Monday, December 25, 2006


James Brown died today. Did you hear?

    A moment of silence for "I Feel Good"...horn section and arrangement included.
    I thought he was older than 73 by maybe a decade. CHF by way of pneumonia. Wow. He's another one. Thank you, Mr. James Brown. His death provoked me to rexamine Steve Irwin's life. Or, maybe, examine afresh. He was controversial, no doubt. So was James Brown. In more than music. Something niggled at me to remember that Irwin has/had often been considered ADHD, or whatever it is. It occurred to me, today, that he wouldn't have done what he did without his disease.
    Today is the first day I can remember that I've considered that, for some people, 73 is Ancient. From what I read about his complicating conditions, 73 was Ancient for James Brown. Disease, dysfunction, god, sometimes I think we have no idea what we're talking about, although I have to agree that we've scratched the (under) surface of where we're attempting to go and what we'd like to do.
    At 73 my mother wasn't Ancient. Elderly, hmmm...let me think. When was that? 1990. That was the year I moved to Seattle. She was independent, busy, but not so busy that she couldn't fit in a curiosity excursion to Seattle to get an idea of where I'd be living and why I loved it, if I was destined to love it (I was).
    She lived alone in the manufactured home [community] in which she was more than comfortable, she was peripherally involved. It was during this absence of mine that she blankly instituted the 1700 Saturday phone calls. It was my agreement to become her companion that ended my stay in Seattle. When I returned to the Phoenix Metroplex (the Mesa part), she and I continued to live independent lives out of one home, signed off with each other in the morning, reunited in the evening, sometimes went to an event or a movie or ate out. I don't think she'd suffered her mini-stroke, yet, but I think that was only two years down the road.
    And, now, here she is, 89. Running quickly through what I can remember of the last several years, I think she began to phase into Ancienthood and what is was going to mean for her around the age of 79. That was the year I stopped working outside the home. We began to travel, though, extensively, only about half the travels to visit relatives. We hosted her cousin-in-law and her cousin-in-law hosted her. Although I was her very casual full-time companion, she retained her ability to travel and was socially savvy. She'd enjoy two years of really good health until things began to, well, sag, give way, get tired, lean toward Ancienthood.

    We did, by the way, have a jolly, well enjoyed Christmas. We arrived back home about three hours earlier than I anticipated, but we were satisfied with the visit and eager to be home.
    It was a work-out for Mom. She was a trooper. She, literally, physically, wore out on the trip back up, but I could see this creeping up on her this afternoon at MCFs and had the sense to steer her toward the car while I knew she was still mobile. She was only barely mobile coming up the steps into our home. No collapsing, though. We took it very slow and with much intent.
    She took a regular-sized nap at MCF's, falling asleep soon after the beginning of a movie they wanted us to see. It took her a long time to awaken after a healthy lunch. She wasn't hungry for dinner then, but was ready by the time we arrived home. After dinner and some coffee she had to go to the bathroom, assumed she would have the full cooperation of her legs, as did I, but they were a little wobbly. She used me as a walker going into the bathroom, but that was the last time she did.
    I asked her, somewhere in the middle of her dinner, in a friendly way, if maybe she'd be interested in me pushing her to move a little, just around the house, some of those walker laps in the hall, so that she'd be a little prepared for our next planned visit to the valley sometime in March for an as yet unscheduled doctor's appointment.
    She looked up at me, guileless, and said, "No." She shook her head. The matter was closed.
    Actually, we'll probably, in the next few days, have spontaneous spurts of energy and movement and day dreaming about getting out which may lead to something.
    I tried to push an adult buffered aspirin on her, but she repeatedly told me that she "doesn't hurt", she was "just stiff". I'd think, Oh, yeah, 89, going on 90. Of course. And I'd trust her sense that sleep would do the trick.
    At 2230, when I kissed her good night, she said, "Let me sleep in tomorrow."
    "Well, how about, no later than 1400?"
    She glared at me, astonished. "Why!" she demanded.
    Hmmmm, I thought. We'll take it as it comes. That's how we left it.
    She did smoke, but very little, after a brief period of initial chain smoking. I saw to it that she was moved away from the triggers and put back on oxygen 2/lpm continuous several times. Her nap allowed for a good oxygen bath. Afterward, although evidence of smoking was littered throughout the house, she smoked no more and asked for no more cigarettes. Not even tonight here at home.
    She read for 15 minutes. Her light went out at 2245.
    We had a very good, interesting day, today.
    And James Brown died. Wow.
    ...I'm sure...

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