of his life, that little window was as close to a real physical connection as we would get.

Towards the end of June or early July, I finally realized that I had to give up the hope that Dad would ever return to his apartment. Early on he fought hard to get better and get stronger so he could come back home. I felt as if somehow I would be betraying him by letting his apartment go. But inevitability, he became too weak to fight any more. Even so it was a couple of months before I gave up on a miracle happening. So I told EJ it was time to begin in earnest the task of letting his apartment go.

Now here is where our two personalities come into play. Once I make a decision I am ready to  move on. I was all for hiring someone to come and empty out the apartment. “Not so fast” EJ says. “Let me handle it” she says. For the next 4 or 5 weeks, she proceeds to organize and advertise the contents of the apartment. It’s particularly challenging, because due to the China Virus no outsiders are allowed in the apartment building. (It’s full of old folks,you know. Potentially high risk.)

She would put flyers up on the bulletin board advertising some of the bigger pieces and invariably a resident in the building would snap it up. She even sold his power chair twice. (The first person that bought it decided they didn’t need it). Towards the end, almost everything was gone or spoken for except the clothes. Dad had lots of nice shirts, but we could get no takers. We eventually ended up donating all his clothes to the Salvation Army.

We were on schedule for giving up his apartment on July 31 when Dad passed away on the 28th. I guess our decision to let the apartment go was more timely than we care to admit.

He wanted no ceremony, he just wanted to slip quietly away. We honored his wishes. He was cremated and wanted his ashes spread over Ivy Cemetery in Admire, Kansas. All that remains now is to round up my brother and sister so we can make that journey sometime next spring.

Obligatory cat picture follows.

Maggie Sleep

Friday, August 7, 2020

Gabby’s Got The Tail Droop Blues

Concho Pearl RV Estates – August 6-7, 2020

More tales of RV life. When you live in a 2 room apartment of less than 400 square feet you are definitely aware of your surroundings.In less than 10 steps you can be in the bedroom, the bathroom, the kitchen or the living room. Throw in 2 cats and every step is a potential disaster for a cat. They definitely don’t like being stepped on.

As anyone who is a cat servant knows, you are always on the lookout for unusual behavior. Why? Because cats are sneaky little varmints. And to their own detriment, one of the things they do best is hide their ailments.

Hurt Cat Tail

They won’t tell you they are sick or they hurt their foot. Instead they just disappear. Eventually you notice the cat has been missing for several hours which is unusual since they are always begging for attention, food, to go outside, to come inside or any number of other things that are impossible for humans to decipher.


We noticed that Gabby seemed to be a more subdued than usual. She normally is looking to get into some kind of mischief. But we noticed that she was acting timid about everything. She had the blues!.Very unlike Gabby! This is the cat that walks up to complete strangers to say ‘Hi” and sees possible prey around every corner (like my fingers).


At the same time, we noticed her tail was hanging straight down to the point of dragging the ground.


Normally when you scratch the “sweet spot" on her back her tail will spring straight up into the air. Now when we scratch it, nothing.


A little research on the web indicated possible nerve damage which can also cause bladder problems. A cat’s worst enemy is a bladder problem. Of course this is a Friday, the last day Veterinary Offices are open for the week. So do nothing and hope it gets better, or call the Vet and hope they can squeeze us in today.

So we call the San Angelo Vet we favor to see if they can take us as a walk in, which of course is more costly than making an appointment. They want us there in 30 minutes. We grab Gabby’s medical files, blankets, throw on some acceptable clothes and of course Gabby and rush out the door.

At the Vet, they check her temperature (it’s normal), give her a once over and an X-Ray. The Vet agrees that there is some trauma to the tail and the results of the X-Ray should tell us more.

The X-Ray pictures come back showing no bone damage. Since the base of her tail (where it attaches to the body) is swollen, the Vet surmises that Gabby has some soft tissue damage (read bruise). Then we remember that Gabby fell off the counter 2 days ago. We didn’t see it happen, we just heard the “splat” when she landed. The Vet said she probably landed on her butt and bruised the base of her tail. Because that area is swollen, it is pressing on nerves that control tail movement, hence the tail droop and the limp tail Thus the title of this post, Gabby’s Got The Tail Droop Blues.

So Gabby gets a shot to reduce inflammation, and we get to give her doses of pain meds over the next few days. Once again, Gabby survives another mishap.

Obligatory cat picture follows.

Maggie Zoned