What Not To Say When Buying Duct Tape

A few years ago one of my sisters shared a story with me about her son’s misadventures at work and I thought I’d share the story again.

My nephew worked at an office that used sand bags for therapy.   In my humble opinion, my nephew is a good-looking young man.  He has that “boy next door” handsomeness with a smile that catches and keeps your attention.

On this particular day at work the sand bags broke, were needed before replacements could be delivered, so being creative, the employees scooped the sand into zip lock bags and wrapped the bags with duct tape.

When they ran out of duct tape my nephew was sent to Wal-Mart to purchase more.  The single roll he purchased wasn’t enough so he was sent back to Wal-Mart to purchase more tape.  This time he purchased two of the largest rolls  of duct tape he could find.

When it came time to pay for his purchase he happened to go to the same cashier.

Now, the following is my interpretation of the conversation between my nephew and the cashier based on my sister’s re-telling.  We were both laughing and I had to ask her to repeat some parts of her story because I thought it was so funny.

Cashier:  “Must be a big project to use so much duct tape”.

Nephew:  “I didn’t realize it took so much duct tape to kidnap someone”.

Silence from the cashier.  I can picture her staring at him because of what he said while he’s standing there smiling back at her.

Cashier:  “I’ll be with you in a moment sir”.   She turned away from him and reached for the phone by her register.  My nephew couldn’t hear what she was saying because she kept her voice very low.

Nephew:  “Is there a problem”?

Cashier:  “No sir”.

Nephew:  “Could you ring this up please”?

Cashier:  “Just a minute sir”.

The store manager walks over at this point and starts questioning my nephew.

“What’s your name, what do you need the duct tape for, do you have ID”.

At this point my nephew realized the cashier took his joking comment seriously.  He explained to the Store Manager he was only kidding when she asked about the duct tape.  Luckily for my nephew, he had a business card with him and he showed this to the Manager while explaining why he was buying the duct tape.

Here’s another nephew adventure story my sister shared with me.

My nephew was having a problem at work with someone messing with his lunches; either eating things or hiding things.  Having had enough, one day he packed two sandwiches liberally spreading a liquid laxative on one sandwich.  He placed his sandwhiches in the refrigerator at work being careful so he would know which sandwhich was safe to eat.

Lunch time came and he saw that “someone” had taken a sandwich.  Unfortunately for nephew the “someone” took the safe sandwhich.  Nephew ate his sandwhich for lunch but discovered it wasn’t the safe one.  It was the sandwhich he had liberally laced with the liquid laxative.

It was a fast acting laxative.

Nephew has a wonderful sense of humor but sometimes, as often happens in life, it can bite you in the ass.


All rights reserved.  I hope you enjoyed my story but please remember it’s my story so no using or copying any content in any manner without the express written permission of the owner…..me.





The Lottery Ticket

Prior to retiring my co-worker for nine years was one of my sisters.  It made for interesting and sometimes frustrating work days for both of us because we are definitely two different personality types.

Sister #4  is direct and to the point.  She doesn’t waste time or energy on anything she has no control over.  If you piss her off you will know it immediately but once she’s said her piece it’s over.  She has a wicked sense of humor and an exceptionally quick wit.   I speak from first hand experience about her wicked sense of humor.

This is a story I shared a couple of years ago and thought I’d share again, especially since I figured enough time had passed that I could get even for what she did to me.

What she did to me:  “I stopped at the Dandy on my way to work and saw they had a new scratch off lottery ticket so I picked up one for you” Sis says while handing me the lottery ticket and a banana.

“Well thank you” I tell her as I get out the two winning scratch off tickets I had picked up the night before.  I won a whopping $9.00 which is big for me because I don’t usually win anything.

I think she was able to get me because of the banana.  I mean when someone is thoughtful enough to bring you a scratch off lottery ticket and a banana why would you expect them to pull a mean trick on you.

“Well good, maybe you’ll be lucky on the one I got for you too” my loving sister tells me.

I set her ticket aside on my desk and started working on some files.  Sis takes my winning tickets to look for numbers and letters because, according to her, that usually tells you the value of your winning prize.

“Aren’t you going to scratch off your numbers” Sis casually asks.

That should have sent off warning bells but like I said, I’m gullible, so I reached for the ticket she gave me.

Reading the front of her so thoughtful ticket it said to match three of the same dollar amounts and you win that amount.  Starting at the first spot, I scratch and reveal a $10,000 winner.  I scratch the second spot and it’s a $5,000 winner.  The third spot revealed another $10,000 winner.

At this point my excitement is rising and I’m bouncing a bit in my seat.  The fourth spot was a $100.00 winner, the fifth spot was a $1,000 winner  and the last spot revealed a $10,000 winner.

Hot damn, I matched three $10,000 prizes.

I’m stunned and then my heart starts pounding and my hands are beginning to shake.  I stare at the ticket not believing I matched the $10,000 three times.  I keep counting to make sure that there are really three $10,000 symbols showing and I’m not seeing things.  At this point I’m now rocking back and forth in my chair while muttering something like “oh my god” over and over.

“We won $10,000” I tell my co-worker/sister.  My voice is trembling and my eyes are filling with tears of joy.  Again, I should have picked up on her lack of enthusiasm but I was too enraptured by the thought of winning $10,000.

Evidently my face got very red as a result of my absolute joy about winning because Sis quietly tells me to read the back of the ticket.  I turn it over and see the usual spot where you fill in your name and address, blah, blah, blah.


“Read the small print” she tells me.

So I glance at the back of the ticket again. “Yeah, I’ll put both our names down when I fill it out” I tell her, a huge grin plastered on my face.

“No”, she says, “You need to read the small print”.

I hand the ticket back to her.  I’m simply too excited about winning $10,000 to worry about little details like fine print.  I don’t care what it says, let me sign our names and collect our winnings….$10,000.

I was going to share my winnings with her.

She starts reading the fine print to me but I’m only listening with half an ear.   All I’m thinking is  I WON $10,000.

When she reads the part about claiming more than $100.00 you have to go to Fairy Dust Lane, I ask her to repeat that and she finally cracks up laughing.   Mind you, she never cracked a smile as I was getting more and more excited while scratching off my ticket.

It finally sinks in what she did and to say I was not amused is putting it mildly.  I wanted to share with her alright but what I wanted to share at that point wasn’t a good idea because of that workplace violence issue.

She did admit later, when I had cooled off a bit, that she felt bad when she saw the excitement in my face.  To admit to feeling bad for the prank she pulled on me was unusual for her.  I mean she never expressed any remorse over the time she fed Sister #3 a dog shit cookie.

My imaginative vocabulary has made my husband blush on the very rare occasions something upset me and I expressed it verbally.   I won’t repeat what I said to her.

Eventually, however, I saw the humor in what she did.  It took me a while, and though I felt my dashed hopes blowing away like dust in the wind I could see and appreciate the humor in what she did.

I didn’t forget, I simply filed it away waiting for my opportunity to get even.

However, being the sisters that we are, we decided to prank someone else and crush their dreams of being a big lottery winner. I mean misery does love company after all.

I “dropped” the ticket on the floor by the employee entrance making sure the winning dollar amounts were facing up.  Someone did pick up the ticket but who ever it was  never said anything to anyone.

I hope they read the small print on the back before trying to claim their prize.

Present day payback time:  Sister #4 celebrated her 60th birthday at the end of March.  I picked out a sentimental card with heartfelt words expressing how much she means to me and the joy I feel in having her as a sister.  I purchased several scratch off lottery tickets to place in her card.  I also included one fake lottery ticket figuring she’d be so busy scratching tickets she wouldn’t notice.


She called to thank me for my gift and said she’d probably be busy until August scratching off all the lottery tickets she’d been given for her birthday.

“I hope you have some really good winners” I told her.

Now, picture the smile on the Grinch’s face when he realizes he’s going to ruin Whoville’s Christmas.  That was me  as I gleefully thought about getting back at her for what she did to me a few years ago.

I received a telephone call from her a week or two later. “Nice try”, she tells me, “I spotted your fake ticket right away”.

I should have known better.

She doesn’t have a gullible bone in her body, a slightly twisted sense of humor, yep, but definitely not gullible.

No problem though…..patience is my middle name.



All rights reserved.  I hope you enjoyed my story but please remember it’s my story so no using or copying any content in any manner without the express written permission of the owner…me.

A Thought About Blessings

Everyone has flaws.  One of mine is that I have always held on to the past and worried about the future and what could happen.  A smart person would understand that when you do that you miss out on what’s important.


I’m a smart person but I’ll admit to being a slow learner.  Since retiring I have been working on that little flaw in my personality.  It’s taking a bit of work because, as people who know me can confirm, I can be very stubborn.  On the plus side, once I make up my mind to do something I do it.

So I’ve made up my mind to focus on today, the here and now.

To recognize the daily blessings that are sometimes missed because of holding on to the past or worry about tomorrow.

This may sound kind of corny to some, but when I woke Easter morning my first thought was “This is the day the Lord has made, be happy and rejoice”.

I said a “thank you” for the simple fact that I woke to a new day, grateful for the ability to experience whatever the day may bring.  I enjoyed the simple pleasure of morning coffee with my husband as we watched the news and chatted about this and that.

As I began preparations for Easter dinner I ignored aching joints, realizing that despite those aches and pains, I was still able to move about.  Arthritis is a bitch but it could be worse.  A couple of Advil and it was on to the next task.

I consciously felt the pleasure of making preparations to celebrate with my family.  Anticipating their arrival and the chaos that comes with a home full of people who care about each other.  A blessing that some don’t experience.

Our eldest son and his family were the first to stop in for a visit before traveling to join our daughter-in-law’s family for Easter dinner.  They brought me a beautiful Easter lily, an Easter bread and ricotta pie.  Years ago I had tried making this pie without success.  Thankfully, my eldest daughter-in-law makes a delicious ricotta pie.  In turn I surprised them with candy that I made for my adult kids and Easter bags I put together for the grandchildren with their $2.00 bill.  Years ago my mother started the tradition of giving her grandchildren a $2.00 bill at Easter and I have continued that tradition with my grandchildren.   I also surprised my daughter-in-law with two containers of pipi salad, something my own mother-in-law used to make.  Her pleased smile made me happy and I enjoyed that moment.

My eldest grandson was my taste tester for the mashed potatoes since I’ve been unable to taste much due to a slight medical issue.  He gave me the thumbs up and asked that I save him any leftovers.  I happened to have one of his Mom’s empty containers so I filled it with mashed potatoes and handed it to him.  That got me another big smile.  Something so simple but it lightened my heart and I count that as a blessing.

Our middle and youngest sons and their families joined us for dinner.  It’s easier to set up buffet style so everyone can help themselves, including the grandkids.  No pressures about what you eat or don’t eat.  Being able to share that meal together is another blessing I’m grateful for.  I love to hear the sounds of their voices as conversations flow.  I enjoy listening to them as they tease each other and the resulting laughter.  The weather co-operated and the kids were able to play outside and enjoy their own time together.

Later, after everyone had gone home, I spent time cleaning the kitchen and getting dishes done.  As strange as it may sound, washing dishes relaxes me.  As I stood at the sink I thought about the day and all its little pleasures and blessings.

I remembered watching our youngest grandson eating cabbage salad.  No biggie you’d think but it reminded me of last Christmas and how he ended up taking the bowl off the kitchen counter, climbing into a chair in the living room and eating the cabbage salad directly from the bowl.   I watched him eat his Easter dinner and saw how he dipped his dinner roll and ham into the cabbage salad like it was a dip.   It’s a vegetable but I’m not telling him.

I remembered the look on my granddaughter’s face as I handed her the “Easter toast” as one of my grandsons called it.  She thinks Mammy makes the best toast.

I smiled as I remembered grandson #3 asking me if a lamp emits light or sucks dark which I learned later had something to do with a meme.   His Dad took exception to what he was saying and asked him if he wanted to do laps around the back field.  I calmly advised my son that since my grandson was talking to me he could say or ask what ever he wanted; it was our conversation.  Dad just smiled at his sons’ teasing comments about Dad’s Mom getting after him.

While washing a roasting pan I found my self chuckling as I remembered a moment with grandson #5.  His Mom had made a cake for dessert and it wasn’t until after the cake was served that I remembered I had made a cherry cheese pie.  My youngest son doesn’t care for cake so I always make this pie for holiday meals.  As I was cutting the pie grandson #5, who loves cheese cake, was standing next to me.  

“Would you like a piece” I asked him. 

“I’ve already had a piece of cake and my Dad would say no” he answered while looking at the pie.

“I didn’t ask what your Dad would say, I asked what you wanted”.  The look on his face said he wanted a piece of pie so I cut a small piece for him. 

“Come into the living room” I said after handing him his pie, “I’ll take care of your Dad”.  He wasn’t taking any chances, however, and ate his pie standing at the kitchen counter.   Sorry Dad, Grandma’s house, Grandma’s rules.

I’ve come to realize how freeing it is to be able to enjoy the here and now.  To not dwell on the past or worry about what tomorrow may bring.  It’s like a weight has been lifted that you weren’t aware you were carrying.  Certainly there are times when I slip into old habits and my mind starts to wander into the “what if” territory of tomorrow or the regrets and sorrow of the past.  I won’t let myself go there anymore because I’ve felt the simple enjoyment of today and I like it.  I’ve talked with Hubby about this and he’s offered a free kick in the ass whenever necessary. 

It’s easy to find your blessings each and every day when you take the time to look for them. 

I’m eagerly looking for mine, are you?


All rights reserved.  I hope you enjoyed my story but please remember it’s my story so no using or copying any content in any manner without the express written permission of the owner….me.


The Apology

It’s been a while since I’ve put “pen to paper” as they say and written a story.  Certainly I’ve had many ideas rumble around my mind and as a result several drafts have been saved but nothing that seemed to satisfy.

This a first for me.

The first time the last sentence of a story was written before the story itself.  The reason is simple.  I couldn’t forget four words our 3 1/2 year-old grandson said.  A moment that stayed with me as I’ve thought about what he said and what those words really meant.

Our youngest grandson was spending the day with us and something was quickly very clear when he arrived early that morning.    He was starting his day tired.  Anyone who has spent time with a tired 3 year-old knows how your day can go.

As a seasoned Grandmother now, I readily admit I have much more patience when it comes to the grandchildren than I did when my boys were growing up.  It doesn’t seem fair, to the kids you are raising at the time, but I guess that’s the way life goes.  With age you gain wisdom and it’s your grandchildren who benefit from your parental growing pains.

As I was saying, Grandchild #7 was spending the day with us and Mr. Contrary was his visiting companion.  Yes, he wanted Lucky Charms for breakfast, nope make that faffles (waffles).  Grandma didn’t have any faffles how about pancakes.  Nope, he wanted meatballs (Spaghettio’s with meatballs).  Sorry, that’s for lunch so you have a choice of Lucky Charms or Lucky Charms.  This conversation was overheard by Papa who didn’t like the little guy’s tone of voice.

Lucky Charms it was with a side dish of “don’t talk to your Grandmother like that”.  Our day had started.

It’s possible the little guy took exception to Papa’s interference in our breakfast conversation because after that, hand in hand with Mr. Contrary, the little guy seemed to do anything and everything he could to get Papa’s attention, if you know what I mean (wink, wink).  It was also at this point Mr. Annoyance joined their little play group.

I was in another room when I heard Hubby’s raised voice telling the little guy to stop whatever it was he was doing.  When I checked it out, the little guy was on the couch with his head under the pillow, and Papa was in his chair watching him.  Papa’s usual smile was MIA.

The phone rings at that moment and it’s Mom calling to see how things are going.

“I talk to her” the little guy says as he gets off the couch with a look at his Grandfather.  Said look told me Papa had told him he had to stay on the couch until Papa said he could get down.  The phrase “pissing contest” came to mind as I watched the way he looked at his Grandfather and Hubby’s return stare.

I hand him the phone and since he’s standing next to me I can hear Mom too.

“How are you doing buddy”.

“I pissed off Papa” he tells her.  There’s a very brief silence.

Mom starts to say something at the same moment he looks at the phone and pushes the button for speaker.

“He’s got you on speaker phone” I warn her while trying not to laugh.  I can tell by Hubby’s facial expression he’s not amused.  Knowing this boy the way I do I shouldn’t have been surprised that he knew how to do that with the speaker button.

We have a brief four-way conversation about things and it may have been my imagination but I thought I detected a wee bit of concern in Mom’s voice.  She and I both know he’s tired and a nap is a priority.

I’ve come to realize that’s not always a logical excuse for poor behavior as far as most adult males are concerned, however.

Maybe it’s that men are from Mars, women are from Venus thing, not that I really ever understood that either.  It sounds good as excuses go I guess.

Anyway, Grandma decided it was time to get the boy settled.  He had his meatballs for lunch and while eating we talked about this and that.  I knew that he knew what was coming after his lunch.

Nap time.

Of course, he tried his best delay, distract and annoy tactics but Grandma, as usual, was going to win this one.   After lunch it was bathroom time, wash your hands, get another drink and then to the couch.  He protested, of course, cried a bit; that cry without real tears just to make noise cry.

Within minutes he was fast asleep.

“That boy was tired” Hubby told me.

“You’re right Hon”.

Two and a half hours later our little guy wakes up.  Sitting up, but staying on the couch, he watches his Grandfather who is resting in his chair by the couch.  After a few seconds, he climbs off the couch and moves to stand in front of Papa’s chair.




“I no dick Papa” he tells his Grandfather, standing there and waiting for Papa’s response.  I watch as Hubby holds his arm out.   That’s all the encouragement the little guy needs to climb up and snuggle in with Papa.

Apology accepted.



P.S.    His father can explain how he knew that he was or wasn’t behaving like a dick.


All rights reserved.  I hope you enjoyed my story but please remember it’s my story so no using or copying any content in any manner without the express written permission of the owner…..me.

Tops and Bottoms

You’re probably thinking, based on the title, that this might be about fashion and advice on style.  Since I know I don’t have a great sense of style I would be the last person to write about anything to do with fashion.  I have no clue what season or color palate I am except I know I like jeans and loose-fitting shirts.

My title might lead you to think this could be about boobs and butts.

I don’t often think about boobs and butts, but (no pun intended) since it’s been mentioned, as far as boobs go, well, I do have two aging ones.   Speaking for myself and from what I’ve heard my sisters mention, it would appear that aging boobs are like birds in winter…..they tend to head south.  Nope, this isn’t about boobs and butts.

Believe it or not this is about my youngest grandson.

He’s a very considerate 3 year-old when it comes to using the toilet.  He always puts the seat down when he’s finished.  He also puts the lid down but I’ve learned that’s not out of consideration but for his own purpose.

He uses the toilet lid as his work bench so he can set the bathroom soap dispenser on top.  Each and every time he uses the toilet.

I think placing the soap dispenser on the toilet lid gives him better leverage for a stronger pumping action.  He’ll fill his hand with soap to the point the soap sometimes runs out of his hands and onto the toilet lid.  I’ve explained that he only needs a little bit of soap to wash his hands, however he believes more is better.  After filling his hand with soap he goes to the sink where he’ll rub his palms together under cold water.  A quick pat of his hands on the towel then he comes to me with hands that are still wet and soapy.

The first time this happened I took him back to the bathroom and showed him how to properly wash his hands.

I pumped a dime size amount of soap onto the palm of his hand, then showed him how to wash his hands.  I held his hands under warm running water, rubbing his palms together then showing him how to wash the tops bottoms of his hands  by rubbing the palm of one hand on top of the other hand.

We have a routine now.

I’ll give him a few minutes to do his business then ask through the closed bathroom door if he’s done.   He’ll yell “no” which means he’s got the soap dispenser on the lid of the toilet.  That’s my cue, so I knock on the door before going into the bathroom.

“I’m get’in soap” he’ll say, standing by the toilet while pumping soap into his hands and onto the toilet lid.  Adjusting the water in the sink I’ll wag my finger at him in a “come here” motion.  With a last look at the soap dispenser, he walks to the sink and immediately starts washing his hands while always saying something about why he put the soap on the toilet lid.  I don’t say anything about the soap, just remind him “tops and bottoms”  while he washes his hands and then help him dry his hands on the towel.

The soap dispenser goes back on the sink until next time and I wipe the soap off the toilet lid if necessary.  My toilet lid is always very clean by the way.

I once forgot to wipe the soap off the toilet lid after he had been in the bathroom.  When I sat on the toilet lid to clean the cat’s litter box my butt slid a bit on the lid.  White soap on a white lid can be easy to miss if you forget.

I guess a butt did play a small part in this tale after all, however, here’s where the idea and title for this story came from.  A simple comment by a three-year-old little boy,  nothing profound or news worthy, but it made me laugh.

The other day I was standing at the bathroom sink, with the door open, washing my hands after cleaning the cat’s litter box.  The little guy walks by, sees what I’m doing, and pauses to look at me. “Tops and bottoms Grandma” he says with a serious look, then continued on his way.

I’ll take that as proof that males do listen to the women in their lives.  Sometimes.


All rights reserved.  I hope you enjoyed my story but please remember it’s my story so no using or copying any content in any manner without the express written permission of the owner….me.


Nothing But The Best For Me

This is a story I posted a couple of hears ago under the title “Nothing But The Best for Grandma” but Hubby made me realize this didn’t just pertain to my grandchildren.  It’s relevant to anyone who gives hugs.  

While we were growing up there weren’t a lot of hugs and kisses, at least not that I remember.  I truly can’t ever remember hearing “I love you” from Mom or Dad.  When bedtime came we’d say “goodnight” but that’s all I remember.  As a result I was never very good at sharing my feelings or showing affection, at least I think that’s why.

It wasn’t that I didn’t feel things or love deeply, I did and do but I it was not very easy for me to show my feelings, especially to those I cared about.  It felt uncomfortable to me.  I still have a tendency to hold back when it comes to showing affection, an old habit that’s so damn difficult to break.

Unfortunately, I didn’t realize this until my boys were grown and the grandchildren started coming along.  I like to think I have been able to learn from my mistakes so I try to say “I love you” more, give hugs at every opportunity and offer words of encouragement whenever possible.

One weekend, a few years ago, our grand-daughter and her brother were up for a visit with their parents.  It made me smile watching them come into the house and sit down to visit with the grandparents when what they really wanted to do was go play with their cousins who live next door.

I’d watch them as they sat with us in the living room trying to be interested in visiting with the old folks when they’d much rather be outside playing.  After sharing small talk with them about school and stuff, usually after about 5 or 10 minutes  I’d casually say something like “wouldn’t you like to go play”? and they’d be off like a shot racing to get outside.

When it came time to go home they came in to say goodbye to us.  My grandson hugged me first and then his sister gave me her hug with both arms wrapped around me as I held her close.  Her Mom (with a smile) asked “Why don’t you hug your Nana like that”?

“Because Mammy doesn’t want….” and she hesitated to finish her sentence.

I’m going off point for a minute to let you know I am called Mammy, Ma, and Grandma by my grandchildren.  When our youngest grandson came along and started talking he called me Baba.  I have no idea where that came from except that is what we called my Dad’s mother.  The little guy has since switched to Grandma like his brothers.  Whenever the grandkids call on the telephone I know who I’m talking to by how they address me.  That comes in handy now that the grandsons are getting older and their voices are changing.

Now back to my story.  I answered my daughter-in-law’s question for my grand-daughter.

“I don’t want half-assed hugs”.

My grand-daughter then spoke up and told her Mom that Nana didn’t ask for better hugs.

You see, my definition of a half-assed hug is when someone hugs you with one arm, a light touch, basically draping their arm on your shoulder with their face lifted away from you like they’re giving an “air kiss”.  You get the feeling they’re looking at or thinking about something else.  As in leaving quickly.  It’s an action without thought or feeling.

The first time my eldest grandson gave me such a hug I told him I didn’t want a half-assed hug.  I told him I deserved a real hug, the best he could give me.  He laughed, as did his cousins who were present at the time, and he gave me a real hug.   As each of my grandchildren have, on occasion, done the same, I will call them out on it telling them I deserve the best hug they can give me.

The other day, my husband was leaving to run an errand and he gave me a hug goodbye….a half-assed hug.  I called him out on it.

“I’ll have to have A (our 3 year-old grandson) give you lessons on hugging” I told Hubby.

“What do you mean” he asked, obviously in a hurry to leave.

“That was one of the worse half-assed hugs I’ve ever had” I told him.

You see, when our youngest grandchild hugs you, it’s with both arms wrapped around your neck; he’ll pull you close holding you tight for a few seconds then give you a nice big kiss on the cheek.  He puts 110% into any hug he gives you.  You can actually feel his whole being is focusing on you and the hug he’s giving.  I hope he never out grows those hugs.

Hubby promptly gave me a proper hug, smiling as he did so, and not forgetting the kiss on the cheek.


Nothing but the best for me.



All rights reserved.  I hope you enjoyed my story but please remember it’s my story so no using or copying any conte


It’s Time For Acceptance

I have been struggling with something for quite a while, not speaking much about it, holding it close and trying to come to terms on my own.  It has been a lonely, difficult and painful struggle.

I’ve been praying for help with acceptance and yet a part of me feels as if I’m giving up.  My nature has always been such that when I know something is wrong I dig in and keep at it until it’s made right.  Like a dog with a bone, don’t try to take it from me….I fight.

At least I used to.

I retired for a number of reasons, one of which was that I was discouraged.  It was feeling like the legal system wasn’t about accountability and justice but “let’s make a deal”.

That fact became crystal clear in a very personal matter and that’s part of what I’m struggling with now.

Sister #3 died unexpectedly May 10, 2016.  The fact that she died, while painful, is not what I’m struggling with.  Death is a part of life after all.  It’s the reason she died that I’m still struggling with.

She was hospitalized for difficulty breathing and coughing up blood.  At admission her oxygen was at 84 or 85% and she had a heart rate of 124.  It took four days on oxygen for her levels to reach 95% and she felt so much better.  At that point her oxygen was decreased to see how she’d do.  Overnight, just sleeping, the next day her levels had dropped to 93% but that was good enough to get her discharged.  It didn’t matter that with no activity, just decreasing the oxygen, her levels dropped.  She was discharged.

At her visit with her primary care provider three days later her oxygen levels were at 91%.  Still decreasing, but not much was said about that, maybe because she had an appointment with a lung specialist five days later.

She met with the specialist.  An oxygen reading was taken.  We don’t know what the first one was, but she told my sister they had to rub her hands to warm them and then took another reading.  That reading showed her oxygen was at 85% and her heart rate was 132; eight days after her discharge from the hospital for the exact same issue.  The doctor told her he’d schedule a sleep apnea test and a Cat Scan for two to three weeks later and she was sent her on her way.  He he did not tell her she needed to return to the hospital or even prescribe oxygen to use at home while waiting for further tests.  Two simple actions that I, as a lay person, would consider reasonable care.  She trusted the doctor.

She collapsed two days later, not living long enough to have those tests done.  She was 59 years old.

This is where I’m struggling.

We filed complaints with the State’s Office of Professional Medical Misconduct.  That agency’s website’s definition of medical misconduct included “abandoning or neglecting a patient in need of immediate care”.  How much more immediate was an oxygen level of 85% and a heart rate of 132?

The results of our complaint?

We received a letter before Thanksgiving advising that upon completion of the investigation there was not sufficient evidence to bring a charge of medical misconduct as defined by the State’s Education Law.  The letter stated the investigation was closed.  However, a permanent non-public file of the case will be maintained for future use as needed.

Translation: because no other complaints had been filed against the doctor our complaint becomes a non-public record for future use in the event there is another complaint.  How many average people know anything about this Agency?  We didn’t until a lawyer suggested we file our complaints.

And that brings me to the legal system; justice and accountability.  I picked up my sister’s records from the Attorney’s office the other day.  The bottom line came down to dollars and cents.

Because my sister was on Social Security disability for a diagnosed mental illness and wasn’t a wage earner, there wouldn’t be a value to pursuing a wrongful death suit.  Wrongful death is basically based upon the potential value of the lost wages of the individual.   Also, because she had difficulty with drinking in the past, that fact together with other issues would make a malpractice lawsuit lengthy and expensive.  The defense would use those issues….defending which would prolong the legal process.  The expenditures for a legal action would probably exceed any potential award.  This was the advice provided by the attorneys we spoke with.

If there had been a finding of professional medical misconduct that would change things but no other complaints had been filed so no finding of misconduct.

The last attorney, while very sympathetic, also declined to accept the case.  A recommendation was provided in the event we wanted to seek yet another opinion.

A life lost and it comes down to dollars and cents not accountability.

This is the one and only time in my life I have wished to be wealthier, to have the money to pursue something that requires a good deal of money.  Accountability shouldn’t come with a price tag.

As I said, during this whole process I’ve been praying for acceptance because a part of me still feels like I’m giving up.  I asked Sister #4 what the difference was between acceptance and giving up.  She said acceptance is knowing you did everything you could; giving up is bitching about what happened but doing nothing.  In my mind I know we’ve done all we could but my heart still aches with trying to understand how this could have happened especially in this day and age.

My husband reminded me that my sister was a very loving, kind, generous woman, always there to help whoever needed help despite all she had to deal with personally.  Her non-public record is there, waiting to help the next family.  I pray there will never be a “next time” for anyone else.   What he said is so true and I’m trying to take solace from that.  I’m trying to let go of the feeling that I’m giving up, to hold on to what my husband and sister said.

It hasn’t been easy, but I’m hoping that with the writing and mailing of my final letter to the State Agency and writing and sharing this story, I’ll be able to finally let go of the heartache and anger I’ve held on to for so long and focus, instead, on the memories and the love we all have for our sister.

To accept.


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