Saturday, September 3, 2005


Well, let's see how this works.

    Here's my favorite picture of my mother. It was taken in July of 1964. I was 12 and had just received my first camera, a Kodak Brownie. It wasn't close to my birthday so I have no idea why I received it but I know I didn't buy it, it was given to me by someone in my family. I instantly became a photo-bug. I took pictures of everything and everyone. I bothered people to pose and usually they did. My mother, though, was a busy woman. I remember pestering her on and off throughout the afternoon (I remember it was a school day) to pose. She put me off repeatedly. You'll notice to your right of my mother on the counter is a slab of meat that is probably thawed hamburger or minute steaks. I believe Mom was about to do something to it so it could be eaten for dinner. The picture is taken against the back wall of our huge kitchen at Quarters A-2, Old NCS, Guam. The area had been abandoned lock stock and housing by the Navy and commandeered by Civil Service to house their employees and families. The particular house we lived in was one half of a roomy duplex with a maids quarters in back of the garage which was converted into bedrooms for my older sister and me.
    When Mom could no longer stand me she decided to pose to get me off her back. I love this picture, her stony stare, her implied commentary, "Now, will you please leave me alone?!?!"
    The veneer has cracks in it: One across my mother's forehead and one across her dress at her thighs. I fooled around in Graphic Converter with the cracks but am not yet accomplished enough to fill them in so that they look natural. Consider the marks of age "atmosphere".
    Our old printer conked out on me this morning. It was a freebie with this computer so the only surprise was that it lasted as long as it did. It's been giving me fits in the last six months by occasionally deciding to alternately refuse to recognize its drivers then refuse to recognize me as its administrator. Over the last three months I've been doing research here and there on a possible replacement. Although it quit at a most inopportune time this morning while I was attempting to print some stuff I needed to fax today it took me only a half hour to check out retail locations for the type and model I wanted. Lo and behold it happened to be on special at Costco below their regular sale price. Before noon I'd purchased it, had it up and running. The printer is an "office" model: A combo printer, copier, faxer and scanner. Once I'd finished what I'd set out to do this morning (although I still had to fax from Staples...I didn't have enough time to set up the printer, use it, then set up the fax before I needed to fax the document) I decided to hunt down "my favorite picture" of Mom and try out the scanner. It took me most of the day to locate the picture. Once I found it I was surprised at how battered it was but I figured this would be a good test for me. I think it turned out pretty well.
    I reminded her of it at her breakfast, as I needed to explain to her why I would be buried in my bedroom for awhile. "Remember," I started, "when I got my first camera and I was taking pictures of everything and I was bugging you to pose for me..."
    "Oh, yes." She gave me a look very much like the one in the picture. "I remember that one."
    When I explained what I was going to do with it she was both flabbergasted and amused. She asked if I didn't think I could find a "better" one.
    "I imagine," I said, "much more easily than it's going to be to locate that one, but, Mom, it's the only picture of you I have a clear memory of and it's my favorite of you. When you're dead and buried," I assured her, "that's the picture I'll comfort myself with." I could barely hide my grin.
    That look again. "Some comfort, child," she said.
    She agreed to allow me to post it but exacted a price. She has charged me with finding the school picture of me taken in the second grade and posting it. When you see the picture and hear the explanation of my curious expression you'll know why she considers it a fair trade. I spent about an hour looking for it this evening. I haven't located it yet but I'm sure my mother will keep after me until I do.

Friday, September 2, 2005


For the second time this week...

...I'm having problems with a highly acid stomach. It's been years, almost a decade and a half, since I've had this type of problem. Even when I was going crazy with caretaking and menopause a couple of years ago I wasn't having stomach problems. It's easy enough to handle with OTC stuff and baking soda in water (gag me, but it works) but I know it's a symptom of an underlying emotional reaction. It surprised me tonight because I groveled my way through an apology to my mother and The Little Girl for my behavior last night. I even told my mother why I felt so terribly bad about it; that it echoed Dad's worst behavior when he was drunk.
    I thought about it today and realized that we are also coming up on my two favorite seasons, fall and winter, which, when I used to live alone were also my most productive seasons. Whether they've been so since I've been caring for my mother, well, I'm not sure about this. What I do know is that last year, while very productive, I also "went on vacation" for almost three months, ignoring the holidays, not badgering my mother and thus letting her do pretty much as she pleased, which was fine with her but which also meant I didn't get her moving much and didn't shake her out of her usual cold weather sleeping binge. I still harbor very uncomfortable memories about that period. At the same time, though, I can feel those same desires creeping up on me again. Knowing me, there's a good chance I'll give into them, yet I can feel a part of me fighting the urge because of the guilt I continue to retain from doing this last year. As well, that "ashing over" feeling is now hitting me pretty frequently. I think it's because I feel the peculiar pull these two seasons have for me while simultaneously knowing that any extra time I put into my own stuff also means time and attention (although not my physical presence) stolen from my mother. It has also occurred to me that maybe she looks forward to these seasons precisely because I don't badger her to move and I don't tend to launch into "if you don't use it you lose it" lectures.
    I need to calm myself, though, get a grip. The last thing I need or want is stomach problems. They're such a fucking pain in the gut.
    I ordered some books today that I'm hoping will help me gain some perspective on my mother's final years, even if her death is still well below the horizon, which I suspect it is. The books (quotes about books taken from Amazon) are:    The books aren't due to arrive for a couple of weeks so I won't even be getting around to reading them for awhile. I told Mom about them, why I ordered them and she's interested in reading them, too. How lucky I am to be caring for An Ancient One who has an unflinching attitude toward life and death. My guess is that most intense caregivers to Ancient Ones aren't nearly as lucky as this, although I may be wrong. Someone, someday, ought to do research on us and our charges.


I guess you could say I'm ashing over...

...not really burning out on caregiving but covered with the ash of the need for some alone time and the need to not have to keep my eye on Mom. The ash snuck up on me yesterday. I thought, most of the day, that I was and we were having a good day. I awoke Mom at 1000 and she didn't resist. We talked about going to WalMart to look for some new bras for her (although rain later in the day stopped us from doing that). We had a hair day in the morning and finished her hair just after her early nap. I played with her hair, creating a new style with which she was pleased. The only glitches in the day were that from just before lunch I didn't feel like taking her stats and I became mildly pissed that her awakening from her nap interrupted some much needed laser focusing during a teaching-myself foray into creating some dynamic aspects to the Table of Contents I'm designing for this site. It felt like I got over that easily, though. The major ashing didn't become apparent to me until the evening. Suddenly, all I wanted to do was watch back-to-back episodes of Sex and the City. That was okay with Mom. As well, I didn't want to make any dinner so I offered Mom a Just Desserts dinner, the last of our brownies and English Toffee ice cream, which I shared. Sugar on the Tube and Sugar down the tube. I should have figured it out then. I don't favor sugary meals and rarely eat dessert.
    Mom retired around 2200. I remained eyes fixed on the set staring down the last episode of the first season of Sex and the City. Then I thought, well, I've got some uninterrupted time here, I'm not tired, I'll pick up where I left off on the computer earlier. My mind and my emotions were mush, though. All I could do was play Solitaire, which is also rare for me.
    Suddenly, at 2230 Mom was up, leaning over the railing binding the living room that blocks her from accidentally falling into the lowered room, smiling coyly, telling me she couldn't sleep.
    What few spirits I had plummeted. Without monitoring myself I blurted, "Mom, I can't handle keeping an eye on you right now. I desperately need to be alone. Do you think you could go back to bed?" Oooh...I cringed. I have mean memories of my father telling her this in a much less diplomatic fashion when he was so mean drunk in the evening that he couldn't deal with himself nor anyone else. Those memories always included Mom simmering and refusing to go to bed. Good for her. But I've never wanted to do anything similar to her. Yet, last night, I did. Lucky for me, she just shrugged and said, "I'll sit in the dinette and read." I'd gotten her a new batch of gossip tabloids on Tuesday so she had plenty of reading material.
    I thought that would be sufficient but my meanness didn't stop there. Around 2330 after I'd been sitting in front of the computer, not even able to play Solitaire for the simmering, not really doing anything but randomly going through emails and trashing them, it occurred to me that Mom wasn't going to go to bed until I did. I launched another thoughtless attack: "Mom, in case you're waiting to go to bed until I go to bed, I'm waiting for you to go to bed so I can go to bed. Look, I know you think you're perfectly fine unsupervised but just the way you weave and shuffle through the house, well, I have to be up when you're up. You're not safe without me keeping an eye on you. That's my job. That's why I'm here, to protect you from yourself. And this evening, I need a mini-vacation from caring for you so I'm having to provide it on my own, but you being up is making that impossible. I'm not a happy camper, tonight. So, when you go to bed, I'll go to bed." I cringed again.
    Mom didn't. "Okay," she said. "Well, I'm going to stay up a little longer."
    At midnight I felt so awful, physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually, I figured the best place for me was bed. I announced this to Mom. She was amiable. We both headed into our separate bedrooms. Her light, though, I noticed, didn't go out until about 0100. She was reading her current book in bed. When her light went out I fell into a fitful sleep.
    This morning I'm feeling, well, still ashed over but better. I'm pleased that I don't have to awaken Mom until 1300 because of her bedtime last night. I'm pleased that the rain has set in again. It feels to me as though it's done this just for me in the past few days. Yesterday, especially, there was no indication of it on the weather channel. It just set in about the time I started ashing over to wash off the ash, cool down the ember. Today it set in around noon, in time for me to relax before I awaken Mom.
    Sometimes the universe conspires to ameliorate negative intention, as well as bolstering positive intention. Now, with luck, I hope I can get through today in a fairly decent mood and not meansnap at Mom.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


I gotta tell ya...

...I'm really enjoying reading through all the stuff I've published in this compendium of sites and cataloguing it for the upcoming Table of Contents. Although my original idea was to design a simple, straightforward TOC, as I read, cull what I believe to be significant posts and organize them into groups it's becoming evident that
  1. I have much more material than I realized, and
  2. I think it's going to be easier on someone visiting a TOC if I list the groups on the page and offer pull down menus of the specific posts in that group with titles that offer a scent of each post.
    I can see, though, that I still have a ways to go before I embark on constructing the TOC. I may change my mind by the time I'm eye to screen with it.
    I'm finished with the first journal and the 1999 and 2000 Histories. I've just begun cataloguing 2001. I never got around to setting up a 2002 history and I'm sort of glad, now, that I didn't. The only area that I won't be reading and cataloguing is the Mom's Daily Tests and Meds even though that area does contain information that might be of interest to someone besides me. Maybe I'll get around to it after the TOC is constructed and operative.
    I remain pleased that I'm taking some time to review what I've written here. The historical remove of the perspective I'm gaining over what I've been doing with my mother these past 11 years is having a salutary effect on my attitude. Not that I was having problems with my attitude but I needed to gain some perspective. I needed, for instance, to see that what I consider my battle with her Ancient propensity toward inactivity has been going on for more than a few years. Maybe I don't need to engage in battle over it anymore. What I've written is, as well, loaded with cogent reminders of her sturdy sense of self and her indomitable ownership of her journey through The Land of the Ancients. Nothing, I can see, that I'm doing or try to do is changing her course. That's a lesson in itself. It is also becoming obvious to me, more than before, that the woman survives on attitude and she continues to have plenty to spare. The more I read, the more I realize that I'm not harming her, I'm not misdirecting her and I'm not denying her anything by giving in to her implacable decisions on how she's going to live out the rest of her life. This is a relief.
    I read an article in O this week featuring a woman who, in her late 70's, decided she needed isolation in order to continue living her life the way she wished. She moved to Mexico, far away from family and friends. The product of this adventure was a published book which she is now, in her early 90's, promoting on a book tour. When I finished the article I realized that I read it from a different perspective than has previously been possible for me. I noticed that as I absorbed this woman's story I wasn't wondering why that 90 year old book promoter wasn't my mother. I was simply noticing that Ancient Journeys take all kinds of tacks, a different tack for each individual. It's very nice to look at this woman's journey and think, "Wow," then look at my mother's journey and think, "Wow." Both of these women are doing exactly what they want to be doing in exactly the circumstances right for each. Neither wishes their situation to be different and neither has regrets. This is welcome a revelation to me.
    Rabbit, rabbit day in one minute.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


To be faxed to PCP's office tomorrow...

...along with her blood glucose and blood pressure readings since 7/26/05:

To:  PCP
From:  Me
Re:  My mom - SS# - Review of Health since 7/26/05

Blood Pressure:
She had a bout of high blood pressure during the monsoons. You’ll notice on her BP chart that I gave her three 2.5 mg lisinopril several days in a row and, in two cases, a fourth lisinopril. She’s doing fine, now, but I thought I’d mention it because we’ll probably run out before we’re “supposed to” according to the pharmacy. I already talked to them and they are very understanding. They will fax you for approval of the refill if it happens to fall before it’s due date.

Blood Sugar:
Very good control.

Urinary Issues:
Prodigious incontinence continues, we deal with it; the Macrodantin has stopped her UTIs and she seems to tolerate it very well.

Remains a challenge but we deal with it.

Energy Level:
Slowing down incrementally; sleeps on average 14 hrs/day; hard to get her moving but I try.

Skin & Circulation:
Both appear to be excellent.

Appetite & Diet:
Both remain excellent. High in vegetables and meat, medium in dairy, low in refined carbohydrates; yoghurt and pure cranberry juice every day (to prevent UTIs); since Angela mentioned that you would prefer to see her A1c a bit higher, I’ve added more fruit and refined carbohydrates, but not a lot.

Remains unchanged; limited to short term/long term memory loss; excellent awareness of immediate surroundings.

Will & Spirit:
Remain strong and high, respectively.

Medicatoin & Supplements:
I have on a few occasions given her a 500 mg acetaminophen tablet for mild back pain after heavy days of walkering. I’ve also added a daily rounded tsp of Benefiber to her diet. See “Bowel Movements” below.

Occasional abdominal/feet swellling and dry hack; usually disappears overnight; when it doesn’t I administer 20-40 mg furosemide in 1-2 doses and that takes care of it; this happened during the monsoon and went along with the high blood pressure. I finally figured out that the excess humidity affects her breathing, thus her body works hard even on oxygen (I put her on continuous flow during the day at these times) and she tends to retain water during these times. We’re over this now, though.

Remains a non-smoker (Yay!). On oxygen (usually 2/lpm when seated or sleeping; 3/lpm when moving) during sleep and about 50% of time when awake; lately, as the days have become drier, there are times during the day when she doesn’t need oxygen when sitting.

Bowel Movements:
Constipation/diarrhea remain rare and traceable to fluid or food intake; eliminates every 24-72 hrs; usually every 48 hrs. Earlier in this period she had a little trouble with elimination so I added Benefiber to diet, finally regulating it to one rounded tsp in the morning with her orange juice. This has taken care of the problem.

    You'll note that there is very little change from the last review of my mother's health. I figure, if it hasn't changed, don't change it. The doctor will only scan it, anyway, and pick up what he consider's important.
    It seems that today has been yet another of my mother's sleep days, her choice. I attempted to awaken her at 1645 before the news. She wasn't interested. I'm not sure she even came to. I think she may have refused the invitation in her sleep. So, I figured, let sleeping mom's lie; until 1840, anyway, when she awoke on her own.
    Will someone please tell me, where, in The Land of the Ancient, are we now?


There are some redirect glitches...

...I've discovered this afternoon. I fixed one but I expect that there are several. I'll check them later and fix those that aren't operating error, naturally. As well, I'll be publishing Mom's most recent Health Review that I'll be faxing to her PCP tomorrow morning on the occasion of her most recent blood draw. Very little has changed. I like to publish these as a suggestive prompt to other caregivers who are intimately involved in their charges' medical care. This routine is not only a handy and contemplative review for me but those PCPs we've retained (ahem) appreciate it and the act of doing it cuts down on the paperwork just prior to each routine appointment.
    Mom's having yet another unusually slow day [Here's a riddle: what's the definition of an "unusually slow day" for my mother?] today. I couldn't even get her to "beat me in a Sorry match." She's napping now, but I've told her I'll be getting her up before the news. This pleases her. She is addicted to watching both the local and national news. This pleases me.


Test results are up...

...for yesterday's blood draw. As a reminder, she is no longer leaving a monthly urine sample since now she's on the Macrodantin. I do have a holding prescription for a urine culture (and a prescription for Levaquin) in case she contracts a breakthrough infection but I'm assuming I won't have to use either for some time, maybe never again.
    So, she looks good. Very little change, nothing out of order. I do have one glitch to mention in the results regarding the Lymphocyte reading: The Prescott lab gives no range for this particular result but posted her "Out of Range". Since she is securely in range for Mesa I can't imagine what the Prescott lab's range results are so, while I posted it "Out of Range", I haven't any idea whether the Prescott lab would consider it a high or low reading. My guess is "low" but since she's in range for Mesa I'm not worried.

    Mom's been up once this morning, about an hour ago. I was excited. I assumed this meant that since she went to bed so early last night she was up for the morning. Wrong again. She's gone back to bed. She looked good though, and sounded good. I'll let her sleep for awhile I guess. If she's not up by 1100 I'll rustle her up and out.

    I want to mention an addendum to a part of last night's post in the form of a note I scribbled to myself while I was contemplating what to do about my mother's lethargy (forgive me quoting myself): "When parenting a child, the guardian teaches the guarded how to proceed; When caring for an Ancient One, the guarded teaches the guardian how to proceed." This makes sense to me. On occasion parents need to observe their children and adjust their raising techniques. For the most part, though, the learning transpires from parent to child. When one cares for an Ancient One it is most often the guardian and protector who learns from the guarded and protected how to adjust caring techniques according to the Ancient One's state at any particular time.
    This, I think, is one of the most significant differences between parenting a child and caring for an Ancient One. It is also one of the more difficult challenges facing a caregiver to an Ancient One; just as it is one of the more difficult challenges facing a parent. There is, though, much more literature and support bolstering parents needing to adjust techniques to their child than there is for caregivers needing to adjust techniques to their ward. I think this is primarily because all parents have been children but very few caregivers have been Ancient Ones. As I mention in What if I Told You..., being An Ancient One precludes the possibility of having a mentor, as no one makes it out of this stage of life alive. Pay attention to your Ancient One, caregivers; although you know lots about being human and some of that knowledge will serve you well in your caregiving tasks, watch yourself because you know nothing about being An Ancient Human. Remember that the demographic of the elderly is the one demographic that displays the largest (hence the most confusing and bewildering) differences from individual to individual. If someone else's advice seems suspect to you when considering it in the context of your own Ancient One, trust your suspicions and look to your Ancient One for clarification. This isn't easy but it's necessary and will ultimately render your job less frustrating.

Monday, August 29, 2005


A short business post while I have the time:

    All the pages I intended to lean up and redesign are now finished and at home. I updated her stats over at Mom's Daily Tests and Meds, which has borne the brunt of my lack of posting here by being filled with little daily life details besides the usual material posted there. I've updated all the links in the "Links" sections on all blogs. The Poems, Sharing Widsom Conference Review and the 1999 and 2001 histories haven't been redesigned or moved [Update 11/8/08: I finally redesigned and moved these to their appropriate sections, but I've left the originals, as well, at their original sites, for awhile, at least]; I can't do that without dumping their backgrounds. I like their backgrounds so they're staying as they are, where they are. I do need to update their navigation areas. Give me a minute on that. I have so many redirects in place, though, that I can't imagine anyone will get broken links very often.
    Now I'll begin paying attention to a Table of Contents and, maybe doing a little tweaking to the internal search pages. But, those can wait awhile.
    I like having gathered all this stuff together into An Area of Singular Identity. I can settle down, now. I'm home.


Yesterday we got into it again over a proposed exercise session.

    "I don't need to exercise! You go ahead and do them alone!"
    Exasperating, to say the least. As usual, as you've read before, I catalogued all the reasons for her why she needs to move at least a little, then started pleading with her, inventing what I hoped would be scary scenarios in which she, voluntarily because of her refusal to move, loses the use of her legs and I am no longer able to care for her adequately and she ends up in a nursing home. I became so dramatic about the dire possibilities that I brought tears to my own eyes.
    Which amused my mother.
    "I can walk just fine!"
    I became so angry at her insistence that I began a series of, "Yeah, you can walk so well that..." ripostes, cataloguing a lot of her history of difficult, risky, sometimes disastrous walking.
    Her response was disgust. With me.
    The only thing that stopped me was a re-run of the Robin Williams Interview on Inside the Actors Studio.
    This morning, as we readied her for her trip to the lab, I asked her, truly innocently, completely forgetting my harassment last night, "So, do you want to ride into the lab in your wheel chair or walker in?"
    "Neither," she stated, glaring at me over her shoulder (I was washing her back).
    "Well, I'm not going to carry you in and it doesn't work for me supporting you and juggling your oxygen and your emergency supplies (in case she has an eliminatory accident of either type) while you shuffle in. So, which do you want to use; wheelchair or walker?"
    "Neither." Her back straightened. She didn't look at me over her shoulder this time. Her voice was more than firm.
    "Okay. That means I get to make the choice. I chooooooose...hmmmm....let's see....since you're Ms. I Can Walk Just Fine Thank You, I choose walker."
    "I'm not going to use it."
    "Then I guess I'm going to have to have a lab tech take your blood in the car." No, there's no possibility of this but I was beginning to feel nasty.
    I still wasn't over our altercation last night, apparently. With a minor reminder, she discovered she wasn't over it, either.
    As it turned out, even with her knee brace she almost collapsed negotiating the low one-step stoop on her way out to the car from our house and ended up in the wheelchair for safety's sake. I wasn't going to take any chances.
    On the way home I tried, sneakily, to take her side. "Mom," I said, "I know you feel like not using the walker or the wheelchair or a cane (which I've proposed and which I'm going to explore with her doctor next visit) because you feel as though you make a better presence in public without them and you feel more independent. But let me describe a likely "independent" scenario. You shuffling; me holding you up while you slowly negotiate the distance between where you are and where you're going; me loaded down with your trip supplies, struggling to keep stuff out of your way and cars from running us over; people watching us thinking, 'Oh that poor old woman, oh that wonderful, dutiful daughter; I wonder why she hasn't looked into getting a wheelchair/walker/cane for her poor old mother?' That's not independence, nor is that the kind of impression you wish to project. Although you think a walker or a cane diminishes your public persona, I can guarantee that people respect those who they see are absolutely determined to walk 'independently' (I made quotes in the air) by any means necessary."
    Usually she has some sort of gently dismissive retort to these conversations. Today she said nothing. She also didn't look at me.
    So I continued, expressing, yet again, my concern that if she doesn't use it she's going to lose it. I assured her that if this happens I will try my damnedest to continue taking care of her. I only hope, I expressed, that I'll be up to it. I probably will be, I tell her, but, what if I'm not? What then?
    No reply. Old age is hard to face, even, maybe especially, for the old.
    Later today, while she slept off the blood draw, I contemplated the last 48 hours in our conjoined life, trying to find a alternative approach, if for no other reason than my peace of mind and spirit. The dilemma seemed to me to be between The Wondrous FNP's caution that my mother's prognosis dictates that she will become more and more lethargic (tell me about it) and, if I don't watch it, I'll become increasingly frustrated; the "versus" is is that her lab work always looks so good, so promising, that I can see no reason for her not to move a little and it seems foolhardy of me, on my mother's behalf, not to try to encourage and motivate her to move, to do exercises, even in the face of her poor attitude and lack of interest. I worked these over and over until, finally, something dawned on me: Maybe the whole point is that what my mother is living through, now, is the geography of the combination of her persistent Anemia Due to Chronic Disease, the chronic disease being Early (very early) Stage Chronic Renal Failure, both complicated with Dementia Lite (which, luckily, seems stable, waving only slightly in the rare winds of ill health that visit her). Maybe this is what it's like. Maybe, even though it appears to me, an outsider peering into The Physical Land of the Ancient, that there is no reason why she shouldn't move more, be more easily motivated, be more interested in the temptations to "go out" I place before her, maybe this is Old for my mother. This is how her "decline", precisely the decline that The Wondrous FNP described is occurring and there is nothing I can do to ameliorate or alleviate it. So, maybe what I need to do is accept how she is inclined to live her life and enjoy her while she remains alive.
    How many times have I said this to myself? How many times have I written this as advice to myself or my imagined readers of this journal, thinking that I knew what I was talking about?
    I didn't know. I've been fighting my mother's destined decline as though there is something I can do about it, something I can do to stave it off so that she just falls over dead in the middle of a robust existence rather than fades into "that good night".
    Maybe I still don't really know all this. I can imagine that I still have a few more Movement and Getting Out Campaigns to wage before I finally Get It and Go With My Mother's Flow. This afternoon, though, some buried part of my brain reminded me that it isn't as though I haven't accomplished anything in favor of my mother's life. If I hadn't been here she probably wouldn't be alive, in her own home, surrounded by her own possessions, easily in touch with most of her immediate family, feeling secure and safe and loved and appreciated and feisty right up to whatever kind of end is in store for her. Sometimes, I think, it isn't so bad going "gentle into that good night." It is, after all, described as a "good" night.
    And, who knows, maybe one of those remarkable revivals, the telling, in the name of Hope, of which people are more than willing to inflict upon caregivers of Ancient Ones, will happen to her before her final breath. You're doing it again, Gail, shut up and go on to something else.


Thank the gods for short term memory loss!

    While she was petting The Little Girl (our cat) Friday evening, my mother leaned over in an awkward manner and twisted her knee. I was at her side before she collapsed. I thought her back might have "grabbed", considering her position, but she confirmed that it was her knee and limped to her chair with my considerable help. I immediately retrieved her knee support bandage and slipped it in place. She made a few trips around the house for reasons she considered necessary that evening but limped markedly and became acutely annoyed with my constant physical support. I know that she wasn't faking it. If anything, when my mother is sick and/or debilitated she attempts to fake wellness.
    Considering the position in which she sleeps, which regularly produces temporary pressure bruises on her knees, I was more than a little concerned for her knee's welfare on Saturday morning. Before she'd hoisted herself to the edge of the bed I'd retrieved her knee bandage for her trek to the bathroom.
    "Is your knee bothering you?" she asked me.
    "No, Mom, your knee is bothering you."
    She looked at me as though I had arrived from one of her alternate quantum realities. "No, it's not. Why should it?"
    "Well, you twisted it last night when you were leaning over to pet The Little Girl. Don't you remember?"
    "No." She swung her right leg, the weakest of her legs and the one she turned, from the knee a couple of times. "It feels fine. Are you sure it wasn't you who twisted your knee?"
    So saying, she refused the knee bandage and maneuvered into the bathroom without any hitches in any giddy-ups. "My knee, you say, hmmmm," she commented suspiciously when I joined her.
    "Mom, why would I make up an injury?!?"
    "Well, I don't know, why would you?!?"
    "Well," I said, "all I can say is, thank the gods for short term memory loss. What wonders of healing loss of memory can accomplish!"
    She laughed. Then, to my surprise, she responded, "I think you've got something there. If I remembered all my little aches and pains from day to day, I probably wouldn't be here."
    She might have a point.


Oh What a Night.

    This is one of the titles of the many posts I've been meaning to write since my last. This one refers to Thursday night, the night before an informally scheduled monthly blood draw. It was unusually warm and humid so I slept on my bedroom floor in front of an open (but screened) Arcadia door. Unlike my usual sleeping area, I was exposed to all movement and flickering light in the hall as I slept. Although it is not unusual for my mother to make a bathroom trip in the middle of the night, I swear, Thursday night it was as though her kidneys were on amphetamines. I counted four separate trips to the bathroom alone. I say "alone" because her night shuffling including a mysterious trip down the hall into either the dinette or living room, I wasn't sure which. I was too tired to care, knowing that if she stumbled and fell I'd hear it and be up in a flash. I went back to sleep as I watched her retreating figure. A half hour later (I looked at the clock), I noticed her shuffling back up the hall to her bedroom.
    I awoke with my alarm at 0630 Friday morning. When I peaked in on Mom I decided, nah, we'll wait until Monday to have her blood drawn. She was sprawled on her bed as though she'd was recovering from a night of heavy partying. I let her sleep in until I felt those nervous "is she sleeping too long" twinges at 1300. As it turns out she was arising on her own, thank goodness. She complained about how tired she was.
    "Well, it's no wonder," I replied. "I counted four separate bathroom trips plus a half hour excursion in either the dinette or living room."
    She was astonished. "You must have been dreaming," she said. "I slept like a log all night."
    "Yeah, a log rolling downhill in old Seattle from the forest to the sea!"
    "I don't remember any of that." Her tone was just this side of accusatory.
    "If it was just bathroom visits I wouldn't be surprised, Mom. I've been known to make bathroom runs in the middle of the night half asleep. But you amused yourself in either the dinette or the livingroom for about half an hour last night. Do you mean to tell me you have no idea what you were doing?"
    Although I could tell she was a little disturbed by this memory lapse, she chose to play coy. "Maybe I don't want to tell you."
    "Well, my guess is that you went into the dinette because none of your magazines or crossword puzzle books were in the livingroom by your rocker when I awoke this morning. It didn't look like you'd eaten anything, either."
    "Maybe I was entertaining a secret caller."
    "Well thank the gods you guys were quiet enough not to disturb me!"

All material copyright at time of posting by Gail Rae Hudson

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