Visit with Don, Monday June 12, 2000
(Posted June 14, 2000, © Herbert E. Lindberg)
This weekend Mary and I were in the Bay Area to (1) visit Gus at the Redwood City Kaiser Hospital, (2) listen to Barbara in her chorus concert at Stanford Memorial Church, (3) attend Nadia's high school graduation in Los Altos, and (4) squeeze in (just me) a visit to brother Don at his apartment in Redwood City.
It turns out that his apartment is right next door to the Kaiser Hospital parking garage on Veterans Blvd. So I drove separately from Mary and Marcia on our 10 a.m. Monday visit to Gus. At 11:00 I walked from the hospital to Don's building and buzzed his room (after having called him at 9:00 a.m. to tell him I was coming). A moment later the locked main entrance door to the building buzzed as it unlocked. I pulled it open to enter the lobby. In a few steps I was in the elevator and in a few more I was down the 4th floor hall knocking on Don's door.
It's easy to spot Don's door. His picture is on it, printed in 8 x 10 inch size with his color printer. Another clue is the door knob - it's wrapped with brown plastic packing tape. As soon as I grasped the knob I knew why the packing tape. It gave me a nice, firm grip as I turned the knob easily to open the door. For me this was a luxury, for Don a necessity with arthritus in his hands. Clever guy, my brother!
As soon as I entered, it was obvious this was Don's room. There was evidence of activity everywhere. On my left against the wall was his computer desk, complete with Hp computer and Lexmark color printer. Later, I snapped a picture of the desk with Don seated at it (below). As you can see, Don competes well with Mary for the closed-eye picture award! Don thought it would add a nice touch to spread out his glasses to the right of the keyboard on the desk.
Don's Computer Desk
To the right of the desk was Don's bed, with interesting photos and a book on the history of 3D photography spread out on it. Next to the bed is Don's TV, stacked on top of two VCRs that he uses to copy some of the videos he takes of others at FOSC (Fair Oaks Senior Center) where he works and eats some of his meals, among many other activities. I took the picture below facing back in the general direction of the entrance to the apartment, which is out of the picture at the far right. You can also see that Don continues to work on the closed-eye picture award!
Overview of side of Don's room opposite the desk.
You can see that the VCRs sit, in turn, on top of Don's dresser. Attached to the side of the dresser, in easy reach from the bed, is one of his phones. He has a speaker phone similarly attached to his desk, again within easy reach to turn on with a push toggle and have the caller immediately on the speaker. I didn't have time to go into this with Don, but I think the other thin box on the dresser (behind the VCRs) is his stereo receiver. On top of this is one of his speakers and farther along the wall is the other, next to the tall cabinet.
Then comes the refrigerator in the kitchenette directly behind Don. I didn't take a picture of the kitchenette because this creative mess could be easily misinterpreted as a sloppy mess. As with everything in Don's apartment, everything in the kitchenette is arranged for ease of use. This means the dishes, while washed, are still sitting near the sink where Don can get them without reaching down into a cabinet. Similarly, his spices and so on are right there in the open, where he can get at them.
In the picture below Don pops a tape out of the upper VCR. He was pleased to learn that it was working - the last time he tried nothing happened. He thought perhaps the power switch had been turned off without his knowledge. I took this picture to show that Don keeps many things handy at a table right next to his bed. He has to keep his feet up to get good circulation but doesn't want to let this interfere with his productivity. Several times during our visit he lay on his bed while I clacked away at his computer, checking out his e-mail and photo editing programs. I've got to get a better photo editing program to him - the two he has are garbage. I also noted that his Juno e-mail program doesn't display photos and simply uses whatever has been assigned as the current default program to open jpg photos. In Don's case this was Internet Explorer.
Don pops out a VCR tape.
Below is a picture of Don's dot matrix printer, on a table next to his desk. Note that there is yet another phone, that Don can answer quickly if he happens to be standing. We didn't go at all into all the goodies in this picture, but it's obvious that Don is keeping his mind in full force on a variety of interests. That's why my all-day visit was so enjoyable. We just barely skimmed the extent of his interests and activities.
Don's dot matrix printer and other "stuff" next to his desk.