Today


There is so much I want to tell you but, alas, I get too tired too fast.

Today there would be the story of the man who was admitted Friday evening, and the importance of hugs, and some other stuff, but lunch is due in five minutes. Yesterday all I got for lunch was half a cup of lukewarm soup and a small piece of cherry pie. I did not get any crab cake or vegetables.

I did not know it was spring.

A week ago I started seeing flocks of geese flying north. That was until the night nurse brought me pain medicine last night and told me that the daffodils are eight inches high in her front yard, and the crocuses are up. She also has robins and redwing blackbirds and other substantial signs of spring.

It hurt me. I did not know spring had come on the ground. I’m on the third floor, overlooking the employee parking lot.

Here is an alarm: in your old age, you will be taken care of the way you are now taking care of your parents. Your children are watching and learning how to take care of you. Should you be scared? If what you are doing for your parents now is not how you want to be treated when your time comes, what are you going to do about it?

The old guy . . .

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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2 Responses to Today

  1. Diane Pyle says:

    I like reading your posts Anne, although they are rather sad. It’s nice to reach out over the internet. I dread being old (not that you are) as I have no children to even look out for me. well, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it, I’m 64 now, but I still go to 6 ballet classes a week, where I feel like an 18 year old again!

    What a shame your friends did not visit you, just because you used a wheelchair, they must be shallow people. You have a lot of interesting things to say.

    keep your spirits up Diane (in England) xx

    From: Anne C Woodlen: Notes in Passing To: ballerinajade2@yahoo.co.uk Sent: Monday, 7 March 2016, 17:15 Subject: [New post] 2599 #yiv4859484299 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv4859484299 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv4859484299 a.yiv4859484299primaryactionlink:link, #yiv4859484299 a.yiv4859484299primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv4859484299 a.yiv4859484299primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv4859484299 a.yiv4859484299primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv4859484299 WordPress.com | annecwoodlen posted: “There is so much I want to tell you but, alas, I get too tired too fast.Today there would be the story of the man who was admitted Friday evening, and the importance of hugs, and some other stuff, but lunch is due in five minutes. Yesterday all I got” | |

    • annecwoodlen says:

      At 69, I–and every other governmental agency as well as every restaurant and other business that gives age discounts–do consider myself old. One of the reasons I try to keep writing is so that other people–like you–won’t ‘wait to cross that bridge.’ That bridge is right in front of you. Please don’t wait! Plan for it now!

      No, my friends were not shallow people–at least no more shallow than normal. I’ll bet you don’t have any friends in wheelchairs, but you don’t think of yourself as shallow. The first time I went to a meeting of an Independent Living Center and wept about being in a wheelchair, I was immediately surrounded by a group of people in wheelchairs, each with his/her own story about how their friends and family abandoned them after they started using a wheelchair.

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