Category Archives: Across The Land

Jack the horse whisperer 

This was taken in Roberta, Georgia 

I’ve never been much for riding horses. Looking at em and talking to em was more my style. Scott (nephew) talked me into climbing aboard this one. After they snapped this for me I looked at it and thought I looked steady up there. 

This was a fun afternoon with mom, my nephew and his family. Oh yeah, and the horse. 

It’s kinda cool to look back at stuff like this. 


sleeping behind the Dairy Queen 

Earlier in the evening I had observed a beautiful rattle snake near the bivy. The bivy was zipped up, the reptile could not get in. It was hot that day. The Dairy Queen would close at 9:00 pm and then I would go out back, go to bed and fall asleep. 

Spoke with some ice cream eating folks inside, the time passed and back to the bivy. No snake, but I did think about it. 

I don’t remember hearing so many birds at night in my life. All night long, but I got used to em, fell asleep and woke up refreshed. 

Packed up and headed west. It was miserably hot the next day. 

I do miss those times. 

Ya know what? I really enjoyed that night in my bivy. That was fun.

stopped in nursing homes to say “thank you”

I’ve had some time to reflect. I have got to see and experience so many different things. 

“I got up, got dressed up and drove. Those days I wore generic clothing and carried no cards or bracelets. I stopped at nursing homes to thank them for the work they do.”

I walked in, asked for the person in charge. Some would go to get that person, others would ask what for. Nobody ever turned me away. Upon getting the attention of the person in charge, here is what I would say. (paraphrasing here).

“My name is Jack Fussell and my dad lived and died in a nursing home. I’m stopping to tell you how much I appreciate the good work done here.”

Some would want to know more, but I gave them no more. I stuck to my reason. I did not mention my website, Facebook page, my journey across America. 

I wanted them to feel good. I ended up feeling good. It was a win-win proposition.

As far as I can remember, every response, was emotional.

the little guy may have had Type 1 diabetes 

It was around 1970 or 1972. My friend had tragically lost his little boy. He tried so hard to get him to the hospital in time, but did not make it. I never knew the little guy and never did see him. It was a closed casket funeral. It was so sad.

Years later, my friend’s mother told me the folks in the emergency room had told her  the little boy may have had childhood diabetes. I don’t think much was known about it back then. I think he was 4 or 5 years old.

My friend passed away in 2014. I had not seen him in over 40 years.

Noah, Mycle, Kristie and Steve 

As things change in our lives, I think the inspiration we need can change. Some people never do anything adventurous and when they see someone like them doing something adventurous for the first time, they may decide to go give it a try. At my age, which is 67, little pains here and there show up and I wonder if I can keep On Keepin On. The inspiration I have gotten from Noah and Mycle hits the spot. Kristie and Steve provide much inspiration too. Both working at helping others live full lives. 
I’m not a good writer folks, just please know how much I appreciate each of you.

    a note about the Hill Burton Act

    It was about health and healthcare. The bill was signed into law in 1946. It spoke of mandates that had to be adhered to. The mandates were entered into the bill in 1979. I thought this was interesting

    studies about nursing homes 

    I was wondering about the frequency of nursing home visits from family or friends of the patients. I used Google to search for longitudinal studies concerning such, and found two. Both were a couple of years old, and backed up the thinking I would consider obvious. Over a five year period the visit frequency and duration decrease a little each year. The visits do increase when death seems imminent. Also the farther away the visitor lives, the less visits there are. 

    A note in one of them spoke of the stress caused to the patients and staff at homes that, as a whole, do not get many visitors. The note said this was purely a subjective observation made by the visiting research team. 

    I would imagine that having people in your building gathering data by observation may perk up things up a bit. 

    How I lost 100 lbs in eleven months 

    I decided on an 1800 calorie daily food pyramid diet. 50% carbs, 30% protein and 20% good fat. 

    Every other day I did an aerobic workout for approximately 30 minutes. Every other day I did a light resistance workout for approximately 30 minutes. Sundays I rested. 

    75% of my calories were consumed before 1:00 pm. I worked hard at not eating after 6:00 pm. 

    I weighed every morning, wrote it down for 7 days, added it up and divided that by 7. 

    I lost 100 lbs in around 11 months. 

    The weight loss began in April 2001. 

    The best way to lose weight is probably the one that works for ya. 

    A new beginning – #caregivers 

    For the past 65 months, I’ve been raising awareness concerning alzheimer’s disease. It’s been a broad mission, touching every aspect, and it’s been a little uncomfortable at times. Recently, events continue to happen that tell me it’s time to take a step back, find my strength, and go to it. Prayer, browsing back through the blog, input from others and lots of reflection on my part has provided some clarity. It’s been a hectic couple of weeks, but, for now, I seem to know what I’m supposed to be doing.

    It’s about spending time with caregivers and doing my best to leave them feeling better, in some way, than they felt before. 

    That may be a tall order, but it feels right. This blog is to keep a record of what I do, how I feel about it, and to give others a way to follow my progress as I figure it all out. 

    It’s about the Caregivers! 

    My 89 year old mom is top priority, so I will work at my new mission, as time permits. 

    some history of nursing homes – my thoughts 

    At some point in the past, old folks that were no longer productive, and in fact needed attention, were put in asylums, almshouses, poor houses, and the like. 

    Nursing homes were born. If left alone, the nature of nursing homes could feel like one of depression, sickness and ultimately death. Most of the folks there do not feel good. 

    Nursing home staff work to make their facilities as pleasant as possible. It doesn’t help that a lot of residents do not get visitors. Medicaid pays for a lot of patients, and it causes stress in the nursing home if they are late with their payments. It doesn’t feel good to see a hearse pull up to take someone away and later notice an old friend missing. I’ve spoken to many NH personal that I witnessed going above and beyond the call of duty to give hope to residents. I’ve met staff members that clock out and go home to relieve a family member of there caregiving duties. 

    We cannot expect folks to open a nursing home and not profit from it. When using Google, I found a few articles speaking to the quality of care differences between profit and not for profit homes. All said they thought not for profit may provide better service, but it wasn’t really evident. I would not think it would be any different. 

    The public demanded nursing homes (NH) stop with mechanical restraints. Behavior experts warned before hand that facilities would either have to increase staff dramatically or may be forced to use medication to restrain patients that may be dangerous. But the powers that be, didn’t agree. Alarms and the such were sold by the thousands to NH because of public demand. The behavior experts warned that people working in these high stress jobs would begin to depend on alarms and mats and that personal contact may suffer.

    Well, nursing homes did begin using medication to insure the safety of all concerned.  Many NH are now pulling alarms and fall mats out. 

    It’s amazing to realize some of the situations that bother the public now may have been created by the public of the past. Unintended consequences must always be part of decision making and we learn of those by listening to opposing points of view and looking at history. The nursing home industry has many years of knowledge in the minds of long time employees and may not have been consulted when some decisions were made.

    There are a lot of unintended consequences in this stuff, and in life in general. 

    Another thought, one group of people push for these places to spruce themselves up and when they do, another group chides them for wasting money they say could have been used to hire more personal. 

    Medicaid pays the bills for a lot of nursing home patients. Will they pay more? Should we demand operators make no profit? Should facilities lower the pay of the staff? I don’t know about that first question, but I have strong opinions about the other two. Owners deserve profit and staff at these homes deserve more pay. 

    This is a big problem that needs, at the least, to be clearly understood. It’s easy to pound on this industry because they really don’t have time to fight back. 

    Another thought, if next week the owners of the for profit ones said, enough is enough, and shut down, would we then be more inclined to talk with them, instead of at them. 

    This post has nothing to do with horrific situations that come up, that should be prosecuted. 

    From so many places we are being told of the giant wave of seniors coming. Now is a good time to be speaking of these things. This is important!

    I thinks it’s obvious we need more money invested in the elderly. 

    Please remember these are my thoughts after my research about this. Please let my thoughts not sway you to my way of thinking, if anything let them instigate your own research. 

    P.S. I personally feel guilt from not visiting my dad much when he was in a nursing home. I wonder what kind of pressure that put on him and the workers there.