Now What?

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

Zing stood invisibly at the “Nature Table,” studying  the bits and pieces. He poked Zang on the shoulder.
“What is the purpose of this collection?  We saw pictures of these creatures in our studies, but nothing is alive here. Why do earth people collect  dead things from their oceans?”

“Hmm.  Probably because they do not have our capacity to go deep into their oceans and stay there long enough to study the lifespan of such creatures.”

“They are quite a helpless race.”

“They surely couldn’t live among Zerkonians and go without notice. We’d spot them miles away.”


Medical Music


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.


As  Jim lay on the hospital bed, hooked up to more machines than anyone had a right to expect, he was helpless to move or to speak. His brain was awake and alert, but he wasn’t even able to open his eyes.  There were tubes that covered all his bodily needs as he lay there trapped in his own mind, in his own body.

He did have some feeling, and he heard everything that was going on around him. When his wife took his hand, he knew it was her hand. Nothing else felt the same.  He knew his sons’ hands, and his daughter’s.  And now and then a smaller, softer hand would pat his own, and he knew it was a grandchild.  He especially loved it when those smaller hands touched his cheek or smoothed his hair. That could make the tears flow, and when he had tears everyone knew and understood that he was still there with them.

He had no idea how long he’d been there. He slept a lot, and knew he was on drugs that made him sleep so much.  He was thankful, because those same drugs took away the pain.

One day, his wife came in with an old tape cassette player. He was the only one who had used it in recent years. Everyone else had graduated to iPods, leaving him the only one who still enjoyed his CD collection as well as his tapes.

“I brought your tapes, Honey.  I know you miss your music.  I’m going to plug the machine in–the doctor said it was okay, and told me where to put it.  I brought your head phones so you won’t disturb anyone else.  One of us will be here almost all the time, and we can change tapes for you.  I brought a variety of things I know  you love. I wish you could blink or smile or something, to let me know you hear me, but I think you do hear me.  I think you’re awake somewhere in there.  I love you,  Jim.  Please come back to me.”

She fitted the headphones, checked the volume, and started the tape.  Jim’s head filled with the glorious sounds of Tchaikovsky’s Sixth  Symphony, and Jim’s whole body seemed to relax as the music soothed his mind and his heart.

He smiled. He didn’t even think about it.  Just smiled, and his wife’s eyes filled with tears.

“I don’t know why we didn’t think of this sooner,” she said.

Helpless is Not Cool!


Helplessness: that dull, sick feeling of not being the one at the reins. When did you last feel like that –- and what did you do about it? 


I really hate helpless.  I was born on Independence Day, and there’s a really good reason for that.  I can do it myself. Can too. CAN TOO!!

I’m short.  I can’t even claim 5 ‘1″ any more.  That, in some people’s minds, would make me seem helpless.  Believe me, it can be frustrating, but I have been known to climb grocery store shelves for that item that some fool shoved to the back of the top shelf. I’ve also learned, grudgingly, to ask tall people to get things for me. I hate it when they smile condescendingly while they exert their superior length.  What they don’t know is that their long, gangly arms and legs are not as economical as my short ones. If you don’t see the logic in that, I just can’t help you.

I think the most helpless I’ve ever felt was when I took a header off my bike some years ago. Broke both elbows, just little  1-2 inch fractures in the ball that fits the socket.  I had to wear casts on both arms for a week. Thank God it was only one week. There are a lot of things you just can’t do when both your arms are in bent-elbow casts. I’ve never been more thankful to be in a good marriage; I’ve never been more aware of how much I hate being helpless. I’ll never forget that first night.  I’d gone to bed, drugged up so I’d sleep. Somewhere in the midde of the night I needed the bathroom, but I couldn’t move. I tried, I really did. But my knee had also been hurt pretty badly, and my left leg was in an immobilizer.  I couldn’t get any leverage with my legs; my arms were useless. Terry wasn’t in the bed. Told me later he hadn’t wanted to disturb me, so went to sleep on the sofa. He’d left our bedroom door open so he could hear me if I needed him.

Boy, did I need him.  I called his name several times, but it must have taken about half an hour before my constant calling woke him up. I was desperate by that time, and we  were both in tears as he helped me get up. He felt terrible that he hadn’t been there when I needed him;  I was frustrated, embarrassed, and angry. Not with him. With my inability to take care of such a simple need without help.

We’ve both had a glimpse of what helplessness can mean as we grow older. He broke his heel three years ago, and the injury has changed him. He needs to rest during the day. He can’t be on his feet all day long like he used to. His pain is debilitating at times, and he has to call on others for help doing tasks he used to handle himself.

I think maybe one of the lessons of age is that you really can’t always do it all by yourself, and that’s ok. It’s a hard lesson to swallow.


I Can Do it Myself!

I Am a Rock

Is it easy for you to ask for help when you need it, or do you prefer to rely only on yourself? Why?


I was born on July 4.  Independence Day.  I was suppposed to come two weeks earlier, but apparently I wanted to make a statement of independence before I ever knew about independence.

I’ve never wanted help.  I’ve needed it, and had to ask for it, but it kills me.  I’d rather do it myself.  Why?  Well. . .because I can? Because I want to know how to do things, and I like figuring things out. Because I don’t want to have to rely on anyone else to do my thinking for me.

Because I never want to be seen as helpless and dim-witted.

If it’s a matter of brute strength, I’d still rather find a tool and figure out a way to do it myself. I’ve done some really stupid stuff that way.

Growing up, I hated being treated like a baby who couldn’t do anything without help.  Hated it.

I think I’ve gotten better over the  years.  Learned to understand that sometimes you help others by letting them help you. And I’ve been thankful many times for the kindly-intentioned help of someone who is helping out of a heart of caring and love.  The truth is, very few of us get through this life without needing help.

All you youngsters out there?  Learn to accept help with grace and appreciation.  If you live long enough, you’re going to need help.