Tough times lead to less blogging

The Widow Carlson is fed up. Friends have been kind. So have neighbors, even strangers. But things turn really weird when a death happens.

The nightly robocalls from credit card companies- can they let the body cool? These companies get more people into trouble than any other financial institution. Earl and I never kept a dime in common which made for a fight-free marriage. An Illinois attorney friend said, “I just LOVE to hose credit card companies.” Right on!

One medical creditor with a bill of seventeen dollars went immediately to collection to pay corporate law firms hundreds of dollars for a few bucks.

Junk mail abounds. The hospital sent Earl a post mortem letter asking if he would like to honor staff by contributing to the Foundation. The following day, a huge bill came to “The Estate of.” I just finished my best friend’s estate. Her mail was forwarded here, and the same institution sent her a “Welcome to your new home!” letter soliciting donations from the dead.

Even the funeral home has a mailing list. A survey came for a free funeral estimate. At the bottom of the page it read, “Please accept our apologies if this questionnaire arrived at a difficult time.” It did. The owner said an outside firm does these, and people like these tasteless reminders of their own demise. I’d rather call Pakistan for computer advice.

It took his family four hours after Earl’s last breath to turn on me. They piled his junk from the hospital into my car. They asked if I would be OK getting home, then went out to dinner.

A church service was organized that he never wanted. These straight-laced “believers” were going without me to meet a pastor who is known for his eccentricities. I called him to ask what he was planning. It sounded fine. In a restaurant after, they let me have it because they thought I had changed the service. Worse, I had invited one of Earl’s good friends. She was actually called and told not to come. They could have held a service in the state where they live. No one has called me since they left the next day except his mother, who wanted Earl’s sports car, which now belonged to me.

I knew what would happen when we married, that our life together would be cut short due to Earl’s lifetime medical issues. We did not have children because he was so afraid of having a sick child. I no longer feel part of his family.

Earl was the most magnificent man in the world. We had a wonderful marriage in an age where many marriages don’t last. I have precious memories. The best one after his death is scattering his ashes on the football field at Wyoming with his buddies, reserving some to place around his beloved father’s memorial bench at UW. My comfort is that Earl is at peace, free of suffering and pain, running free and laughing in Heaven.

Things happen when cars are washed

I hate euphemisms. I’ve been hearing them constantly since my husband passed away eleven days ago. That, plus people’s own medical histories. But the saying, “When it rains, it pours” works for me this morning.

This spring, there has been so much rain and hail (with tornado warnings,) that our usual June hot, dry weather is now such that our nine-year drought is officially gone.

We had our corral graded last fall to hold rain runoff in a pond until it evaporated. Usually there is nothing in the depression that our buddy, Bru, created. The new pond has been an ongoing fixture all spring. The horses have to walk around it. The corral is a sloppy mess. I posted earlier about Scooter’s private swimming pool, and how the horses had to be shod at the vet hospital when our farrier was there. Over the last three months, I’ve watched that corral pond evaporate, return, turn bright green, dull green, yellowish, then return again.

Last night we had a storm that made the front page of the paper.

I took visiting cousins upstairs to watch the storm. They are from Arizona, so they don’t know what water looks like. We watched cloud-to-ground lightning, cloud-to-cloud lightning, pouring rain, and flooded streets. We covered our ears for the huge claps of thunder.

This time, I got to the barn in time to close the window so the spare hay on the floor did not get wet. The horses are delightfully soaked again, and I will brush them later before our open house in memory of Earl.

Upon returning from my morning walk, made a little lonelier because the Wonder Husky is in Heaven, I noticed that the corral pond was back, no longer green, and had a mallard duck happily swimming in it.

Euphemisms? Clichés? Murphy’s Law? Yep. I had the cars washed yesterday. It makes me feel better to have clean cars. The daily driver has seen a lot of use with all the company, so it went through the automatic car wash. My beloved classic Mercedes was just released to me after weeks at the shop. It had minor repairs and service, but I didn’t have time to pick it up with all the hospital and arrangements. The car wash does hand washing at a very reasonable rate, and my classic beauty was pristine. I even uncovered Earl’s sports car for the gathering today.

Okay, so things happen when cars are washed. But ducks swimming in the corral is a little much, don’t you think?

Get it done and move on!


Things are not so hot for Earl right now. He is OK for the moment, but has some major stuff coming up soon. Down and dirty, he has cancer.

Earl has the 39th anniversary of his kidney transplant on the 17th. The biggest risk to transplant recipients is skin cancer. He has been OK in this regard for about 35 years. Over the last few years, and the last few months in particular, the derm doc has been whittling away at Earl’s face, getting huge squamous cell carcinomas off. Mohs surgeries. There was one so huge, that blew up so quickly, the doctor recommended seeing a radiation oncologist just in case some slipped down to facial lymph nodes. The margins were clear, but he wanted E to do a PET scan just in case. The radiation oncologist is really, really nice man.

We were discussing this program with our primary care doctor, and big mouth Mary says, shouldn’t he have a colonoscopy first? He was seven years overdue for a screening colo. I’ve had about 6 since 1997. So, Earl finally agreed to it, and had it last Tuesday. Yep, positive. The path report came back as ischemic change, but we saw the surgeon who said indeed, it is cancer. It’s also in a weird place, the  hepatic flexure, in the distal ascending colon. Most are in descending colon. Earl is scheduled for a right hemi-colectomy on the 20th, or the 15th, if the doc doesn’t go on a college trip with his triplets (!) Nice guy, he just operated on Earl on the 11th for an incisional hernia from his surgery 39 years ago. We do have the best doctors here in Fort Fun.

The PET scan was last Wednesday, day after the colo and day before the surgeon. The timing was just right. It lit up like a Christmas tree. Yes, there can be false positives, but we are medical folks, right? There are two lymph nodes in the neck and parotid area, probably from the SCC. So we are trying to coordinate the colectomy with either a lymph node biopsy or a radical neck dissection by an ENT surgeon, whom we see tomorrow. Earl wants it done all at once.

Having been born with medical problems related to a birth defect in his bladder that affected the kidneys, and had a lifetime of medical treatment, Earl has been a really tough guy all his life. He is presently training for major surgery, and keeping a positive attitude. Friends are calling to offer help. Earl is telling them his philosophy, “Let’s get it done and move on!”