What I Learn From Marty


Waco, Texas,
March 30
I am the chief caregiver for Marty, my wife of 30+ years. In our previous lives Marty was an Educational Psychologist, I was a call center manager. Marty has had two strokes since 2005 which have caused critical physical and cognitive deficits. We are both in our mid-50's and have two adult children. I would never confuse myself with a professional writer, I do this to document our journey and as an act of self discovery. This is what I have learned over the last years, this is our life.


APRIL 2, 2012 2:09PM

Choosing Paths

I’m not a “road less travelled” kind of guy; in fact I kind of steer clear of that road, too many weeds, cracks in the pavement and just general sweat.  I’ve always been prone to find the path of least resistance.

I learned early on the power of saying, “I… Read full post »

MARCH 24, 2012 5:10PM

"You Got Me?"

I’m on her right, my right arm under her right arm, my left holding the back of her pants; she looks at me and says, “You got me?”  I nod.  She turns her head to her left, looks at Erica, her caregiver who has one arm under Marty’s and one arm… Read full post »

MARCH 21, 2012 5:30PM

If Your Happy and You Know It

Snoopy, the oracle Beagle of Peanuts fame, dancing, feet pulsating, moving rapidly, nose stretched to the heavens shows it.  Brandy Chastain, running, arms held high, hands gripping her jersey she just ripped off, unabashedly celebrating victory in a way where everyone recognizes the sheer joy o… Read full post »

MARCH 9, 2012 6:53PM

Around the Barriers

Curtains, doors, fences, thoughts, fears, ideas, there is always some kind of barricade, some barrier keeping us from accepting, keeping us from embracing, keeping us from understanding what we don’t understand.  Marty’s life, our life, has slowly become about conquering barriers, ph… Read full post »

MARCH 5, 2012 5:55PM

Pieces of Marty

It is real, it is fact, death comes, slowly, quickly, whole or by piece, death is a part of us.  Some of us go quickly, unexpectedly, without notice or care.  Some leave, some die a little piece at a time as we watch what once was become so very different.… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 28, 2012 4:55PM

Routinely Broken

It says something about your life’s circumstances when you consider a hospital stay routine.  Two years ago Marty went to the hospital for what was, to us, a fairly routine visit to get a dose of IV antibiotics for a urinary tract infection.  Routine, maybe not so much.

We checked… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 24, 2012 5:48PM

It Works Better with Two

“There are places I remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain”

John Lennon

I went to church the other day, alone.   I don’t like going alone; there are places where alone doesn’t work very well for me,/… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 16, 2012 11:43PM


I started writing this blog about three years ago.  The premise was simple, I wanted to keep Marty’s friends and family apprised of her life and our journey.  But, being something of a political junkie, radical moderate and uber-user of the medical community I wanted to inflict my pol… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 14, 2012 6:14PM

Is the Turtle Dead?

Marty and I are miles from where we started.  Her progress, her improvement from the early days of the strokes is really amazing given our starting point. 

When is enough, enough?  When have things progressed as far as they can go, when do you arrive at “as good as… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 31, 2012 5:26PM

Marriage and Evolution

I met her in October of 1973 at Susie’s birthday party.  It was a college birthday party with good, like-minded friends, you get the picture.  She was going out with a friend of mine who was studying architecture, I was a free agent and we eventually found each other.

MarGinGrad76 … Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 19, 2012 8:23PM

Locked Up

There is a very rare phenomenon known as anesthesia awareness, where under general anesthesia, during surgery, some patients wake up during the surgery and are aware of what is happening but because of the anesthesia can’t say anything to alert the medical staff that they are awake and aware.&nRead full post »

I remember sitting in the waiting area of our new temporary home, St. Catherine Center, a sub-acute care center in Waco.  It was adjacent to the hospital we had just left and was king of a way station for people too sick to go home, but not acute enough to be… Read full post »

JANUARY 6, 2012 5:53PM

A Revelation -- My Unbelief

I play at golf.  I have no faith in my game.  I hit the ball all over the place and when I address the ball I never know if the good Larry or the evil Larry is going to hit the ball.  Lately, my golf game is kind of a metaphor… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 31, 2011 9:39AM

Being In Denial

In April of 2005, as Marty lay in a coma in the ICU of Zale-Lipsy hospital, I sat beside her every day thinking of our past and looking forward to the day we would get out of the hospital and go home.  I kept saying to her young doctor, his job… Read full post »

DECEMBER 22, 2011 6:22PM

An Absence of Bad

I send out an annual Christmas letter.  Sorry, I know, I know, but it’s not really the narcissistic, four page, every things perfect kind of Christmas letter, we haven’t ever seen perfect.  Mine is the, “I’m going to tell you some really basic stuff about our surviva… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 4, 2011 8:10PM

Snows of Penderies

It was Christmas 1994.  We were in a small village in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of New Mexico with Marty’s family.  Her parents had a wonderful home there that often served as respite from the Texas heat and flat geography.  This Christmas, in Penderies, there was snow on th… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 23, 2011 9:06PM

Hummin' for Jesus

Our minister stands at the front of the sanctuary every Sunday.  He’s a tall man, thin, graying, in love with his work.   He reaches into the water of the baptismal  font, pulls hands dripping with water up and lets the water flow through his fingers back into the font and s… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 11, 2011 2:57PM

Dancing at Our Daughter's Wedding

I have never been a graceful man.  I always wanted to be, I have always wanted to move smoothly and nimbly with the grace of a well honed athlete.  Instead I tend to move with the grace and skill of a pack mule, strong and steady, not graceful.

When I… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 4, 2011 8:15PM

Strokes Suck

It doesn’t happen very often, but occasionally I look around, I think of Marty’s brokenness, I focus on what was and what is now and I get angry, I get pissed, I feel completely imprisoned by my life and I scream in my mind, “What the hell am I doing and… Read full post »

OCTOBER 31, 2011 8:33PM

Forgiving, Always

I do it every day, several times a day, it’s one of the dances Marty and I do.

I reach under both of her arms, get a secure hold, make sure she is anchored with her right leg on the floor and use my prodigious frame to pull her to… Read full post »

OCTOBER 18, 2011 5:59PM

Who the Hell Am I?

I am a west Texas born and bred male, raised on football, baseball, guns, church and hard work.  In my mind men were tough, quiet, hard and loyal, we were not taught to be sensitive, caring or nurturing, we were the hard men meant to provide safety and comfort.

I… Read full post »

OCTOBER 3, 2011 9:45PM

A Cadre of Care

I sat in the parlor of our church listening and talking, mostly listening to the stories of the other family caregivers.  We had gathered together to talk, to listen, to think, to find ways to help those who were providing care for loved ones.

There were women who had… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 29, 2011 10:20PM

Some Names Stick

Names.  Marty Jean, daughter of Ethel Jean and Arty Jewell, you can see where they found her name.  Larry Carlisle, son of Bettye Lou and Larry Carlisle Sr., I am a junior; it’s part of my heritage.  My nickname, Ginger, is a part of our family lore.  Our names don’t d… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 26, 2011 5:56PM

A Really Long Fight

I have written before about the longest and as yet unresolved argument between Marty and me, who’s smarter.  It’s a 35 year plus disagreement where we are both completely entrenched in our positions.  We both really believe one of us is smarter we simply can’t agree on who… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 22, 2011 5:48PM

The Conflict of Want and Can

More often than not Marty was at the center, she was in the middle directing people, places and things.  She was loud, brash, funny, incredibly smart and did I say loud?  I shussed her once at some hoity toity museum in London and man did I pay for that little faux… Read full post »