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Filed under: prairie musings, energy, political musings — Peg Britton @ 3:38 pm

Two ballots were cast today; one in Ellsworth County and one in Saline County. Dane’s absentee ballot arrived at the hospital this morning so he looked it over carefully and told me how to fill it out. Then he double checked where I filled in the ovals for him just to make sure I didn’t slip in a preference or two of mine! I helped him put it in the envelope and he sealed and signed it according to the rules. I don’t think he has ever missed an opportunity to vote, and neither have I, so it felt good to him to be able to vote.

Having done that for him and needing to mail his ballot, I headed downtown. The Ellsworth County Courthouse was not a bevy of activity for people wanting to vote, but it’s rather nice to amble in and vote early. I think it’s a good thing to perpetuate for those who have a need to, so I help the cause. Anyway, I’m always anxious to vote and who knows what tomorrow will bring? All the names on the ballot are familiar to me; they are friends of long-standing. The amendment vote was an easy one for me. NO! Emphatically NO.

Dane has a new bed and many of the hospital employees have been in to see it. It’s a humdinger and he looks far more comfortable lengthwise in it as it is 6″ longer than the one he did have. It rotates back and forth and blows air upward to keep skin moving and blood circulating. We’ll hope it works as advertised.

Jimmy Rojas is an inspiration to anyone who has had a stroke or been impaired by brain injury. He is coming to talk with us tomorrow and we’re very much looking forward to that.

We’re losing folk from our area and they will leave a hole in the community. Many years ago I took Velva Jackson around town the first day she arrived to explore the possiblity of her and John moving here. We’ve joked with each other about that day ever since. They have now headed back to their hometown of Decatur Illinois to live. I’ll miss Velva’s humor and friendliness, which are top drawer. And, Wayne and Lisa Rohr are heading to Manhattan to live. I will miss them, their many talents and their children as well. They have all contributed greatly to our community and I wish them the very best.


Filed under: prairie musings, family, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 10:18 am

Dane was still sleeping when I arrived in his room at 7:00 this morning. The flowers and decorations needed to be removed from his bed as he’s getting a new rotating contraption at 1:00 they said. It will rotate as much as 60 degrees, which should do a good job of flinging him from side to side and off his bedsore. It should be an asset to those who have to turn him every two hours. I wanted to get everything out of the way before they converged on him for his daily activities.

And, converge they did. I left after the 8th person entered his room. Mostly they were there for instructional purposes as part of their training, but he didn’t know that. Maybe the sheer numbers of people will intimidate him enough to want to cooperate and leap out of bed without a single “NOT YET!!” I certainly hope so. There is something in his brain that just isn’t clicking and will have to be relearned. We’re going to try a new medication that might help in that direction. He wants to get well, but something in his brain doesn’t understand the connection between that and getting up and moving around.

Mackenzie and Luke are arriving tomorrow night with Skunk, Dane’s cat. We’re all looking forward to that. Although it will be a very short visit, it’s always so nice having them here.

Our magnolia tree reflects the same promise of spring as all the other flowering trees and shrubs in town. I love this time of year when all the buds burst forth in a show of dazzling color.

More later…and thanks for staying in touch.



Filed under: friends, print news — Peg Britton @ 7:16 pm

As readers of my column, you must be expecting to read what I have to say about the gay amendment that will be on our ballot next Tuesday. There has been a plethora of opinions offered on the subject and I have read everyone that has come across my desk. I can see no justification whatsoever for supporting the amendment. One of the best arguments for voting NO on Tuesday appeared in the Kansas State Collegian and was written by my friend, Jesse Manning. It follows and is very much worth the read.

COLUMN: The politics of gay marriage
Religious right’s hypocrisy conjures images of Dante’s “Inferno”.
Published on Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Jesse Manning
Kansas State Collegian

Next Tuesday, the people of the state of Kansas will head to the polls and likely approve a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman.

While such an outcome is supposed to “protect” marriage for hundreds of thousands of Kansas couples, it is blatantly meant to discriminate against one minority group in particular: homosexuals.

The constitutional discrimination that is sweeping the United States is the result of a massive push by the conservative Christian right. While religious conservatives are free to hold any point of view, in their rush to outlaw practices disagreeing with their teachings, they ignore their own history.

When a fire swept through Rome in 66 A.D., the emperor Nero picked a convenient group to blame: the newly formed religion of Christianity. Nearly 2,000 years later, Rev. Jerry Falwell chose homosexuals as one of the groups to blame for Sept. 11, 2001.

Those in power often choose minority groups to blame for their problems. The pagan Nero chose a stubborn new religion that refused to worship Rome’s traditional gods. Two millennia later, that very same religion wields considerable influence within the state and national governments of the United States.

Instead of remembering the struggles of the early Christian minority, today’s far-right religious leaders have become modern day Romans in an attempt to squash opposing views and “deviant” lifestyles.

When Falwell chose homosexuals among the many other groups that he blamed for Sept. 11, 2001, he charted a path that the religious right has continued to follow.

He cast the first stone and blamed a minority for an attack far outside of their control. In doing so, Falwell and others ignored their own Christian roots.

The false arguments of religious conservatives are not to be believed. Those who clamor for the “sanctity of marriage” should be more concerned about the 50 percent divorce rate in heterosexual marriages.

The blatant hypocrisy of the “moral” argument against homosexuality is equaled by the stupidity of the secular argument favoring a marriage amendment.

Kansas needs no law, constitutional or otherwise, against gay marriage. It already has two on the books. Passing an amendment is no more than a conservative effort to show everyone that “we are in charge.”

Furthermore, constitutions at the state and federal level have historically been used to expand the rights of the citizenry. Only once did the U.S. Constitution seek to limit our rights. The 18th Amendment banned the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcohol within the United States.

That limitation on our rights was a miserable failure and was repealed 14 years later by the 21st Amendment.

Any amendment defining marriage is doomed to the same eventual fate. Though the Christian right may be a powerful influence in politics today, they will learn that morality cannot be legislated, just as ancient Christians taught the Romans that their own “deviant” views could not be suppressed.

In “The Inferno,” Dante Alighieri’s infamous and poetic version of Hell, hypocrites are forced to wear immensely heavy robes made of lead while forever walking a narrow track. The robes, beautiful and brightly shining on the outside, hide the true weight of their inner deceit.

If you are part of the right-wing religious movement that seeks to discriminate against homosexuality through legislative power, you must pause to look at history.

Was it “right” for the Romans to brutally oppress Christianity? Most certainly not. Now that Christians are in power, is it right for them to inscribe discrimination into our state constitutions?

If you answered yes, pick up your leaden robe and prepare to join the eternal march of the hypocrites.

Jesse Manning is a senior in political science and history. Please send your comments to


Filed under: prairie musings, family — Peg Britton @ 6:53 pm

We’ve missed our Aussie, Jack, a whole lot. It might be there is another dog in the wings for us. If it’s the dog we think it is, it’s the same dog that Ally tried to get us to take several months ago. Ringo! Perhaps some of you will recall that conversation. We’ll just have to wait and see.

As you know, Brit is very hearing impaired. We have both electric and battery powered smoke detectors in our house, a huge bunch of them, and when they go off, Brit can’t hear them. He can’t hear the phone when he is sitting next to it. I think it is way past time for us to have better protection for Brit, especially when I’m not home. We need a couple cute and sensitive Aussie ears.

So, Todd has been trying to find us such a dog that can be trained at the prison for the hearing impaired. Ringo has gone through the standard training and for some reason unknown to us he didn’t work out. Now he’s being returned to the prison for retraining for the hearing impaired. We have reason to believe it is the same Aussie that Ally got from a woman in Salina that she knew would be perfect for Brit. But, Brit just wasn’t ready for it yet. Now he is. So, if it works out, we may have Ringo in our midst one of these days. It isn’t a sure thing, so we’ll just wait and see.

If it is the same dog, Ally said it is one of the smartest, sweetest dogs she’s ever been around. And, I am absolutely sold on Aussies. We’ve had several dogs, but Aussies are always right by your side and are wonderful companions who don’t run away. I’m excited!!!!


Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Dane Britton, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 6:01 pm

There were a lot of AHOWWWWWs that filtered out of room #107 and down the halls, but Dane was up and out of bed a lot today. I pushed him outside, to the wellness center and through the halls of the clinic where he encountered his doctor who offered enthusiastic words of encouragement for being out of bed. It’s imperative that spend more time out of bed. He had his lunch in the cafeteria. His appetite is fine and he likes the food they serve him. He did fairly well with his “on the edge of the bed exercises”.

This afternoon he was out of bed again, took a shower and once again I pushed him to the lobby, outside for some fresh air and up and down the halls. He hollered a lot for Dale to come rescue him. He did bedside exercises again this afternoon and was in a wheelchair another hour or so. When they put him back to bed about five, he fell asleep in an instant.

Somewhere along the line his feeding tube fell out. The balloon just disintegrated and caused it to come out. It was time and he’s eating well enough now not to need it. Everything has its time.

Todd is helping him with his dinner so I came home. Brit spent a lot of time with him too. And he had company: Randi stopped by with balloons and play dough, Betty P. visited with him in the lobby, Wheeler and son Scott stopped in for a visit, as did Dorothy G., Sandy W. and Roger N. came by again. I can’t recall all his friends who stop by, but we appreciate their efforts very much. He’s been pretty confused the past few days, but he always recognizes his friends.

Todd and I decorated his bed with some tacky but colorful artificial flowers and some wind thingies. We try to keep his room colorful to stimulate him. When we finished with the bed, he joked about it coming close to looking like funeral stuff that his mortician friend, Mark P., would dream up. We insisted we were decorating it for bed races they are bound to have somewhere that we can enter, or the Rose Bowl Parade. It’s a pretty fancy bed!

His application for an absentee ballot arrived today. He signed it and Roger took it to the post office for me. His ballot should be here in a couple of days. That will please him to be able to vote.

All the emergency vehicles are heading north. That usually means it might be a busy place at the hospital pretty soon.


Filed under: Wilson Musings — Peg Britton @ 5:32 pm


Please join the Wilson Chamber of Commerce at its monthly Business Breakfast, Wednesday, April 6, 2005. Our featured Speaker is Kelly Cooper. Kelly is an experienced grant writer and will share her ideas on how to improve your chance of success.

The Breakfast will be at Made From Scratch on Old 40 in Wilson. The program begins at 8:00am and will conclude at 9:00am. Our Business Breakfasts are open to the public. Doors open for breakfast at 7:00am.

We hope to see you there.

Brian Boisvert



Filed under: prairie musings, family, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 10:54 am

I don’t know if this is a “phase” or anything he/we can correct, but Dane just isn’t cooperating with all the people who are trying to help him. I know he can sit up on the side of the bed and in a wheel chair, as he must do, but he maintains he can’t do it, or he “can’t do it right now!”. Whatever it is, I’m very discouraged and borderline angry with him because he won’t help himself. The longer he lies there, the more apt he is to throw another blood clot. He understands that and doesn’t want that to happen. I don’t know what to do, other than all the things I’ve already tried, to get him motivated and out of bed.

Everyone at the hospital is so patient and kind with him and I know he is appreciative of that. He knows what he has to do to get well, but he still won’t put forth the physical effort to do it. I’m at a loss as to what to do. One of his good high school pals came by the other day as we were trying to get him to sit up. He saw our dilemma and said, “Tank, get your lazy ass out of bed.” It helped.

Dane is very strong-willed and always has been, in a good way. Now he’s using that will against his best interests and I keep trying to joggle that thing in his mind that will allow him to use it in the right way. I’ve talked myself blue. I even came home today after he flunked another PT effort to sit on the side of the bed and told him I’d come back to help him with lunch. In the meantime, if he had nothing to do but lie there, I had plenty to do at home and there was no point in my being there. It’s so exasperating when we all want so much for him to get well. And he wants to get well too, he says.

Mackenzie is arriving tomorrow to help. I know we’ll get through this. He isn’t the first reluctant patient to have a fixation with his bed! He did sit in a lounge chair while eating his lunch. He looked great and seemed to feel well doing it. Mackenzie is bringing “Skunk”, Dane’s cat, for a visit. I think what we need to do is tell him he can only hold skunk while he’s in his chair. I wonder if that ploy will work?

I called the Saline County Clerk to get an application for an absentee ballot for Dane. Friday is the last day ballots can be mailed to voters so time remains to allow Dane to vote. He’s talked about the candidates and knows who he wants to vote for. He’d walk across hot coals to vote. I don’t think he’s ever missed an opportunity to vote.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 10:43 am



Filed under: prairie musings, family, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 7:12 pm

The family is gathering for a “do” tomorrow on Kunkle Drive. Rod is home from Richmond VA where he spends most of his time working; he visited with Dane today and really brightened his day. Dane is always interested in what the nephews are doing. Todd, Karen and Drew also spent time with Dane. Tyler would have been there as well, but he was too busy winning the pizza eating contest at Casey’s grand opening! Even after he won, he continued to eat more pizza. He’s 6′ 5″ and empty from top to bottom. He gets a free pizza each month for a year, so I heard.

Dane had a better day today. He sat up in the wheelchair for lunch and lasted about an hour. That was his only outing today, which isn’t nearly enough. He did well with his speech therapist; he’s showing improvement weekly.

I was there at 7:00 this morning and Dane was already awake and on his back. It’s a real challenge to keep him off his back and on one side or the other. He gets so uncomfortable so I spend endless hours putting pillows under this or that trying to make him more comfortable. He is doing so much better, feels so much better…looks better…he is better all the way around.

We watched Sleepless in Seattle again. I think we’ve seen it about 6 times since he’s been hospitalized. That and You’ve Got Mail and Kate and Leopold. They are stress-free and nice for people like us!

It will be nice to be with family again tomorrow. We’ll take a plate of food to Dane and I’m sure he’ll enjoy it a lot.

Dane had three good meals today and ate most of what he was served, which was an improvement over yesterday. I cut his food and if he’s on his left side, he can manage eating on his own. I just think today was a better day for him. Pick and Nancy came to see him this morning and he laughed for the first time that I have seen. That was good to see.

The hospital is quiet on weekends and this being a holiday weekend, it is especially quiet. Dane knows he’ll have a busy day on Monday. I hope I don’t hear him say, “Not yet!” ever again.



Filed under: prairie musings, family, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 1:09 am

First, FYI (grandma too) it wasn’t a lobectomy, it was a craniotomy. They’re very similar but it’s good to know anyway…

Reading grandma’s last entry made dad sound a bit unapproachable, and I wanted to just give a bit more info. As grandma said, emotion, intuition, imagination, musical awareness, making emotions real (facial expressions, hand gestures…), humor and logical awareness were located in that area of his brain that was removed. This is true, but it’s something that can be re-learned. Most importantly, dad has showed signs of many of these characteristics already. Musical awareness, for instance… when he was in Wichita I remember playing the Texas A&M fight song and having him tap his fingers along with it. Hand gestures, if you haven’t heard the story of him “giving the bird” it’s really a funny one. Facial expressions, true… his smile doesn’t come out as often, but it has been seen and I’ve also seen a ’surprised’ facial expression come from him. Emotions in general, anyone in our family can vouch that he has given some of us kisses or patted us in a caring loving way. And most obviously, humor has not gone anywhere in dad. The minute he could communicate he was making jokes on paper then speaking when he was able. He’s always been a funny guy and that’s sure still present.

Am I a little defensive? Sure. He did have a portion of his brain removed but all brains function differently, and to say that his emotions are “gone” is not fair to him. In the time I’ve spent with him post-surgery I have seen many glimpses of my dad. True, a lot of the time he’s just staring off into space with no responses what-so-ever, but you have to wonder if we wouldn’t all act that way if we were in the hospital.

I agree with grandma, because he does have “off days” where a visitor may essentially be ignored (and it may be that he has more of these days than the “good” ones). Just remember he’s still healing and has a lot going on in his body, so don’t be offended if he doesn’t pay attention to you. One thing I can verify is that he DOES recognize you. That’s been a common worry of people that have been to visit him. However, as soon as someone I don’t know will leave the room dad will instantly tell me who it was if I ask. Often he just doesn’t show any kind of emotion on his face when a visitor comes in, and it makes it appear as he doesn’t recognize you. Even when I come to visit after a few weeks of being away, expecting that usual surpised/happy look, I get a blank stare. But then he’ll ask me to give him a hug or kiss and I know that he’s feeling happy he just isn’t displaying it on his face.

Overall this has been a somewhat sore subject for me, I get pretty upset when it’s stated plainly that his “emotions are gone” kind of thing - because that’s just not true. To me, it’s more of a concept that his emotional function was altered in the surgery and he must re-learn how to express it. Sorry for a bit of a rant, but it’s just been something building up and it made me feel better writing it here.

One more favor while I’m on topic… we need to try really hard (and I am just as guilty of this) to refer to his body as “right” and “left” rather than “good” and “bad”. I’ve heard a few instances of this floating around (and seriously, I’ve slipped a lot of “bad arm” comments too) but we don’t want a negative feeling toward half of his body. :)

Thanks for putting up with me tonight… I can’t help but give my comment because I love my dad and just wanted to add more to what grandma said.

A few tips: When visiting I’ve found it best to stand close to his bed and say his name often in your conversation. Also, shorter sentences seem to help a bit. For instance, a few short sentences spoken slowlyish with a break where he can respond are better than going on and on for 10 mins because he loses track of what’s going on and then tunes you out totally. Asking questions helps too, you might say “Do you remember my dog Bob?” and then go into a story about Bob. Sometimes though, none of these will help and he will stare at the TV and ignore you anyway. THAT is a dad thing for sure, growing up I think I could have asked permission to move to China while he was watching tv and had no response from him. I think it may even be a man thing :)




Filed under: prairie musings, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 4:16 pm

The staff at the hospital who work with Dane have come up with a plan. He’s agreed to it as well, but he needs nudging. They are coordinating his activities: from his breakfast and morning shower, sitting on the side of the bed, standing, sitting in the wheel chair for periods of time, to eating in the cafeteria and conducting various types of therapy.

Tomorrow after lunch, we’re going to watch a film on “Strokes”. And, best of all, a former patient who was far less able to do what Dane is doing, and has since recovered completely and is living at home with his family, will come to the hospital and talk with us and offer the encouragement Dane needs right now. They figured out a way for him to remain at the Ellsworth Hospital for months and months until he was ready to go to rehab, so I’m hoping we can follow the same route.

Dane’s hematoma in his abdomen is causing him grief and probably will for a year, or up to three years. It will take that long to dissipate. It’s still huge and presses on other organs when he sits up. He’s just very uncomfortable most of the time. They turn him from side to side and prop him on a hip so he can’t move, or shouldn’t move in order to avoid putting pressure on his bedsore. The sore is looking much better, they say. It still looks wicked to me, but I know it isn’t hurting like it was. Ally found a large wedge to support his back and that helps considerably. I bought him a memory foam pillow that that offers some relief as well. His bed is a mound of assorted types of pillows, all of which he uses in one way or another.

Dane was sleeping so I took a quick break to come home for an hour. That’s something I couldn’t do in Wichita and breaks do help deter the fatigue. I’ll go back to help Dane with his dinner then come home and stir something up for us.

Your cards and visits have been very much appreciated. He’s taking more interest in his cards now and likes to look at them. Thank you so much.

As you visit with Dane in the hospital, please remember that emotion, intuition, imagination, musical awareness, making emotions real (facial expressions, hand gestures…), humor and logical awareness were located in that area of his brain that was removed. You can find information on his surgery if you google for frontal lobectomy. He will have to relearn all of this through other channels in his brain and it will take time, but it can be done if he is willing.

I’ll post his schedule soon so that you will be able to better determine when is the best time to visit him.



Filed under: friends — Peg Britton @ 7:52 pm

Dear Peg –

Just wanted to let you know that my thoughts are with you and your family. I check in with your blog and catch up from time to time. I have some small idea of what it is like to have a family member who needs you all day every day, but not to the extent that you have been doing it. If you ever wondered how strong your family is, now is when you get the answer.

This winter I had an IMT scan, where they do an ultrasound on the carotid artery and figure out how much plaque you have. That’s supposed to correlate directly to build up in the heart. Mine is building, and now I’m trying to get serious about a low-fat diet. It’s not easy, but I want to you know that I think often of Dane, and it gives me a huge boost to my willpower — a daily reminder that health is precious and there is a limit to what a body can withstand.

So, from a personal standpoint, I very much appreciate the effort you put into your blog. I suppose in some way it’s also therapeutic for you to unwind from the pressures of the day and note the successes. It puts a name and a face on what the standard American diet is doing to us, and not just to some nameless, faceless percentage, but to people we know and love, which translates into “if it can happen to him, then I’m not immune either”.

I don’t know anything to do for you or Dane, but I wanted to give you a heartfelt thank you for what you’re doing for me. For you, I’m thankful that you have a warm, loving family who is there and doing everything they can to get Dane healthy again.

I’m also glad to hear that you’re starting to take care of you, and catching up on your health and life issues.

Thinking positive thoughts for all of you. . .




Filed under: prairie musings, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 9:58 pm

Dane just didn’t have a very good day today. We don’t know why, but he’s had better days. Maybe tomorrow will be better. We all have bad days from time to time and he just had one of his today.

Brit spent some time at the hospital with Dane and me and we had spaghetti for lunch in the cafeteria. The food there is the best kept secret in town, Brit says.

It’s cold and damp outside. We had 2″ of much needed rain with cold wind that cut right through you that we didn’t need. It was snowing five miles south of Wilson today. I hope our magnolia tree blooms survive tonight. We can return to spring anytime and it will suit me.

I just started opening my mail that has accumulated since the first of January and found they recalled my car for transmission problems. I’m going to get it fixed tomorrow, see a doctor for myself and run some errands. I’ll help Dane with his breakfast and see how he is tomorrow and, if all goes well, I’ll head to Salina.

Thanks for keeping updated on Dane through my blog. It helps a lot since I don’t have much time to answer letters or phone calls…but I try.

This Graymatter program that I use for my blog is about to crash. I’m crossing my fingers that it holds together until my webmaster friend arrives from Texas for an overhaul.

[This entry was orginally published on March 22, 2005 –ed]


Filed under: prairie musings, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 9:53 pm

It was another “Groundhog Day” but we treasure the small daily improvements that Dane exhibits. Today was another very good day.

Dane was up this morning in his shower chair, using the water spray that felt good over his body. I helped him shave and he put his aftershave on to make him smell especially nice for visitors. He’s using the Aveeno aromatic body wash that everyone just loves. It has such a great fragrance which wafts up and down the halls and everyone smiles who encounters it. I need to get more of it.

I just can’t say enough about how great the care is that Dane receives at the hospital. He’s sort of a pilot project for them since their average patient stay is slightly over 3 days and I hope he will be able to stay at least two months. They have accomodated their employee routines to care for Dane, and in anticipation that others might follow requiring long term care. It has been a learning experience for everyone.

I talked with the hospital administrator and director of nursing this afternoon and explained what a great relief it was being here, in all respects: mainly I don’t talk to a parade. Everyone here knows what to do and their care their for Dane is coordinated somewhere at the other end of the hall which falls in to place just beautifully. Even if an agency nurse comes in, there is someone there to explain exactly how he should be turned, how he should be handled. One person is in control of his wound, not a half dozen people. I can’t tell you how great being home has been for him and our family. You can get well here and if ever there was a possibility of that for him, it is here. They care about his whole being: taking a shower isn’t a problem. Try getting shower or a decent food tray in a large city hospital.

Larry P., Mike P. and Lisa P., all stopped by to see Dane today. I came home for a couple hours this afternoon so maybe he had other visitors as well. He was pretty alert today, but there is always some confusion. He’s pretty amusing much of the time and hasn’t lost his dry wit.

I’d love to stay up for the K-State women’s game tonight at 10:30. I so hope they win. I guess I could snooze in the chair by Dane’s bed tomorrow: it wouldn’t be the first time. MSU and USC ladies are fighting it out point by point in a barn-burner. A maniacal finish in Minneapolis: USC 59, Michigan State 61.

Our magnolia tree is loaded with huge buds just ready to burst forth in bloom. If the cold weather doesn’t damage the blooms, it should be a gorgeous show piece. The rain today was wonderful. I love rainy, dreary days and hope they continue for a week so the farm ponds fill and everything gets a good soaking. It could happen. I’ve often thought I could be happy living in Seattle.

Dane’s nurse called to say they had success with a problem he was having and that he was now resting. How considerate of her and the “team”. He should sleep well tonight.

Thanks for all your thoughts for Dane. You’ve continued to follow his progress and collectively encourage his recovery. We appreciate everything you’ve done.

[This entry was originally dated March 21, 2005 –ed]



Filed under: Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 9:23 pm

Axe Murder Documentary

“We never set out to solve the crime,” Rundle said, and while “it is not possible to definitively say who did it,” he believes he and his wife have determined the person who performed the killings. The Rundles theorize a tie to similar axe murders that occurred within a year of the Villisca brutality at Monmouth, Ill., Colorado Springs, Colo., and Ellsworth, Kansas. But he’s not naming names — those who want to know their postulation need to see the movie.

I worked with the Rundles from the beginning of their research. You might find this very interesting.


Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 2:09 pm

Dane was sawing logs when I arrived at the hospital a little after 7 this morning. He’d managed to move his back supports that keep him off his bedsore. I know he gets tired being moved every two hours, day and night, and never being able to lie flat on his back, or his position of choice, for a good night’s sleep. I wish it weren’t that way for him, but things won’t always be this way. They are taking very good care of him…wonderful care. You just can’t beat the Ellsworth Hospital for good medical care.

Brit and I took him via wheel chair and oxygen tank to the cafeteria for his noon meal. He is a challenge to feed and keep sitting upright. It takes two of us. The meal was excellent and he enjoyed it, but didn’t eat much. They had barbecue chicken breasts, steamed broccoli, au gratin potatoes, cabbage slaw and Boston cream pie. The cooks also made wonderful cinnamon rolls this morning. There is a lot of good food that comes out of their kitchen.

They had to do some maintenance work on Dane this afternoon so I decided to come home to avoid hearing the owwww’s. What they are doing hurts, and it hurts moms to hear those sounds from their kids, no matter how old they are. The laundry was piling up at home and I thought I’d try to catch one of the women’s basketball games today as a diversion (UW-Green Bay and Maryland). The Lady Wildcats were great last night and won again by adjusting their game without main star Megan Mahoney. They are more interesting to watch than most of the men’s teams, imo. They play again tomorrow night at 10:30, which will be a tad late for me.

I couldn’t find any Easter decorations at ALCO for Dane’s room although they had a couple of truck loads of chocolate eggs. I’ll try Robson’s tomorrow. I think Jenny, Serena and some aides have an idea for something for his room. They all enjoy it as it is so colorful. They are all so nice to Dane and take very good care of him.

More later.

LATER: I just was sprung! Mackenzie and Ruby came to help Dane with his dinner and spend the evening visiting with him. He gave both big kisses on the cheek.

His room looks great. I found some decorative eggs to print off the net and place on his bed that he can see from a prone position. The activities director at the hospital put all kinds of interesting things on his bed so it looks Easter festive. Everyone loves how his room looks. They do such an all-around super job at the hospital to make patients comfortable and happy. I think Dane is convinced he is anywhere except in a hospital; something you do when you mentally retreat from where you are.

They had St. Patrick’s Day planned from morning until evening with various things to share: Irish jokes, the history of St. Pat’s Day, puzzles and other things pertaining to Ireland to occupy their patients, plus wonderful food, when appropriate, tinted in various shades of green. It was delightful.

They replaced Dane’s Foley today and he uttered hardly a sound. That was such a traumatic, painful ordeal in Wichita that I didn’t want to be around to see him have to go through that again. But it went slick as a whistle today with only one slight owww. Gary did a great job. Men need to take care of those things for other men. Jenny had good results with her efforts and he was resting quite nicely when I returned this afternoon. He was also far more alert than he was this morning. Joann ran some oxygen, CO2 blood tests and made some determinations, which she explained to me in detail, that will also be helpful to him. They are all so kind and considerate of him.

Well, before I left tonight, Dane kicked off his sheet and had his right leg and arm churning. I asked where he was going and he said, “to the bathroom”. I said, as I have a hundred time before, something like well, maybe, you can just stay in bed as you have a Foley. He knows a heck of a lot about medicine so I don’t try to push anything over on him. He said, “You know Mom, if I have to call the hospital administrator I will. I’m getting up!” So, I mentioned that I had seen Roger this morning. He asked how he was and forgot what he wanted to do. I wish he could get up out of bed, and I’m happy that he still thinks he can and wants to. The confusion will pass.

So, after a lovely chat with my friend Sandra in Chicago, I’m going to relax this evening. It’s so nice to have intergenerational friends, and I’m fortunate to have a bunch, such as Sandra. I’m old enough to be her grandmother (her parents are the ages of our children) yet we are very close friends, always will be. I always enjoy our visits. She has been a very supportive friend.

Mr. Gray Goose came to visit. What a pleasant surprise!

Mississippi State is giving Duke about all they can handle. I’m sorry not to see KU playing.

The family is intact. We’ve struggled but kept the bonds tight. We’ll make it through all this, but it is difficult for each us, individually and collectively. Each of us can only go day by day. Dane’s illness has changed our lives individually and perceptively. We know Dane will come back to us in time. It won’t be soon, but we one day will have back our son, father and brother, who will be the best he can be, different from before, but the best he can be. That is all that we want. Being in Ellsworth, with all the help we are receiving from the medical community and friends, helps enormously toward that goal.

Worried is a word that doesn’t exit in many languages. I’m trying to forget what it means.

I see our good and loyal friends, Pete and Betty, were up and and reading my blog at 5:05 this morning!

We’re all on a positive track. More tomorrow.



Filed under: prairie musings, family, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 4:34 pm

The Kippes cousins from Kansas City, (Ann, Kay, Sarah and Mack) took a road trip to Ellsworth today to visit Cousin Dane. We’ve had a wonderful day visiting with them. Tyler, Todd, Karen and Ally also joined in the conversation.

Since I’m out of the cooking mode, Karen at K.C.’s served us some of her super special hamburgers, the best in town, imo.Tyler needed a full meal deal and had chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, gravy…the full meal deal. It’s great too and Tyler thinks it’s the best around. It meets all the standards of the Kansas Sampler Foundation’s Explorer’s Club. You can see the award hanging on the wall by the kitchen.

Dane’s surgery yesterday left him with a hole that opened up his bed sore. The surgeon did a debridement, which is a surgical excision of dead, devitalized, or contaminated tissue from a wound. Now that it is clean, it’s huge. Well, it’s much larger than it has appeared before. It hadn’t entered his tail bone, but it was very close to it. The challenge now is to keep him off his back and resting on one hip or the other, alternating every two hours, so that there is no pressure on the wound. What he needs is to be suspended in air with his back side looking skyward. He can’t lie on his stomach because of his feeding tube and other complications.

I had an e-mail note from Rick M., Dane’s first roommate at Select Specialty. It was good to hear from him, but I was sorry to hear he broke his arm. Like Dane, he’s been having ‘butt’ problems for the last year or so, then last Wednesday, while trying to help himself sit up in bed to have his shirt taken off for his bath, he broke his right arm. He was a really good roommate for Dane and I always enjoyed our visits with him. He managed to type me a few lines with his left hand, and I do appreciate that.

Ally is helping Dane with his dinner tonight so I’m spending the evening at home. I need to run to ALCO to find some Easter decorations for Dane’s room. Maybe now is the time for that!

Thanks for tuning in!



Filed under: prairie musings, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 2:11 pm

They haven’t yet operated on Dane, but it should happen about 3:00. They intend to keep him in ICU overnight since they will be using a general anesthetic and he’ll need to be watched. He should be back in Ellsworth tomorrow. I’ll keep you posted.


After long conferences, the surgeon and anesthesiologist went back to their original plan and used a local anesthetic on Dane. The surgery didn’t take long, the wound has been cleaned and he’s in the recovery room. He should be coming back to Ellsworth later today. The wound now will be easier to treat. The big thing will be to keep him off his back. He absolutely cannot lie on that bedsore and that is a challenge for all of us who care for him. Maybe you don’t know, as I didn’t, but you can develop a bedsore in as little as six hours when pressure is put on an area of the body and blood flow is restricted. It happens.


Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 2:02 pm

I understand this is very tentative, but it is possible the Ellsworth land give away program will be featured on the Today Show this coming Monday morning at 7:30. The producer can always dump the segment at the last minute, but it might be interesting to tune in and see if they do air it.



Filed under: prairie musings, family, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 8:56 pm

Tomorrow morning Dane is going to have his wound surgically opened and cleaned to allow it to heal. It’s not healing now and we need to do something. It will be done in the outpatient mode in Salina and he will only be away from Ellsworth for a matter of a few hours. Ally and Mackenzie will meet him when he arrives in Salina and I will remain here and wait for his return. That’s the plan.

He receiving excellent care here and we’re so appreciative of that. Everyone is so kind to him. He’s doing better each day, but it is incrementally slow so that is hard, perhaps, for others to see. I can appreciate that and am grateful for every positive improvement. I’ve been with him every day since the first part of January so I can see the progress he has made since then, and am amazed. I don’t know what the long term prognosis will be, but I remain hopeful. It has taken a lot of people to make his recovery possible.

Todd, Karen and Tyler came by for steaks we fixed outside on the grill. It was a lovely night, in my opinion, and although it was a quick celebration, we covered our 54th and Todd and Karen’s 21st. I say we’ll really celebrate our 55th and their 22nd with the entire family when Dane can be a part of it too. Maybe we’ll win the lottery (I have to figure out how to buy a ticket first!) and go on a family cruise that will last forever. I can dream, can’t I? There is nothing better than being with family.

It’s way past my bedtime! I was at the hospital from 7 to 5:30 today. I was waiting for one doctor or another, or something, and never got home. Everything takes more time than usual. Dane’s meal time takes about an hour, sometimes longer. The day was tiring, but nothing at all like being in Select Specialty in Wichita. It was a good day for Dane and that is what matters. We’re so fortunate to be in Ellsworth.

I’ll have more to report tomorrow.

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