Readers, forgive me for I have sinned. It’s been two and a half weeks since my last blog post…which is a first. Maybe it’s a sign that my life really has been just as busy as it feels but still, excuses are boring so I’ll just leave it at this:
Hello and I’m glad to be back.
Mon Pere: I wrote a blog post about my father-in-law’s unique dance with aging a while back (see Elders and the Strange Gravitational Effect of Final Mystery) and since then his spiral has tightened. He was admitted into hospice care a couple of weeks ago and, as so often happens, his symptoms have greatly improved since then. Finally…relief.
It was interesting watching him work his way through all the many and powerful misunderstandings that still exist about hospice in the minds of most people. He was very reluctant to take the step because, as he said, “I just don’t feel like I’m dying yet.”
And rightly so. He’s not. He’s still very much alive…and he will be until those final days or hours when his body begins it’s final, dramatic shut-down sequence. Until then, he will not…I repeat NOT…be dying. He’ll be living with a terminal illness which is not only a completely different thing from dying, it’s where hospice care really shines.
So far the hospice staff (along with family members) have managed to get his escalating pain…previously managed separately and inefficiently by three unrelated doctors in three different far-flung offices…back under control. His medications have been consolidated, coordinated, and increased enough to actually do the job. A nurse visits him regularly at home so he no longer has to make an appointment (then wait a week with out-of-control pain before having to drag himself down to whichever doctors’ office is involved.)
After months of debilitating pain he’s been able to finally return to his normal cheerfulness…to doing the kinds of things that he loves. It’s a transformation we’re all profoundly grateful for.
The hospice he’s with also brought equipment and aid into the house that’s making things a lot easier for him…from getting out of bed, to going to the bathroom, to getting around the house and farther, to taking showers comfortably and safely. He’s looked at me a couple of times in wide-eyed wonder and mentioned what a gift it is–that it’s all paid for through Medicare.
“It’s free,” he whispers, not quite believing that this help he’s needed so desperately–that’s allowed him to finally stop thinking grim and drastic thoughts and happily return to everything he still loves and longs for–is his for the asking.
I think it’s hard for all of us to believe right now, that there exists this one small part of our tortured healthcare system that’s actually delivering what we all want it to; relief and a better life. And saving money to boot.
I just wish everyone understood that more.
The Wildfire Smoke: It’s awful. It’s like hell. Brimstone shit. I got up the other morning, looked out the front door, and this is what the sun looked like:
Seriously. No photo shopping. Everyone is a smoker these days.
Air quality has been in the dangerous zone for a couple of days here but it’s far worse up in the mountains near the fires. On an air-quality scale from green to red, the town of Salmon, Idaho’s air is rated purple…beyond red. The mayor just had surgical masks handed out to everyone in town and yet still…the fires are likely to rage until the snows come to put them out sometime in late fall.
Prayers for early snow in the Northwest this year are currently being solicited. You can just send them up into the air where hopefully the jet stream will blow them into a smoke plume.
And last but not least…
The Garden: Harvesting mode. Roughly forty jars of pickles canned so far (halfway through), twenty quarts of frozen green beans, a shitload of grated zucchini both frozen and dried, pickled peaches, sun dried tomatoes, a lot of blanched and frozen turnip greens, and dehydrated elderberries coming out our ears. (Everyone is getting elderberry brandy for the holidays this year. Good flu fighter.) Oh yeah. And winter squash. Lots of winter squash. And tomatoes, basil, corn, potatoes, peppers, beets, and eggplants waiting in the wings.
It’s been a good year in the backyard. Gratitude all around.
copyright Dia Osborn 2012
Good work. I copied and sent your Idaho Fires piece to my brother in law in Eng;and. He had sent me a Satellite pic of the Idaho fires from 260 mile was up and was worried about us. See you Tuesday night.
Hey Bob–I imagine the Brits have trouble relating to our fire problems at this point with all the rain they’ve had this year!
always nice to have you back
those wildfires are sobering and rather worrying for a wildfire virgin like myself…..
I would be crapping myself ( forgive my french)
Is crap french?
I know, the fires have been so bad this year it’s left us all wondering what our forests will be like when they’re done. Although you have the opposite problem in your neck of the woods! Floating away yet? 🙂
I’m soooo glad to hear Ton Pere is soaking up the blessings of hospice.
Ask him to save a dance for me 🙂
He’ll love that!
I am whitnessing my heart expand with so much love and appreciation for all those who are coming to my Dad’s aid. I have always loved Dia since the day I met her, my brothers and sisters and there mates, and my Mom who is there as well. But for my Dad’s mate, her family, and those on the Hospice Team, I am feeling so much emotion of graitde, love and respect. To the part of me that is working and on the road today…I have to make room for the tears running down my cheaks as I write this. Somehow, it is apparent I can do both. After-all, my Dad is living well as he is also preparing for his final goodbye. If he can do these “opposites”, then I can to. He has always been a Teacher for me…now more than ever.
From a 1-star motel on Cape Cod, surrounded by “salt of the earth” good people and crystal clean sea air…
“I think it’s hard for all of us to believe right now, that there exists this one small part of our tortured healthcare system that’s actually delivering what we all want it to; relief and a better life. And saving money to boot.” Bite your tongue! If the powers that rule our lives find out, they will surely change this.
There have already been some sallies. Sigh.
I am amazed by how much you get out of your garden. I’m waiting for the day I get to start my own! 😀
I’ll bet your garden will be a very interesting place with lots of surprising things growing in it. Very fun.
Actually, we belong to a CSA just north of Eagle so we get some produce from there, too, through the summer and fall. I’ve never grown corn here at the house (space hog) and I’m rarely disciplined enough to get out and plant potatoes early enough so those came from the farm. But I do produce quite a bit with the space we have to work with. Vertical growing space is a must!