Thursday, February 7, 2013

Zen Hospice Journal: Superbowl; Supercat; that Something Shared called Friendship

Cathy Zehner, Chuck Zehner, and Jean
Zen Hospice, 2/5/13

In Brief

Jean has been talking less over the last week, dozing more.  A good visit can mean that she wakes up and makes meaningful eye contact.  Currently, Jean's inner circle consists of Matt and Karen Creech, since Jean's sister Anne is spending a little time back in West Palm Beach.  However, Jean has had many physical and virtual visitors, and our cat Clark has become a consistent presence at the hospice.

Jean and Clark
Zen Hospice 2/6/2013
Clark decided to visit Jean Tuesday, with the understanding that feline overnights are forbidden.  Flaunting the rules, Clark has spent Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and is considering trying to push his luck as far as it will go. He is firmly ensconced in Jean's bed, spending hours stretched out across her lap, vigilantly safeguarding her well-being.  He will not easily be persuaded to relinquish his post.

Superbowl Sunday: Visits from Karen Creech and the Dranits

Karen Creech came by the hospice Sunday to visit Jean, carrying a bag of chips, fully prepared to eat junk food while she watched the big game and cheered the Niners onto victory.  She had to content herself with two out of three, crunching the last chips during the final moments of the failed comeback.

New manicure
Zen Hospice 2/3/13
Susie Dranit, her daughter and her husband also dropped by the hospice Sunday during Superbowl time, with the intention of giving Jean a manicure, while they conceded just enough to the dominant culture to be cognizant of the game in progress.  Everything went according to plan.  The polish was easy to apply while Jean dozed, and they could look at Karen's laptop, and her demeanor, for a gloss on the game as it unfolded.

Monday: Skyping with Ellen McCarthy and Ray Lewis

Appropriately enough in the week of Clark's visit, both Ellen and Ray had animal success stories to reported.

Ellen, a friend of Jean's from her days at Math Reviews, told about doing physical therapy exercises with her horse James Bond. James stretches his neck back to get a treat placed against his flank, and this may help with a problem that caused Ellen to thrown from the saddle last year around Thanksgiving time.  Ray, Jean's brother, described the care he lavishes on his cat Ringo, and reported that Ringo has started to be more affectionate to him in return.

Tuesday: Visits from Chuck and Kathy Zehner, and Clark

Our good friends Chuck and Kathy decided to take a break from the Illinois winter to sample the February springtime in Northern California.  In part they were motivated to visit their son Nicholas, very happily employed at Pixar, those glamorous purveyors of new media.  And of course they also wanted to see Jean, whom they met on the same 2007 Prairie Home Companion cruise on which Jean also met Lindy Ruddiman.  They dropped by Tuesday afternoon, and while Kathy rubbed rose lotion on Jean's hands, Chuck played songs on his guitar.  They promised to return soon, after Chuck learns to play some Michael Jackson tunes.

Clark Warning Sign
Zen Hospice 2/7/13
Clark also came to the hospice Tuesday, and was a big hit with everybody from the moment of his arrival: with Jean of course, but also with the volunteers and even the paid staff. The one bad moment came Wednesday morning, when it seemed he had gone missing.  He was found curled around the levers on the inside of the electric EZ chair, and we thought at first he might have been injured when Matt pressed the recline button the night before.  But he was unscathed, and the staff posted the sign show in the photo to accommodate Clark's predilections and prevent and future mishap.

Wednesday: Skyping with Mei-Yao Louis

Jean's friendship with Yao started when they ran cross-country at Huron High.  As Yao recalls it, Jean's main interest was band, and she did not have time for many practice runs, but she signed up for cross-country anyway to show her support for sports for girls.  When the time came for their meet, only Yao and Jean actually ran; the other girls, who had been able to practice, all came up with excuses.  Thereafter, Yao always valued Jean for her enthusiasm and courage, her ability to turn something intimidating into something fun and interesting.

Their friendship continued through their undergraduate days at University of Michigan, where they were housemates together in several residences.  Yao is now a veterinarian, and Clark's presence at the hospice was actually her idea. She was pleased that it had worked out well, and enjoyed seeing Clark on the video call.

Thursday: Skyping with Shadie Rowshan; a visit from Ken Eichstaedt

Shadie is an old friend of the Lewis family, and like them a devoted cat lover; he was as pleased as any of the Lewises by Clark's visit.

Jean, Clark, Kim (massage therapist), and Ken Eichsteadt
Zen Hospice 2/7/13
Ken Eichstaedt is a colleague of Jean's at URS who has visited her several times at the hospice.  We had a pleasant chat about many topics, including books, music, and the way things do and don't work out in life as one might wish.  Ken had a John Irving book to recommend, A Night at Twisted River, which he promised to bring with him next time

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