COVID messed with me

October 14th, 2023 No comments
Paxlovid packet

Paxlovid packet




Paxlovid packet

Paxlovid packet

This has been a lost week to me.  Last Monday, October 9,  I had a mild sore throat and I was getting a ton of post nasal drip at night.  That same day my son, who had visited in my home the day before, tested positive for COVID.  And let the fun begin.

Things I learned about COVID and myself this week.

1. It starts out subtle and insignificant.  The sore throat was not much to think about, but that amount of snot was!  I was thinking that I can deal with this, no problem, except that clearing that snot took a lot of coughing and gagging.

2. It took a full day of symptoms before I tested positive with the quick at home testing kit. That’s why there is more than one test in a kit.

3. Being sick and being alone combined is horrible. I haven’t been sick for years, but whenever I was, Mike was there for me and would get me whatever I needed. So my raggedy ass could stay in bed and sleep all day if I needed to.  He was so giving and kind to me that way. No wonder I loved him so much.   But, I was on my own mostly.  My youngest son also had COVID and had given it to me…and my oldest son sure as heck did not want to catch it.  And I don’t blame him.   So he didn’t come around except to drop off needed items on my doorstep.

4. I had to put mind over matter.  I was a pasty, weak, feverish, aching, coughing, snotty nosed.  sputum producing machine.  It took me a while to muster up the energy and strength to get up to the bathroom or kitchen or to let Stanley, my shih tzu,  out.  I held onto walls and took my time, and I did it.  I had choice.  Maybe COVID turned me into a real adult, responsible for myself.

5. Although I did not avoid getting this crud forever, I truly believe that my enthusiastic acceptance of the vaccines and then Paxlovid for treatment has helped me to avoid a very serious case of COVID.  Even though I was very sick, my case would be considered “mild” by COVID standards.  That mostly means that I did NOT need to be hospitalized or put in ICU on a ventilator.  And Thank GOD for that.    I am at high risk for serious COVID because of my age (OLD) and my weight (NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS).

6. Speaking of Paxlovid… is vile.  It is packaged in a bubble pack…meaning a days worth of pills are all divided out and you punch them out through foil.  You take 3 pills ( a combination of anti viral medicines) each morning and each night for 5 days.  Sounds easy, and it is.  But holy crap, it makes your mouth taste like the inside of an galvanized tub.  The metallic flavor in your mouth is disgusting.  It is certainly nothing I want to get use to.  Basically all you can do about that is drink a lot of water and other liquids, which is very important anyway during this sickness, and try to cover it up with food flavors. Also brushing your teeth helps.   It works for a few seconds.  I have been foraging my kitchen anyway…no ambition to cook anything.  My sense of taste is altered too, so I don’t care so much about food right now. My favorite  Great Grains cereal tasted like mushy newspaper, and I threw it out.   So, I eat little bits of whatever I can tolerate all day long.  The most important thing is to drink tons and keep those secretions thin and clear.

7. Ibuprofen is your friend.  It helps with fever, aches and pains. I live on the stuff anyway for my arthritis, but I was not bashful about taking more doses than I generally do.  When my fever rose to 102 on the third day, I began to take it regularly.  That nasty fever and then sweats only lasted a day or 2, so I was very fortunate.    At nighttime I took Tylenol PM…because it also helps with fever and has a dose of Benadryl in it to help dry me up some for sleep.

8. Pulse Oxymetry is a simple test to see how well you are oxygenating. You clip this little clothespin type device onto the tip of your forefinger and push the button.  It reads out in a few seconds.   Mine dropped to 93% a few times, normal being 95 to 100%.  I checked my nail beds and they were pink (not blue or grey like with low oxygen levels), and I wasn’t having difficulty breathing, so I just rechecked it  again in an hour or so , or after moving around some.  It always rebounded to 95 or higher.  So, I learned to not test so often, and to not panic if it goes a little under 95%.

9. Shih tzus are scaredy cats.  My poor Stanley is a paranoid mess with me being sick.  He is frightened of loud sudden noises.  Coughing and sneezing qualify.  That poor little guy has spent hours hiding behind my tv stand during the daytime.  At night, for some reason, he stays with me on the bed…maybe the noise is less frightening than the dark?  The only time he got down all week (and I didn’t even hear him) he pooped on the bedroom carpet.  He very rarely makes a mistake, so I didn’t scold him about it. By the way, I didn’t smell that poop because my sense of smell is gone for now. He has been a real trooper through our recent trials, and the loss of my husband.

Speaking of smelling, I hadn’t showered for days. I debated about taking a shower, because I was pretty weak.  I only had myself to worry about and I can’t smell anyway! Nobody was here to smell me if I stunk.    But, I was pasty and gross and decided it would be a fine thing to do. I cleaned myself up and washed myself out.  I’m still not sure it was necessary…that ONE shower I took all this past week.

Wait, maybe Stanley could smell me and that was part of why he was keeping his distance.

May be an image of dog and toy

10. Kids will turn to you even if you have covid, if they need help!  My son decided he felt well enough to go get a few groceries.  He was 5 days in with the virus and so he wore a mask and avoided being close to others…and went to the store.  When he got back to his car it wouldn’t start.  He called me. I was his natural choice because we are both infected, and he didn’t want to infect anyone else.    My other son didn’t want this virus, and he is smart enough to avoid us.  So, I dragged my sorry self to the store to pick him up.  We left before the tow truck arrived for his car.  So after he left my home with my truck, he got a call that they jump started his car and it worked.  So, he came back to get me to go back to the store to pick up my truck…he’d left it there  to come pick me up in his now running car.  Nobody else was exposed to our grossness…we were very careful.  I wasn’t ready for all of that running around, but Moms do that stuff.

I’m on the healing end of COVID and I am very happy and relieved to be saying that.  My son has returned to work, but he has to wear a mask.  He might still be contagious.  He came by to see me yesterday and brought beef stew and biscuits.  My other son is in touch all day, and offering to drop things off.  Thank goodness for them…and I’ll never be truly alone because of them.

Don’t mess with COVID.  It is here to stay.  I got the new vaccine about 2 weeks before I caught it.  I have to wonder how sick I would have been without getting vaccinated.  It is a frightening thought.   Also, regardless of the metallic grossness of Paxlovid, it seems to be doing the trick of shortening my bout with the virus.  Take advantage of the known science, even with its imperfections.

Thanks to my friends who offered to bring stuff by while I’m sick, and, well, just for caring about me.



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Dignity, and what it means when you are a patient

September 3rd, 2023 No comments

Having spent a lot of hours, every day,  at my husbands bedside in July, I learned a lot about how “things are done these days”.  One horrifying thing is that routine hygiene is a thing of the past in nursing care.  When I trained as a nurse, the daily bathing, oral and skin care were all fundamentals in nursing.  It was the basis of what everything else built on.  Every patient got a bath every day, doing whatever they could for themselves and the nurse or CNA doing the rest.  Bathing someone is a very personal and intimate thing, but it is necessary for a number of reasons.  While bathing a patient, nurses not only clean them, they assess the condition of the skin, particularly in skin folds and areas that have constant pressure like over the coccyx and on the heels.  Bedsores tend to form on those two spots.  Fungal and other infections can grow in skin folds.  Beyond morning bathing, patients got PM care, which was a “wash up” and turning to the side and getting a back rub with lotion…AKA, skin care.

I was astounded at how little attention was given to hygiene or skin care for Mike.  Nobody bathed him, and most of the time he was there, he was too weak to get up to the bathroom and shower or stand at a sink to wash.  He was mostly bed bound, rarely even sitting up in a chair.  He was so very sick.

I did what I could for him with whatever was in the room.  At one point when he scheduled for  a surgical procedure in interventional radiology, I asked the assistant department head nurse about Chlorhexidine bathing prior to surgical procedures.  The nurse I spoke to said  “Oh yes, we bath with warmed Chlorhexidine wipes every day for patients!”  I knew for a fact that was untrue.  I told her that I would bath him myself if they got me the wipes to do it with.  And so I did..and he did what he could himself.  Another time, I used  unscented bum wipes to bath him, because it was all that was available in the room, and apparently washcloths and towels are a thing of the past in at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center.    Eventually, during his second stay, I brought in my own washcloth and towel to help clean him.

Oral care is another basic need in the hygiene of patients.  Good oral care is essential to good health, and it helps to prevent pneumonia and mouth infections.  An unopened toothbrush sat on his over bed table for days with a tiny tube of toothpaste.  When it finally hit me to ask him…”have you brushed your teeth?”   He said “no”.  Nobody got him what he needed to do that.  All he needed was two cups of water and an emesis basin.  I helped him many times to do that…nobody else did as far as I know.

Shaving became a thing of the past.  At one point, I set him up with a basin of hot water and his razor.  That was the last time he had a proper shave.  Then I got him a new electric razor, but it didn’t work well on his beard growth.  I was too timid to shave him, because I worried I would nick him and set him up for an infection.  I regret that I didn’t hire  a barber to come in and do proper shaves for my sweet husband.  When he died, he had a scruffy growth of facial hair, not unlike a homeless person.  He was always so clean and well groomed.  He took pride in that.Being clean brings a sense of dignity and pride.  It is essential for the prevention of unwanted infections and for the nurse to check the skin for infections or break down.  And most of all, it give a sense of normalcy and well being.  When did nurses stop learning and doing this basic step in the care of human beings.  It is disgraceful.  Nursing has gone downhill and it is now  mostly about passing medicines and clicking away at a keyboard. If you have a loved one in the hospital, do not assume that anyone is helping him to bathe.  One day, when I expressed my concern about his hygiene, a CNA actually lied to me, saying that my husband refused to be bathed.  He was listening and did not contradict her, but he said later that he did not refuse.  Actual hands on hygiene, and patient positioning is gone. ….until there is a bedsore.  And that is a subject for another blog.


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Degradation of women in the US!

June 27th, 2022 No comments











Let’s give this some thought.

The new SCOTUS ruling stops the constitutional right of any woman to seek reproductive healthcare that has been legal in every State for over 50 years.  Most States will follow suit.  Thank God I live in Maine where reason and intelligence prevails.

The ruling was made because we have mostly old men and one handmaiden on the SCOTUS who do not believe in women’s rights to choose.  Our bodies are at their disposal. Their opinion is that it is woman’s job to birth babies and to do as they say.

I say it is none of their goddam business! It is the woman’s business and her choice.

Two of those justices were revealed for exactly what they were in their younger days…and who knows about now?

Clarence Thomas sexually harassed his subordinate Anita Hill.  She is a strong intelligent woman.  I remember her testimony during his hearings to become a SC justice.

He lied, said it wasn’t true. Women do NOT take an oath and sit in front of a congressional hearing with made up crap.  He has also stated that he is willing to take all his BS to another level of controlling women.  He would go after birth control, gay marriage, etc.  This guy thinks he is GOD!  He should be very careful though because if he takes us back far enough, his marriage would be illegal and he could be owned by a white man.  No, I am not racist, but erasing 50 to 100 years of progress could wreck a ton of progress on equality of all sorts. This week he  set himself up with a good head start.

Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a young woman when he was in high school. Christine Blasey Ford calmly and openly testified about what she endured at his hands during Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings.

Only a cursory investigation was done, because this was Trumps guy…and Trump is a loud and proud sexual assaulter himself.  You all know…the “grab em’ by the pussy” guy.  Three more women also stated that Kavanaugh attacked them .


Make no mistake about it…the majority of the SCOTUS is a good ole boys fraternity.  Some of them were dirty boys who abused and used women and their bodies because they couldn’t keep their peckers in their pockets..  THEY had no self control.  They were chosen regardless of their “bad boy” behavior. Their votes are just one more way to assault/degrade women and keep them in their place. Their SCOTUS work is an extension of their horrid behavior as bad boys. They have not evolved, not one bit.  They are ignorant ape men with law degrees, assisted by a subservient handmaiden.  And 3 of them were chosen by the biggest cave man of all….DJT.

Nobody is talking about the lies they told in confirmation hearings.  Perjury apparently is not a thing for men or women who are the “chosen” for the SCOTUS, by the biggest liar in the world..Donald J Trump.

Why isn’t anyone talking about all of this.  The Roe v Wade reversal will affect women all over the US. This is the biggest mass sexual assault  threat for women ever, and we should be talking about how to impeach at least 2 of the men who voted for it.  They assaulted women, and they lied about it, and now they make rules for women and their lives.  DJT enabled these lying womanizers.

Since when do we give the most prolific liars the most powerful positions in our country and then let them make rules for over half of the population!

The SCOTUS decision is the biggest mass  assault on women in history of the US.


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The second side to the story of Jaxx, and his owner

June 17th, 2022 No comments

Mike and I have owned dogs all of our married life. We just love our little canine buddies. Over the years we have learned a lot about caring for them, getting them in for neutering, vaccinations, illness and injury. Gradually over the years, a lot like the current housing prices….dog ownership has become extremely expensive, and likely out of financial reach for many people, who would/could be fine loving pet owners.

I have had some tremendously kind, compassionate and caring veterinary and pet grooming services. I appreciate all that they do and did for us and our pets. However, I have also seen the price of all things dog related rise exponentially. And yes, I know that Veterinarians and techs have school loan payments and debt and expenses associated with their clinics. Still, I was blown over the first time I was hit with a $1000 bill for an overnight stay for one of our pets a long time ago. I learned to ask for an itemized list of needs and then work with them do things sequentially or in some cases not at all if they were elective. Because of that (and now our pet insurance) we have had both healthy pets AND not broken our bank. Vets have been more open to this kind of “choosing wisely” than my human doctors have been.

In all these years, I have had only TWO really rotten experiences with a veterinary service. The first was years ago, when I made a very bad mistake of buying a pekinese from a puppy mill lady here in Bangor (my own huge mistake). The pup was stinky, but we figured we could clean her. She had mange when we got her and a serious skin disorder. She gave mange to my older dog. We had to treat them for weeks, then months. The vet was selling me tiny tuberculin syringes with a tenth or 2 tenths of a cc of Ivermectin in each one to give my pets….and charging me through the nose. I found a multi dose bottle of the medicine at the pet feeds and needs store, for less than $25. So there was that screwing. That same pup had a ton of issues…skin issues, nares stenosis, fleas, heart, digestive, kidney etc etc. The more I treated her the sicker she got. She got a huge skin reaction from the expensive flea treatment recommended by the vet. We were at the vets way too often. When she was finally old enough for neutering, the vet said he would fix her nose at the same time. Oh, but on surgery day, he forgot! He said he would not charge me for her second anesthesia and nose surgery, but of course he did…..and he said I couldn’t have her back until I paid! I paid, then I started my quest for a decent vet. When I got her medical records for my new vet, I discovered that she was in kidney failure according to her pre surgical blood work. Of course he did the expensive elective surgery anyway. No wonder she was puking all the time and losing weight. Her new vet said she had multiple medical issues and failure to thrive. So, I got this sick dog from a puppy mill and a vet who didn’t pay any attention to her sickness and did expensive surgery that she should never have had. I took that vet to the Veterinary board. I went to the hearing but was not allowed to speak. He sent a representative. He got the cursory slap on the wrist, and I got all my money back from that horrible vet. I had her in my home for about 4 months, and it broke my heart when I took her back to the seller…so she could take on all of the medical issues and bills,and sadly to euthanize her in the near future. She accused me of neglect and being a bad owner. Of course that was a real slam from a puppy mill person.

I didn’t think I would ever get another dog after Louie. He was the best, and he was the one who got mange from the puppy mill dog. When he was 14, he got extremely sick in the middle of a trip to Kentucky. We turned around from just outside Washington DC, and came home. I knew we’d be no good if we had to euthanize him in a strange place on the road. It was compassionate, skilled and sweet Veterinary staff at the Veazie Vet Clinic near my home that helped us to guide him over the rainbow bridge. I will never forget their kindness. We got a sweet card with Louie’s footprint on it a few weeks later. I still cry when I think about that day, but I also love the people who got us through it.

Now we have Stanley, our tiny shih tzu. He is different from Louie, but every bit as lovable. And our sons have dogs, Rocky and Leroy. Some days it is doggie heaven around here….and loud and messy, but fun.

Last year Rocky had a neck and nerve issue that is not uncommon in French bulldogs. After a week of pain, and pills and an exam by his local vet, he jumped from my sons bed to the floor. Then he couldn’t walk. He had sudden onset paralysis, and that progressed with incontinence. This is a dire dog emergency. Because he needed a neuro specialist, off he went to the Maine Veterinary Medical Center in Scarborough Maine 2 hours away. I have written a blog about that day and beyond. Suffice to say that experience was horrible. After driving with an anxious Frenchie, in an ice/slush/snow storm to that clinic, and waiting 6 or 7 hours in his car in wet clothes, the staff told him they couldn’t take care of Rocky that day, he would have to go to Boston. Someone on the neuro team, who had been there all morning working on a different dog, had tested positive for COVID. So, they all had to go home at 2pm, and of course this was a Friday afternoon. I wonder if that person was more positive for COVID at 2pm than they were at 7am? I’m pretty sure that with Brian waiting out in a cold wet parking lot, that he would not have been exposed, and Rocky wasn’t at risk of anything except further paralysis. They had demanded a $5000 down payment with another 5,000 due after the surgery for his care that day and I spent about an hour on the phone fighting to get most of it back. They should have given it all back. That wait, then dismissal, and failure to medicate Rocky so he wouldn’t wheeze and flail all over the back seat floor on his way to Boston was their fault. His suffering was increased and prolonged because of the MVMC. That was my our experience with them. I will never recommend them to anyone.

He was sent to Boston to Angell Veterinary Clinic and he got amazing and efficient care there, and we are eternally grateful for that. It was also very expensive, but the care was outstanding.

I’m attempting to give examples of good vs bad or moral vs immoral vet care and caring. Pet care consumers (and sadly, that is exactly what vet care is…a consumer product and if you also get compassion and kindness that is a big bonus) can either be a practice’s best advertisement or their worst critic. Dog owners emotions run high, because we consider them a family member, not a thing to own.   We pay dearly for their services and they need to earn our good Yelp reviews.

Puppy Jaxx

Puppy Jaxx

The story about Jaxx and his owner (links below) brought back some latent feelings about that clinic in southern Maine. I didn’t know the dog or the owner, so I got to know her, as well as I could through a messenger…hours of messaging.  I don’t have documents, and I have not talked with MVMC.  But I believe this woman and that is my impression and opinion of what she has told me.

It’s a wonder I could reach her, because she came under attack from the veterinary world and others. The group badgered her, called all sorts of things and she was threatened too. It got so bad, she had to block hundreds of messages and shut down her social media. When I saw her interview on TV, I sensed that she was suffering. What was happening to her elicited some of the same emotions and issues that I have seen over and over in medically harmed human patients.  Since that time, the MVMC released a carefully crafted, medically detailed, and defensive PR statement authored by a PR professional who I happen to know. Apparently they have been threatened and harassed too, and of course their fans blame the dog owner, and even me in some cases, because I spoke up for her. The whole two sided truth is not in that PR release or in any newspaper article before or since. The true owner is a hard working Mom, who took good care of her pup. He had is vaccinations just a few days prior to him snacking on a wooden skewer. She had no idea he had done that and thought he was sick from vaccines. In fact she found out about the skewer the same time the vets did…after the xray. She had also prepaid and scheduled his neutering surgery. The owner did not have deep pockets or a PR rep or the corporate status and ability to have an article printed in the BUSINESS section of the Portland Press Herald. She is at home sadly missing her dog buddy, heartbroken and so is her family. Suffice to say that the incorporated clinic and many of their associates from all over this country painted a completely different picture of her. Now her dog has been sold off to someone else for the balance due on the surgery. Rumor has it that a clinic employee has the dog. Did that staff person pay for him? Or was there an employee perk for that new owner? If true, is that even ethical? When she sent police to the clinic to find the whereabouts of her dog, they were told he went to a rescue. She called area rescues hoping to retrieve him , but of course he was not at any of them. She had gathered the money from friends and relatives…but it was not before the clinics random paying deadline. It was however within a few hours after surgery, that same day. In all likelihood, and if his conditions was as dire as in the PR statement, he was medicated, resting and recovering right at MVMC.   I hope for all I am worth that someone will do a full and fair investigation into this and write her truth. She is not what she is portrayed to be, and she was not fully informed. She signed to release her dog under great duress, without full information about his condition and/or the finality of the agreement. She did it to save her dogs life, and because it was the only option she was given to do that. She deserves to get her dog back. That would be the right thing to do.

I have often been criticized and attacked for my truth, and so far nobody has even heard Jaxx’s owners truth. She has also suffered attacks and some from the Veterinary Community….imagine that! This is not the first time I have helped an underdog to reveal their truth, and it won’t be the last. Even my cousin reamed me out. She is an animal control person in my hometown. She deals with the worst of the worst, but Jaxx’s owner is not like that. I don’t deny that there are awful people who do not deserve the loyalty and love of a dog, but Jaxx had a sweet owner. I admire my cousin, respect her work and I wouldn’t want her job, but she is wrong about this owner.

I hope that this blog will make some people come to their senses about this and consider that even if the clinic did the “legal” (in their eyes) thing, was it the right/just thing? I question the legality because the owner was not fully informed. She learned full details when the PR release went out. She had already paid some for his care, couldn’t they have collected the balance due after the surgery, and if she failed to fork it over, then they could hold him for ransom, like the vet I described earlier in this blog.  Were they decent? Could there have been some sort of mediation before this whole mess blew up? Is there a better way to approach payment for Veterinarians? Should pet insurance be better advertised and promoted, because before Rocky’s debacle, we didn’t have insurance for our little guy. Veterinarian care is scary expensive and many clinics will not work with the clients for affordable payment plans. Some only offer very high interest plans for credit. Corporate Veterinary care is more and more like corporate human healthcare all the time. It’s a good thing that humans are not owned, because a lot of them would have been turned over to get them the healthcare they needed.

There has to be a better way to keep good owners and their pets together when emergency catastrophic and extremely expensive care becomes necessary. I’m glad Jaxx survived his ordeal, and that was because of veterinary skills and because his owner got him there in time and loved him enough to sign a paper so he could live.. But, his owner is devastated and has been vilified. That is just not right!  Fixing this would take some very serious people skills and kind people to exercise those skills.

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Crying every day

May 28th, 2022 No comments

The weapons, once used to injure and kill people, made into steel used for bridge and road upgrades.

I keep tissues handy all the time now.  The fleeing families of Ukraine and the brutal total destruction of peaceful free communities is breaking my heart.  The bravery of President Zelenskyy and the volunteer army of soldiers who fight against Putin’s killers/murderers is astounding.  But, inch by inch, person by person the evil reign of Russia pushes on and refuses to negotiate with Ukraine.   He does the work of the devil. We are so fortunate to have President Biden ruling our country now, because who knows what DJT would make Ukraine do for the help they need. Maybe he would have just cut them off to help his friend in Russia? Putin might be naming streets for DJT.

We have a similar, but ongoing war here in the United States of America.  The only difference is that we don’t have an efficient army to fight back and the attacks are scattered both by time and place. There are no rules of engagement or prevention, because  Congress is paralyzed by Republicans.  Yet the Rs consider themselves effective leaders?   And the victims in our own scattered war are defenseless babies/children in schools and everyday people shopping in a store or worshipers in a house of God.  The evil enablers of the people shooting up those innocent precious souls are the Republicans in both the US Congress and in State legislatures.  Gun money flows into their pockets and buys their faithful preaching of the gun lobby doctrine.  The NRA is guilty of murder by default. The Republican party paves the way while the NRA  pushes and promotes the sale of automatic rifles and guns that are made to kill lots of people in a very short time. So, the offensive army can be small, usually just one person.  The war guns are manufactured for no other reason than that….making tons of money and mowing down many people in just seconds.  Nobody buys a gun like that to shoot squirrels or deer.   Gun manufacturer stocks went up after those precious babies and beloved community members were murdered in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo NY.  It seems that these mass murders are great advertising and business for the guns, and isn’t that the biggest horror of all?

I don’t even want to repeat the absolute BS that the Republican party (AKA the NRA) spews about why these mass shootings happen.  A few days ago, Texas Governor Gregg Abbott pronounced  “We have a major mental health problem”.  Oh, I agree, but that is not why monsters are shooting up kids.  The shooters are schemers and planners and monsters.  They grew up with hate in their hearts, and a propensity toward violence, but they didn’t just snap.  They planned.  Some were groomed by hateful parents.  They couldn’t wait to be legal age to buy that gun, and did just that.  Or else, Mommy and Daddy bought a gun for them for a birthday or Christmas present. OH BOY a shiny new AR 15.  They probably had their picture taken with it, perhaps for next years Christmas card!  And of course this promotes more gun sales…free advertising for the NRA and gun manufacturers.  Repeating the NRA rhetoric about mental illness is just a pathetic diversion from selling guns of mass destruction.

Most mentally ill people to not scheme and plan their breakdowns.  And what are Republican governors like Abbott doing about mental health anyway?  They are doing about as much for MH as they are about gun control…nothing.

The problem is the evil cowardly schemers and their ability to purchase a gun that should not be available to anyone, except law enforcement or military personnel.  No kid or any everyday citizen needs an automatic weapon of any kind.  And YES, I do believe that they should all be confiscated and melted down to useless metal…………………and they should never be available to sell to anyone. Guns like that should be issued by superiors in law enforcement and military.

The second amendment always comes up.  As we all know, it was written in 1776, when the only guns/muskets were single load and had to be reloaded every time a person shot it.  It took long enough that anyone that was being threatened with that gun could escape!  But, the NRA and the GOP hang on to those old words as their God given RIGHTS to bear arms….ANY arms….AR 15 ARMS.  BULL.  It is time to rewrite the second amendment..throw out the first draft. Write it for modern times.  If the shooter in Uvalde had a musket, most if not all of those kids could have escaped.

While 21 families and an entire community prepare for the funerals of their massacred precious babies and teachers, the evil NRA is having a party in Houston, TX this weekend.  The most evil of all, Donald J Trump loudly and proudly had the nerve to blame the killings on mental illness, but of course we know his own issues with mental health, and his love of money. The NRA will give him lots of money for repeating their words.  And Ted Cruz…so, they got double losers to speak at their party.   Greg Abbott played both sides in this event (to respect the grieving)…he stayed home, but he did a video to be shown to the gun party revelers.  That way he can be perceived as someone who actually cares about the Uvalde families, but also will still get money from the NRA and their campaign to make every man woman and child in this country a gun owner.

My dream was that about 10,000 demonstrators would somehow block both car traffic and people traffic going into and out of that convention, and shut them down.

We have all heard the repetitive spewing of gun rights goons….”The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”.  We watched in horror many good guys with guns outside the Robb elementary school.  While those good guys with guns stood outside, freaking out, being cowards, and planning their “strategy” for almost a full hour….the perp shot over 300 rounds into teachers, children and others.  21 died, and more are in hospitals struggling to survive.  The good guy who was supposed to be at the door to block anyone from entering was absent.  Some unarmed parents physically took on the good guys with the guns because they would NOT go into the school…..THEY fought to go in without a gun to save their kids.  So, there you go…the whole “good guy with a gun” theory is blown right out of the water.  And we all watched when Governor Abbott twisted the truth about those good guys with guns, and never mentioned that the shooter should never have had access to one. (If the good guys with guns didn’t have the proper protective equipment, I will take back my coward comment)

We all have to act.  We must badger the living bejesus out of our Senators and Representatives, write and call them.  Speak up online and in person if possible.  Our own worst enemy and terrorists are inside the borders of the country.  It is the NRA and the former GOP (grand old party)…the Republicans, and the opportunists that buy and use guns on innocent people.

It’s time to learn from others how to stop the mass shootings in our country.



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Super Women

May 5th, 2022 5 comments



I have never felt more powerful than when I gave birth the first time.  I couldn’t sleep for days, and it was the endorphins, not a colicky baby that kept me awake, at least for first several days.    I was super woman.  I had conceived and grown a full term baby boy inside my body.  There is nothing in this world more powerful than that.

My son was born 1 year and 2 days after I was married. We just celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary and my son’s 49th birthday.  He was round and perfect and he looked just like my father in law.  My husband and I waited for him with open arms and he was loved by us and all of our extended family.

At 23, I was ready for my first baby.  I had graduated from nursing school, had my career and found the love of my life.  We were on our way as a family.  We struggled and worked and did just fine.

Fast forward 17 years from 1973.   I had 2 sons by then, so I was superwoman twice.  I have been doubly empowered by the birth of my sons.  There were no pregnancies after that until after I turned 40 years old.  I was working as an ER nurse and Mike was working as a US Customs inspector.  We had a good life and the news of this pregnancy floored us!   But, we both welcomed the chance to be parents one more time.  In fact, we were ecstatic!   My mother had a baby at 42, and he brought great joy to their lives.  Just maybe this was our chance to do the same.

When I was about 3 months along and after I had announced this pregnancy to family, I began to bleed, just a little bit.  It was Christmas time and so I kept an eye on it for a few days to get through the holidays.  Then I got checked.  My OBS couldn’t hear a heartbeat and she did an ultrasound.  The fetus was not normal.  There was no question that this pregnancy was over and I needed a therapeutic abortion/aka D&C.  This decision was made between my doctor and me, and my husband was advised after the decision was made.  He and I were absolutely devastated by this turn of events, and he fully supported whatever I decided and did.   It broke my heart and stole away all our plans of a new baby.  As it turned out, my pregnancy was abnormal from the beginning.  I had an hidatidiform molar pregnancy.  This is when a fertilized egg develops abnormally and sometimes grows too rapidly, developing teeth, hair etc, but never forming a normal baby.  If left growing to term, it can affect the health of the Mom, or even cause cancer.  No matter the details.  This was a deeply painful and personal experience, and I did not need input from a man or politicians or intrusive laws and  regulations.  This was between my doctor and me.  Aside from my husband, this was nobody’s business except mine.

Every single pregnancy is extremely personal and powerful.  Woman Power makes us perfect for making our own decisions.  We have this incredible ability to sustain and grow cells inside us to form a full size baby, and we also have the brain power to decide if that is what we want or if the timing is right or even if it is safe.  The circumstances around a pregnancy can make a huge difference to a woman.  Questions a woman may ask herself are….. Will this pregnancy add to my life and love, or will it destroy anything I have planned for my future?  Will it kill me?  Will it be like the brute who raped me?  Will I be able to support and love it?  Will I be rejected by my family if I have it?  Will the father have anything more to do with me?  Will I be able to work?  Will the medication I have been on affect it? Am I able to care for this very deformed baby?  Am I too young to give birth? (in the case of children being impregnated, they need professional counseling and parental or guardian guidance).  The reasons to continue a pregnancy or terminate it are innumerable, and endless.  And it is different for every woman and her circumstances.

When I heard the recent news of the SCOTUS plans to revoke Roe vs Wade, I nearly exploded.  I remember when Catholics were forbidden birth control and I saw the results.  Women having their 12th or 15th baby came to our Catholic Hospital delivery room in Boston, where I trained as a nurse in the late 60s.  They were exhausted, stretched out and bored with the process of delivery.  Some were irate, and once medicated their “real” feelings came out in words that no good Catholic woman would ever have used if not medicated.  These were not terms of endearment, or Catholic prayers.  The Church didn’t even allow tubal ligation. If a woman wanted that she had to go elsewhere and the husband had to sign papers “allowing” it.  I am getting triggered just remembering all this and how incredibly archaic and sexist it is.

Believe it or not, I hate abortions too.  I can’t think of a single woman who would say she likes or loves abortions.  They are painful both physically and emotionally.   But, we do embrace our own power over reproduction decisions and abortion is part of that.

If we want to end abortions, we MUST take care of what causes them.  MEN for one thing…..the people who too often do the duty and walk away.  Make the men equally responsible, because it takes two parts to make a zygot…the precursor to an embryo.  Also, make insurances pay for all forms birth control….condoms, IUDs, Birth Control pills, tubal ligations, vasectomies, or anything else a woman wants or needs to stop pregnancies from happening in the first place.  Fund day care (either employers of the government) because it easily takes TWO to support a baby these days…and many single Moms can’t afford daycare.  Fund pre school in every State.  Women know how to live their best lives after making their own decisions, so stop allowing politicians to make those decisions for them.  Provide sex education early and often.  Abstinence is a lovely lofty concept(ion) idea, but it is as unrealistic as Santa Claus. Human hormones win out.  Even with all of these precautions, we still need safe abortions accessible for all women, not just the rich.  No precaution against pregnancy is 100% effective.

And, don’t ever assume YOU know what is best for any woman. As an RN, I have advised a number of women on their options, but I have never presumed I know what is best for them.  Again, it is their business, not mine or yours or any politicians.   Unless she has asked for your thoughts, keep your gigantic traps shut and step back, except to support her choice.  A woman knows what is best for herself, her body, her family and her future.  It is none of your damned business, it is hers.

Half of US citizens are women. We have a ton of power.  It is time to get loud.  Don’t back down on this, because it is just one of many dominoes in the line.



Married 50 years

April 28th, 2022 No comments
April 29, 1970

April 29, 1970



I can’t believe it, not at all.  On April 29, my husband and I will  celebrate 50 years married.  I won’t lie…it hasn’t all been perfect.  It’s been messy and neat and everything in between, but it has been pretty darned good.  We are proud of us together for so long.











This week is also my husbands 74th birthday and the next day was my brother’s 74th birthday, then my oldest sons 49th birthday.  I spoke with my brother today.  His comments all skirted around that dirty three letter O word…(old).  How did we get this old?  When did we get this old?  What about our kids, they are getting old too!  We don’t know how much time we have left. on and on….

I let him pour it all out then I said…”I guess I look at it differently.  I wonder what is coming next”   I am a great planner.  Admittedly, I am more of a planner than a doer these days, but eventually, once the decent weather sets in here in Maine, we will do something.  We plan to make reservations to go camping at Acadia NP sometime this summer.  We also are planning a little family party here on July 23….maybe around 20 of the McClearys getting together to visit, eat and swim.  It’s been too long.  The last gathering was for my mothers funeral and that was overshadowed with loss and sadness.  BUT, when my beautiful parents had their 50th, and then their 60th wedding anniversaries, the party was right here in my back yard….eating, playing and just plain raising hell. We all love a good party.

I do have plans.  I am limited physically for doing a lot of activities, but as long as Mike is willing to tow our trailer,  and I can get my carcass into our truck and throw a few clothes and food in, I am game.  I will go anywhere camping, or even for a few days of sightseeing.  I don’t need swanky hotels…I just need my little tow along house/trailer.  And I suppose I could do with a comfy hotel room for a night or two, although it is not necessary nor what I prefer.

Parties and traveling have been two of the best parts of our union.  Our 2 favorite trips were the first time we took our little granddaughter, almost 5 years old, to Disneyworld. We went with our pop up camper from Maine to Orlando, and what a great time.  She was a seasoned traveler at that age, because of her ‘circumstances’, living in different places with her mother …moving often.  But, this trip was all about her…and the fun we would have.  It was amazing, and so was she.

Long after she was grown and she decided we weren’t cool enough to go camping with anymore, Mike retired from work and we spent a year or so working for the US Census (2010).  All of that income went into special savings and we took a month long trip out west to Wyoming and Montana.  We saw Yellowstone NP and Glaciers NP, among others.  It was an  adventure and we had an absolute blast.  We took our favorite dog of all time, Louie, with us.  We camped in casino and Walmart parking lots, and various NP campgrounds and a few private ones.  I can’t describe the awe we felt for this experience.  It was truly THE camping adventure  of our life time.

We have had fun times and hard times.  I have fumbled through some health issues and currently fiddle around with arthritis….daily.  But, Mike remains incredibly healthy.  He keeps our yard and home in working order and he walks every day with our newest little pooch Stanley.  I do the piddly stuff like dishes, folding laundry, picking up….it all works out.  Just don’t look too closely for dust around the house.  We have all read the old poem  “Dust if you must”

There have been challenges with our kids as teens, and a bit beyond.  Also some of his family have been downright cruel and nasty, with a desire and determination to get all of the family estate.  They succeeded, and we have moved use or time for nasty destructive people in our lives.  So, yeah…life gets real and it isn’t perfect, but we work our way through.

He has supported and encouraged me through 10 years of volunteer Patient Safety work, sometimes traveling with me to far off places, like San Diego, Atlanta and DC.  And when he worked as a US Customs officer,  I went with him to a union meeting in Honolulu and spent a month temporarily living in Montreal and 3 months in DC when he was on a temporary assignment.

Before we moved back to Bangor, ME for good in 1987 (where we started out as newlyweds in 1970) we had moved to and lived in 3 other towns, 5 previous houses, and several apartments.  Mike always worked at a port of entry and I worked many jobs as a nurse in big and small hospitals, and also in doctors offices and a paper mill.   We moved often for about 10 years when our kids were young,  and then we settled back home in Bangor, ME on Pearl St.   Our lives have been full and fun with travel,interesting work and things to do and see.

We have raised 2 bright, funny and hard working, dog loving sons as well.  Their humor, kindness and intelligence is our reward for being their mother and father.   I wouldn’t change one thing about them, although they might debate that.

All of this is just a glimpse of what our lives together have been like and how and where we spent it.  But, the important thing is that we ain’t done yet.  I’m not sure where we will go next or what we will do, but we will plan and do something, and it will be together.  Neither of us would know any other way to do it.

Love helps us to figure things out.  I recommend it.

Happy 50th Anniversary to us!

50 years later

50 years later

0ld hands




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Taking out the trash

January 14th, 2022 1 comment

Open photo

The familiar black trash bins sit at the end of every driveway on my street every Friday morning. The only change of pick up days is if there is a holiday.   These bins are provided to us by the city (of course paid for with tax dollars).   If we don’t get our bins out on time, we miss trash pick up and there are no “special” services if you call to whine to the public works folks about it.   It occurred to me today that without rules about trash, my neighborhood would be full of rats, raccoons,  and other hungry wild animals.    My property value would drop, and we might be afraid to let our pets outside or take a walk in the neighborhood because of vermin.  When people leave a pile of garbage or trash on the curbside that does not fit into our special bins, it doesn’t get picked up by the city trash collector.  It sits there until the offender hauls it off themselves or they pay someone to come and haul it off to the dump,  The old fashioned “trip to the dump” isn’t what it use to be…our load of garbage is weighed and charged by the pound.   We pay our city taxes for a trash collection benefit, but there are a lot of rules attached.  I looked up and down my street this morning, and not one driveway was without their trash bin at the roadside. Not one. Because there are penalties and inconveniences if you do not obey the rules, people just do it.No description available.

I don’t know all of my neighbors, and I don’t know their political leanings (except for the ones who put those grotesque Trump flags out during the last election), but I do know they care about getting their trash picked up and keeping this neighborhood decent and clean.  In order to accomplish neighborhood hygiene, we all have to live by the rules of garbage pick up in the city.

What would happen if they decided that these rules infringe on their freedom, or that it is unconstitutional to make them have trash collection on Friday (or whatever day their nighborhood pick up is).   My guess is that the neighborhood would go in the crapper.

Can anyone else see that this is  similar to what is actually happening to our healthcare system because of COVID and the freedom lovers who have decided they will not get vaccinated?  Should we start to financially penalize unvaccinated patients who get sick with COVID.  I’m starting to think so.  Their actions are stressing our healthcare system to the hilt…and people with other health issues cannot get needed care.  Also, we are all paying for their care…all of us, in one way or another, because they want their freedoms…to not vaccinate.

Is this whole country going into the crapper because of COVID?  Just yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that it was unconstitutional to mandate vaccines or weekly testing for employers of over 100 people.  These justices have no science education, or other expertise in the control of infectious diseases.  They are not statisticians.  They do not have entire panels and boards of experts advising them on the pandemic.  The SCOTUS should not be making any ruling on a pandemic…that should only be done with the guidance of experts.  It is interesting to me that the employees of the Supreme court DO have a mandate for vaccination/or weekly testing in house. 

So, the SCOTUS just gave employers back their FREEDOMS (or DUMBS) to not have COVID rules.  What will happen now?   More employees will get sick with COVID and spread it to other workers.  Their workplaces will be contaminated by COVID.  People will go out sick and their productivity will suffer.  And most importantly, more will die.  How many?  Thousands…tens of thousands?

Every single one of us has been brought up with rules.  We learn them almost from the time we are born.  It is because we are of superior intelligence….superior to animals and plants.  We know there are boundaries in our lives and we live within them and because of them.  We have rules in school, rules at work, rules in our families, rules in our communities, States and country.  We have rules about driving a car or owning a gun and paying taxes.  Rules are what keep us safe and in the case of pandemic….alive.

I have always thought that this was the greatest country in the world.  But by my observations, that seems to be slipping away.  We need to do better at taking out the trash.



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Until Death (or COVID) do us part

December 11th, 2021 1 comment

I took those vows almost 50 years ago, and have kept them even during some rocky times.  I meant them then, and I mean them now.  My husband is so lucky that I DO!  I am also very lucky.

But, isn’t that vow kind of a human thing, not just a wedding vow?  It’s a promise and commitment to all of the people important to us?  I will stick by my kids until death do us part.  I cared for my parents until death did us part.  Even my pets…..they are mine until they cross the doggie or kitty rainbow bridge.

Death is so final,  so profound and so incredibly heartbreaking.  How would I feel if a loved one died of COVID because they were not vaccinated?  I am pretty sure I would be grief stricken and heartbroken first, but then I would be royally POed!  I would be very very angry with them, because they could have avoided it. I think that would be natural, something like if a loved one shockingly committed suicide.

I have read about couples and families in the newspaper who have essentially died together because of COVID.  It seems that is taking the vows to an extreme.   Some became ill together with COVID, and one died while the other survived.  They were Parents, spouses, sons, daughters, …..all of them.  They were loved and cherished by the families that they left behind….their survivors grieving and drop jaw shocked that this horrid virus killed their loved one.  Some of them seemed not to have seen it coming.  Why?  Were they wearing  blinders?  Wasn’t their decision to not vaccinate a conscious decision? Was their decision science or politically based?   There is nothing hidden about the risks of is all out there for the public to see.  The news of it has consumed newspapers, television and internet media.

There are simply no excuses anymore. There just aren’t.  There are no political, religious, family, social, scientific, make believe, conspiracy theory, or other kinds of excuses for not getting vaccinated.  There are even very  few medical reasons to not get vaccinated.  The reasons TO get vaccinated are never ending.

1. Not dying  is #1

2. Avoid getting COVID

3. To be able to live your life

4. To avoid being hospitalized

5. To keep everyone around you safer (family, coworkers, friends, students, church families, etc)

6. To show respect for everyone, including strangers

7. To save our hospitals ability to continue to serve

8. To give nurses and doctors back their lives

9. To stop this damnable pandemic.

I could go on and on. We have all heard it all.  All of us are pretty much experts on the up side of being vaccinated.  But, there are still too many who reject vaccinations and are confident if they get sick that a stupid worming pill, or peroxide, or mouthwash, or some other bogus cure is there for them.  But, there isn’t a cure.  There is treatment, and it works on some, but not on all.  The antibodies, and steriods and  antivirals have promise, but there is

no known cure for COVID at this time….is that clear?

One thing that COVID can do, and do quickly, is kill you or me or someone you love.  It does this over several days, or weeks…and it can be torturous and horrid.  When we read all those stories about loved ones dying of COVID, generally they did not do that without suffering, no matter what the obituary says.  There is the air hunger and lack of oxygen and a plunging pulse oxygen level.  That means that the victim is pulling for all they are worth to get enough air. When they can’t do it on their own anymore, because their lungs are full of COVID infection, they collapse….or if they are in a hospital they get the ventilator and with that goes the endotracheal tube, and multiple IVs, mind and body numbing drugs, and central lines, and urinary catheters etc.  Then there is the constant turning or “proning” of the patient to improve lung capacity, cupping (pounding upon) the back to loosen secretions, and skin care, hygiene, and monitoring etc. The saddest part of all this is that most of the time, family cannot be with you..that means those who have vowed to be with you “until death do you part” cannot be with you at all, because you are so contagious.  That is extreme suffering. Hospital nurses and doctors deal with this every single day.  It is their constant reality….the suffering and death of COVID victims. Some healthcare workers have contracted COVID themselves prior to the availability of vaccines.  And yes some have died.

COVID  is nothing I would want to share with my husband, sons, neighbors, or my nurse or doctor….

Death is something we will all experience, but why flirt with it by not vaccinating. We were given intelligence for a reason.

Get Vaccinated.  And, the life you save may be your own or someone very close to you.




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September 9th, 2021 2 comments


I think I will start a new coalition called M4HC+PH…the title above.  The members will be like me…Mainers who are all vaccinated, taking precautions, doing all we can to avoid COVID. I think we are the reasonable, sensible Mainers here.  The new groups in Maine called mainers against mask mandates  or the alliance against healthcare mandates, should just rename themselves….how about mainers 4 COVID or mainers against public health.  That would be so much more accurate.

Our new group will not be against or anti anything.  We will be FOR the elimination of COVID, FOR masks as recommended, FOR vaccinations, FOR life, FOR healthy kids/students, FOR our future as a State and as citizens.  Bucking science will not be part of our new group.  Backing solid science and data for the elimination of COVID will be the focus of our group. All like minded people, regardless of their political/religious or other affiliations will be welcome.  We are all the human race after all.

So, who’s in?  The majority of Mainers who are eligible have been vaccinated.  I think they are in.  The majority of unvaccinated are the ones getting COVID..the new Delta variant…and being hospitalized, going on ventilators and dying. Sadly, they are the ones perpetuating this pandemic.   It’s too late for them to be in.  A little less anti ism and more FOR ism could have helped them live a longer healthier life.  Maybe some of the ones who have not yet welcomed COVID into their lives yet will join us.

I am most sorry for the vaccinated but vulnerable people who have become infected with Delta, because not enough people got vaccinated. Not everyone can build a robust immunity even after full vaccination. But, because they were vaccinated, they are less likely to suffer serious COVID and will hopefully recover. They are very welcome to our new coalition.

I don’t pretend to be an expert, but I do listen to experts…the people who have worked their entire lives studying science and infectious diseases.  I have a healthy regard for their words of advice, and I am extremely grateful for their expertise.   Only people who feel this same way are welcome to my new alliance.  We have been too quiet and polite about the loud, conspiracy theory spreading  ANTI- everything- to- do- with- the- elimination- of -COVID folks

It’s time to make some noise.

Who’s in?


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