The Other End of the Pasture

Dorothy was fine at Christmas, but fell ill just a few days later.
Dorothy was fine at Christmas, but fell ill just a few days later.

Abby’s recovery from her bout with MRSA continues at an achingly slow pace. I brought her a scrambled egg sandwich and coffee for breakfast. She had a rough night. Any time Abby has an infection, it flares her rheumatoid arthritis, so last night she was in a considerable amount of pain.

We’re muddling through.

I am also quite sad about Dorothy. For those keeping score, Abby was married to Dorothy Milligan’s youngest son Paul until he died of lung cancer in 1992. Dorothy continues to regard Abby as her daughter-in-law, and me as her adoptive son-in-law.

One of the best things about Dorothy's house, and our own home here in the bucolic splendor of southeastern Oklahoma, is the nature, like this cherry tree in Dorothy's rose garden.
One of the best things about Dorothy's house, and our own home here in the bucolic splendor of southeastern Oklahoma, is the nature, like this cherry tree in Dorothy's rose garden.

Right after Christmas, Dorothy fell ill, but doctors repeatedly failed to find anything wrong with her. Her oldest son Tim took her to his home in Arkansas, where a doctor diagnosed her with Guillain–Barré syndrome, a very serious auto-immune disorder. She finally returned home last week after making some recovery, but it was determined that she was unable to care for herself in her home, so this week she moved to Ada Baptist Village, which I think was a very smart move.

As I was making Abby’s breakfast, I looked out the kitchen window across the 100 yards of pasture between our house and Dorothy’s, and while nothing had changed about the outside of her home, the knowledge that she wasn’t there made it seem to look empty and lonely.

Dorothy plans to keep the house for the time being, but I don’t think she will return to living there. Her husband George died in 2006. He and Dorothy built that house by hand in the early 1950s. But as the years have worn on, it has been increasingly difficult for her to care for that house. I told Tim I would keep an eye on it, keep the branches picked up and the grass mowed until the next phase.

This is Dorothy's house. The stones surrounding the first floor are native stone from the woods just to the west, which George and Dorothy hauled to the site themselves.
This is Dorothy's house. The stones surrounding the first floor are native stone from the woods just to the west, which George and Dorothy hauled to the site themselves.
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7 Comments

  1. I’m sorry to hear that Abby’s recovery is moving slowly.

    (I’m never sure of the right thing to say in these situations. Please just accept that we’re thinking of you guys.)

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  2. You and Abby are always uppermost in our thoughts. I’m sorry to hear that Dorothy won’t be able to return to her home, but glad she’s found a new place to settle. What about…oh gosh forgive me, but I can’t remember the dog’s name. What will become of her/him?

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  3. Here is Dorothy’s column from Sunday, Feb. 19…

    Home again at last; unexpected disease forces life changes.

    How quickly life can change! I became aware of life’s ability to go from the status quo to symptoms that were frightening. I was fine at Christmas time, but on Dec. 28 I was aware of severe muscle cramps and a frightening weakness. I spent a night at Valley View but was told I was suffering from arthritis. I later went to Norman for two nights, but the doctor there was unable to arrive at a diagnosis.

    Fortunately, my older son, Tim, and his wife Loyce, came from Hot Springs Ark., and took me home with them where I continued to get worse daily. Finally, he was able to persuade his doctor to examine me. This doctor had me enter St. Joseph’s hospital where a spinal tap showed that I was suffering from Guillain Barre. This is an auto immune disease that attacks the extremities. He contacted two young men who did five plasma exchanges. Eventually, I recovered enough that I was sent to rehab for two weeks of therapy.

    I am now at home, but I am not able to live here alone, so we have rented an apartment at Baptist Village where I will be living henceforth. I do not know if I will be writing a column for the Ada News. Everything is pretty much on a moment by moment basis.

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