Category Archives: People

Grandpa’s Left Leg

In late 1972 my beloved Grandpa Green (Walt) began having pain in his left leg. He thought he’d twisted something so he went to a chiropractor who did this and that, but the pain didn’t go away. Finally he went to a physician and was diagnosed with a blood clot in his lower leg. Shortly thereafter he was admitted to a hospital affiliated with the Mayo Clinic near Minneapolis, Minnesota where he underwent the amputation of the leg.

In my memory everything seemed to be okay after that — he was going to be fitted with a prosthesis and might even be able to golf again, but in reading this journal, a whole lot went on that no one ever told me about.

Nine months after he was first diagnosed he died, having undergone a second amputation and suffered a heart attack shortly thereafter.

Grandma documented much of it in a 1973 Wisconsin desk calendar. It begins December 31, 1972. She’s put numbers on the right side of many entries. I think she was logging the number of days the whole ordeal was taking. If so his surgery (or diagnosis?) was November 29, 1972. It’s possible she had another journal in another calendar prior to this one.

I’ve just done the math — Grandpa was 62 when he was diagnosed and 63 when he died. Grandma was 64 throughout this. Both younger than I am now.


Sunday December 29, 1972 (day 33): Returned home from Minneapolis with Bud, Shirley, Pam, and Jeff. They came up to visit Dad in the hospital there. Spent New Year’s Even at home. Drank champagne, ate popcorn, crackers & cheese. Played cards with the kids. Terrible weather, driving over her. Chubby was glad to see me.

Monday January 1, 1973 (day 34): Bud, Shirl, Pam, and Jeff left after breakfast. Went over to than Lorraine & Buda for shoveling snow & gift. Talked with Otto, he fell & hurt himself. Talked with Millie. Dad called, grafting would be Wed. Went over to Lorentz’s to find out the time to leave Wed. 8:00 am.

Tuesday January 2, 1973 (day 35): Called Pat. Went to town when Milly picked me up at 9:30 am. 1. went to cleaners, picked up Dad’s clothes. 2. picked up mail. Millie picked up Otto’s and two others’, took mail to Otto. He fell Fri. and hurt himself. Went to Millie’s, then I walked to bank, store & drug store. Stopped in to see Winnie’s Eddie Greens & B&B. 6 drinks. Talked with a lot of friends all wishing Walt the best. Brought home 5 gallons of water. Garage roof leaks. Ice over floor

Wednesday January 3, 1973 (day 36): Got up 5:45 A.M Made sure I was ready to leave with Margarete. Left at 8:12. A.M. arrived 3 hrs. later. Weather was terrible, slow driving. It was worse here. Dad was worried. He lost 1 #. No operation today. Not until Fri. Morris Olson, broke leg Sunday. Chubby jump in car this p.m. Wanted Margarete to stay over, hope she makes it home O.K. Man across the hall is failing. So. Dakota. Called Dick.

Thursday January 4, 1973 (day 37): Did my thing like getting up too early. Washed hair & bathed. Coffee and cookies — then went over for coffee toast. Talked to a lady from Upper Minnesota. Mailed some bills. Paid room rent. Dad was up in therapy. His lunch came. 2:30 they took him up again. I cam over to my room for break. Had a green grass about 1:45 P.M. Stayed till 9:45. Dad is prepared for surgery tomorrow. Good night.

Friday January 5, 1973 (day 38): Dad was nervous last night. Went over about 9:30 A.M. to be with him. Took him up at 10:40 A.M. Operation lasted until 3:15 P.M. or that is when they brought him back to room. When I left at 10 he was fully awake. His leg was giving him discomfort. Called Pat sometime after 11:00 P.M.

Saturday January 6, 1973 (day 39): Very cold today, but sunny. Went over to see dad and be with him some time after eleven. I overslept as I was up earlier, and laid down and fell asleep. Dad looked like himself this morning, said he felt good. Took a walk to the store, man was it cold. After dinner we played cards, stayed until 10:00. Writing this at 3:00 A.M. Sunday. fell asleep reading, soon will return to bed.

Sunday January 7, 1973 (day 40): Nice sunny day, but cold. High -7°. Drs. redressed Dad’s leg, it was painful. It was hurting him all day. Stopped taking shots, now pills for pain. Would like to sit in wheel chair, but can’t for a few days. Has leg elevated with pillow, very uncomfortable. We played cribbage before dinner and after. He beat the pants off me. At lunch and dinner with him.

Monday January 8, 1973 (day 41): Returned to my room after 10:00, undressed and had coffee, part of apple and crackers & cheese. Laid down with book. Fell asleep, woke up at 5:15 A.M. Returned to bed later, slept another two hrs. Coffee cookies and doughnut. Washed sweater, later went down, cashed check. Dad had a good night, had dressing on leg redressed and Dr. said it was coming along fine. He slept a while, so did I. Played cribbage after dinner until 10:00 P.M. Now I’m tired.

Tuesday January 9, 1973 (day 42): 8:45 A.M. -17°. Coffee, cookies, orange juice and aspirins for breakfast. Dad is getting restless, and I don’t blame him. If only he was able to ride in the wheel chair. Doctor came in while we were playing cribbage. 4 of them. The stump is looking good, now they’re talking about more grafting by laying the stump against the other leg. Not another operation. Dad said we’ll know later when Larry & Nancy come down to see him. Good night.

Wednesday January 10, 1973 (day 43): Another day of waiting. Trying to keep his spirits up. Wish the kids would call. Drs came in this P.M. to redress the leg. Also take the skin that was cut and grafted that on the leg. It hurt him so, he cried after the Drs left. Couldn’t eat much dinner, I ate what he didn’t. Called Dick. He and the girls are O.K. More surgery later.

Thursday January 11, 1973 (day 44): Rent day, must pay tomorrow. Dad’s leg was dressed early today. Started the salt & acid water dressing again. Dr. said it looked very good. Nancy came down to see him. Ginnie & Jack called, which made him happy. Rose, Ted, & son came over to see him, [they] live here. Weather nice, above zero. Played cribbage, he won.

Friday January 12, 1973 (day 45): 10:20 P.M. 21° heat wave. Today was the same as yesterday. Drs came in, Lillehei too. Leg is coming along O.K. Another week, the other grafting will start. Dear Walt. How I wish this was all over. Played cribbage. He won.

Saturday January 13, 1973 (day 46): Tie came tonight. Dad was restless all day. Oh if he could only get out of bed. Nancy called. They’re fine. Talked with boys too. Dick called, talked with girls. This perked him up. Walked to store to get cigs. Beautiful day. Came to my room at ten.

Sunday January 14, 1973 (day 47): Another beautiful day. Dad felt fairly good — just restless. Oh dear Lord, heal him, so he may walk. We played cribbage. Dad won. Bud called, talked with Pam too. Hung a comic on the wall. He ate what he could. Ate all of his breakfast, he said. Wrote to Phyllis.

Monday January 15, 1973 (day 48): Another warm day, sloppy out. Cashed a check at business office, coffee shop bought a salad, took it to room. Went to store for a few things. Back in room ate salad then went over to be with Walt for lunch. Drs were in this morning and said the graft took. Good news. This evening Dad was able to be in wheelchair, first since the 5th. Played cribbage, lost the 3 games. Wrote to Dick, also Ann Kayler.

Tuesday January 16, 1973 (day 49): Dad went riding today in wheelchair before I got there. Nurse wanted him to get up again this evening but he said no. Still has 4hr change of dressings. Taped Pat’s card on wall today. Yesterday received mail from Millie. Dad wrote checks. Income and Morgens [mortgage?]. Wrote to Dr. Johnson.

Wednesday January 17, 1973 (day 50): Another warm day. 40° dreary and foggy. The reports are still good in his condition. Went wheeling twice today. Appetite is good. But still loosing weight. Deane surprised us today by stopping in, so good to see her. She was here for a check-up. Dad was despondent. Don’t blame him. $2.00 from Aggie.

Thursday January 18, 1973 (day 51): Warm, foggy & rain. Just another day of the same. Dad was feeling very good today and when I left him. Had a little fever yesterday, again early this A.M. Paid my room rent. Using wheelchair more.

Friday & Saturday January 19 – 20, 1973 (days 52 & 53): Too tired last night to write. Stayed a little longer to finish of movie, a Hitchcock. Some more good news, leg is healing O.K. Took heavy bandages off, now just small one on end. He’ll start therapy again next week. Skin will come from right leg for next graft. Was up at 3:45 A.M. went back some time after 4, woke up at 8:30 A.M. Al called, also talked to Pat. This was about 11:00 A.M. Just getting ready to go over to see Walt. When I walked in the room did I get a surprise, there in the room was Pat, Al, Joan, and Jack. Had a very pleasant day, and evening. Stayed with them at the motel. Dad was moved from U-Minn to Masonic Hospital, and what a move.

Sunday January 21, 1973 (day 54): Woke up with the kids after a noisy evening at the motel. College students from S. Dakota. Had breakfast. Went over to see Dad. Sat. Drs told them he would have the skin graft on front of stump Sun. Everything was laid out for operation, but Drs. weren’t. Just as they brought his lunch, they came, he didn’t eat. We left so they could get to work. We went and had coffee also find the shortest way through the tunnels. Now I know. Drs. were finished when we got back. Dad felt fairly good.

Monday January 22, 1973 (day 55): Came to my room early. Dad slept better part of the day. His night wasn’t very good. The last temps reading while I was there down 99.8. It had been over 100 earlier. His appetite was good. The patient in his room has back trouble, using electric device.

Tuesday January 23, 1973 (day 56): 15° Cold but nice weather. Today was payday. Went over to have check OK on 2nd floor — stopped on 3rd to mail letters to Phyllis and Mabel Lerecht. Bought a salad. Took it to room, used dish to eat soup. Went to store for cigs and groc. Bought crossword books. I must have walked 3 miles today. Louis and Dorothy came over for a visit, brought our mail, a boxful.

Wednesday January 24, 1973 (day 57): The noise is terrible, digging and building. It’s a nice day. 18° at 9:30 A.M.. Tonight it’s 36°. Dad weighs 124 lbs. Wish he’d eat all his food. Drs came in and redressed his leg, the drafting is taking hold, thank you God. Played cribbage, three games. He won. Dick called, nice to hear him.

Thursday January 25, 1973 (day 58): Don’t feel good today. Have a gut ache, bowels are loose. Dad was supposed to get up yesterday and today, but hose darn nurses over here don’t know whether they’re coming or going. Dad’s room partner is going home tomorrow. Dad feels good, wants to get up. Weather is perfect.

Friday January 26, 1973 (day 59): 41° P.M> Today I’ve been in my room, yesterday had stomach pains, felt like streaks of lightning going through my intestines. This morning woke up with headache and aching all over. So didn’t go to see Dad. Dad called, said he finally got in a wheelchair. Monday he will start therapy. Hope I’m better tomorrow.

Saturday January 27, 1973 (day 60): Cooler today, snow flurries. Spent afternoon and evening with Dad. Felt much better, had good dinner. It is 4:40 A.M. Laid down after I undressed last night. Dad was up in chair, we went to lounge. A new room partner came over from 52 (?). Moans a lot. Hope he’s better after settled. Waited around for Drs. but didn’t show up. Please dear God, heal his leg. Nancy called.

Sunday January 28, 1973 (day 61): Dad was feeling good again today. Up in wheelchair. I called before going over to ask about Sunday papers. Went over after dinner. Ate in my room. Ginnie called this afternoon. This evening Dad’s temp. went up. His nights are restless. Took sleeping pill.

Monday January 29, 1973 (day 62): Warmer today. Dad felt tired, he said this was just before lunch. Went to store, for pampers, and lemon drops. We went to lounge and played cribbage, today was my day to win. Dr. came, so he had to leave for a while. No therapy today, but tomorrow. Left at 9:30 as Dad fell asleep. Temp is 100°. Darn.

Tuesday January 30, 1973 (day 63): Good news tonight. We were told that we might be able to go home soon, this for real, for a month. Temp is still up evenings. He went up to whirlpool. Tomorrow he will go again, for therapy too.

Wednesday January 31, 1973 (day 64): Happy Birthday Walt. Wrote a letter to Gin. Dad took his rides today and one extra one for x-ray/ Just below the knee he still has a lot of pain. We’ll find out I hope what is causing it. Hope it doesn’t hold him back again. No one called.

Thursday February 1, 1973 (day 65): Received many cards yesterday and more today. Letter from Chubby. Another routine day. Learning to use crutches properly. Waited 2 hrs. to have leg redressed this P.M. Went in lounge this evening, played cribbage. Rosie called to wish happy birthday.

Friday February 2, 1973 (day 66): Came back from therapy and told me that Drs came and talked about a prothesis. Made an appointment for the 15th of Feb. Gave him blood pressure tests on his left leg. It’s not as strong as it should be. Sent letter and card to Ben Jacobson and Pattie and Eddie. Sent card to Buddy.

Saturday February 3, 1973 (day 67): 7:30 A.M. Been up since 4:30 A.M. Snoozed in Dad’s room this afternoon. Ate lunch in my room. Dad is fine, only knee is giving him trouble. Beautiful day, just too bad that Dad can’t be out. Went [to] drug store for stockings and card store, more soup and matches. Played cribbage, I won. In lounge. Roommate leaving Monday. No T.O. on weekends.

Sunday February 4, 1973 (day 68): Woke up by a bang, etc. Workers, must have a died [?] line. But the weather is nice. Wrote a letter to Fritz this morning. Went over to be with Dad after lunch. Dr. Came in while we were in lounge. Wanted to look at knee. Then said we could go home Wed. Called Dick, he is coming up. Called Pat & Al. Hope this is the right move.

Monday February 5, 1973 (day 69): Things were going rather well until this P.M. Dad was on pot. 6 Drs came in, left and came back later. They talked, said to make it two weeks at home, but they are [? — foxag]. Half an hour later a new Dr came in and said Dad would have to stay at least another two weeks. Hopes up, then let down. Called Millie. Called Pat.

Tuesday February 6, 1973 (day 70): Called Dad, asked how he felt, didn’t sound right. He had just returned from therapy. I wanted him to call Millie, as she asked to talk to him on Monday but he didn’t want to, so I did. Had to tell her the bad news. Guess they had something planned. Took another blood test. No I.V. yet.

Wednesday February 7, 1973 (day 71): Woke up at 4:30 A.M. but went back to bed about an hour later. A litter after one I went over to be with Walt. Dr. Robbins came in and had a serious talk about the infected bone. We can go home for a few weeks, and this time he meant it. Called Dick and Millie.

Thursday February 8, 1973 (day 72): Today we are leaving. Dick will be here soon. Hope driving is good, the weather is nice. No radio so I don’t know the temp. Nice surprise, ginny was with Dick. A lovely birthday.

February 9 – March 6, 1973 (days 73-98): Home

Wednesday March 7, 1973: Today we went back to hospital. Louis picked us up at 11 a.m. Arrived at 1:15 P.M. After seeing Lillehei, he wanted us to stay for ten days to try a new method of treatment. Waited for hrs. before getting a room. Admitted 6:30 P.M. R: c-446. 3 other men. Called Pat. I got a room at Powell Hall – 7212.

Thursday March 8, 1973: Dad had x-rays. Weighs 109 lbs. Called Millie to let her know how things were, she said Louis didn’t come home, has wheelchair. Went to store. My room is small, bathroom is down hall. Mailed letters to Postmaster & Chetek Alert.

Friday March 9, 1973: Beautiful sunny morning, but later dark and dreary. Just another day, no test, just waiting. Called Rosie. Tried calling Fritz.

Saturday March 10, 1973: Dad slept good, better than when home, eats all his food. Talked to Dr. Fergenson. Tried twice to call Fritz, wrote letter instead. Monday will be the operation.

Sunday March 11, 1973: 9:45 P.M. Most of day they were preparing your Dad for treatment on Monday. Cardiograft [cardiogram?], blood pressure, shaved leg. No T.P. [? — physical therapy?] Sat or Sun. No Mon. Rained with a little sun.

Monday March 12, 1973: Was up at 6 A.M. Had a good night sleep. Went over to be with Dad at 8:45 A.M. Waited until 12:30. Drs. Poked head in door, thought he was upstairs, he said might be another hr. or so. I went for sandwich. When I got back Dad just left, missed him by 5 mins. Gone from 1:10 to 5:15. Had [spinal?]. I left at 9:00 P.M. Went to store while he was in operating room. Called Dick from my room.

Tuesday March 13, 1973: Dad had [spinal?], so was awake when he came down yesterday. Today his leg bothers him, where they cut. He takes pills if it gets too bad, also sleeping pills. But felt good enough to eat all his food. Also has I.V.

Wednesday March 14, 1973: Big storm last night. Very warm today. Dr. Lillehei came in and checked leg, it has a tiny seepage. Fever up tonight, think a reaction during the night, with chills and shakes. Bowels aren’t working. Took Milk of Magnesia, asked for pain and sleeping pill tonight.

Thursday March 15, 1973: A week has passed. Up at 5. Went back to bed, slept another 1.5 hours. Dad’s leg is feeling better. Just a smidge of draining. No B.M. since Tuesday. He is worried. Lillehei came in

Friday March 16, 1973: A new patient came in. Dad’s needle in arm worked loose. Medicine going in flesh. Elbow and arm are swollen. Hot pack on. Needle is out and no more. Went to T.P. [? Physical Therapy?] in P.M. Lillehei cam in. Leg still draining. I mentioned going home in ten days, he just winked. Dad will have his leg amputated.

Saturday March 17, 1973: Very nice day. Cool side. Dad was feeling very good. He has been in wheelchair in P.M. He finally had B.M. when it started, couldn’t quit. Man in bed 3 had buggle machine, noisy. Shoeders bed still empty. Girl across the hall will have other foot amputated. Dr Fergerson stopped in. I left at 9:30.

Sunday March 18, 1973 (this was written in the March 25th space): Called Fritz today. Dad had one full day of the shits, otherwise he felt fairly good. Bud in early evening, made our day. Sunny but cold. A Mr. Schafer came in to fill other bed. Dad told nurse he didn’t need pain pill. I left 9:45. Dale is going to surgery tomorrow.

Monday March 19, 1973 (this was written in the March 26th space): Came over at 11:30 A.M. Dale still in surgery, daughter here. Dad feeling good and looks good. Eating right now. Tuna casserole, soup, cookies and pear, coffee. I ate a pear. Went to T.P. A.M. T.P. gym in P.M. Doesn’t tell me too much what or how he’s doing on 7th floor. Dad just called to say we can go home any time. Called Ginnie, talked a good hour.

Tuesday March 20, 1973 (this was written in the March 27th space): Called Millie to let her know that we could go home today. She made arrangements, Bill Waite used her car and came for us. Fritz took car out of garage, picked up wheelchair and walker. Home sure looked good and when Fritz let Chubby over, she was so happy. Home—

Wednesday March 21 – Tuesday April 17, 1973: Home

Wednesday April 18, 1973: Going back for check-up. Louis drove us over. Hope everything will be O.K. We called Dick this P.M. The one Dr. is hopeful, called in another Dr. to see the improvement.

Thursday April 19 – Saturday April 21, 1973: No entries — they were still at home.

Sunday April 22, 1973: [still home] Nancy called.

Monday April 23, 1973: [still home] Used crutches

Tuesday April 24, 1973: [still home] Used crutches

Wednesday April 25, 1973: [still home] Went outside, fished, stayed out about 1 hr.

Thursday April 26 – Tuesday May 29, 1973: No entries [still home]

Wednesday May 30, 1973: Went to clinic in Minneapolis. Millie[‘s] Wesslie drove us over. Dr. Lillehei saw Walt, gave us good news. Said the stump looked good, not to come and see him. We stopped and picked up Leslie, took him out for dinner.

Thursday May 31 – Friday June 8, 1973: No entries. [still home]

Saturday June 9, 1973: [still home] 1:00 P.M. Leg started to hurt.

Sunday June 10, 1973: [still home] Leg hurts more. Went to Chetek Clinic, saw Dr Bannister. Asked them to call Lillehei. I called hospital.

Monday June 11, 1973: [still home] June, Harold, Beth and Pam came up. Leg and stump cold, lots of pain.

Tuesday June 12, 1973: [still home] Went again , saw Dr Bender, gave him pills again asked them to call Lillehei. Pain.

Wednesday June 13 – Thursday June 14, 1973: [still home] No entries

Friday June 15, 1973: [still home] Saw Dr. Bender again. He called Lillehei. Bad news. We go on Sunday. June and Harold went home.

Saturday June 16, 1973: [still home] Very little sleep all week. Tomorrow we leave with the Lorentzes! Wonderful neighbors.

Sunday June 17, 1973 [Father’s Day]: Powell Hall 376-6781. Left at 10:30, arrived around 12:30. Waited around to check in. Took Gene and Fritz for a walk through the tunnels, helped me with my suitcases. Dad’s at Masonic Hospital. I.V.

Monday June 18, 1973: Called Pat. 10:15 P.M. Not much to tell. Dad is still in pain, x-ray today. We found out he’s on a salt free diet. Hope we know more tomorrow. Takes sleeping pills and pain pills. Man from Spooner moved in. Rained.

Tuesday June 19, 1973: Mr. Miller from Spooner moved out to main hospital, another day of waiting, hoping this I.V. will help the circulation. Takes pain pills and sleeping pills. We played cards this evening. Tried getting Ginnie. Called Millie.

Wednesday June 20, 1973: Dad was sleeping when I went over at 11:00 A.M. Had loose bowels today. From noon on his leg bothered him. His arm was showing signs of soreness so nurse took needle out. Waiting for Dr. to put it back. Called Gin & Jack. Called Fritz.

Thursday June 21, 1973: Good night sleep the past 3 nights, with sleeping pills. Takes pain pill about 4 to 5 hours apart. Called Dick this evening. Dr Robbins was in this P.M. while I was gone, if this doesn’t clear up, more amputation soon. He has so much pain.

Friday June 22, 1973: It’s now, he has to make up his mind. The pain hasn’t gotten better. His arm was sore from I.V. so changed to right arm, tube too short. Small bedsore on behind, elbows are sore too. Hope Drs. decided something soon.

Saturday June 23, 1973: Beautiful day. When I went over, Dad was sleeping. His bed looked like someone butchered a pig, blood. The I.V. came out and Dr. Put another in. I went in lounge for a while. Dad didn’t feel good, temp 100, leg hurt. He also had the shits last night and all day. Pills are doing it. Nurse gave him some pills to stop it a little. Called Rose.

Sunday June 24, 1973: Two Drs. (Dr. Leonard, Dr. Scharp) came in to explain about more amputation. Wish I could sleep late. Walked over to coffee shop, stayed so I’d see Walt around 11:00 A.M. He still has loose bowels today. Ate better today. Ginnie and Jack came this P.M. Went to eat at main hospital. Red, Marie & Millie called.

Monday June 25, 1973: Seemed to feel a little better, but didn’t eat much. Won’t sit up straight. Jack, Gin & I went out to eat lunch, ate at Yum Yum Tree, Monkey Wards bought pair of canvas shoes, finally made it in the tavern near hospital. This evening we four played cribbage, Ginnie & I won. Goodnight my love.

Tuesday June 26, 1973: It has been very warm, my room too hot to stay in, called Gin at motel telling her I was going to coffee shop to cool off. Dad didn’t sleep very good last night and pain all day. We went and had beef sandwiches. They took a ride, and what a ride. Stayed with Dad ’til 6. Then had pizza. Wish dad would do something about his leg. I am so tired.

Wednesday June 27, 1973: Got up fairly early and went to store for cig and books for Walt. He looked pretty good, but didn’t feel very good. Pain is more steady. Didn’t sleep very good. Took I.V. out. Gin & Jack came over in afternoon. Dr. came in and finally convinced Walt to another operation. This Fri. Gin & Jack leaving tomorrow.

Thursday June 28, 1973: Today was x-ray, cardiogram, blood test. They make it just another, but Walt is afraid. Tonight he was shaved and showered. We were told he’d be taken to station on 5th floor again. I packed his things and took them to my room. Will have to find out what his room number is and call. Dear God watch over him, give him strength.

Friday June 29, 1973: Taken up at 7:00 A.M. Came to room a little after 10:00 A.M. Had good color. Later in early evening he commenced to get restless, knew who I was. Wanted to sleep. Room 588. I should stay but really nothing I could do. His leg bothers him.

Saturday June 30, 1973: Went over early today. Dad still hasn’t come out of [anesthesia?]. He wonders off, talking about just anything. Leg bothers him and can’t get comfortable. While I was gone for 1/2 hour when I walked in his room he was shaking and couldn’t get his breath. I called the nurses and put oxygen and DR. Scharp came in, then every nurse was in, E.g. and others, Dad had stopped breathing.

Sunday July 1, 1973: What a day, we tried to be cheerful even with our thoughts. Breakfast at café. Stayed to see Dad, no change, took a walk down to Mississippi River, laughed, talked, but always it turned to Dad. Took a ride, went to Monkey Wards, ate there, good food. No change. Dr told us Dad had heart attack, injured brain. Still in coma, just have to wait. It’s sad to see him.

Monday July 2, 1973: Changed rooms, gave up mine to Dick, but now Dick is with Pat and I. Very cozy. Look like Dad was improving, also recognized me, can shake head yes, when asked if he heard. What a day, went to bank to make arrangements for money. Dick is great help. Went to Cromwell to eat, then saw a movie. What a movie. Talked to Gin. Good night.

Tuesday July 3, 1973: Dad is improving, took him off respirator, more alert, moved his leg a bit. Might take tubes out tomorrow. Even Dr is amazed how he is improving. Wish we could help more, but he knows we are there. Millie called, talked with Jack. Nancy called, will be up with Bud. Good night.

Wednesday July 4, 1973: Dad looked good today, good color. He is still on heart EKG machine. Too fast a beet. Took tubes out, giving him moist air and oxygen. Didn’t talk to any Drs. today, but nurses say hi, is responding. Dick left, later than planned because I couldn’t see a pile of papers. Good night honey, see you tomorrow. Pat called home.

Thursday July 5, 1973: Walt didn’t respond to me at our first visit this morning, doesn’t talk yet. Came back to room to call Millie as Jack was going to be there. We stayed here until Jack called us. Pat is arranging to [go] back with them. Saw Dad later, responded more, held tightly to my hand. Not so at 8:30. He is so thin again. Good night honey.

Friday July 6, 1973: No response this morning. Jack called, Dick called last night. 1:30 he is the same, 3:00 same, heart unsteady. Went over this evening, Dr. put tube in nose to drain stomach, then they’ll start feeding through nose, or something, must find out. No improvement. Ginnie called. Pat & I played rummy before retiring.

Saturday July 7, 1973: Had breakfast at coffee shop. Went to see Dad, he was the same. Tube in both nostrils, one for stomach, other to siphon mucus. All they say is he is stable, hour later we went in to see him, then went for a walk, so hot. Returned to see Dad, but he was moved to his room C-588. Jack and Joan came to pick up Pat, they went in to see Dad. They left at 6:30 P.M. I stayed until 10:00. Good night. Bud called 12:00 A.M.

Sunday July 8, 1973: No entry

Monday July 9, 1973: My prayers were answered. He passed away.

Dona’s sixth grade report card: Mrs. Anderson

Mrs. Anderson was the best teacher ever. She encouraged my love of reading. When I entered her class from Miss Jaderman’s class I was initially placed in the lower reading group with a different 6th grade teacher but somehow Mrs. Anderson knew I was a good reader and brought me to her reading group. I don’t think we used typical reading books in her class, but we read real books — and she read to us. After reading each of the books we would often do a special project as a class. For instance, after reading The Hobbit we made a hobbit hole out of chicken wire and papier-mâché. After reading Wind in the Willows we put on a play and presented it to the school. We even did the screen writing ourselves — turning the book into scenes. I excelled at that. We may or may not have put so much effort into the other subjects, but we sure had fun with language arts.

Reading Mrs. Anderson’s comments makes me smile. I don’t know that I knew she considered me a “favorite”. It took me years to overcome my shyness — and I still fall into it now and then.