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Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 7:27 pm

Everything is going well around here considering the circumstances. I talked with Dane tonight and he’s doing “all right”…except for a headache and tail bone pain. He went to men’s coffee this morning and didn’t learn a thing! He’s looking forward to hot tamales that Georgie made especially for him.

Ellsworth is playing Beloit tonight but none of us here is going. I can’t and the others are very weary and off to bed. Ally has followed my around all day, waiting on me, trying to make me comfortable, but I’m getting around very well now and other than the shower, I can manage most things without too much assistance. They’ve had a lot to do with both Dane and me out of commission.

Tyler came by after school so we had a good visit. He raided the refrigerator and found some good pickin’s. Ally’s a wonderful in-house chef. Tyler iced his sprained ankle, that came from the last basketball game, at school (he said the teachers were very lenient and let him do it in all his classes), but the way it looks I don’t have much hope for him lasting long in the game. And they are playing Beloit.

It was nice having some company today…Bill Gwinner, Anne Gro and Betty Gwinner. Karen stopped by before going to the game and brought her electric blanket for me. I’m having trouble with the weight of “covers” so we thought this might work. It’s worth a try.

KU won big time last night against Texas Tech and Bobby Knight. KU is either very, very good or awful.

That’s all for now. Gotta tuck in three dogs and the kids!



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 7:30 pm

I bet there are people in northwest Kansas who are shaking in their boots right now, as they should. Details should be in area papers tomorrow.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 7:16 pm

Ally came to Salina this afternoon to pick me up and drag me home. It was a piece of cake…nothing hurt, I’m feeling a little weak but otherwise very well. What a difference a couple of hours of surgery can make on a back. I’ll fill you in on some of the details later as one of my restrictions is that I can’t sit very long at one time.

Three hours after my two hour surgery Friday afternoon, I was walking the halls and saying “hooray”. What a difference a good surgeon can make to a bad back. Three days later, almost to the minute following surgery, I am home. I should have had this done six years ago.

More later…and thanks for tuning in to Ally and Kenz while I was gone.

It’s so good to be home again.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 7:53 pm

Mom is doing very well since surgery! She doesn’t have much of an appetite, but that is not a surprise with all of the meds they have had her on. She was up and around walking the halls at 5:00 this morning and therapy had her do some steps on stairs today. She’s doing great!

She was in so much pain before surgery that the pain from surgery is minimal in comparison. She will hopefully be heading to the Ellsworth Hospital for a couple of days or home, if she feels up to it, tomorrow. I think she is going to opt for another couple of days in the hospital to make sure that her pain is under control and she feels more comfortable before coming home. We’ll see what the doctor says tomorrow and go from there.

The doctor has her on a lot of restrictions for the next six weeks, so I will do my best to make sure that she adhere’s to his orders. Dr. M. was pleased with the outcome from surgery and more impressed with her recovery. Her surgery was on three discs, but none were removed as we feared before surgery. He additionally removed bone spurs and cleaned up the spinal stenosis, and took the pressure off the nerve that was causing the pain down her leg. She has most of her feeling in her leg back, which is very encouraging.

Thanks for keeping mom in your thoughts,




Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 6:29 pm

Grandma’s surgery went really well. I have the details written down but I’ll have to put them up later. Basically, the damage was worse than they anticipated but they were able to clean it up well and she’s already feeling better. I just talked to her and she was sitting in a chair with no pain in her back or right leg! Her right foot is numb and that may be so for up to 6 months, but numb is better than pain!

Anyway, I’m off to my birthday dinner but I will post more about grandma later. Rest assured she got through it fine and is really pleased with the results thus far :)



Filed under: prairie musings, family — Peg Britton @ 9:03 am

Just a quick update before I pack to head over to Salina to take care of our patient. Mom’s surgery will take an hour or so; by the time she gets out of recovery, it will be close to 5 or 6:00 tonight. I will not have a way to update on the computer after mom’s surgery, but will have Mackenzie or Tyler update as soon as they are able.

She’s already looking forward to getting back to the Ellsworth Hospital for recovery on Monday, so we will have her moved back as soon as she can be released.

Please keep mom in your thoughts today. We hope she has a good outcome from the surgery and feels snappy soon!

Thanks again for tuning in….



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 3:25 pm

Surgery scheduled for 3:30 tomorrow.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 3:21 pm

Dr. M. will repair one side of the spinal stenosis; repair and/or remove the herniated discs. We won’t know the degree of involvement until he completes surgery tomorrow.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 11:26 am

Mom was up early this morning so she could have a shower and breakfast before her departure to Salina Regional at 8:00 a.m. She’s settled into ROOM 327B - EAST WING. Her surgery will be early tomorrow morning. Dr. M. will be in today to explain the procedure. Dad is on his way over to see her now and I will go over in the morning and pack a bag so that I can spend the night with her.

We have all become very accustomed to sleeping on cots, or in chairs over the past year with Dane, which has probably attributed to mom’s back flare up, but you do what you have to do. Needless to say, it’s been a very stressful year and that certainly hasn’t helped things either. Our efforts advocating for Dane have paid off because he is doing so much better than he was just a few months ago. Our hope is that he will be able to live outside of a nursing home environment one day and have a greater sense of independence. He loves company and phone calls if you have time.

We’re so relieved that Dane’s house has finally been sold before it went into foreclosure, but we still have to contend with issues with his X, who has filed a judgment against Dane. I could write a book about that, but we’ve learned that we can only take one day at a time and be thankful for that day! I am so proud of our family and how we have dealt with so many ups and downs this past year. I told mom and dad that they just needed to have about 3 more kids to keep up with everything, but they had their hands full with me!

One thing that we have learned through the past year, with taking care of Dane and all of his complications and surgeries, is that you don’t have to look far to see people and families that are far worse off. There are so many people out there that don’t have advocates like we have been for Dane and I personally feel so sorry for them because I know what it takes to have to fight for the needs of a disabled person and the sick and elderly. You can never be prepared for the unexpected.

I moved home from Colorado five years ago to help mom when her back went out on her then, and it took a year in rehab to get her back on track. Hopefully, this will not be the case and she will be running circles around all of us again soon. After she recovered from her back problems last time, I loaded her up in the car and took her to Nova Scotia. We spent a month traveling, and 7,000 miles later we headed home. It was the most memorable time with my mom and I will never forget how much fun we had. Hopefully she will be able to do those things again and better yet if Dane could come too!

I want to thank all of you that have been such good, caring friends to mom and our family. I will keep you posted on mom’s surgery and progress.

Thanks for tuning in - as mom would say!




Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:45 am

This is Ally speaking for the blogger.
Mom’s heading to Salina tomorrow to have one or more discs removed. Surgery is on Friday. She will probably be back in Ellsworth at the hospital or at home on Monday. She said that it’s going to be a piece of cake!

Dane is doing fine, so that puts us more at ease.

Mom has not been a patient in a hospital since 1979, and before that was to have 3 babies! She has been bragging about the Ellsworth Hospital and how wonderful the care has been and now she gets to experience it first hand. It couldn’t be any better.

Things are going fine and we will keep you updated.

Thanks for tuning in!




Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 10:28 pm

Well, grandma’s dodged back surgery for the past few years but her back can’t take any more. Tomorrow (hopefully) she’ll be going to Salina for surgery to remove a disc and have spinal stenosis surgery. It’s just too far injured to heal on it’s own, and surgery is the only option. The good news is that once the surgery is complete it sounds like she shouldn’t be down too long. She should feel fairly immediate relief.

So, everyone please keep her in your thoughts. She’s been having internet withdraw I’m pretty sure, because she keeps telling me to be sure to update the blog so she doesn’t lose her readers :)

I’ve been having a busy week as I started work on Monday and it’s been exhausting. Last night I went to bed at 7PM… basically got home and collapsed. Tonight I’m not sure I’m going to make it to 11PM. Anyway, I will update about my job later, but for now just a tid-bit, it’s L-3 Communications in Greenville, Texas and I’m doing Software Engineering. Although, right now all I’m doing is reading a ton of paperwork to try and get up to speed with the rest of my group. Soon I’ll be filling out security paperwork for my clearance and once I get that I’ll pretty much have to keep my lips sealed about my work :) That can be a good thing, though.

Anyway, that’s all for now. Check back tomorrow night for an update, or call the Ellsworth or Salina hospital to talk to grandma. She’ll be bouncing between the two hospitals.




Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 3:48 pm

This is Mackenzie. Grandma is up in the Ellsworth hospital… the pain of her back just got to be too much and she couldn’t get out of her chair, so she decided to head up to the hospital for some help. She’s doing fine, just in a lot of pain, but they’re monitoring it and trying to figure out the best way to help her feel better.

Dad offered her the bed in the nursing hom beside him :)

Anyway, I’m sure she’d love visitors and I don’t know what room she’s in but you can find out from the front desk.

Don’t worry, she’ll be ok! I just wanted to let everyone know. If you have any questions my email is :)



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 6:14 pm

The Chinese Discovered the World (Well, Maybe)

Are you for real?

Think Columbus discovered the New World in 1492? Think Magellan was the first to circumnavigate the globe in 1519? A Chinese map collector says it’s time to think again.

On Monday, Liu Gang, a prominent Chinese lawyer and amateur historian, unveiled an antique map that seems to indicate that Zheng He, a 15th century Chinese admiral, got the jump on both Columbus and Magellan. It’s a huge historical discovery–unless it turns out to be a fake.

Purchased for $500 in a Shanghai bookstore in 2001, Mr. Liu’s map was drawn in 1763, long after Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492. But the map includes a note that says it’s a copy of a chart made in 1418. That’s just when Zheng He was roaming the seas, using ships superior to any known in the West at the time. Chinese historical records recount the admiral’s voyages to Southeast Asia, India, and even the east coast of Africa.

That’s as far as many historians think he made it, but some people think he went much farther. In 2003, Gavin Menzies, an amateur historian and former British naval officer, published 1421: The Year China Discovered the World. The book argues that Zheng He circumnavigated the globe, and discovered America along the way. Despite a drubbing from several historians, it became a bestseller–and convinced Liu Gang that his map was an important historical document.

The map recognizably depicts all seven continents and reveals remarkable understanding of longitude and latitude–remarkable, that is, if it was actually drafted in 1418. Many scholars on both sides of the Pacific remain skeptical. Geoff Wade, of the National University of Singapore, says “the map is an 18th-century copy of a European map. . . . It proves nothing other than the Chinese (and Japanese) were copying European maps.”

Lab tests to date the map are due in February, but additional evidence will be hard to come by. The Ming dynasty banned transoceanic exploration after the death of Emperor Zhu Di, who had sponsored Zheng He’s voyages. Many records of the time were destroyed.

Hill City artist, Michael Boss, has captured the ships of exploration with some magnificent paintings. Michael Boss Paintings and, Ancient Chinese Explorers

This is very fascinating. Michael Boss is a national treasure.


Filed under: prairie musings, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 5:21 pm

Dane is having a good day. After Ally made a couple of salads and sacked some red grapes, she and her dad headed to Wilson to sit with Dane during lunch. It is one he looks forward to: Polish sausage and sauerkraut. They had a good visit with him. Ally took all the final papers from his house sale for his perusal.

Neal and Tom Zouzas went to see Dane this afternoon with a stop at the Mattas farm to check on Darlene’s kolaches supply. I suggested they also check on the hens running around the place who lay great eggs.

Jody Dobrinski is here visiting and is going to see Dane Monday for lunch. She’s taking some homemade goodies he’s going to enjoy a lot - salad, corn relish, oranges, grapefruit, salsa for his scrambled eggs, etc. She’s been so good to visit him when she’s in the neighborhood. Visitors really brighten his days. It brightens my day to know she’s a daily reader of my blog.

K.U. just whomped Nebraska 96 to 54. No one predicted such a wide spread in totals.

Favorite Granddaughter, Mackenzie, starts her new job on Monday. When she can explain in simple terms what it involves, I’ll tell you about it. It’s pretty exciting.

Ally is making a spread of Mexican food tomorrow to enjoy between football games. She’s taking Dane some for his dinner.

The meds don’t seem to be working. I have help from Ally until I decide what to do, which seems to be to throw myself in the thorny bushes by the front door of the hospital. I can’t function and it’s a pain in a lot of ways.

Hailey, Sam and Ringo are getting along beautifully. Ally’s dogs never get anything without first following a command, so they are very well-trained. Ringo, on the other hand, came to us supposedly knowing about 50 commands which he left outside by the big rock and climbs on Brit’s lap instead. He’s the size of a small horse and Brit’s lap doesn’t stretch that far. Ally is making Ringo follow her commands too, and he knows what he’s supposed to do by looking at his house guests. They are fun to have around.

Grandson Rod got a ticket to hear Bush. He will really enjoy that. Drew got tickets for his parents for the K-State vs Mizzou game tonight. Tall Boy has returned to SE KS where he goes for frequent church retreats.

That’s about all the family news for today. Thanks for tuning in.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 4:49 pm

Yesterday I saw the New Horizons spacecraft set out on a journey to the edge of the solar system from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. New Horizons is headed for a distant rendezvous with the mysterious planet Pluto almost a decade from now.

As the first spacecraft to visit Pluto and its moon Charon, New Horizons looks to unlock one of the solar system’s last, great planetary secrets.

The New Horizons spacecraft will cross the entire span of the solar system and conduct flyby studies of Pluto and its moon, Charon, in 2015. The seven science instruments on the piano-sized probe will shed light on the bodies’ surface properties, geology, interior makeup and atmospheres.

It was really a thrill to see the liftoff because the man who discovered Pluto in 1930 was Clyde Tombaugh who lived in Burdett Kansas. After his family moved to Burdett, Tombaugh built his first telescope and sent drawings of his observations of Jupiter and Mars to the Lowell Observatory. These resulted in a job offer.

Following his discovery of Pluto, Tombaugh earned astronomy degrees from K.U. and Northern Arizona University.

Tombaugh’s discovery involved painstaking use of a blink comparator - a device which allows someone to compare two similar photographs by placing them in the viewer’s field of vision, and then letting the user switch back and forth - blink - between the two.

The name “Pluto” was suggested by Venetia Burney, an 11-year-old English school girl who is still alive and living in England.

If I can keep my longevity genes intact, I’ll look forward to the return of the New Horizons spacecraft and its cargo of information. I wish it would land in a field outside Burdett. Now, wouldn’t that just be the coolest thing ever?



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 11:12 pm

The Ellsworth Bearcats lost to Sterling 35 to 55, finishing last in the eight team tournament. Tall Boy made 20 of those points.

I’m late posting today. My cursor disappeared. Just vanished. I worked on it until I was out of ideas and asked Jesse to come do his magic. Many thanks, Jesse! Although he doesn’t really know what he did to fix it, he guarantees his free work!

Ally came to my rescue for the weekend. I spent from about 11 last night until noon today almost unable to walk. Brit got a walker for me at the Senior Center and it has been a life-saver. I think Evelyn Shoemaker just gave it up! I’ll stick with the doctor’s recommendation of meds for two weeks, if I can endure the pain that long. After that…well, we’ll see. Meantime, Dane is doing fine and told me we both can’t be down at the same time. So, he’s up! Now to find a chair I can sleep in!

Oh, big news. Brit announced this afternoon that he was sure he could make chili. And that he did, as good as I can make. He had a little help, but not much. He could win a Texas Chili Cookoff contest. Now he can add that to his other specialties: spaghetti with meat sauce, macaroni and cheese out of a box, nachos and popcorn.

Did I mention we have three dogs roaming the house? All very well-trained and well-behaved…Hailey, Sam and well, Ringo tries. They are having a good time together. They are rather intimidating when you walk through the front door. They all gave Jesse a warm welcome. Hailey is a beautiful pure blood black lab that is built like a sleek Greyhound. Sam is a Rotweiller/Australian Shepherd mix handsome pound dog. Ringo is learning from them!


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 11:06 pm

Dane’s house sale was finalized today at 3:00. Hooray! And, many thanks to Ally who has worked with brokers to sell this for almost a year. The only couple who made a serious offer bought the house. There were only two other offers, neither serious. I’m just grateful it is out of our hands. Dane’s friends on Columbine Lane will now have new neighbors.

Many thanks to all you finger-crossers out there. It must have worked (smile).


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 10:52 pm

Hi Peg -
Your speculation is wrong.
From The Manhattan Mercury:
Based on ticket distribution, here’s who will be in the audience when President Bush delivers his Landon Lecture Monday:
6000 K-State STUDENTS
1500 K-State faculty and staff
1000 Military (800 from Fort Riley and 200 ROTC)
400 Landon Lecture patrons
300 special guests, including legislators and high-ranking K-State and Foundation officials
200 media and press
All the tickets are free–not sold.

And, my eldest grandson offered corrections too.

At the time I posted my blog, the newspapers the local newspaper editor and I read, did not mention students in the list of people who would be included and I felt they definitely should be a part of the audience. I didn’t mean to imply, if people read it that way, that students were protesting the President’s appearance. If I were a student there and no students were going to have the opportunity to hear the speech, I’d probably join that protest too whether or not I intended to attend. It wasn’t until the evening news that many of us who live in remote areas (smile!) realized students were going to be part of the audience.

I hope this straightens that out. Thanks for your comments.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 7:35 pm


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 5:24 pm

The Kansas Excellence Award ceremony scheduled for Monday January 23rd honoring the Ellsworth County Medical Center has been postponed to Monday, February 6. Governor Sebelius who was scheduled to be the speaker to present this very outstanding award instead will be attending the George Bush Landon Lecture this Monday in Manhattan.

I’m not sure it was her choice, but that’s what Governors have to do under such circumstances.

Get this. They selected K-State for Bush’s appearance because of its conservative, friendly atmosphere.

The thing is, only faculty, staff, a few honored guests (read that “conservative right-wing activist Republicans”) and military personnel from Ft. Riley will be admitted. An entire audience of conservative sycophants.

NO STUDENTS!!! This a lecture series for students as well, and they are being excluded. All of them. They should gather their captive audience somewhere else, rather than on the K-State campus.

Maybe Dubya will deliver an eloquent speech on the complexities of Medicare Part D for all to understand.

I hope the students are lining up in protest. This isn’t right.

P.S. Ally said she just heard on the news that 6,000 tickets were sold in 3 hours to students. Let’s hope so.

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