Breaking the Monotony

Today Chris and I enjoyed our new TV that Mediacom installed in the living room.  It’s our first smart TV.  Chris put wi fi and netflex on it and we’re in business.  We have four televisions now.  One each in my bedroom, Chris’s bedroom, the sun room and the living room.

Maybe the new TV will draw me out of my bedroom and off my bed.  I’ve used the excuse that I stayed in my bedroom because  there was no TV in the living room and the sun room was too cold in winter and too warm in summer.

Although I do spend time each day cooking and fixing meals, filling and emptying the dishwasher, feeding the animals and letting  Jenny out,  most of my day is spent on my bed watching television, computering, reading, or talking on the phone.  I order groceries and put them away once or twice a week.  And my hair dresser and housekeeper both come every week.  Unless I have a rare visitor or have to keep a doctor’s appointment, it’s a good bet I can be found on my bed in my bedroom.

I hope the new TV will change that.  Better to sit on the couch in the living room than on my bed in the bedroom.  Leaving my bed will certainly lift my spirits.  Maybe I’ll feel like a normal human being again.

Shrunken Neighborhood, Expanded Memories

Last night, Karen, my niece, called to ask me exactly where the house was on Scott street where Bud, my brother (her dad) and I used to live.  She shared with me some memories she had of the exterior and interior and some things that happened there.  It got me to thinking about the years we spent there.  Dad bought the house when I was nine (the first house my parents owned); and except for a brief year at the edge of town where my father could have a larger garden, I lived there until I was eighteen when Dad, who was a contractor, built Mother’s dream house.

Before I turned nine, we moved five times before Dad bought the house and three years after we left, until I married Forrest.  So Scott street is the home that is a part of me and I remember the most with nostalgia.  I even remember the number.  609 West Scott.

After Karen hung up, I opened my laptop and googled the place.  I was delighted to find pictures!  Not only of the outside but of the inside!  Pictures of every room, the yard, the neighborhood.  The house was for sale and the realtor had posted them.  Everything looks so much smaller now than it did when I was young .  I stayed and visited and remembered for hours!  So many many memories.

Before I dimmed the light for nighttime sleep, it occurred to me, I am the oldest living member of my family.  There are so many things I could share with them that they might like to know.  I have always regretted not knowing more about my parent’s and other relatives in the past.  Then and there I decided that I’ll collect some writings I’ve done over the years about those times and write more if I have time and put a book together for the family.  I’ve been working on two other volumes, but this feels urgent to me.   I want to finish all three, but I do so want these family stories to live on.

Isn’t There a Better Solution?

I’m thinking about Lucy.  She’s 92, the mother of my ex-daughter-in-law.   She became my new friend after I reconnected with Donna, her daughter.  By phone.  She lives in Texas; I live in Missouri.  I love Donna dearly and I grew to love her mother.

After the divorce, Donna moved into Lucy’s home.  They were a loving, compatible couple, sharing work and recreation.  As Lucy grew older and acquired several ailments, she depended more and more on Donna to get things done.  Donna developed some serious medical problems of her own, but she continued struggling to shoulder the greater load of day-to-day tasks that kept them going.

On September 1, I called to wish Donna a happy birthday.  Lucy answered, said Donna was in bed.  I knew Donna had been having back pain for a long time.  I called the next night to see how she was doing.  Still in bed.  I asked Lucy if she needed help.  I begged her to call someone.  She said they were fine.  Next night I called again and found them both in bed.  I called Donna’s brother’s shop but no one answered.  I left a message that I thought someone should look in on them.  When I called the next day, Lucy said Donna was in ICU in a hospital in Dallas.

To make the story short: the paramedics found Donna cold and unresponsive.  They said she couldn’t have lasted another day.  They found she had a large stone in her only kidney.  Her urine had backed up  and she had developed sepsis.  She was air-lifted from the first hospital she was taken to to another one.  On a ventilator and a dialysis machine.  In very serious condition.  She’s been there since, ventilator and dialysis machine now removed, but still in serious condition.  They are not even talking about removing the stone yet because she isn’t strong enough and she still has the infection.

The family has decided that after Donna is released she will go to live with her son in Dallas and Lucy will be sent to a nursing home.

Lucy doesn’t know this yet.  It will kill her.  Literally.  As a nursing student, I worked in those places and I can’t tell you how many perfectly alert, fairly able folks I saw folded themselves up and died.    Your spirit dies first.  Then your body.

That is my own worst nightmare.  No one can know, until they live it, how very difficult it is to leave your comfortable, familiar surroundings to exist in a strange, sterile setting.

We who are old.  We can’t explain our need to hold onto what we know.  Our memories that are in everything that surrounds us.  It’s how we hold onto those we have lost.  How we hold onto ourselves.  When that goes, there’s nothing left.  No reason to go on.

I’ve seen online several rescue dogs who needed a new home because their owners had to go to such a place.  How very sad.  Not only for the dogs.  But for their owners.  Loosing not only their homes, their possessions, but their companions, in many cases, the only members of their family they have left, the loves of their lives.

I recall something Ken said to me days before he took his own life, “You’ll outlive us all.  You’re too stubborn to die.”   It hurt. I had given him so much.  I know I wasn’t a perfect parent.  I made some wrong decisions, some mistakes.  But they were honest mistakes, never coming from a place of meanness.

Yet, I knew that’s how Ken felt.  I know it’s how many folks feel.   Maybe even my one remaining son.  We oldsters, many of us know we’re seen as someone in the way, a nuisance, a drag to those whose lives are hectic and in a hurry.

Don’t we have a right to be here?  Haven’t many of us spent a greater part of our lives caring and sacrificing for our children?  Often giving more than we could afford?  Wanting the best for them?  Is this how we are to end our days?  Many of us dying alone in a barren room, lonely and forgotten?

Oh, dear Lucy, I wish I could help you.  But I am as alone as you are.  Just not quite so helpless.  At least, not yet.  Lord help me to hold on.

 

 

In the Dark

In the Dark
Days online researching natural ways to combat Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Especially checking nutrition and diets. Thinking of going gluten-free. Have seen a lot of praise for the Paleo diet, but…….So much meat! I’m a semi-vegetarian. When I eat the flesh of another animal, it’s usually fish, sometimes chicken or turkey. And then I battle guilt and regret. So this is a big issue for me.
I’m worried about my condition. Wonder how far along this disease is. Looking back, it seems it must have started before I got married. Maybe in my teens. I have a vague memory of a doctor telling me my thyroid test was slightly abnormal and he wanted to watch it. It was a long time before I saw a doctor again, and I forgot about it. In those days, we saw a doctor only when we were sick.
But it doesn’t do any good to rehash the past. This is now. And I will deal with what the present hands me.