Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Hi! Just talked to Terry, and Tank is doing great! "He's so much better!" said Terry. His physical therapist said Tank is making a lot of progress, and can probably go home in a couple of weeks. Tank is now able to get from his bed to his wheelchair unassisted! He's much stronger, according to Terry.

Terry is delighted with the home improvements in the bathroom, and is eager to get the front-door threshold wheelchair-friendly.

On Christmas, she took him for a ride, which they both really enjoyed. On Sunday, a group of friends met at Bayside (with food), and all of them ate together. Lots of friends have been dropping by. That has been very good for Tank, said Terry.

He had the one chemo session (about a week ago), and that took all day. Since then, the chemo is in pill form.

Both Tank and Terry are looking forward to a visit from Peggy and Mike in mid-January, a visit from Catherine in late January, and a possible visit from Kelly and Susan in early February.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


Merry Christmas! :)

I just talked to Terry. Tank's doing great!

He had chemo on Wednesday, and tolerated it well. She's giving him pills now that she thinks are related to the chemo therapy.

Yesterday, she picked him up at Bayside and took him to Dockside Two, a seafood restaurant right on the dock at Morro Bay. Right where the fishermen come in. Sally and I ate there, and it's tasty. Tank stayed in the car, and Terry went in and got food. She drove him over to Morro Rock, where they ate. Wonderful news, huh. I mean, Tank doing what Tank likes to do. A modified version, but, still, I'm sure he loved it, and felt grateful, and free. She said they took their time, and enjoyed themselves. She said she feels very comfortable doing that (taking him places in the car), even when she's alone with him. At Bayside, someone helps Tank in and out of the car. So...sounds like a fun adventure.

Last night, Terry went to a dinner party at Stephanie's house, and Stephanie sent Terry home with two huge plates of food. Today, Terry will take the food to Bayside, and heat it there, and enjoy the delicious meal with Tank. Then, she'll take him for a ride in the car. :)

The physical therapist said that Tank had a GREAT week! :) Terry credits Sally and me for much of that, which is very kind of her. The physical therapist said Tank is doing VERY well, and making significant progress.

Terry also mentioned that when she's out with Tank, and then takes him back to Bayside, it's not a sad moment. She trusts the Bayside staff to take good care of Tank, and he seems happy to be there. He's tired after an outing, and seems eager to get in bed and relax. So, there aren't sad and regretful feelings. I was glad to hear that. "I never worry about him when I leave him there," said Terry.

She also said that she anticipates bringing him home within three weeks. Yay! I don't know what the timetable is based on, but, still...good news.

She was cheerful and optimistic and relaxed. She asked about our trip home. She said that Tank REALLY enjoyed the visit, and that it was good for him in many ways.

Sally and I enjoyed a leisurely drive home. In Tehachapi, CA, we were going to stop for lunch, but--in front of the restaurant--I nearly hit a small dog. We screeched to a stop. The dog followed us to the parking lot. While I went door-to-door trying to find the owner, Sally (a prepared traveler) plied the lanky chihuahua with a can of chicken breast and a piece of string cheese. We never made direct contact with the owner, but I found a nearby house with a yard that looked as if it were meant to corral a very small dog (chicken wire from bottom-of-fence to grass, a small bowl of water). A teenage neighbor confirmed that the dog lived there, so we left a note, put the dog in the yard, and prepared to leave. Suddenly, the chihuahua reappeared with a wienie-dog in the unfenced front-yard of the house next door, both yapping at us happily and confidently. I began to feel a bit like a Marx Brother, so we revised the note and hit the road. I left my name and number, offering to come back for the dog(s) if necessary. I haven't heard from them. One can't save all the dogs in all the towns, and I'm pretty sure this dog didn't need saving...just a better fence.

We were slowed down once again when we stopped at Historic Cove Fort. :) 'Cause, apparently, you can take the girls out of the Mormon Church, but you can't...etc. I'd been there before, but Sally had not. A nice senior missionary showed us around. We were enchanted. He gave us a hand-made toy as we were leaving. He offered a Book of Mormon, but we declined politely. We winced when he spoke of "fixing the Indian problem," but, overall, the tour offered a glimpse into a pioneer way of life that has always interested me and Sally. I can hardly wait to make a pin-cushion out of my hair. :) Peggy's birthday is coming up! :)

I'll call Terry every two days or more, and get information, and post it here. If anyone else gets information that they'd like to share, please include it in a comment, or call me at 801 502 4372 or email me at poppyannie@hotmail.com, and I'll include it in the blog. Thanks!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

12/23/2010, Later 2

Perhaps I'm including too much detail. :) Since this is my 3rd post, and we still havent arrived at Bayside. We went to Bottle Liquor for a hot breakfast sandwich for Tank (per his request) and a salami sandwich for Dan (per HIS request). We rushed to Bayside, because we knew he had chemo that morning.

I dont suppose Sally and I will ever forget the moment we walked into his hallway at Bayside. It might seem like no big deal, but...it FELT like a big deal for some reason. He was sitting in the hallway in a wheelchair waiting for the bus that would take him to chemo. He looked himself, but not. It wasnt a bad thing. Im not sure what I was feeling, other than tremendous love. He was wearing one of his new outfits (navy cotton-knit pants and a gray short-sleeved T-shirt). He was wearing his HUGE white tennis shoes, which is a bit out of the ordinary. He was also wearing a hat. :) A straw hat with a narrow brim. He said it made him look like a gangster. :) Maybe. A summer-time gangster.

He looked so...ready. He saw us right away, and waved as we walked toward him. He was sitting up straight in the chair, and seemed to be prepared for an advanture, and not an ordeal. He was so clean. :) His arms and legs are very thin (it's a bit alarming), and that just makes them look longer. He's all elbows and knees.

He was very eager for the sandwich, and the scratchers. He ate half the sandwich while we waited, and chatted. He seemed eager to get going, but also eager to eat the sandwich. I had a bite, and it was delicious. The very nice bus driver showed up, and he and Tank seemed to know each other. He was a big, friendly, middle-aged guy, who reminded me a bit of Tank. Seemed competent, and treated Tank respectfully, and like a grownup (that matters so much).

Sally and I quickly said goodbye to Tank, and walked with them to the bus out front. As Tank was being lifted up (in his wheelchair), he hollered for a quarter, so he could do the scratchers. :) I ran to the car and fetched one. :) The last glimpse we had of Tank was him sitting in his wheelchair, being lifted into the bus, in his toddler outfit, scratching off the lotto cards. :) He seemed content.

As we drove off, Terry arrived (I hope she made the bus, so she could travel with him). Curtis and Kathleen were in the car behind her. Their plan was to go to the chemo, and then take him to lunch (in the past, he has tolerated chemo very well).

It's very difficult not being there. We'll go back soon.

He is being very brave, and optimistic, and cheerful, and loving. I mean, it's not perfect, and he'd love to be home, and he plans on being home soon, and I hope that's not overly optimistic. He's practical. He seems to know that this is what has to be done, and he's not spending too much time judging it as lousy or unlucky or tragic. It just is. He just takes the steps he needs to, to fix it.

Thanks for all your notes and comments. Kaycee: I think he'd like to receive any baked good from you, made with any sweetener you'd like. :) I trust your judgment. And bless your heart. :) And thank you, Sadie, for considering a Central CA move. :) Over and over again while we were there, Sally and I commented that if you have to visit your sick father, it'd be hard to beat Morro Bay as a place to visit him.

Love to all! Polly.

12/23/2010, Later

Then, we went to the house to check on Curtis's progress with the bathroom improvements. It looks great! He rented tools, and worked all day, but the glass surround is down, and a curtain is up, and two grab-bars are up. It makes the bathroom feel more spacious (it's a roomy bathroom). Kudos to Curtis. We picked up a T-shirt for Dan that Tank had been saving for him (a giveaway), hugged everyone, and went to the motel.

This morning, we happily did Tank's bidding. First, we delivered the See's chocolates to Scott at the gas station. He seems like a REALLY nice guy, and knew Tank by name, and asked if Tank was taking visitors at Bayside. It made me realize that maybe people don't know that Tank LOVES visitors. Maybe, for a while, he did not, but now he does. So, if anyone has the opportunity to visit, please do. Not that Scott reads this blog. :) I don't know Tank's room number, but anyone can help you out. As you face the building, the nursing-type care is on the left side (the north end) (that's where Tank is). Residents (who require less care) live on the right/south side of the building. For those who cannot visit, he loves getting cards and pictures. And lotto scratchers. :)


Hi! Sally and I are at the Motel 6 in Las Vegas. Again, thanks to Kent for the little computer. The wifi connection is dicey, so Im going to be posting every paragraph or so.

Tank is so darling. :)

We visited last night, and he was tired, but he rallied. He enjoyed his scratchers, and was bummed when he didnt win anything. He mentioned that he'd had physical therapy in the afternoon, and had done well. He walked down the hallway (maybe 30 yards) using a walker! Unassisted! I think. :) He took a wheelchair back to his room. He said it tired him, but that he felt good about it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

12/22/2010, Later

Hi all!

We're leaving in the morning, so this will be my last message from the Morro Bay Public Library. They've been very generous...sharing with an out-of-towner.

We had a good visit with Tank at lunch time. Sally made a salami sandwich for him, and we chilled some milk. He was eager for us to sort through the box of greeting cards and letters, so we did that. So fun! People from Utah, from San Pedro, from Morro Bay, and some surprises. Someone sent a gift certificate for See's Candies, and Sally and I had seen a store in the Madonna shopping complex, so we offered to go there, if he wanted to present someone a gift of chocolate. He chose a young man (Scott) who works the morning shift at a particular gas station/scratcher outlet. We scored the chocolates, and will deliver them in the morning. Not sure how Scott got so lucky.

Tank asked if we had plans for lunch, and we did not, and he thought for a minute before making a suggestion. I was willing to go anywhere. :) We're at that stage, where we want to please him. Kind of cute, and kind of pathetic, maybe. He suggested Dockside Two, on the Embarcadaro, for seafood taquitos. Sounded good to me, and it was. He was drinking a can of Orange Crush that we'd brought him a few days ago, and I wandered down memory lane, remembering when we were kids, and we'd go to Tom's for a hamburger, but Nola and Tank would let the kids (maybe not Kelly) walk next door to Taco Bell for a 25-cent taco and a 10-cent Orange Crush. I always connect those flavors in my head. So, he suggested we get Orange Crush with our taquitos, so we did. :) I also bought Dan a T-shirt.

It's been an exciting week in Morro Bay! One reporter said that we got a year's worth of rain in one week. Also--because of the storm--a tree fell onto an above-ground sewer pipe near the prison, and sewage spilled out for a while. They closed Terry's college (Cuesta) for a day, and advised us not to wander into the estuary, or to swim in Morro Bay at all. Darn! 'Cause today was the day I was going to swim! Also, the dead body of a woman was found near Morro Rock yesterday morning at 6:30. So far, she remains unidentified. I've seen both Sally and Terry since the incident. :) Really. I have.

So, now we're headed over to Bayside to see Tank. This morning, he said he was uncertain when he'd begin chemotherapy. I asked if it was IV or pill, and he seemed to think it would be in pill form. He liked his salami sandwich, and--as we were leaving--he began eating his Danish. A nurse took his blood sugar while we were there, and it was good.

It's been fun being here. We'll probably just take it easy tonight...watch Criminal Minds or What Not to Wear. It's going to be hard to leave tomorrow.

It was fun going through the cards this morning. Tank would sometimes describe a relationship he had with the sender of the card. :) Thanks, Sadie, for having a tree planted in Tank's name. He liked that a lot. :) He had the time, energy, and interest to look closely at every photo that had been sent, so feel free to send more. :) I bet he'd like a copy of that picture of Charlie in the special hat, Kelly.

He's a good man. He doesn't whine or complain. He's very appreciative. He asks about others. He laughs easily. I've noticed that he asks about men...men that Tank considers young and strong, like Kelly, Curtis, Jack Nelson. He asked about Dan's life plan, or something like that. He seemed to approve of my version of Dan's life plan. :) He's full of love and concern for others, with clear memories of good times he's spent with others. It seems to me that the more he talks, the more CLEARLY he talks...you know? I think stimulation is very important right now. I don't know if it's medically important, but it seems like it is.

Thanks to all. :) Love, Polly.


Hi there! Good news! Last night, Tank went out to dinner! It was quite a shock, when Terry called and asked us to join them for dinner, and Tank would be there.

But, first, I'll mention the Stanford info. The doctors there decided to stop the radiation (because of the damage it can wreak on the brain) and start chemo instead. Right away. Regarding the neuropathy, they've decided to take a wait-and-see attitude, hoping that it will go away of its own accord. I guess that happens occasionally. Weird, huh. They also determined that the neuropathy is only in his feet (he thought it was more extensive than that). The doctors said that treating neuropathy is tricky, and can do more harm than good, so they're waiting. They seemed optimistic. They said that ten doctors can look at a patient, and come up with ten different treatment plans.

The trip went VERY well. Terry's son Curtis (early 50s, I think, and a carpenter who builds movie sets) drove, and Terry went along. There was rain in one direction, and blue skies in the other. Tank LOVED the drive. He napped for part of the trip, but mostly chatted with Curtis (Tank sat in the front seat).

What to say about Curtis... :) This is the first time I've met him (my siblings met him once before), and he's that kind of guy who DOES things, you know? He has a quiet self-assurance and a good heart. He's more than capable of helping Tank in and out of the wheelchair. Today, he's home with Terry, removing a glass shower enclosure, and adding grab-bars to the bathtub. Other chores, too, I think. Tank seems VERY comfortable with him, which felt like a blessing, 'cause you never know about such things. Curtis seems like that kind of person who doesn't make a big deal about things, but just takes them in stride, and handles them.

So, after their long trip yesterday, Tank STILL felt up to going out to dinner. I don't know when Tank was in a restaurant last, but I know it's been at least a month. Terry picked me and Sally up at the motel, and whisked us off to Dorn's in downtown Morro Bay. We walked in, and there was Tank. :) God, it was wonderful. He was in the wheelchair, in a lovely, dimly lit restaurant, with soft rain outside. Tank was wearing a new dark-red T-shirt and some cute sweat pants and white tennis shoes. He looked like TANK! :) He ordered sand dabs (?), but they didn't have them (I think they're a real THING, but they were just out of them), so he ordered sole. He also had clam chowder (tasty!), and a salad, and some broccoli. He ate some of everything. Then, he took something off Curtis's plate that looked like a hush puppy, but tasted like shrimp. It was SO FUN!

Tank was almost himself. I mean, Tank's fairly quiet in a big group like that, even under the best circumstances. He's more chatty one-on-one. :) He paid the bill, too, which...you know...requires some focus and some dexterity. I...didn't see it coming. I mean, when we arrived here, I would have bet all my trip-cash that we wouldn't see Tank outside of Bayside. And at the end of a grueling day! He seemed a bit tired, but so did everyone else. He slouched a teeny bit, but nothing very noticeable. I was probably slouching, too. :)

Now, Kathleen was also there...Curtis's wife. I hadn't met her, either, and she is delightful. A lanky hippie girl with a little corduroy cap on her head, with a ready smile, and good teeth. She teaches special ed at a public elementary school in Georgia. She's an excellent conversationalist, and asked me and Sally and what we "do." :) I MUST decide on a better answer to that oft-asked question. I think I answered "nothing." At least I didn't follow up with a shriek of nervous laughter. Sally paused before answering, and I suggested she go with, "I've put my career on hold so that I can attend to the needs of my ailing father."

Yesterday, Sally and I dropped by Tank's house and grabbed the big stack of mail to Tank, and then read everything back at the motel room. Wow! So much love! So many prayers! Thank you, everyone! Inspiring stories, photos of cute kids, art projects by cute kids, and both Xmas and get-well cards, and a couple of belated birthday cards. Nice! Thank you! We're taking the stack to Tank right now. We know some of the senders, but not all of them. It was such a pleasure reading words of love and encouragement directed toward Tank (I hope that wasn't a violation of his privacy). Some people were represented more than once or twice (you know who you are). :) Thank you!

Sally and I went to Carlock's Bakery just now, 'cause Tank requested a Danish for breakfast. :) That's better than a custard pie...right? We also have a salami sandwich for him, and some milk. I'm going to Dorn's this afternoon, to try to score the sand dabs.

It was great chatting with Peggy and Kelly last night! :)

I'm sure I'm forgetting something.

It was a good day. It gave me hope. Oh...later this week, Terry and Tank are going to attend a little Bayside conference to determine if Tank's needs are being met, and if it's still medically necessary for him to be there, etc. So, I'll let you know when that happens.

My love to all! Take care! Love, Polly.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Happy Solstice! :) Not much to report, since Tank is on his way to Stanford, but since the library is open, I thought I'd mention some stuff from last night.

It was poignant, because Tank said, "Lately, I've been missing Nola terribly." Then he talked about graduating from boot camp, and what a terrific day it was. He described it in detail, and spoke of looking up into the stands and seeing Nola, in a square-necked polka-dot dress, heels, and a hat. :) She took his breath away. He became misty-eyed talking about it. After the ceremony, she approached him on the parade grounds. He said, "I felt like Clark Gable." :)

He revisited other highlights, also, which was fun.

He was tired when we arrived (about 5 p.m.), but he rallied. We always make sure that he feels well enough for a visit, but he always says yes, even if he was in a deep sleep when we arrived. (Terry told us to ALWAYS wake him, per his request.) We arrived with a huge salami sandwich from Bottle Liquor, but he'd eaten dinner already :( so we took it home and refrigerated it for later. He was happy, earlier, with the the very small helping of gingersnaps from Trader Joe's, and the whole-milk from the liquor store.

We've been being MUCH more careful since the custard pie debacle. Peggy called the other day and said in a stern, sarcastic tone, "Way to go, nearly killing Tank with custard pie." That day, his blood sugar level was in the 400s, but it's been in the 200s since, or better. We claim progress.

And thanks to Manuel (and friends) in San Pedro for the Christmas card and the Scratchers! Tank was delighted. We've been getting Scratchers every day, but with no new cash...just with profits! :) Frugal, huh.

He surprised me a bit last night by talking about how he'd like one of us kids to come live with him and Terry, once he gets home. He'd clearly been thinking about it, and which sleeping arrangement would work best. It was very sweet, and thoughtful. I think he's serious. We'll try to work something out.

Peggy and Mike are going to enjoy a nice long visit in mid-January. Yay!

Sally and I went to the Embarcadaro (sp?) this morning. It's overcast, but not raining! (One is tempted to say, "We need the moisture," but I'm not sure that's true here.) Scored a darling little poster thingy for Peggy with a picture of a zany woman in a red-flowered dress, and a message that reads something like, "...and one day I woke up and realized that I should have been dancing all along." Life changing, really. I bought a card that quotes Will Rogers and says something about not letting the past use up so much of the present. :) Also, I bought a metal-and-bead mobile (sp?) with a world-peace theme. In case anyone was wondering about the minutia (sp?) of my day.

Now, we're going to do some laundry at Terry's, and pick up the pile of greeting cards and letters. We ran that past Tank last night, and he wants us to bring them ALL, and read them aloud, so we'll do that tomorrow. He loves and misses all of you...I'm SURE of it. Then, we'll go to Trader Joe's. So, if anyone needs anything at Trader Joe's, call me within the next hour.

Oh, we also went to a place on the Embarcadaro that sells taffy (you're welcome, Peggy). I was mildly surprised that we were able to take advantage of the buy-three-pounds-get-one-pound-free offer. Also, the woman working there told us that the taffy is made in SLC! :) We offered to be her mules. :) I think that's a term that refers to the illicit transportation of drugs. I mention that because Peggy might have assumed I was talking about shoes. :)

I hope that Tank is home tonight, rather than in the morning. I assume Curtis and Kathleen arrived safely, and that they're on their way to Stanford. I'll be in touch the minute I know more about his condition.

I hope everyone enjoys the day, despite the paucity of daylight hours in the Northern Hemisphere. (Shame on me for assuming that we have no readers in the Southern Hemisphere. If we do, enjoy the plethora of daylight hours! Woo-hoo!) Much love to all of you! From Tank and Terry, too, and Sally. Polly.

Monday, December 20, 2010

12/20/2010, Later

Thanks to Kent for letting us use this computer. :)

And thanks to Kelly for sending the picture of Charlie. What a good-looking boy!

Sally and I are at Burger King. Usually, we go to a Mexican restaurant for lunch (we ARE on vacation). So, we're doing that tonight. "Pirate Radio" is on HBO, and I dont have HBO at home, so I watch "Pirate Radio" each time it's on.

Terry provided additional medical information. Tank has Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy. Please google that. I think it means that he has long-term inflammation leading to the removal of the myelin sheaths from nerves, causing nerve disease in many locations. Based on a medical terminology class I took recently. Because I got an A in the class, I briefly thought that I was a doctor, but it turned out I was not.

The neuropathy is both peripheral and...not peripheral. He feels tingling (but not pain) in his feet, legs, hands, and torso from his chest down. It is our hope that tomorrow's Stanford visit will shed some light on the situation, and lead to a treatment plan.

He was helpful last night in suggesting a business plan for Sally, and another for the two of us combined. The two-of-us-combined plan is pretty good, and something we (I?) might pursue this summer, at a farmers market. It does not include farming.

So, things are pretty good here. Its going to be difficult to leave. Terry is so appreciative. Its fun being with Sally. I hope that all of you are enjoying the last day of autumn, and looking forward to a Blessed Winter Solstice tomorrow! Love, Polly.


Hi there!

Tank is having a pretty good day. Early, Terry and Tank left Bayside on Runabout and went to the hospital for an MRI. We dont have the results (Im going to ignore apostrophes, because theyre hard to get to on this computer). I think it made him tired.

Sally and I went to San Luis Obispo to shop at Trader Joes. Mostly for Tank, of course. :) Lots of two-dollar wine and note cards and Xmas treats. Terry called and said that Tank wanted pizza, so we picked that up in Morro Bay, and also new Scratchers. We're staying even on the gambling, because he tends to win enough to buy new scratchers. At Bayside, he seemed happy to see us, and all of us enjoyed the tasty pizza. Sally and I didnt stay long, because Terry and Stephanie were there (Stephanie is such a sweetheart), and it seemed crowded. Sally and I got more scratchers and hung out at the motel for a while.

Less rain today.

Hey, something important, I think. Terry said today that the doctor said that--according to the CT scan of a few days ago--the tumors on the brain have shrunk considerably. That strikes me as good news. :) But Terry didnt seem SURE that it was good news, and didnt have much information, so Im not feeling TOO excited, but I cant see that it could be BAD news.

Sally and I bought scratchers and milk and grabbed some gingersnaps from Trader Joes and returned to Bayside. We didnt stay long, because Tank seemed tired. He talked about his illness, and tomorrows trip, and Terry and the MRI this morning. He seemed tired, but happy, and clear. Quite clear.

We'll go back later with a salami sandwich from Bottle Liquor, and more scratchers, and orange soda. I suggested diet orange, and he said no thank you. We'll get a small container. When I go to the liquor store, I buy scratchers and these adorable single-serving bottles of booze for Dan, and I resist the need to explain to the young man behind the counter that I'm actually MUCH more wholesome than might be suggested by my purchase.

Be right back. :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

12/19/2010, Later

Tank said today that success depends on four things: curiosity, imagination, education, and drive. He said that he has two out of four. :)

I asked if he equated success with happiness, and he said no. :)

Tank hung Carter's Xmas door hanger on his bathroom door. It's a little foam Xmas bear. "Tank likes bears," said Carter.

Father Dino (who suffers from dementia) was in tip-top shape today, and feeling chatty. When we told him we were from Utah, he gazed at us thoughtfully and said, "Are you polygamists?" I said that I am not, but Sally is. :) Just kidding. :) I said no. We explained that all Utahns aren't polygamists, just like all Catholic preists aren't pedophiles. :) Just kidding (again). It was a fun conversation, and Tank was fully engaged, from his wheelchair. Dino's sister Louise was there, and the five of us talked about Catholicism and dont-ask-dont-tell and Frank Capra movies.

It was great seeing Tank in a wheelchair! Later, Terry took him for a walk.

Tank is actually looking forward to the ride to Stanford. Said the scenery is gorgeous, and he hasn't been out for a while. It's a good sign, really, that he isn't apathetic about such things.

Terry is VERY appreciative, and frequently thanks Sally and me for being here. He's very comfortable talking to us, and he seems to find our presence very stimulating. I'm awfully glad. :)

Tonight, we took him dinner, and he was thrilled with the modest food. We took soup that friend Carol made (French onion), fresh raspberries, my leftover fish from lunch, and Ritz crackers. Terry put it in a basket with a bright yellow napkin. She's a sweetheart.

Recently, he mentioned that two of his favorite songs are "Imagine" and "All You Need is Love." :)

Today was fun. Thanks to all of you! Terry has a huge stack of cards that she intends to read to Tank eventally. :) Please keep writing! I'll steal the pile of cards tomorrow while Terry curls up with an Ivan Doig novel. :) Polly.


Tank is great! It has been a great day, with several delightful visits. He was lucid and engaged all day long. I'm writing from Burger King on Sally's mini-laptop. We took lottery Scratchers to Tank (which he loves), and bought him new sweat pants and T-shirts at Kohl's, and Terry took him a McRib, and then she took Sally and me to the Bayview Restaurant for fish and chips. TONS of rain! Huge pond in the parking lot at Motel 6. This is the best day so far for Tank. Three visits, and each one better than the next. He ALWAYS thinks of others. :) He's not a huge fan of the Catholic Church, and yet he still wants to please Father Dino, so he asked Sally and me to buy Dino some little boxes of Corn Flakes, because Dino had been jonesing for them. We did, and he was delighted. The single-serving boxes.

Tank hasn't been having radiation for 4 or 5 days. Not sure why.

Posting now. Will come back.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Hi from Morro Bay!

At the library again.

Tank is unchanged for the most part. He had a CT scan a few days ago, and--as a result--he's going to Stanford on Tuesday for further diagnosing, and to plan treatment. The appointment is at 1 pm, and they don't know if they'll spend the night or not. Terry is busy arranging to have all his medical records available to take with them. Terry's son Curtis is flying in from Georgia on Monday evening with his wife Kathleen, and (I think) the four of them will drive to San Francisco. That's the plan, as of right now.

Tank wanted to provide cake for the staff and residents at Bayside, as is his way. :) So Sally and I went to Carlock's Bakery in Los Osos (so good...) and ordered two HUGE sheet cakes per Tank's instructions. We picked them up today and delivered them to Bayside. Each feeds 92, and we took utensils also. The cakes are darling, and everyone was delighted. Tank requested a Christmas theme, and the bakery did a great job, with snow and Santas and reindeer and skiiers and poinsettias and actual pieces of curling ribbon. It was kind of fun, really. It made Tank very happy (we took the cakes to his room to see them before we delivered them to the nurses' station). One was chocolate with raspberry filling and buttercream frosting, and the other was white with lemon filling and buttercream frosting, fyi. :)

Sally and I got up early and drove an hour to Paso Robles because they have a Wendy's there. It is VERY rainy here (just pouring down), and foggy across the highlands of 46 West. Fun, though. Kelly was VERY helpful at suggesting how to get a chicken sandwich back to Bayside while maintaining edibility, so we were equipped with a fistful of baggies and a cooler, and we arrived at Bayside by lunchtime with a terrific sandwich and a couple of containers of chili, and he was delighted. Ate one serving of chili, and then the delicious sandwich. Thanks, Kelly! :) It probably wasn't a necessary errand, but it made us feel like good daughters, and that's all that counts now. (I presume to speak for Sally.)

What else to report... Jim from Spencers' Market came to visit Tank today, and brought muffins (Tank gave us 3 out of 4, to eat at the motel later). Jim is wonderful, in every way. And yesterday, Kerrigan and his wife Melanie came to visit with their chihuahua puppy, which weighs about a pound. Frequently, there are visiting therapy dogs hanging out in the hallway, spreading cheer, wearing Xmas sweaters or scarves. Gotta love that. Kerrigan and Melanie are very dear, and I can tell they love Tank, and that he loves them. Perhaps it was overwhelming, 'cause Sally and I stuck around, and that's quite a crowd, so--starting then--Sally and I leave the room when other visitors arrive, so the visit can be more relaxing.

Father Dino is well. Sally and I took him a poinsettia and a Hershey bar, per his request. The chocolate, I mean.

Yesterday, we took Tank a custard pie from Carlock's Bakery, with the BEST intentions, but he probably overate, and his blood sugar was high, and I felt guilty and regretful, like I'd enabled, and we got some looks from the nurses and from Terry, so we're being MUCH more careful now. We know better, so we do better. :)

What else? (It's difficult rushing like this. I apologize for any typos, this time or last.)

Weather permitting, Sally and I will stay until Tank gets back from Stanford.

He really seems happy to have us here. He tells stories, and recalls childhood times. He talks about games he made for us when we were kids. He talks about Nola, sometimes. He talks about his childhood, and about the Chief.

Sometimes, it feels tragic, all of it, as you can imagine. Sometimes, though, it's okay. We'll just keep doing this.

Terry is a sweetheart. Her buddy Rochelle came by yesterday with a big basket of food, and a lovely presentation: soup, cookies, meatloaf, sweetened coffee drinks. We chatted with Terry and Rochelle, and later Sally and I returned for dinner, and ate the split-pea soup, which was delicious. Friends and neighbors are wonderful, and supportive, in all kinds of ways. They bring food and affection, and they run errands, and do favors. They lend a listening ear. They offer ANYTHING. When Tank was home, the men in the neighborhood matter-of-factly rescued a fallen Tank time after time. So many good people.

Well, Sally and I are going to try to figure out free wi-fi at Burger King, because the library closes on Sunday and Monday. My love and best wishes to everyone...no time to reread...take care...Love, Polly.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Hi all!

Sally and I are here in Morro Bay visiting Tank. So fun! We just spent about three hours with him at Bayside. He was in the mood for a McDonald's McRib sandwich, so we picked that up for him. He LOVED it! :) Tomorrow, he wants to try the new fries at Wendy's. I asked if there was a Wendy's nearby, and he said no, but when you love someone, you're willing to do things for them. Good point, really.

The place is GREAT. I might have given some people the impression that the facility is not up to par (by saying, "The facility is not up to par,") but I was wrong! There are staff members all over the place, and everyone I saw was energetic and friendly and respectful and efficient and competent. It's clean. It's decorated for Christmas. There are indoor and outdoor spaces for visiting. There are water features EVERYWHERE, and each is prettier than the last. There are lots of visitors, and everyone smiles and says hi, and we saw some friendly therapy dogs, and a group of of visiting men was playing classical music. Nice!

Tank's roommate, Dino, is the retired priest. Today is his birthday! Staff members sang, and brought him a small cake. Happy birthday, Dino! Sally and I will shop for a gift later. Perhaps I'll convert to Catholicism, to please him.

Tank talked a LOT. Seemed delighted to see us. He told us a cowboy story that made me feel like a little girl being told an aborigine story. :) He talked about the time we lived in Lindon (about 1960), and he worked at Farmers' Corner. He was enthusiastic and lucid (for the most part) and demonstrated a charming sense of humor. Sally and I had a blast. Sure...he's changed. But he's...Tank! And that felt SO good.

Doctors are trying to what to treat: the brain cancer, or what Terry refers to as neuropathy in his legs. Before he was hospitalized a few weeks ago, he was undergoing "infusion" treatments to help his legs. Apparently, they were "infusing" him with antibiotics. He can't have radiation and the antibiotic infusions at the same time, so they have to decide which course of treatment to take. The current plan is for Tank to go to Stanford University (in the San Francisco area) where doctors will make a determination. I don't know when that will happen. Terry said that she'll be driving him. I don't know who else will go (I don't have a sense if it will happen tomorrow or in a week or two). We'll see. We'll stay fluid.

He looks very good. I mean, I guess it depends on expectations, but he looks good to me. He's dressed, as opposed to wearing a hospital gown. Today, he was wearing a plaid cotton shirt and some sweat pants. He seemed to enjoy food, and talking. He makes jokes. He said that some nurses and attendants are better than others, but that most are good or very good. He's adjusting...I can tell. He doesn't love it, but he doesn't complain, and he's easygoing and philosophical.

We're going back this evening.

Sally is going to make some type of baked goods at Terry's house, with Splenda, and take them to Tank (and Dino).

Tank spoke lovingly of all the great-grandkids. Sally has a Christmas ornament that Carter made, to give Tank. And Tank recently received art projects from Elvis and Jack. I can tell it's a pleasure for him to watch his grandkids grow up, and to see this new generation.

Tank misses Robert Parker. We all do.

I'm typing this from the public library in Morro Bay. Fun, huh. Sally's next to me, probably looking at porn. :) Just kidding.

Everyone take care! I'll be back tomorrow, with additional information. We left Bayside because Tank was suddenly very tired. Oops...time expiring...

Monday, December 13, 2010


Hi all!

I just talked to Terry. She said that Tank's about the same. He's halfway through the radiation treatments, and tomorrow he's having a CT scan.

The radiation treatments are always in the morning (8:45), at a doctor's office. There's a publicly funded transportation service called Runabout that picks him up and takes him to the office for treatment.

Tomorrow, he'll have visitors from San Pedro.

Terry said there's a lovely outdoor gathering place at the facility, and yesterday friends joined her and Tank (in a wheelchair) for a picnic. Fun!

Sally and I are leaving for Morro Bay tomorrow (unhurried road trip). I'll keep in touch!

Saturday, December 11, 2010



Terry just called. "He's doing a lot better!" She said Tank continues to gain strength. He's now able to turn himself in bed.

According to Terry, he said: "I've discovered the best medical advance in the 21st century: Urinals! A ten-cent item doing a billion-dollar business."

Yesterday, he played three rounds of gin rummy with Terry. Jim from Spencer's came by to play cribbage with Tank. Apparently, Tank recently began teaching Jim to play cribbage, and Jim said he needs Tank to stick around long enough to finish the lessons. :)

Tank's almost halfway through the five-day-a-week radiation treatments. He has had 10 to 12 of them, out of 28. The doctor warned that Tank's health could decline toward the end of the radiation treatments, and it will then be necessary to build it back up.

Terry seemed cheerful.

Thanks to everyone for their love and support! :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Tank continues to gain strength. He continues to work with the physical therapist.

According to Terry, Tank seems stronger and more aware of what's going on around him. Tomorrow, he has plans to play cards with a friend (Jim from Spencer's Market).

Terry started working out again, which (I'm guessing) is a sign that she's feeling optimistic.

Tank's brother, sister-in-law, and nephews are driving up to visit Tank on Tuesday.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

12/7/2010, Later

When I wrote that he walked "unassisted," I meant without the help of the physical therapist. Tank was holding onto the handrails. :) Just to be clear.


Hi! Good news!

I talked to Terry, and she said that Tank is a bit stronger! Today, she watched as he worked out with a physical therapist. Terry said that Tank walked unassisted between two handrails. She also saw him get up out of a chair by himself. She is delighted with the improvement.

"He sure looks good to me!" she said.

She took him a big healthy sandwich from Subway, and she stayed and visited for a long time. She said that he has frequent visitors, and it's so good for him, because it keeps him stimulated.

She reads mail to him every day, and he's happy to hear from everyone.

She also said he's a bit more coherent. She said that he makes an occasional mistake, but she thinks it might be related to napping all the time, and waking up in a place he's not quite used to.

Radiation treatments continue.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Tank's condition is unchanged.

Yesterday, he watched a ball game on TV. There's a "wonderful gym" just two doors down from Tank's room, and he goes there for physical therapy. The nurses are competent and friendly.

He's tired, and he doesn't talk much. Radiation treatments continue.

He's eating well. Terry takes him lunch every day, and stays for four or five hours. He likes a sandwich from Subway. Yesterday, she gave him a hair cut and a shave. He appreciated that.

Terry's son and his wife and coming for a short visit right before Christmas.

Thursday, December 2, 2010



Tank is now at the transitional facility. I asked his wife how she managed that, and she said she begged. I praised her. Begging is underrated.

So, today he was moved there. It's a mile or two from their house. She said he wasn't thrilled, but he was accepting. He's safer there. After another 2.5 weeks of radiation, they'll reevaluate.

She sounded much better.

She'll go there daily and hang out with him, and take him lunch. She said it's a nice place, and clean, and friendly, with places to gather.

He has a roommate: a retired Catholic priest from their neighborhood. In fact, my siblings will probably recall that--at the hospital--we met a retired nun who had (until recently) been caring for a retired Catholic priest. This is that guy!

Tank continues to sleep a LOT.

His wife asked me to put their home address here, so people can send cards or letters, which she will take to the transitional facility. It is:
351 Yerba Buena
Morro Bay CA 93442

Love to all. :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Hi all.

Well, Tank is home. So far, it doesn't seem like a GOOD thing.

He was discharged from the hospital yesterday afternoon, but no nursing homes will take him, because of the radiation treatments (it has something to do with how Medicare is billed, or some such nonsense).

His wife contacted a nursing/physical therapy company who sent a representative to the house to assess the situation. Tomorrow, Tank's wife plans to hire someone to spend the day (and maybe the night) at the house. When Tank falls, she's unable to get him back up without help.

Tank just sleeps. The radiation treatments are taking a toll.

Monday, November 29, 2010


I just talked to Tank's wife, and she said that he has changed very little since we spoke last.

Apparently, though, there's been a change of plans regarding the transitional facility. The facility cannot take him; she said the reason is complicated and related to the radiation treatment. So, when he leaves the hospital, he's going home. She doesn't know when that will be (but before the round of radiation treatments is completed). She's making preparations: getting a hospital bed (which she plans to put where the kitchen table usually sits), and arranging for a van to pick him up and take him to the hospital for radiation. She'll sleep on the couch, so she'll be nearby. A buddy told her that it's important to keep Tank right in the middle of the action. She'll cook for him. :)

Today, he had his normal radiation, and an MRI of his spine. They found "nothing unusual." Good news!

She said that sometimes he's coherent, and sometimes not.

She loves receiving encouraging notes in the mail. I imagine they both do. Please call me if you need their home address.

She seems tired, but devoted.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Tank's wife reports that he's doing somewhat better! He spends more time talking and less time sleeping. He's eating well. And today he read the newspaper. The oncologist anticipates that Tank will be moved to the transitional facility on Monday.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Tank's condition, 11/26/2010

Hi. I'm going to use this blog to update friends and family regarding Tank's condition.

I heard from his wife last night. He's doing a bit better. With the help of a physical therapist, Tank walked back and forth to the hospital-room door, twice, while using a walker. He will soon be transferred to a transitional facility that is closer to home (about 2 miles from home). There's a view of the ocean.

A little background: A week ago, Tank was taken to the hospital because of some incoherence and because he kept falling. Surgery revealed that he has three areas of malignant cancer near the surface of the brain (two in front, one in back). Hospital staff immediately began treating the cancer with radiation. His kids visited him, and he recognized us, and was funny and charming and receptive. He spoke quietly, and not very much. He was usually lucid, but not always. He is very weak, and very tired. He hates being there, but (of course) he does not complain. There's a familiar twinkle in his eye.

His wife is (and has been) taking excellent care of him. They both have a large circle of friends close by, who are very supportive. The medical staff seems excellent.

I'll use this site to update everyone regarding his condition, while being somewhat careful to maintain his privacy. I'm at 801 502 4372, if anyone wants additional information. Thank you for your concern. Polly.