Anyone?

[sidles in, switches on the lights, and looks around]
Hello? Anyone still here?

Oh, good! A few of you are still checking in! My apologies for the dearth of posts lately, with just a scattering here and there.

Life has been busy and I wanted to do updates. The most important is regarding my mom, known here as Nana. She spent several days in the hospital last month with pneumonia/congestive heart failure and was sent home to the apartment she shares with my dad, Paco. She was very fatigued and weak, so we have enlisted help. She now has home care coming in several times a week for monitoring and physical therapy. There have been doctor visits, a new medication regimen, and some more tests ordered.

It’s great to have home care in, because it means having a nurse case-manager to oversee and co-ordinate the various health-care providers involved and to serve as the one-phone-call resource for questions and problems. This is especially important for us this week, as B and I leave tomorrow to visit daughter T in Missouri. It brings peace of mind to know that the home care team and the staff at their retirement community are both on duty to watch out for Nana and Paco while we are gone.

I’m hoping that I will have time while we are gone to do some catch-up posts. Music, poetry, travel, and transportation will be likely topics.

Stay tuned.

SoCS: Crowning Glory

For most of my life, my hair was, well, just my hair. Not much of a topic of discussion. It was brown and wavy and thick and heavy and a bit cowlick-y.

Of course, there was always discussion with my hairdresser, because that is their business. She was not a fan of my decision to let my hair go grey naturally. “Men with graying temples look distinguished, but women look old.” This was not helped by the fact that I started to have stray silver strands as a teen, with a lot of acceleration in my thirties.

When I was mostly silver, I decided to let my hair grow longer. The natural thinning that happens with the change in hair color actually worked to my advantage, because I could let my silver hair grow longer without having it get overly bushy, which it did when it was mostly brown.

What I hadn’t expected was that my long, silver waves would become such a topic of discussion. Friends, acquaintances, even complete strangers often comment on my hair. They tell me it is beautiful and that if their hair looked like mine, they would stop coloring it. I tell them they should try and see, as some don’t really know what their hair looks like naturally.

I even wound up writing a poem about my hair when Silver Birch Press did a series called My MANE Memories. You can find the poem, entitled “Crowning Glory” here. My husband took the photo that accompanies the poem. I liked it so much that I started using it as my gravatar.

So, maybe my hair does make me look older.

I prefer to think it makes me look more beautiful.

At least, I have lots of people tell me so….
*****
Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is “hair.” Join us! Find out how here:  https://lindaghill.com/2017/02/03/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-feb-417/

 

wedding surprise

As some of you know, my parents, whom we call Nana and Paco, live in a retirement community near us in an independent living apartment. Last week, there was a knock on their door. Two of their friends came to visit to ask a special request – that they would be the witnesses at their wedding!

Nana and Paco were so happy for them and immediately agreed.

The wedding was yesterday afternoon, with just my parents and the bride’s daughter in attendance. The officiant was an Episcopal minister who gave a lovely reflection on the importance of listening.

To announce the happy news to the retirement community, last night at dinner there were large cakes for the residents and staff that were a gift from the bride and groom. The cakes had a message of thanks written in icing.

Many people were surprised at the wedding announcement, but I think it is a wonderful reminder that love is a vital force at any age.

While I wish the happy couple as many years as possible together, even if their time together turns out to be short, they have already been a great example of sharing love with each other which radiates out to their friends, family, and community.

Love wins!

 

Alzheimer’s article

A blogger-friend Susan Cushman posted a link to this excellent article on dealing with Alzheimer’s disease.

There is significant history of Alzheimer’s disease in my family. My paternal grandfather and two of my aunts and one uncle were affected. We are very lucky that my dad, who is now ninety, has not been affected and is well past the age at which his own father and his siblings first had symptoms.

My parents have also had many friends who have developed Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.  There was so much in Dasha Kiper’s piece that was familiar to me from listening to my parents, from symptoms to everyday life to reactions of caregivers and family.

Enough from me, because the article is on the longer side and I’d much rather you spent your time reading Ms. Kiper’s words rather than mine.

Friday night fun? – part 2

In part one of this post, I wrote about reading at poetry open mic for the first time.  Here is a (somewhat condensed) continuation of the story.

While stopped at a traffic light on the way home, I turned the ringer of my phone back on and was surprised to see that there was a missed call from my husband B, who had stayed at home because he wasn’t feeling well.  He knew where I was and that I wouldn’t have the phone on during the reading, so I immediately became apprehensive and rushed home to find that my mom (Nana) had called for advice as to whether she should have my dad (Paco) take her to the walk-in or the emergency room when she had suddenly exhibited symptoms of a gastrointestinal bleed.

B advised the emergency room.

B had called my cell phone, hoping that I would put my ringer back on before leaving the bookstore so that I could get to the hospital more quickly, but, as it turned out, it was good that I had gone home first. They phoned again during the few minutes I was home to say that Nana was being put into a room in the ER. I grabbed a few magazines that I could leave with my mother for entertainment during the inevitable waiting times and headed out to the hospital.

The ER waiting room was filled to overflowing and there were so many patients back in the unit itself that some were in the hallway. My mom was in a room, though, because they needed to keep her hitched up to cardiac monitors, given that some of her symptoms could have been a second heart attack. Her heart was okay, but she needed to stay in the hospital to figure out where the bleeding was occurring. There were no rooms available in the hospital proper, so, about 2 AM, she was moved to another section of the ER that had beds rather than gurneys.

The next day, the gastroenterologist who was on weekend call, Dr. B., came in and we decided that it was best to do a colonoscopy on Sunday morning and Nana was admitted to the GI unit when space became available. The colonoscopy revealed that Nana had developed arteriovenous malformations (AVM) and was bleeding from several different sites, which Dr. B. cauterized. Dr. B. explained it to us as being similar to varicose veins that break through to the surface and bleed. Unfortunately, the meds that Nana needs to take due to her cardiac stents don’t help matters, as they act to prevent blood from clotting easily.

Although Nana had lost quite a bit of blood, the doctors decided not to transfuse but to let her try to build back her blood count on her own.  This didn’t turn out so well, as Nana had to spend several days in the hospital about a month later when her low iron levels started to affect her blood pressure. They finally gave her a couple of units of blood and, while her iron level isn’t quite up to what is considered normal, she is slowly gaining strength and getting back to some parts of her old routine – with, we hope, more progress to come as spring continues to unfold and we celebrate Mother’s Day and her birthday.

There is no way to tell when the AVMs may recur, so, for now, there are weekly blood tests so that, if she becomes more anemic, the gastroenterologist can intervene before she loses too much blood.

Vigilance is our friend, as is following through on recommended treatment, medication, and lifestyle choices. It’s what has kept Nana and Paco as active as they are as they age.

But fingers crossed that we don’t have any more medical adventures in the coming months.

We all need a rest.

One-Liner Wednesday: Aging

“Fighting aging is like the War on Drugs. It’s expensive, does more harm than good, and has been proven to never end.”
– Amy Poehler

Join us for Linda’s One-Liner Wednesdays:  http://lindaghill.com/2014/11/19/one-liner-wednesday-analogue-or-digital/