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margaret-brennan-13

MY SOAPBOX TIME

Punta Gorda, USA

Margaret, loving called Donnie by friends and family began telling stories at the age of 5. By the time she was 8, her mom complained that she found it difficult to tell the difference between Donnie's truth and her fabrications. Her mom encouraged Donnie to start putting her imagination on paper, including poetry since she seemed to have a talent for it.

Donnie, finally had her first story published. The title is Max and Donnie wrote under the Donnie Harucki. She's had many poems published in various anthologies.

Now being in the senior category of her life, she want to write more and see how far it takes her. That's why she became a member of Biopage. She's hoping you'll read her stories and leave a message.

Thanks for reading about her. She appreciates your attention. Have a great day.

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Anne loved to parties. Pete hated parties.. Halloween was approaching. She would dress up; he refused. During the party, Pete's friends mingled with the other guests but Pete, never one to go out of his way to make friends easily, just leaned against the wall deciding on grabbing a beer. He'd speak occasionally to someone passing by. He was bored, again. After pushing himself off the wall, as he approached the keg a few of the other guys began tossing a football around which resulted in Pete being pushed directly into the path of Anne, knocking her to the ground. “Hey, man, I'm sorry,” Pete said not paying any attention to the person at his feet. “Hey, man, yourself, buddy!” Anne stood up and placed her hands on her hips. “Do I look like a man to you?” Pete looked her up and down and laughed. “Well, uh.” He felt lost for words so gently took her arm and led her to the bathroom so she could see herself in the mirror. “Tell me what YOU see,” Pete insisted. “Oh God!” Anne was horrified. While choosing her costume carefully, she went a bit too far. Since she loves baseball and was, in fact, on a softball team, she dressed the part. Her hair was tied up beneath her cap, which was pulled down just above her eyes. Her jersey and pants were stained with mud as if she'd just slid into home plate. Even her sneakers were covered with dried mud. To matters worse, she opted to wear no makeup, but smeared her cheeks with black goo in the manner of a baseball player. “Oh God,” she repeated staring at the stranger in the mirror. Pete tried to suppress a laugh but failed. “Great! I look like hell and all you can do is laugh!” Anne didn't know if she was more embarrassed at how she looked or angry at Pete for laughing or worse, angry with herself for wanting to laugh. “Come on,” Pete started, “you have to admit, with that uniform, you don't look like a girl. And you certainly didn't fall like a girl!” Anne admitted that the uniform was hers and that after playing softball for many years, she learned to fall without getting hurt. Pete was impressed. “So, do you want to dance?” She laughed. “Do I look like Ginger Rodgers to you?” Pete was puzzled. “Who?” “Never mind. No, I don't want to dance. Never learned how.” “Whew! You have no idea how glad I am to hear that! I don't dance either.” He sighed with relief while uncrossing the fingers behind his back. “Then why'd you ask me?” “Just being polite. Hey, my name's Pete. How about a movie Saturday night?” “That's tomorrow night! What makes you think I don't have plans?” Although Anne was thrilled he asked, she didn't want him to know the plans she'd made earlier fell apart. “Oh. Sorry. You're right. I just don't make plans a week ahead of time. You just never know what's going to happen. So, how about next Saturday?” Pete was a bit disappointed but tried not to let it show. At the end of the party, just before Anne walked out the door, she pushed a folded piece of paper in Pete's hand. “My number. Call me Monday for directions to my house.” On the way home, Anne's cousin asked about the handsome young man. “I really don't know what to think of him,” Anne answered. “First, he knocks me down, then he laughs at me, then asks me to dance when he doesn't know how and to top it off, asks me for a date for tomorrow night? What's going through his head?” “Well, are you going?” “Next week. I'll tell you then if this thing will go any further.” Their first date began leaving Anne with mixed emotions. After enjoying a good dinner at a nice restaurant (yes, Pete wore dress slacks, dress shirt and jacket), there was a mix-up with the bill. While Pete left a substantial tip for the dinner, he never noticed the separate bar bill. The waitress was furious, followed Pete and Anne to the parking lot and threw Pete's tip on the ground at his feet saying that if that's all he could afford, he should keep it. Pete ran after her asking what he did wrong. After an explanation, Pete gladly corrected his tip but still felt humiliated. Anne, at first, felt the same as the waitress. “How cheap can you get?” Plus, he left her standing in the parking lot when he ran to follow the waitress back inside. Once Pete returned, he explained the situation and Anne agreed the waitress should never have acted the way she did. Anne saw the look in Pete's eyes and realized his embarrassment. Her heart melted and offered to go for a long walk rather than sit in a movie. She felt Pete needed to talk. She was right. Anne and Pete saw each other regularly after that and on a warm spring evening the following year, Pete took her hand, knelt on one blue-jeaned knee, and placed a diamond ring on her finger. With tears in her eyes, she put her arms around his neck and suddenly found herself almost speechless – a first for Anne. As she nodded yes and smothered his face with kisses, between breaths of air, she asked, “Please, just don't wear jeans to our wedding.”

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SHE HUGGED ME

Jan 01, 2021 3 months ago

In 1992, due to my mom's failing health conditions, she moved in with me. Not long after, she was diagnosed with dementia. I suspected as much since I noticed a change in her dwindling memory. While dementia / Alzheimer's is nothing to be taken lightly, what I didn't realize at the time was that mom's health condition helped me provide her with better care. Mom was soon in a wheelchair. I'll get to why that helped in a minute. Mom's dementia raced through her brain and within last two years of her life, she was completely non-verbal. (I'm also getting to that.) Mom's been gone four years now and not a day goes by that I don't wish I could do it all over again. I miss her with all my heart. While I no longer have my mom, I was given another option. A few months ago, an ad by a local gentleman was posted in our community online newsletter looking for help with his wife who has dementia. I thought I'd apply for the position since I'd taken care of mom. Mr. J was impressed with what I offered and hired me immediately. Here's where his wife differs from my mom. Mom was unable to walk. Ann can. Mom was non-verbal. Ann is somewhat verbal. Mom was very placid. Ann is most of the time but not always. If mom's imagination still existed, she didn't have the capability to show it. Ann's is and she does. Now I'll elaborate. While mom couldn't walk and Ann can, I always knew where mom was. Ann seems to have a problem sitting still for more than ten minutes unless she's eating lunch. She wanders around constantly moving anything within her reach. That's okay but all too often, she'll move her husband's laptop and important business papers. No matter where he puts them, she'll find and move them. I'm thankful their home is small. Like all homes, there are two doors: front and back. Mr. J. found it necessary to put in a second deadbolt lock in the back door that is just above Ann's reach. I count my blessings each time I'm there as Ann tries constantly to walk out the door to “go home”. I keep inventing reasons why she shouldn't be leaving the house. I tried once telling her she was home and that didn't make her at all happy. I changed tactics and said we needed to wait for her husband since he had the key to the car. That calms her down. Don't misunderstand me. Ann and I leave the house and walk around the community several times a day, but she's determined that she needs to, as I said, “go home”. She surely keeps me on my toes. The second issue is speech. Mom's speech quickly became nonexistent, as if she had no vocal chords at all. Mom never uttered one sound. Ann, on the other hand, can utter a few words but most of what she tries to say is nothing more than buzzing sounds. I know she thinks she's speaking intelligently, but in reality, what anyone would hear is: “And that one, bzzzz, bzzz, bzzzz.” I have to study her facial expressions to have an idea of whom and what she's referring to and wonder, has it made her happy, confused, or angry and then reply with, “Oh Wow! I didn't know that!” Then Ann will say, “Yeah!” We have some strange conversations that only she really understands. Ann has also exhibited a few minor anger issues. She has a stuffed toy that she loves – sometimes. She'll cradle the toy as though it were a small child. She'll sing to it, speak to it, and often hold her imaginary conversations with it. On a few rare occasions, she'll buzz-ask the toy a question. No answer. (Reminder: it is a stuffed toy that can't speak) She'll ask again. Still no answer. This might go on for a few minutes and with each time, Ann waits for an answer that won't come, her patience wanes until finally, she snaps. She'll grab the toy by the head and shake it violently while demanding an answer, “Speak to me” “Speak to me”. When no answer comes, she abruptly stands up, still tightly holding the toy by its head, and slams it down on another chair and curtly says, “Then don't answer me! Bzzzz,, Bzzzz Bzzz.” By the time, this tirade is over (usually no more than five minutes), I've retrieved a piece of chocolate and when she turns to me, I say pleasantly, “Oh Ann! Look what I've found. I think you'll like this.” She accepts the candy, sits down next to me, and picks up her small photo album and points to each photo buzzing its description. Ann is, for the most part, a delight to care for. Easy? Not at all. Pleasant? Most of the time. Would I stop going to see her? Absolutely not! The other day right before I made her lunch, I suggested she wash her hands. She did. I stood next to her with a towel. Her eyes lit up as if I'd given her a great gift. She smiled, dried her hands and said, “Thank you. You're the sweetest lady.” And then she hugged me. It was the highlight of the day! While Ann in her own way can be much more difficult than my mom had been, she could do something my mom was unable to do. She hugged me.

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The Attack of the Picture Frame

Oct 27, 2020 5 months ago

Okay, so everyone who knows me, knows I'm a klutz. True enough but you've got to admit, a lot of what I've done has been done by others and will continue to be done by others. My latest mishap? A picture frame! I carefully lifted all those annoying metal prongs to remove the back in order to insert my photo. Whew! Did that with no problem. Then I carefully pressed them all back down...... or so I thought. I held the frame sideways against the wall to measure where the nails would go for hanging. And that's when my problems began. The frame slipped and rather than having a piles of splintered glass to sweep, I caught the frame. Yes, you guess it! The one prong I missed didn't miss my thumb! Ouch, that hurt as it slid across the back of my thumb. And boy did it bleed!!! My attempts at curtailing and stopping the blood flow were all in vain and a trip to the local ER was inevitable. Four hours and three stitches later, I arrived back home. Now, here we are, two weeks later, the sutures are out but my thumb is still a bit swollen and very sore. The doctor said it will be this way for about "maybe another week." Wonderful!! Just wonderful!! I don't think that anyone every realizes how useful their thumbs are until it hurts so badly to use it, you don't. Can't hitchhike anymore (although I never really did). Can't stick my thumb in a pie to pull out a plum (although I didn't do that either). But seriously, it hurts to hold a pen (or pencil). Opening a jar is out of the question. Anything that requires pressure against where the injury was is something that will only happen as the injury heals...which the doctors assured me will happen but slowly. So, now you're wondering why I'm blogging all this nonsensical trivia. It's to alert you of the hazards of what lies behind the frames. Before you attempt to hang your beautiful photos, check and double check that you've actually pushed all those prongs back into place. You just never know when one might be lurking behind to make you yell, “OUCH, that hurt”.

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Gotta go, but Where?

Oct 27, 2020 5 months ago

I have absolutely no tolerance for rude people, especially when they're rude to the handicapped. There is really no excuse for them. Here is an example of what drives me absolutely batty: Mom and I were at a store and she needed to use the ladies' room. Okay, not a problem. Since mom uses a walker, we head straight for the handicapped stall where she can have more room to maneuver her walking aid. Only this time, the stall was locked. It was in use. There were still three other stalls that were vacant. I heard a voice coming from the handicapped stall indicating someone was using their cell phone. Okay, again, not a major dilemma. It happens. Leaving the walker outside the tiny stall, I helped mom inside then turned away to block the door and give her some privacy. Mom was almost done with “her business” when I heard the lock click in the door of the handicapped stall. Out walks a girl who looked about 16 years old, talking on a cell phone and absolutely no handicap. I stared at her and said, “Really? You used the handicapped stall when there is clearly nothing wrong with you?” She looked at me as if I had 5 heads and said, “I wanted to make a phone call. I wanted my privacy.” I told her everyone in the restroom could hear her so what was the point. Again, she looked at me as if I were crazy and left the room. Now, the way I look at it, these stalls were made bigger to accommodate people with wheelchairs, walkers, mothers with small children that need assistance and mothers with infants that need changing on the installed changing table. They are not made for kids who want to use their cell phones for what they think is a bit of privacy. I can't tell you how angry I was to know that my mom had to be so inconvenienced by someone so inconsiderate. And what if she was in a wheelchair and need me to help her from the wheelchair to the toilet? She would have ended up messing herself. And for what? For the use of a teen using her cell phone?

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My Time on a Ventilator

Sep 23, 2020 6 months ago

You groggily awaken in the OR. Your surgery has ended so you close your eyes for a peaceful recovery. Without warning, you feel as though you're being propelled through a wind tunnel and somewhere off in the distance, you hear someone shout, “Hurry, she's not breathing.” Someone else shouts: “Her heart stopped.” You wonder who is about to die but the bright lights of what you assume are hospital hallway lights are too bright for that thought to last too long. They're so bright, you squeeze your eyes shut against the glare. All is now suddenly quiet and peaceful. Someone is gently shaking your shoulder while saying, “Wake up. Come back to us. Open your eyes.” You realize, someone is speaking to you. I opened my eyes but found I couldn't speak. What happened? I was fine just a few minutes ago. Wasn't I? A doctor walks over and says, “You had a bad reaction to the anesthesia. Your lungs and heart stopped working. You'll be on a ventilator until you can breathe on your own again.” That happened to me in February of 1979. It was the scariest part of my life. Every hour, for eight hours, a nurse would approach. I would hear a loud “CLICK”, then no air! Nothing! As hard as I tried, no air! I would see a hand pass over the top of the tube that was inserted down my trachea. I would hear her say, “Nothing yet. Hook her back up.” Another loud, “CLICK” then beautiful cool, refreshing air and I'd be breathing again. Actually, I wasn't breathing at all. The ventilator was breathing for me, but it was keeping me alive. As hard as I tried, I couldn't get my lungs to function. Was I doomed to a life of ventilator dependency? Did the lack of oxygen paralyze me? Did I suffer any sort of brain damage? Time continued to pass by and every time I closed my eyes, a nurse would rush over saying, “Now, honey, please don't close your eyes. Stay awake for us. You can't sleep.” Another question. Why? Why was I denied the privilege of a nap? I felt so tired. I wanted desperately to sleep even if only for an hour or two. I thought of my two young sons. Their father and I were separated with a pending divorce. Before the surgery, he graciously volunteered to keep them for the duration of my recovery. He had no idea what was happening in the ICU. No one called him. I'm not blaming anyone. No one had his new phone number. I had it but was in no condition to give it out. Lying helplessly in the ICU, as the clock on the wall ticked away each second, all I could think of was breathing and getting home to my sons, rebuilding my life again without my almost ex-husband. Boredom had me drifting off again Another nurse, whom I'll call Anne hurried to my bedside. She gently stroked my forehead. “You need to stay awake. We're afraid if you fall asleep, you might slip into a coma.” Wow! That opened my eyes in a hurry. It was towards the end of her shift. I heard the shuffle of feet and saw Anne's face. “It's time once again. This time, I want you to try and take the deepest breath you ever inhaled.” I heard that all too familiar, “CLICK”. I focused and finally after eight agonizing hours, took the tiniest whisper of air you could possibly imagine. But it was enough. “Yea!” Anne exclaimed. She shouted to another nurse, “She took a breath. A small one but it was there.” A second nurse verified that I indeed took a small breath, a few of them. Anne said, “Close your eyes. We're removing the tube.” It felt like someone was removing a cactus plant from my trachea but suddenly, it was out, but was breathing on my own! Anne said I could now close my eyes and take that long awaited nap. I'd soon awaken in my own room. I have no idea why I reacted so badly to the anesthesia but to this day, here in 2020, there have been occasions where anesthesia stops my breath. The doctors, nurses, and anesthesiologists are all aware of this problem and take extra precautions to ensure it doesn't happen again. Have I been on a ventilator since then? Yes. Yes, I have, but for no longer that 2 hours and that's because the doctors are forewarned and monitor me very closely. I know the fear of not being able to breathe voluntarily. It's a horribly scary thing to go through. I can't help but have the deepest empathy for those who contract and suffer from COVID-19 and must be ventilated. For those who live through it, they'll never forget the time when the only thing keeping them alive was a machine. For those that didn't make it, all I can say is that it was a horribly, hideous way to die. I no longer take breathing for granted. I haven't since February of 1979 and never will.

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Michael Kelso

Author of 'Endzone', 'One on One' and 'Fragme...

Schellsburg, United States