Thursday, April 29, 2010


As of May 1, 2010...

...Blogger will no longer allow FTP publishing. Updates to this blog, which will probably be few to none, since this section of The Mom & Me Journals dot Net is, essentially, closed by time, can be found at This section of the journal will also remain at in it's domain directory, so accessing links should not present a problem.

Friday, December 30, 2005


So, I was talking to MCF yesterday...

...and mentioned that I was both surprised and pleased that Mom has not picked up my cold.
    "I'm not surprised," she said. "You're the one who's run down." I hadn't thought of it this way, but that's true. Mom get's plenty of rest, eats well and leads a highly stress free life. I, on the other hand, go into sleep deficit or sleep restlessly on a fairly regular basis, try to eat well but often skip lunch and occasionally skimp on dinner, and while I can't say that I am most of the time stressed to my limits, I am always "on", even when I'm sleeping, just in case. I guess, after awhile, that tends to compromise one's immune system.
    This morning I was talking to MCS. I mentioned to her that, contrary to what I used to believe, that I would be "exhausted" when Mom dies, in fact I'm beginning to suspect that I will probably experience an energy and spirit revival immediately after her death, as many do who are living with Ancient and Infirm Ones. "I'm exhausted now," I told her, "and expect I'll remain that way for the rest of her life."
    This isn't to refute what I wrote earlier this fall, that our life is eminently more peaceful that it has been over the last five years. It is, and I'm definitely appreciative. I worked hard to get us here. Which is the point. I work hard to keep us in this peaceful place, as well.
    This morning I did a little internet research, trying to find information about the history of the nursing home phenomenon, from way back to now. I wasn't terribly successful but in my web wanderings I discovered a book which I immediately ordered: The History of Old Age, edited by Pat Thane; the U.S. publication of his British book, The Long History of Old Age. I was going to order the book through until further searching led me to the U.S. publication, which is cheaper and will be much easier to acquire. The first review cited here is the one that intrigued me (the second cautioned me about what to expect). My mother and I have had several conversations throughout the years concerning whether it's true that old age is a fairly recent phenomenon, which The Literature and The Media would have us believe. We've each surmised that, although in centuries past, yes, childhood death rates have been high, but it would seem that if one survived childhood the chances were good that one would live to at least the closer reaches of elderhood. It seems that we surmised correctly.
    The reason we've been discussing old age lately is that in one of Mom's recent tabloids [hold on while I reference it: Globe (unfortunately for this referencing, one of American Media, Inc.'s publications that isn't online); January 2, 2006; pg. 55] appeared a short article about Kitty Carlisle, most ubiquitously known for her appearances on To Tell the Truth, also a legitimate star of stage and screen and the widow of Moss Hart. Mom spotted the article and passed it across to me one morning recently at breakfast. It is written in a Ripley's Believe It or Not style with the following information: Ms. Hart, who is 95, is astonishingly alive and active. She is currently starring in a one woman, 75 minute show, My Life on the Wicked Stage, which is traveling across country. A point is made of mentioning that she stands the entire time she is onstage. She continues her active social life, going out almost every night. She discusses her health routine, which includes "eating right and getting plenty of exercise. My instrument - my voice - is inside my body so I have to exercise. I still do 30 leg lifts and get on my treadmill several times a week. I can put my legs over my head and touch the floor." She adds, "People are always saying how good I look for my age. If I knew what my secret was, I'd be the richest woman in the world. I spend about $8 a year on makeup and put Nivea on my face every day and night. That's all I do." She mentions that 17 years ago she had a face lift. Two years ago, "I went to my doctor...and said, 'Surely you can do something to make me look better'. He turned me to the light and said, 'Go home.' I never thought of it again."
    After I read the article I was more curious to see what my mother's reaction to it was than to divulge mine. I finished it and with a smile said, "Well, what do you think about that?!?"
    "I think it's wonderful! Good for her!" There was not a hint of envy for this 95 year old Wonder Woman, nor any regret that her own elderly life was not nearly as astonishing. This didn't surprise mother is an amazingly accepting creature. As I read the article, though, I watched my own reactions: A variety of internal questions formed under the heading of What Accounts for the Difference Between My Mother and Kitty Carlisle? I don't spend a lot of time worrying about these aspects of old age, but when I hear about an 86 year old surfer, or a 92 year old in New England still working full time, or a Kitty Carlisle, it's hard not to wonder why the ambitious, dynamic individual my mother has been most of her life is now 88 with Dementia-Lite, Chronic Renal Failure, Anemia Due to Chronic Disease, in need of full-time caregiving by a dedicated daughter.
    I always finally decide: This is one of the mysteries we are still trying to solve. Wouldn't we all like to live to be 95, as vibrantly as Kitty Carlisle? Why do only a very few of us become Kitty Carlisle? Some of us who try very hard to do this don't make it; I'm thinking of Jim Fixx. Often it seems it is those who aren't working hard at it who accomplish it. This is one of the most mysterious aspect of life, the one we humans have spent an inordinate amount of time trying to understand and, still, all we can come up with is, some do and some don't. It's an incredibly sobering realization, especially when you are a caregiver to An Ancient One. The best bet, I think, especially if one is caring for An Ancient One, is to forget the questions, put the mystery aside while you're with your Ancient One and she is with you. Despite everything one, as a caregiver, attempts to do to ameliorate what one is tempted to consider the "health choices" of old age, my experience has told me that life works better when you follow your Ancient One's determination rather than your own, regardless of where that leads. Consider yourself lucky if you are caring for An Ancient One who is as accepting and regret free as my mother. If your's isn't, though, while you probably cannot keep your Ancient One from their spiritual misery, your path will be easier if you do not join them in it. If you think counseling will help your Ancient One, make sure you delegate this job to someone else. Do not attempt it yourself. If nothing helps, rest yourself in the knowledge that your Ancient One is living the eccentric mystery of her or his elder life in exactly the same way as my mother and as Kitty Carlisle; the fact that he or she remains alive is an indication that they are who they are meant to be.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


I'm usually loathe to take cold medication...

...but when I realized my nose was going to continue running the marathon today I imagined myself dripping fresh cold virus all over the house and decided, not a good idea when living with an Ancient One. So I picked up a generic preparation that contains only ibuprofen and a nasal decongestant.
    So far, though, we've been lucky. She hasn't shown any signs of picking up my cold. I hope this continues.
    The Mom's up.


Sometimes I'm a little slow.

    Although I've alluded to the following in previous reports here, last night I finally understood it, due to a conversation we had prior to Mom retiring: Whether I am her daughter to her remains a mystery but I realized that I am a contemporary. It is possible to be both a child of and a contemporary to an Ancient One.
    The conversation was so insignificant I can't remember the detail. It centered around discussing some aspect of life, mentioned in the news, that has changed drastically since she was raised in Mechanicsville. At one point she asked me to clarify something of which I had no knowledge.
    "If you've forgotten, Mom, then your guess is as good as mine, since I wasn't there."
    She gave me a direct "what's you're problem" look. "It happened in Mechanicsville," she prompted.
    "That's why I have no memory of it, Mom. I wasn't there. You hadn't even imagined having me, probably."
    "Well, then, where were you?!?" She clearly thought I was joshing her and she wasn't appreciative.
    "I wasn't anywhere, Mom."
    "You've said that before. Why do I remember you there?" She still had that "this is your problem, not mine" tone.
    I paused for thought. "Well," I posited, "if reincarnation is true, maybe my essence was there as someone else, someone you knew who was to die shortly and be reborn several decades later as your daughter. Then again, maybe I'm wrong about not yet being a gleam in your eye. Maybe you imagined all your children long before you had them and I was there. All I know, and I'm willing to accede that what I know could be superficial and insignificant, is that I was born to you in 1951 and, after my birth, you didn't visit Mechanicsville again until, hmmm, I think it was in 1995 when you went to Cedar Rapids for that stockholder's meeting."
    She listened carefully. Made no comment.
    "Are you confused?" I prompted.
    She fixed me with a determined look. "No, I just can't figure out how it is that it seems as though I've known you all my life."
    I laughed. "Well, that's easy! Maybe I'm right! Maybe you have known the idea of me all your life and when I was born I became the idea manifest!"
    She laughed, too. "I think you may have something there..."
    Which is the best confirmation anyone can get from my mother.

    This reminds me of the conversation I had with Mom about a week ago about why she asked me to be her companion rather than making arrangements to combine her life with that of one of my married-with-children sisters. I can't remember why it occurred to me to ask her, although it's a subject over which I've mulled many times. I've also thought I knew the answers:
  1. I was the single one which, from the point of view of my mother's generation, means that I was not suffering Caregiver Burnout from being a wife and mother and would probably be amenable to taking care of her, when care would be what was needed;
  2. My life up to that point had been pretty adventurous with no obvious hitches that indicated I wouldn't want to be her companion;
  3. She and I had accidentally (probably due to my single status and her desire to not interfere in the married-with-children lives of her other daughters, although she was always available to help, of which only one daughter took advantage), throughout the years, forged and nurtured a close, person-to-person relationship beyond our mother-daughter status and had included one another in our intellectual and physical adventures;
  4. I had lived in her chosen home, the Phoenix Metroplex, on and off throughout the years and she knew I would have few and easily adjusted qualms about returning, despite my love for my found home of Seattle; thus, the detail of her life wouldn't need to change or would change, as necessary, slowly and easily instead of drastically and with personal upset.
    When I asked my question I also asked her to take some time to think back and try to remember what she was thinking that fateful day when she called me and said, "What would you think about moving back here to live with me? I think I've had just about enough of living alone."
    She took some moments. I waited patiently at her feet, her faithful dog, my eyes trained, as always, on her upturned, searching-the-ceiling-of-her-mind face.
    Finally, changing her view to straight ahead, letting me know that she was satisfied with what she found, she pronounced slowly and definitively, "Freedom of thought."
    A left field fast ball. I reeled. I knew there had to be more behind this response that the surface revealed. I've always considered every member of my born-into family as permanently sloshing about with abandon in The Fields of the Lord of Infinitely Ranging Thought. Except for one friend whom I've had since 1983, I've considered every member of my family my only strongholds for companionship during Discussions of Unfettered Thought. I attribute many rituals of my own unfettering directly to each member of my family. My unfetterings continue through them, as well. I've always felt that each member of my family and I are joined at the hip, working hard and constantly to understand what each is thinking, consider it with and against our own thoughts and absorb and love, with astonishingly respectful equanimity, the details of our inner and outer lives. I learned to do this within my family and count on my family to continually nourish these abilities. I know that my mother feels much the same about our family and The Realms of Thought. Thus, I knew that I couldn't assume anything from my mother's short, pithy response.
    Instead of pointing out that we are a family of free and mutable thinkers, thus couldn't this apply to her living with any of her daughters, I asked, "What do you mean?"
    Again, she took awhile to answer.
    "I knew," she said, "with you I wouldn't be just another member of the family who would be listened to but would be...hmmm...let me think...."
    "Can I help you?"
    "Sure, if you're wrong, though, I'll tell you."
    "Good. ...whose thoughts and feelings wouldn't be hijacked by what would seem to be the more urgent thoughts and feelings of spouses and children."
    "There, you've got it!" She seemed relieved. "Families are so busy, nowadays, you know." An interesting observation, considering that she was born into an extremely busy family and probably passed this trait on to us.
    "And I didn't make a second family."
    "Wow. I never would have guessed that. I thought..." and I felt it would be safe to tell her why I previously thought, of all her daughters, she asked me to be with her, so I did.
    "No, no, no," she said. "When you asked me to consider living with you in Seattle and we realized I couldn't stand Seattle, I expected that you'd decide not to come live with me."
    "Really! Well, you should know, then, once I made up my mind, trying you out in Seattle was just an attempt at an adjustment. I had no intention of not being your companion if you hated Seattle. I just thought, you know, I just thought I'd try. Also, for your information, I haven't regretted leaving Seattle. I miss the weather but it'll always be there."
    "Well, good."
    So. That's the story. I can't help but fill in a little. I'm positive my mother wasn't impugning any of my sisters' characteristics of thought. Immediate families, though, always take precedence over past and future families. When one remains single, as I did, one's immediate family is one's past and future family if they are a part of a family they continue to love and enjoy throughout their lives. Thus, one is free to continue a level of in depth involvement with one's parents and sisters that one would necessarily shave in the face of immediate husbands and children. When relationships with siblings and parents are kept up it is usually through the efforts of the single sibling, if one exists. Otherwise, relationships are stored for use in one's later years. My mother knows how this works. This is what happened between her and her sisters and parents. In her case, the glue of a single sibling didn't exist and, as it turned out, her later attempts to rebind with her siblings were tragically truncated by her brother's and sister's health problems.
    How had I kept up the relationship with my mother while I plied my singular life?    Most of all, though I believe the amount of attention I pay to her in her Ancient Years, the willingness (with reservations, including the reservation of my desire for solitude during the holidays and my desire not to negotiate us into episodes that have already proved disastrous) with which I allow her preferences and my inability to consider that her life is impinging on mine are the bedrocks of what she was expressing. It is unusual in the life of a dependent Ancient One to be able to live out one's life precisely as one wishes without feeling that one's life is hampering, is a distraction or is incidental to the lives of others.
    I am struggling, here, not to make comparisons while I enumerate the advantages, to her and me, of the life we lead journeying together in her Ancient Years. I have often, in despair, considered that my mother would be better off surrounded by a family of more-than-one (me), including the young and the middle aged. I have wished that an arm of our family was closer and more able to host my mother when my need for my beloved solitude becomes so overwhelming that my behavior becomes uncontrollably wretched. As well, my continued, fundamental belief is that Ancient Ones both deserve and benefit from frequent exposure to relations of all ages. I still, though, consider myself lucky and blessed to be doing what I'm doing with my mother. I'm sure my mother feels equally lucky and blessed to have her single, family oriented daughter walking with her through her final years.
    Families beget families beget families. In our culture, at least in the WASPish arena, families are, at this time, primarily nuclear. Even though, especially within the last more-than-a-few decades, this nuclearity is stretching to accommodate "blended" families, single parent families and families extended with older and/or abandoned relatives, at this time lucky is the family who somehow manages to produce a single sibling who remains family oriented. Had circumstances been different, had my mother successfully petitioned to spend her last years in the bosom of one of the families that came out of the family she created, I know that she would have been fine and happy. MFASRF, many years ago, upon meeting my mother (she was in her mid 60s at the time) pronounced her "resigned, in the best sense of the word." She is. She takes it as it comes and if I hadn't come to be with her she would have taken it well. Although I have rarely dared to imagine that this life my mother and I lead is my mother's preference and was from the beginning, I have often hoped, against hope, that it is. I'm glad I found the presence of mind and the courage to "ask...
    ...and it shall be given unto you."
    Time to nudge The Mom into her morning.

Monday, December 26, 2005


"I think I've had just about enough ham... anything else for dinner?"
    I (and those of you who know my mother, I'm sure) never thought I'd hear her utter this sentence in regard to ham, especially HoneyBaked Ham. She did, though, tonight. Yes, I had something else: One serving left of a chicken concoction I worked from the picture attached to a magazine recipe that attracted Mom's eye and palate. I mention this here because I don't think I'll be getting over to the Tests & Meds site tonight. Don't expect Stat Ketchup until tomorrow.
    Thus, a few more reminders for myself: Bowel Movement at 1430 today; Very light lunch of cottage cheese at about 1715; Ham for breakfast, yet again, her request.
    I continue with cold. I thought I'd be able to get away with feeling good through the entire infection but about 10 hours ago I began feeling physically bad, in the way colds tend to make one feel bad. Surprised me. None of today's badness is amenable to ibuprofen, as the sore throat and fever were. I'm not a fan of using OTC cold preparations on myself, either. I tried to take a nap at about 1500. I felt as though I could use one, unusual for me, but my nose, which has now graduated to "Running the Marathon" status, would allow me to sleep. So, I've been dragging all afternoon and evening. This hasn't affected my generally good mood, though, which is an unexpected surprise.
    I'm trying hard not to pass this cold on to Mom. I'm keeping our tissues separate; no kissing allowed, which is hard on both of us; I'm indulging in obsessive hand washing and lotion application to keep my hands from cracking; every time I prepare something for her I breathe "in the other direction", which is an interesting challenge. So far so good. She's told me several times that she simply refuses to contract my cold. Good. I wish I'd thought to use this tactic on whomever it was that blessed me with it.
    It's been so long, years, in fact, since I've been at all ill from an infectious disease that I'm feeling rather like a child who's experiencing her first cold. I'd forgotten that I lose my appetite; my skin becomes super-sensitive; I drink water as though it's going out of style; my head feels like it's attached to someone else's body and I'm using it through a LAN.
    Something I've been meaning to mention here of which I was reminded when I mentioned it to a friend: I alluded, some posts ago, to the possibility that I suffer from a type of Seasonal Affective Disorder. I'm only half joking. I'm finding, this winter, which is unusually warm, dry and sunny for this area this time of year, that the sun is irritating me, especially in the mornings when it floods the front of our house and I can't get away from it unless I want to spend all my time in the back of the house, which isn't possible. I remember this feeling during the summers in Seattle. Although they lasted only two months and were what most people would consider perfect summers, after a week of 18 hours of sun every day I'd find this natural perfection tedious and couldn't wait for the other 10 months of the year when Seattle was shrouded in mist. I wonder if anyone's done a study on the inverse of what is considered to be standard SAD: Those of us who prefer gray, wet days and find too much sun troublesome. I doubt that there are many of us but I remember, when I lived in Seattle, reading some commentary by Jonathan Raban, who made the Pacific Northwest his home, that there are some of us who can't get enough of "the gray" [thank you, Seal]; not many, but our preference is at least as strong as the general preference for non-precipitous days.
    Yet one more reminder tick: A few evenings ago I asked my mother if she remembered why she originally asked me to be her companion through her Elder and Ancient years and if so, would she tell me why. I thought I already knew the answer. I was wrong. Her answer startled me. I'll cover that later.
    I think I can get to sleep, now, regardless of what my nose decides to do. Here's hoping.

Sunday, December 25, 2005


"I don't know about you, but..."

...that's a direct quote from my mother; her way of prefacing an opinion upon which she wants either confirmation or argument. I'm using it with the following completion: ...I'm having a wonderful Christmas this year! I think Mom is enjoying hers as well. She certainly hasn't been able to forget that it's Christmas. I turned on the Christmas cable music channel soon after she awoke: I've wished her "Merry Christmas" and "Feliz Navidad" several times; teasing sung every Christmas song I know that's played (and a few I don't know but thought I could wing) to her. I've continued baking. The bread turned out today, after which I used the rest of the pumpkin in a concoction I call "Pumpkin/Apple/Walnut Bread", a quick leavened bread. Sounds delicious, doesn't it?!? It's cooling now. I prepared the crust for the last apple pie: This one will be an apple/toasted almond/dried raspberry pie. When that's done we'll have two apples left for baked apples...or, maybe I'll get ambitious and make a small cobbler or apple dumplings.
    My intention, as usual, is to publish the original recipes. In case you're wondering, most of my baking this year has been non-original recipes, followed practically to the letter with minor adjustments for altitude. Since I haven't done as much as I was planning (which is just as well; since we have little storage room I've been giving most of it away) a lot of the experimenting fell by the wayside. I never got around to the fruitcakes, either, although my intention is to make those and get them out for Easter. I didn't even make my famous German Chocolate Chip cookies. I did make a couple of batches of Honey Bear brownies; I need to record the final recipe before I forget it. Anyway, over the next few days my intention is to publish both my mother's pumpkin pie recipe (which is, essentially, a pecan pie within pumpkin custard rather than sugar custard and so spicy it comes out brown instead of orange) and the pumpkin/apple/walnut recipe at the food site under the title, "I Came in on a Load of Pumpkins". I'll be publishing the magnificent apple pie recipes under the title, "The I Hate Apple Pie Apple Pie".
    In case you're wondering, we don't get each other gifts for Christmas. We have so damned much stuff here that we don't need to be buying ourselves frivolities; we usually get a few of those from other's anyway. If there's anything we do need we just get it at the time we think of it. For obvious reasons, as well, I don't feel the need to give the gift of my time to her; I gift her with this every hour of every day. She is beyond giving the gift of her time to me except by simply allowing me free management rein in her care.
    Two people called this morning to wish us Merry Christmas before I arose. Once I arose, I hit the busy button and didn't really want to stop what I was doing to call them back. Besides, this year, Christmas is really quite a wonderful affair for me. I'm feeling good, I'm not being overly hermitic (yes, "hermitic", not "hermetic"), Mom's doing well, and we've both been spending the day in quietly satisfying pursuits: She's been reading and chatting, I've been baking, singing and chatting. This is as close to my preferred way (for details see the first two paragraphs of In the Spirit of the Holiday) of spending the holidays as I can get right now, and I'm satisfied. I know Mom would enjoy visiting but, you know, she's enjoying herself anyway. A short bout of company is scheduled later this week, which should be fun for both of us.
    The Mom is up from her short nap. She's sampling the pumpkin/apple/walnut bread, which seems a bit mild to me but she's enjoying it. It probably hasn't hit it's flavor peak, yet, which is should by tomorrow morning. In just a little bit I'll be putting together and baking the last apple pie. Considering what time Mom arose, dinner will probably happen between 2000 and 2100. It's all going to be extremely easy and flavorful. Perfect way to celebrate the holiday.


Yep, it's Christmas.

    Mom's still sleeping. I'll give her until 1130 or so; that'll be 12 hours. I'm feeling good. We had a congenial, laid back Christmas Eve: Mom and I watched Miracle on 34th Street (the old one) while I baked, then Mom concentrated on a variety of TV Christmas specials while I continued baking. We've already watched It's A Wonderful Life for the season. This year we watched it on a TV channel. Neither of us mentioned that today is Christmas and we're not traveling or seeing family and friends but neither of us denied it, either. I think we're both well satisfied with this holiday.
    Yes, we'll be having a Christmas dinner featuring, yet again, Mom's beloved HoneyBaked Ham, heated in the oven with pineapple slices. Accompaniments: Nuked yams; either asparagus with Hollandaise sauce or a side salad, depending on what Mom's taste is when I get around to preparing dinner; I'll also offer Mom some of MCS's bread & butter pickles, which I'm sure she'll have. Dessert: Probably the pumpkin pie I baked last night. I'm hoping we'll also have home made bread; the bread machine malfunctioned last night and I had to throw out the unmixed, unbaked contents of what was to be a loaf. I'm going to try again as soon as I finish posting here. The older that machine gets, the more finicky it becomes. Sounds familiar...
    Other than being victimized by a fast, furious cold which took hold sometime before I awoke yesterday morning and kept my throat sore and my nose running all day yesterday, I'm feeling very good. The sore throat is gone today; the nose is running overtime. I'm sure this isn't the flu. I'm hoping that Mom's immune system is up to handling my unavoidable spreading of the cold all over our house. She's in very good health, though, so even if she contracts it I think she'll be fine. Although this one doesn't seem to be tiring me, if Mom gets it I'm sure she'll consider it an excellent excuse to sleep, and I'll allow her this.
    Apropos a suggestion by a reader that Mom and I try a spa day: I had wondered out loud (meaning here) at the time if I could handle a trip down to the Valley and back for such an event, even though the event itself sounds promising. Mom would love it and I wouldn't mind it. As chance would have it, while I was doing car-based errands last week and peripherally listening to the radio I discovered that there is a commercial spa facility up here that offers spa-day packages, so I'll be looking into that. I'm very pleased to have discovered this.
    I've pretty much got my network up, tweaked and running the way I want so that I can transfer files from platform to platform. Time for me to finish off the TOC cataloguing and create the index. Don't expect instantaneous performance, though. January is also tax preparation month and my vow is to get everything into Mom's Tax Man no later than the first week in February.
    Today seems to be a decidedly unmusing day. Maybe...

Friday, December 23, 2005


I've posted Mom's current Health Review...

...which I fax to the doctor every month. This time I posted it for the date of her Blood Draw. You can access it here. I also decided to include it as one of the Special Posts that is listed at the top of the links section at the main journal. Each time a new health review becomes available the link will be changed to take you to the most current version.
    Because I posted yesterday's meals and stats at Mom's Daily Tests and Meds a few hours before she retired, her retirement information for yesterday is as follows: She retired at 2330; light went out at 2345.
    I'll check back...

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Did you notice that I linked an essay... the title This Isn't Your Mother's Caregiving contained in my December 18th post?
    Blood Draw results are up for Mom's 12/21/05 blood draw. Her hemoglobin is heading back up, as are some of her other indicators. She continues to hold her own. I was concerned about her sodium and potassium and relieved to see that those are remaining within normal range.
    I had a very touchy day, yesterday, due to yet more "breathe through your nose, not your mouth" problems in the car on our way to and from the lab. I finally figured out that the only time she consistently refuses to do this to my terrible distraction is when she's in the car. I considered that it might have something to do with car seats but in the last several months she's spent a lot of time in a variety of car seats, thanks to me renting cars for our Valley trips. Of all those car seats only two have been uncomfortable for her or put her in a position that might (and this is a big "might") compromise her ability to breathe normally: Our truck seat and the Monte Carlo seat. The seat she occupied during the Thanksgiving Trip was a very comfortable one for her. So, that's not it.
    A couple of nights ago Mom awoke about an hour into her night sleep, came out to the living room, settled into her rocker with the intention of discussing what one does when one has lost one's driver's license. For some reason she suddenly remembered that she "couldn't find" her driver's license. I explained to her that she no longer has a driver's license and hasn't had one since she drove into the side of our Mesa house in the spring of 2000. We had a conversation about why she no longer drives, including me reminding her that previous to her final car accident she was having trouble remembering how to drive, anyway, would only drive to and from the beauty shop across the street and that I probably should have revoked her license long before I did. I also reminded her of the 92 year old woman in Glendale, AZ, who, the same year Mom drove into our house, mistook the gas for the brakes while at a Park and Swap, demolished a couple of kiosks and killed a couple of people.
    "We were lucky, Mom. All you did was damage our utility room."
    "I suppose so," she responded, "but I think I should have a license."
    "Mom," I told her, "if you want an Arizona ID we can do that. We haven't gotten you one because you have your military ID and that suffices just fine here in Arizona. But, if you want a state ID we'll get you one. Let's wait 'till after the New Year, though."
    "Will I be able to use it as a driver's license?"
    "No, but, Mom, even if you could, I wouldn't let you use it as a driver's license anymore. You haven't driven for almost six years, now, and I'm not about to let you get behind the wheel of a car ever again."
    "Well, I don't know why. I'm perfectly capable of driving."
    "No, Mom, you're not. And, anyway, you never liked driving, anyway!"
    "That doesn't matter! I think I should have a driver's license!"
    "Well, I can guarantee you that the State of Arizona would be in agreement with me, not you. And, anyway, what do you need a license for? I drive you everywhere you want to go."
    "What if something happened to you?"
    "There are perfectly competent ambulance drivers would could take me to the hospital if something happened to me."
    "And what about me?!? How would I get around if you were in the hospital?"
    "Mom, if I were in the hospital you'd either stay with MCS or MFS, I'm sure, until I was able to be with you, again. If I wasn't able to ever be with you again, one of your other daughters would step in." I didn't mention that there's a possibility that she'd be in a nursing home for awhile. No reason to upset her out of turn.
    "I hope nothing happens to you."
    "So do I, Mom. And, frankly, I don't think it will. I think we'll be just fine, you and me, and I'll be able to take you anywhere you want to go as long as you're around."
    "Good. That's settled. I think I'll head for bed."

    I've some more reporting I want to do, but I'm behind on compiling Mom's blood pressure, blood glucose and health reviews for her doctor. I want to get those out tomorrow. Suffice it to say, I've been experiencing a couple of bad days: So difficult that I've been indulging myself in "What if I just decided to abandon my post?" fantasies. Not that I will. The fantasies seem to take the edge off. I'll explain...

All material copyright at time of posting by Gail Rae Hudson

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