My Most Precious Possession by Abbie Johnson Taylor

During a memoir writing workshop at the Wyoming Writers conference I attended a couple of weeks ago, one of many story ideas we were given was this. If your house was on fire, and all the people and animals were safe, what would you take with you? This reminded me of a conversation I had with my sister-in-law years ago after they evacuated their home in Los Alamos, New Mexico, as a result of a forest fire that threatened the small town. Thankfully, their house remained in tact, but something my sister-in-law said made me want to strangle her.

She explained that since she and my brother didn’t know if their house would survive the fire, they’d crammed as many of their earthly possessions as they could into their mini-van including two small children and two cats. She’d insisted on taking their photo album, although there was little room. I wanted to tell her that more memories can be made and more pictures taken, but you can’t replace yourself or a loved one. Being a mother, she should have focused more on making sure she and her children were safe.

If my house were on fire, I suppose I might try to rescue my tablet and SD card containing some of my writing. Then again, call me vain, and maybe it’s my fear of fire and death that are talking, but my most precious possession is me. Photographs can be re-taken. Computers can be replaced. Writing can be rewritten. You can bake a cake again, even if you don’t have the recipe. Life, on the other hand, is the most precious possession of all.

What about you? If your house caught fire, and all the people and animals were safe, what would you take with you? I hope I’ve convinced you that this is a no-brainer, but if I haven’t, I’d be interested in reading about any treasured items you might try to rescue and the stories behind them. That’s the point of this exercise, anyway. You can share your stories on your own blog with a link here or in the comment field below. In any case, I hope to hear from you.

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I’m the author of a romance novel, two poetry collections, and a memoir. I’m currently working on another novel. My work has appeared in The Avocet and Magnets and Ladders. I have a visual impairment and live in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, I cared for my late husband, who was totally blind and partially paralyzed by two strokes. Before that, I worked as a registered music therapist in a nursing home and other facilities that served senior citizens. For more information, please visit my website and blog.

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Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

 

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Once in Love with Amy

This post is by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

 

As most of you know, I have a visual impairment. On my PC and tablet, I use software that reads everything to me and repeats what I type. With such software, there is a variety of text to speech voices you can either purchase or download for free. Some sound like robots, while others have a lot of human qualities.

I occasionally like to buy new voices. Recently, I sampled one with a British accent. She said, “Hello, I’m Amy. Shall we read something fun together?” I immediately purchased her, and we’ve been having fun reading and writing ever since.

This reminded me of a poem I wrote several years ago and posted here. It appears in How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver. Julie was the voice I used when I wrote it. Here’s the poem, and you can click below to hear Amy read it. I think Amy’s a keeper, don’t you?

 

 

Dear Julie

 

I wonder what you think, as you read me my e-mail,

the Web pages I browse, other documents.

Is there something you’d rather not read to me,

something I don’t want read that interests you?

When you repeat what I type,

how do the words strike you?

When I shut down, are you relieved or disappointed?

When I boot up, do you sigh with resignation

or jump at the chance of helping me again?

Now, I’ll ask you to read this back to me.

Knowing it’s about you, will you blush?

 

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Once in Love with Amy

This post is by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

 

As most of you know, I have a visual impairment. On my PC and tablet, I use software that reads everything to me and repeats what I type. With such software, there is a variety of text to speech voices you can either purchase or download for free. Some sound like robots, while others have a lot of human qualities.

I occasionally like to buy new voices. Recently, I sampled one with a British accent. She said, “Hello, I’m Amy. Shall we read something fun together?” I immediately purchased her, and we’ve been having fun reading and writing ever since.

This reminded me of a poem I wrote several years ago and posted here. It appears in How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver. Julie was the voice I used when I wrote it. Here’s the poem, and you can click below to hear Amy read it. I think Amy’s a keeper, don’t you?

 

Dear Julie

 

I wonder what you think, as you read me my e-mail,

the Web pages I browse, other documents.

Is there something you’d rather not read to me,

something I don’t want read that interests you?

When you repeat what I type,

how do the words strike you?

When I shut down, are you relieved or disappointed?

When I boot up, do you sigh with resignation

or jump at the chance of helping me again?

Now, I’ll ask you to read this back to me.

Knowing it’s about you, will you blush?

 

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Things to Know About Me by Abbie

Abbie J. Taylor 010

 

 

This Post by Abbie Johnson Taylor

 

Thanks to Jodie Llewellyn at http://www.wordsreadandwritten.com/blogging-2/twenty-things/ for inspiring this. In her post, she answers some questions about herself. A while back, I did a similar post as part of a blog tour where several of us writers provided information about ourselves and our writing. Now, here are some answers to more questions about me.

How tall are you? I wish I could say I’m five foot two with eyes of blue, but I’m not. I’m only five foot one with brown eyes so naturally, I’m not the girl any man in any song would be looking for, but that’s just as well. My late husband Bill was nearly six feet tall, but that didn’t bother me. Before he became paralyzed as a result of two strokes, I loved standing with him while he held me.

Do you have a hidden talent? Yes, I have perfect pitch. I wasn’t born with it, and it’s not related to my visual impairment as a lot of people might think. It was acquired through constant exposure to music when I was a small child.

What is your biggest pet peeve? I really hate it when people ask me to sing a particular note or hit a glass with a spoon and ask me what note it is. People are amazed when they hear about something like this, but for me, after years of dealing with the supposed incredulity, it’s getting pretty old.

What’s your favorite song? I like “Memory” from Cats. I love cats, although I don’t have one, and in the song, an old feline longs for when she was young. When I worked for fifteen years as a registered music therapist in a nursing home, one of the things I did was use music to help residents reflect on their past. To hear me sing the song, go to https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15213189/memory.mp3 .

What other activities do you like besides writing? I enjoy reading and walking. I also participate in water exercise classes at the YMCA and sing in a women’s group called Just Harmony and go out to eat and to concerts, plays, and other events with friends.

What’s your favorite junk food? I adore chocolate ice cream, pudding, brownies, pie. If it’s chocolate, I’ll eat it. I don’t care too much for candy, though.

Do you have a pet? As I said before, I love cats. I also like dogs, but after caring for my late husband Bill for six years, I’m not ready to take care of another living thing yet. I’ll be content to read and blog about them.

What books do you like to read? I enjoy memoirs, poetry, romance, and some historical fiction. I can do without explicit descriptions of sex and violence.

If you could only drink one beverage besides water for the rest of your life, what would it be? Dr. Pepper.

What kinds of movies do you like to watch? I like comedies and dramas, but I don’t particularly care for violence or sex.

What extracurricular activities did you participate in when you were in high school? I sang in the concert choir, acted in plays, and was on the speech team. I was also in the Spanish and French clubs for a while.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? I’ve lived in New York, Colorado, Arizona, Montana, and North Dakota, but here in Sheridan, Wyoming, is where I’ll spend the rest of my days.

Do you use a PC or a Mac? I use a PC now, but back in the 1990’s when I first became interested in computing, Dad talked me into getting a Mac. When I married Bill in 2005, I discovered that his PC’s screen reading software was better than that on my Mac. Since my computer was getting old, I decided to switch, much to Dad’s consternation. Fortunately, I waited until Dad finished paying for our wedding so we wouldn’t be left to cover those costs if he disowned me, which of course he didn’t.

Now that you know more about me, I’d like to learn more about you, my readers. If you have a blog, you can answer one or more of these questions on your blog and leave me a link in the comments field. If you don’t have a blog, you can answer any or all of these questions in the comments field. Please feel free to skip, modify, or add questions. Have fun with this. I look forward to hearing from you.

By the way, my new poetry collection, That’s Life, is now available from Amazon. If you’ve read it, please go to http://www.amazon.com/Thats-Life-New-Selected-Poems/dp/1622297067/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1413835674&sr=8-1&keywords=That%27s+Life%3A+New+and+Selected+Poems and leave a review. If not, you can order the book at the above link. You can also order it from Finishing Line Press, using the link below. For those of you like me who prefer it in a specialized format, it’s also available on Bookshare, and you can download a recording of me reading it from my Website at http://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com/thatslife.htm .

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of:

Front Book Cover - We Shall OvercomeWe Shall Overcome

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Cover: How to Build a Better Mousetrap by Abbie Johnson TaylorHow to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

 

Visit my blog.

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

Order from Amazon

Order That’s Life from Finishing Line Press.

Computer Charting and Me

105182105411111CDPby Neva Bodin

I have just come home after working a fourteen hour day as a nurse. And at least an hour or more of that day can be blamed on electronic charting.

The government (Medicare arm) decreed that hospitals and clinics must go to electronic medical records (EMR) about fifteen years ago. According to http://www.ehow.com/facts_7501089_medicare-emr-guidelines-regulations.html, “In other words, doctors and hospitals who fail to convert to electronic medical records and to make meaningful use of those records will no longer be able to seek Medicare payments for their medical services.”

About twelve years ago, we had to implement an EMR system in our clinic. Trying to gather the information needed when a patient came to the clinic, and enter it into the computer, (time yourself writing a blood pressure reading on a piece of paper and going through 4-6 screens, each time hitting enter and typing systolic and then diastolic separately and see which takes the longest), added about an hour to each nurse’s day. Hence, more pay, higher health care costs. And has anyone noticed the reams of paper now used just to give you a report? My medication records from the mail order pharmacy come often and with a sheet saying, “This page has been left blank on purpose.” What a brilliant idea.

Recently a friend began counseling. The counselor typed everything into a computer as they talked, never once making eye contact with my friend during the counseling session. My cousin says a physician she loves and who had great rapport with her in the past, now sits watching his computer screen through much of their visit, and she feels as if the computer is actually a barrier between them.

I know a doctor who had his staff running to his office when they heard a crash, only to see him picking his computer out of the trash where he threw it in a moment of frustration.doctor computer

I got free groceries one day. Walmart only does electronic checks and the computer froze up, the clerk hit the reset button too many times causing a very long delay in it resetting itself, and after 15 minutes they took my check and let me go, and never cashed it! I got another free product worth $26 at another place of business as their computers went down.

My husband was delayed for five hours from transferring out of an ICU because the physician grabbed the wrong template of orders to fill out in the computer. Five days later, he was delayed five hours in being discharged from the hospital because the computer system crashed and they lost the discharge orders. I could tell more stories, but you get the picture.Hammerd

I love computers for research, word processing, email, social media, and blogging! But, as I rest my tired feet and frustrated mind, I would gladly go back to paper charting, having time to be more engaged in face to face contact with my patients, having records easy to access right in front of me instead of clicking and searching through 3 to 6 screens and then maybe not finding the information I want, and the ability to cross out a mistake, initial it, and not have it permanently scribed on an electronic record that I can do nothing about because I closed the chart before I realized I had made a mistake in charting!

Expensive EMR systems, with choices that don’t fit the situation in the pre-written charting so we can qualify for payments, are not my idea of progress. And I sure don’t understand why they didn’t ask me first, before the country started this “great idea”!

I’ll write my next post when I haven’t worked a 14 hour day, and maybe it will be more like my last one when I wrote of being on the mountain top!

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