I received a letter a few weeks ago, and it made a big impression on me. I want to share parts of it. The girl who wrote the letter told me that “God really does impact the little things”.
She said, “God is in the details of our lives. He really does do small mysterious things for us every day. And it’s so small that if you aren’t watching for the miracles, or paying any attention, as we go through our busy days we miss all these incredible opportunities to see God’s artistry in our lives.”
She said, “I love how God really loves us and cares about us. These little miracles are often called “tender mercies”.
We were told we could bring a salad or a dessert to the dinner, so I decided to make a dessert. I made a beautiful platter of bing cherries dipped in Ghiradelli chocolate. We dined at a lovely home with an ocean view.
After dinner, I sat at one of the tables and visited. One young woman began to volunteer information about herself as she consumed a plateful of desserts. She had six chocolate covered cherries on her plate, a large gourmet cupcake, a chocolate chip cookie, and two different slices of fruit topped custard pies…lemon and plain. She confided that she absolutely adored chocolate covered cherries.
She told us that she was 27 years old, and that she wanted above all things to have an “Oriental” wedding, with a “Japanese” wedding dress….and then she proceeded to describe a Chinese cheongsam. I asked if she planned to marry wearing red, the color of good luck…and she looked at me as though I were mad.
She said that she could not possibly marry at her present weight, because she would look like a large pillow in the dress she had described, and said that she did not have a boyfriend anyway.
She finished off her plateful of desserts, and shortly thereafter it was time to leave. She asked particularly for a plate so that she could bring home some of the chocolate covered cherries, so I simply handed her the remainder of the platter. She told me that her son would be extremely grateful….yet somehow I felt that her son would be lucky if he got more than one or two.
Why did I feel that there was a mental disconnect happening in this young woman’s brain? It was so sad that she sat there stuffing her face with desserts talking about a wedding she hoped to have some day, stating that she would not look good in the dress she hoped to wear if she were overweight.
When eating is out of control….and when it sabotages ones dreams…then it has become a mental health problem.
I have seen a case much worse than this. I have seen a young woman who weighed over 700 pounds. Her condition was so extreme that she had been confined to a nursing facility and she was under dietary treatment.
She would sit in the dining area and cage food from the plates of the other patients. She would go about and take any food from them that they did not care to eat, at every meal, if she was not constantly observed.
She would break into the kitchen area and steal small boxes of cereal and anything else she could find, and hide them up underneath the plumbing in her bathroom. During snack time, she would steal extra snacks and conceal them in her underwear. She was caught repeatedly, but she was not losing weight, so apparently she was far more clever than her nurses.
When she spoke of food, she spoke with passion, as anyone else might speak of a sexual experience. To her, food had become that. It was love, and satisfaction and sex and everything she needed. Nothing else could fill her void, because somewhere along the way she had been so damaged emotionally.
She was the product of several foster homes.
Having known her, and having met several other emotional eaters, it is my theory that major obesity not of a glandular nature, (or chemical nature; let us not forget prednisone) is an emotional disorder more than anything else.
The little caterpillar was born to a fine caterpillar family, and all should have been well with her. Her life should have been spent blissfully chewing leaves on plants, reproducing, climbing on trees, and doing all the things that caterpillars do so well.
There was some tiny thing wrong, however, in this little caterpillar’s brain. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. It was just the way she had been formed when she was growing in her little egg.
Instead of wanting to be with her fine caterpillar family, this caterpillar wanted to hang out with slugs. Instead of sipping crystal clear water from drops of dew on leaves in sparkling mornings, this caterpillar would only drink from the dirtiest puddles at night.
The little caterpillar grew to be an adult. She slept by herself in holes in the ground where any predator could find her. Her slug companions did not care about her, because they were not her kind. Not one of the slugs took care of her. Her caterpillar family came looking for her and tried to help her, but she could not be helped.
One day the little caterpillar became very ill. She formed a cocoon around herself. She could no longer live in her caterpillar body.
Her caterpillar mother was devastated. Her caterpillar mother began to grieve, feeling as though she would never see her caterpillar daughter again, so she crawled into her little bed of leaves and pulled a leaf over herself and would not come out for anyone.
Her mother was hiding under a leaf, and she was not there when her little caterpillar daughter transformed one day. The cocoon slowly split open….and the caterpillar was gone. A beautiful butterfly was there instead. She stayed for a moment and looked around at the beautiful world…and then she flew up to heaven.
(In memory of my cousin's daughter)
When I see you
When your arms enfold your children
When you swallow
I am not so
When the strong
When the faithful
When you love me
It’s a harder issue than you can begin to imagine. I work with people who have decided to care for their remaining parent at home.
We ALL want to BE that person. We ALL want to be the person who is kind enough and strong enough and loving enough to care for their own parent or parents in their old age.
However, there are tremendous challenges to be faced. Your Mom or Dad will very likely have medical issues, and may or may not develop dementia or Alzheimers, which will add a crushing level of difficulty to their care.
There may be many visits to the doctor, which you will have to schedule on your own time, possibly while you are holding down a job. It is possible that it may not be safe for your Mom or Dad to be left alone. You will have to think constantly about who will watch them, just as you would if you had young children.
If your Mom or Dad has dementia, or Alzheimer’s, you will have to “child-proof” your house, removing the knobs to the stove, and hiding the matches. You will have to keep your bills and important documents in a locked drawer.
“As patient as God” will not just be a phrase you heard someone say anymore, it will be the phrase by which you live. There will be many days when you just want your life back. Unlike a child, a parent may live a long life in a declining state of health. It is not unknown for people to live into their 90’s and require a high level of personal care, such as toileting, bathing, and dressing.
It is best to realistically examine these issues BEFORE bringing your parent into your home.
I have in mind one difficult case. The daughter is normally a kind person, however, her chemistry with her mother is volatile. Her mother has Alzheimer’s. Her tone with her mother is not the best, and her role as caretaker has assumed overtones of emotional abuse. Even though her mother has the very best PHYSICAL care, and the daughter sees exactingly to her mother’s every need she does so in a humiliating way, and with a tone in her voice, and with such impatience that one senses she is vastly put out. She speaks in front of her mother as though her mother were not present, or as though her mother were completely deaf, (she has hearing aids) or as though her mother had no feelings. Her mother has nightmares that she is going to be put away into a nursing home….most likely because this has been discussed openly so that she can hear it. Her mother has panic attacks and is depressed.
I arrived one day last week and I was told by the daughter, (while the mother was sitting within 10 feet of us in another room) that she had “had it”, that she wanted her life back, that she is turning into a person she does not want to BE, that her mother was affecting her business, that her clients did not enjoy seeing her mother, that her boyfriend wanted to put his boat in the water for the summer, and her boyfriend had “had it” with the mother also, and she was thinking of “getting rid of her”, and “putting her somewhere”, and she was going to go out and get another job so that she could do it. (I thought to myself, if her boyfriend could contribute what he pays for his yacht club membership and if they would stop all the drinking and going out to eat, that would help, too).
After she left, the most pitiful thing happened. Her mother and I were sitting together, visiting, and her mother asked me plaintively if she could come and live with ME. She said, “I am not wanted here.”
I had to explain that my apartment is not large enough for two. I did not go into the other issues involved.
When the daughter returned , Itold her what her mother had said, and what I had said. The daughter said to me, “Why didn’t you tell her that she IS wanted here?”
I told her I didn’t think of saying that (because I forgot to lie….).
The daughter is not unfeeling, nor does she intend to be cruel. She is a co-dependant personality. She is the type of person who will set herself up as a caretaker, think she is doing a good and loving thing, but she resents the heck out of it the whole time she is doing it, and then victimizes the person she is care-taking. The co-dependant often appears in the families of alcoholics. He or she is the one who appears to take care of everyone else. They are actually extremely controlling individuals and suffer from their own kind of illness. They don’t even realize they are doing it. They start out with the “best” of intentions, (motivated by the need to do what they “think” is right, and the need to control the lives of others around them, and then they wonder , “Why am I being so unkind?”. “Why do I resent my mother so much?” “I should be able to handle this, but I hate it.”)
That is only ONE sad case, and ONE motivation for caring for a parent at home.
Another I encountered was that of the family who actually HAD their mother in a proper facility, where she was happy and well-cared-for, and she had friends there. Unfortunately, the facility raised their prices and the son lost his job at the same time, and the family was forced to bring their mother, with Alzheimers, home to live with them.
The chemistry between the mother and the son was deplorable. The adult son had never outgrown his teenage resentments of his mother. His mother was not the most wonderful person to begin with, and she was in the full grip of Alzheimer’s with attendant anger episodes. The house was like a powder keg.
The mother complained constantly. Her litany of complaints included not knowing why her son had removed her from the home where she had been so happy and had friends, and why he had brought her to this house where she was always alone, and they were never home, and she never knew where they were. That complaint could have been so easily resolved by the simple courtesy of writing her a note, but this the husband and wife refused to do. Each day, they would leave the house, leaving the poor confused woman not knowing where anyone was, or when they would return.
The son had never had any Alzheimer’s training, and could not separate his ideas of WHO his mother had been in the past from the NEW individual with whom he was now dealing…the one suffering from Alzheimer’s, with no memory and anger issues, and when his mother became angry at him he would become angry as well.
Eventually the son returned to work…just in time. His mother became so ill she HAD to return to a facility to receive professional care.
Not every family is like the Waltons.
If you examine your motivations carefully, and you discover that you want to care for your aged parent just because you “think it is the right thing to do” ….it is the wrong thing to do….for you.
The only possible correct motivation for caring for an aged parent at home is that you just absolutely love them so much….so very, very much…that you would never for a moment resent caring for them. Caring for them would be an honor and a privilege. Think carefully whether or not your spouse and your children would feel the same way. A parent’s feelings must be considered very carefully, and if even one person in the family makes them feel awkward, or unwelcome, it will not work. It will be damaging for all concerned.
I wrote about Family History. As humans, we are able to record our history. We are so fortunate that we are able to write....and yet sometimes we neglect writing about such simple things as who our grandparents were.
Animals are less fortunate. They can't even tell their own story, except with the record of their own bodies, by the scars they bear, and by the record of their healed and broken bones.
I can surmise the history of Oscar the Cat from the record of his body.
He began life as a feral kitten. I know this because one of his ears has been clipped flat along the tip. This is what animal control normally does with feral kittens. They then spay or neuter them, and sometimes put them up for adoption. I believe that Oscar was fortunate enough to be adopted as a kitten, because he has no feral characteristics remaining. He is as gentle and sweet and loving as any cat could possibly be.
I know that at one point in his life he was hit by a car. His pelvis was broken, and his owner cared enough for him to pay for an expensive surgery to try to fix his broken leg. I know his veterinarian was a hack, who used a pair of wire cutters to shorten the pin used in Oscars leg, but didn't bother to file off the rough end and left on the burrs, and he only took a frontal x-ray afterward and not a lateral x-ray, and the pin was still 1/4" longer than Oscar's bone and extended into the meat of his rear, burrs and all. That had to cause constant pain.
I don't know how Oscar left his loving home. I don't know where the break in his home life occurred.
I know that next, Oscar received two pellet gun shots to the body, one in the left shoulder which he still carries today, and one in the left leg which is still there, and he was also shot by a BB gun, and that BB shot is still in his body, in his left leg.
In the next phase of his life, Oscar was found inside a beach house in Manomet, Massachusetts with two other cats, crying. A local resident heard him crying and had animal control come and remove all the cats. Animal control told this woman they would rescue him, but that she had to take him, so she did.
Unfortunately, she had Alzheimers and she did not provide proper medical care for Oscar. She did not notice that Oscar had only four teeth in bad condition remaining at that time, nor did she notice he was in pain when he was eating. (Don't worry....Oscar's teeth are all fixed now.) She did not notice that he had worms.
I rescued Oscar from her when she had to go into the nursing home, because her family made no provisions for the cat.
Oscar's bad surgical job became infected within three months of my adoption of him, and he needed another surgery to remove the pin the hack surgeon had placed within his bone. I now have the sterilized pin in a baggie, and that is how I know about the wire cutters used, and the burr on the end of the pin.
Oscar is recovering well now. He has been rescued four times in his life, and God has provided him with medical care far beyond what most cats would ever receive, because he is so extremely loving and special.
Love has rescued him again and again, and if his body tells a story now, it will be the story of the humans who loved him enough to save him....again and again.
I find this subject fascinating. It’s not just my connection with my ancestors, but also my very personal connection with history. It is a voyage of discovery. It is learning stories about people who are actually related to me by blood, and caring about them. The stories become real….the people become real….because they were…they ARE MY family.
I spoke to my son tonight, and I was mildly dismayed to discover that he does not even know the names of his own great-grandparents on his father’s side of the family. His grandmother is still alive, and all he needs to do is ask her and the daisy chain of information leading to the past will have begun. It is sometimes a simple matter to find your ancestors once you have a name or two….and then the magic begins.
Perhaps I have taken my love of family history to an extreme level, but I have found so many fantastic things. For example, I have two sets of 9th great-grandparents on my mother’s side of the family who were on the Mayflower! And this is even MORE interesting….one of my nth great-grandfathers was the original OWNER of the Mayflower, and he sold it to the Pilgrims!
I have one ancestor who helped to edit the original version of the King James Bible, and he was burned at the stake as a heretic, and washed his hands in the flames.
I love to learn my ancestor’s beautiful names. Some of the ancient names were lovely, and some of my ancestors lived in castles. Lady this, and Dame of that….I try to imagine them, and I try to imagine what life was like for them.
Some of my ancestors were Knights. I read the histories of those who are well known. One of them was so extremely cruel that he was personally beheaded by Saladdin. I shuddered when I read that….and then I looked at his parents names….and I wondered what in they had done to him to twist him in that way.
I was wending my way through the ancient lines of the Princes of Powys, to whom I am connected in a complex thread of matriarchal lines….and I followed a line to the distant end…to the year 582. There I found…Uther Pendragon…and Morgause.
I think one of my all time favorite ancestral names, however, was Eyestein The Fret (The Fart) Halfdansson, King of Norway, born in the year 736. I had to wonder what amazing deeds he performed to earn his name.
Back in the old days people called them as they saw them…your name was what you WERE. I had a couple of ancestors with rather unfortunate names…such as AEthelred the Unready, and Joan the Dumb.
A friend of mine says with ancestors like those, he is not surprised at how I turned out. But I am rather proud of them, you know. It can’t have been easy being either one of them. I would not have done as well.
I wish that everyone would try to find their family. So many surprises await you….there are so many stories your family wishes you to know. They lived fantastic lives….they loved….you carry their cells in your very body. Get to know them!
I was looking at a pine tree yesterday growing on an embankment. The tender golden tips at the end of each branch were grasping eagerly toward the sun, and indeed, the position of the sun had shaped the growth of the entire tree. All of the branches had grown in the direction of that life-giving orb.
I thought then how humans are shaped in the same way...not by the sun....but by love. Just as the tree reaches for the sun, so do humans react to love when it is offered, so that love shapes us. The love of parents gives us confidence and the security to grow, like the soil from which our roots must spring. The love of our partners and spouses is
like the sun and the water for a dry parched plant....it gives us strength to live. And the love of our friends and community is like the support of the other trees in the forest....they bear us up when the strong winds of adversity blow.
And then I thought...Who has given us the greatest love of all?
I hope you are growing well.
I am slightly familiar with cat personalities. I know an unusual cat when I see one. I have never seen a cat behave in quite such an affectionate manner as Oscar. He wants to be held and petted more frequently than any animal should.
When he sits upon my lap, he wants to put his paws on either side of my bosom, and lay his head upon it, which causes me to look upon him suspiciously. I remember an old movie where Jack Lemmon fell into the water and was reborn as a woman named Charlie...so when Oscar does things like that, I wonder sometimes if he is inhabited by some dirty old man who fell off the boat and was reborn as....Oscar.
Oscar normally goes through a nightly ritual. When I lie down to sleep, he approaches my head and lies down next to my head, and purrs and purrs, and then he wants his head to be petted along the sides of his jaws....and he won't let me go to sleep until this ritual has been performed. And then he grooms himself, while lying rammed up next to me, shaking the entire bed, and even though I push him away, he comes right back again and rams himself up next to me a little further down so that I can't sleep until he is done grooming.
One night last week, he did the oddest thing of all. It was bed time, and he came up and lay next to my head, as usual....but then he took his paw, and softly...with no claws....began to stroke his paw up and down my cheek, over and over again. His paw finally came to rest near my mouth.
I really....REALLY.....tried not to think about the litter box.
Got a food processor? This salad dressing is tart, garlicky and sweet, yet contains only natural sugars from fruit.
Your choice: red or green grapes
I chose red...they happened to be in my fridge, and they were as sweet as candy. They were on the small side, so I used 12.
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
Approximately 1/8 teaspoon salt
Generous grinding of black pepper
Whirl everything together until the grape peels climb up onto the sides of the bowl and things are very liquid. Pour over your salad through a strainer, thus removing the grape peels, and press the peels with a spoon to get every last drop.
This makes about 1/2 cup of dressing, and I found it sufficient to dress a salmon salad that used half a head of lettuce.
A lot of people believe in God. The last time I counted, there were at least 14 or 15. Million....and there are probably a lot more than that. I am talking about people who believe from the top hairs of their heads right down to the tips of their toes, with every fiber of their being...who not only believe in Him, but love Him to their last breath.
How is this possible, you say, if you can't see God? How can you love a being you can't see? I would say it's because you love the way He makes you FEEL.
Recently I had the opportunity to visit a place said to be the home of God. I was expecting to FEEL something extremely unusual. I was expecting to feel something with my body....perhaps a warm and tingling sensation, like subtle electricity running through my veins. I was foolish enough to think that I could recognize the presence of God, and that my (then) preconceptions had to be correct.
I was surrounded by others, and during my time in that place, I felt a sense of overwhelming love. I assumed that it was from the others who were with me...that somehow I was sensing their feelings.
I left that place disappointed....thinking that God had not been there. It was not until later, until I read the words of a friend, that I came to realize that he HAD been there after all. That sense of overwhelming love I felt that day....that was God. I had been too foolish to know Him, and He was right there.
Would you know Him?
Yes, a fungus known as coffee rust has severely threatened coffee production worldwide since February of 2013. Varieties of coffee you used to know and love no longer exist. Only nine varieties of rust-resistant coffee remain in the world, and the only place in the world that is not affected by coffee rust is Hawaii. Yes...Kona is still here. Instead of $35.00 a pound, it's probably $65.00 a pound now...I don't know.
Coffee prices are sure to spike. As I read about the rust, I read that it mainly affects the leaves of the plant, and only RARELY affects the berry. However, that means it still can and does enter the coffee berry.
That would mean, statistically, that out of all the gallons and gallons of coffee you drink, at least one pot a year is probably being brewed with fungus coffee beans.
Now, nowhere in my reading could I find any literature on the effects of this fungus on the human body. The primary concern...of everyone...seemed to be the cash effects of the coffee crop disaster on the economy.
Just for laughs...if I drink this fungus, am I going to get fungus tongue? Or do I already have that? Fungus throat? Fungus thyroid? Will my poopies be fuzzy? Will I be able to grow mushrooms under my fingernails? Now...you KNOW I'm just kidding...or...AM I?
They spend eight years obtaining their advanced degrees. They emerge upon the working world believing they are innately superior to their fellow man. Who are they?
Well...they might be YOUR physician.
In all the eight years of advanced education, this physician did not have ONE class on basic manners or good patient relations...because that class is not offered.
Here are some of the pet peeves of family and friends.
The look on the doctor's face: if they looked into a mirror, it would crack. If they smiled, it would crack their face. We've all had bad days, and we've had to paste on a smile anyway. A smile is reassuring to patients. It says that the doctor cares about them and their health....a sometime fiction in which the patients are all invested.
Gruff or abrupt mannersims and speech: there is no need to be abrupt. Are doctors gruff and abrupt with puppies and kittens? Probably not...so we know they are capable of behaving like real, happy humans. Their patients need to see the same caring from them that they would show to a child, because, in a way, a doctor stands in loco parentis. A kind look, a smile, a kind word, would go a long way toward reassuring the patient that he or she is in good, caring hands.
Waiting room time: when the doctor knows he or she is running late for the entire day, does he or she send out someone to deliver an apology and an explanation for WHY he or she is running late? Sometimes, but most often, no. People with babysitters are sitting in his or her office, as are people who have had to cancel work, and they are stressed out thinking about the money they are spending...or losing. A simple apology and an explanation would go a long way toward helping that situation. Even a posted notice taped to the reception desk would help. I have a friend who has to take public transportation whenever he visits his doctors in Boston. When the doctor's are running late, there is a chance he will miss his bus and his train....and yet doctor's are not sensitive to this issue.
Here's one of my all time un-favorites. You arrive at the doctor's office, and with a slight sneer on his or her face, the doctor says, "And what do YOU think I can do to help you?" Implying that some mentally inferior creature has wandered into their office laboring under the ridiculous delusion that the doctor wishes to help them....or worse yet, is ABLE to help them. To be fair, it is not just physicians who use this phrase. I have heard it elsewhere.
Yes, we know physicians only have twenty minutes to spend with each patient. They should try to spend at least 15 of those minutes WITH the patient, interacting in a KIND and understanding way with the patient, and spend less time on the computer. My doctor does not face me for most of my appointment. He has his back to me, and works on the computer for most of the appointment, updating my records. The fact that he has his back to me makes me feel as though I waited 45 minutes in his waiting room and another half hour in the examining room for his arrival in order to look at his back for 15 minutes and his face for 5 minutes.
Here's an unfavorite of friends: "It's all in your head", or, "You're just depressed". Often that is a go-to phrase the incompetent doctor will use when he or she can't figure out what is going on physically. The doctor doesn't give a rat's tooshie that he or she has just made his patient feel absolutely horrible...and if his patient wasn't depressed before, he is NOW. Case in point: a friend of mine was told repeatedly that his symptoms were caused by depression, by several doctors. THAT made him feel upset and then he BECAME depressed because of what they said, and that made him feel worse. Now he has discovered that all along he had Lyme disease. He feels validated by the Lyme diagnosis...but the doctors who told him he was just depressed look very, very stupid.
Another friend of mine had horribly itching feet and waited three months to get in to see a podiatrist and was told he did NOT have athlete's foot, that the itching was all in his head. My friend told me that after waiting three months for an appointment, for this doctor to say this to him was absolutely devastating, because he was really suffering. Later, after visiting another podiatrist, he found out that the itching was caused by sweating feet, and it was cured by switching to absorbent socks. The "all in your head" snap diagnosis was incompetence in disguise....and a form of cruel rudeness.
Still another friend of mine was exposed to h pylori bacteria at work, and began to have terrible stomach pains. They removed her gall bladder at the hospital. After the surgery she still had terrible stomach pains and she went to her primary care physician and said she thought she might have h pylori. He said he would NOT test her for h pylori. She asked him what to do about the pain....and he told her in a disgusted tone of voice to take tylenol. She burst into tears.....and as he was leaving the office he relented and decided to do the test for h pylori...but he acted VERY put out about it. As it turned out, she HAD h pylori. The gall bladder surgery was unnecessary. A round of antibiotics cured her problems. Her doctor NEVER apologized to her or admitted he had been wrong....he told her she would have had to have her gall bladder removed anyway....eventually.
The snap diagnosis performed without tests of any kind: this is the ultimate form of dangerous rudeness. The doctor assumes a mantle of infallibility, ultimately putting his or her patient at risk. Case in point: a man walks in to see a gastroenterologist, sent there by another doctor who has told him that he has a hernia. The gastroenterologist pokes the patient lightly in the stomach with one finger and announces that he is constipated.
This is called "The Infallible Finger Test". The finger is equipped with a tiny x-ray machine on the tip of the fingernail, so no endoscopy is needed, and the patient is not placed in any jeopardy from an undiagnosed hernia. (This happened to a friend of mine about two weeks ago).
"How much will your insurance pay" medical care: when you have great insurance, you get ALL the tests. When you have Medicare or you are under the care of the VA, you don't, and that's the bottom line. Is this good manners? Is this rude? Is this good, caring medical practice? Is it dangerous? Does it increase the cost of insurance across the board? Years ago, I had great insurance. I am reminded of one practitioner, let's call him "Dr. Smith" just for laughs.... who prescribed a horrible white pasty drink for my son, so that my son could have an endoscopy. I could NOT get my son to drink it. My son threw up, and cried. I became frantic, because I knew my son HAD to have this test. I called the doctor and asked him what to do. He told me not to worry, that the test was not necessary anyway!!! He put my son through that for nothing...all so that he could bill the insurance. Would you call that rude? Or something worse? And yet there are people who DO need an endoscopy...(like my friend with the hernia) and they can't get one.
So....from simple good manners to avoiding jail time for fraud, I believe it should be mandatory for would-be doctors to attend a class in Medical Manners 101 and graduate with a B or better. Don't you?
One of my clients had a broken hip. I didn't realize she was also suffering from dementia. She seemed so normal. Near the end of our contract term, we discovered that her daughter-in-law planned to place her in a nursing home, and we were told that she would not be returning to her lovely house. Our client was not told that she would not return. She thought she might be gone for three weeks.
Somewhere in the dim recesses of her mind, however, was the realization that something bad was happening....because she knew she would be losing her cat, Oscar. Her daughter-in-law had made no provisions whatsoever for the cat....had not found him a home...nor even a place in a no-kill shelter. My client told me her greatest fear was that her daughter-in-law would place Oscar in a kill shelter.
I don't know what happened then. It happens sometimes with me....my mouth operates independantly of my brain. Suddenly I found these words spewing forth, without fully intending to say them..."That will NEVER happen!" And then I was shocked to realize I meant it.
Our client was sent to the nursing home, and the final day for Oscar arrived. I made arrangements with the daughter-in-law to meet her at the clients lovely home, and her husband enacted a wild Oscar-catching scene. The daughter-in-law, as power-of-attorney, signed a paper and gave me legal ownership of the cat. She told me she didn't have time to drive the cat to a shelter. I thought to myself...."Well what would you have done with Oscar, then, if I wasn't here? Opened the door in the middle of winter and let him outside, to die?" Probably. Oscar was now officially homeless....because (as far as I knew then) pets were not allowed at my apartment.
My client had told me that she used to take Oscar to a certain veterinarian in town, so I drove him there to make sure his shots were up-to-date. They had never heard of Oscar. They said our client used to go there with her dog....back in 2004. I tried the only other vet in town, and they had never seen Oscar either.
Oscar and I ended up in my own hometown, at a lovely vet I happened to know, where he was taken in and seen immediately once they learned his story. The medical neglect was almost criminal.
I knew my client had rescued Oscar. He was found in an abandoned house next door to her. She heard him crying and called animal control, but apparently she never took him to the vet in all the years she had him.
Oscar had fleas. He was pulling out all his fur because he was so allergic to the bites. The fleas had infected him with tapeworms. He had gingivitis so badly that he had only four teeth left in his mouth, and those had to come out, because he had exposed nerves....and of the broken teeth whose roots remained there were also exposed nerves. They said it was a wonder he could even eat. He needed ALL of his shots. He needed an x-ray because he was limping. We discovered he had been shot with BB's twice. He had a broken left rear leg which had been repaired at one time with a pin (badly) and they said the repair was so bad it had to hurt him, and he had cataracts. It cost me $1500.00 just to make sure he was healthy enough to put him in a shelter (not that I knew of a shelter that would take him) and not be in pain. They said he was around eight to ten years old.
I had NO place to take Oscar that night (I didn't get his teeth done right away)....so I drove to a friend's house and Oscar was lucky enough to get himself a temporary foster father. That is where he has been living for the past two and a half months. Then Oscar's luck changed for the worse. His temporary foster father made plans to go to North Carolina for medical treatment. Oscar had to find another home.
In the meantime, I had been pounding the pavement looking for shelters to take Oscar, to no avail. Most no-kill shelters have a cut-off age of five years old. Oscar was not only too old, he is what is considered a special needs cat, because he will eventually go blind. He needs a super special home.
Oscar will soon be listed on Petfinder. I discovered, just in the nick of time, for Oscar's sake, that we CAN have pets here at my apartment....they just don't advertise it, and it is slightly difficult to fill out all the forms and pay the deposit. So...Oscar is my new roomie as of last night. I hope he finds a new Mommy or Daddy REALLY soon, because I don't know if I can deal with a cat THIS affectionate. He was having flashbacks to kittenhood last night...thought I was his Mama, kneading on me...all the purring...I had to wear earplugs....and he is way too demanding wanting to be petted all the time. I am used to abuse and neglect...I can't handle close relationships....with cats. AAAchooo!
Part of my job is to help people...I suppose you could say that I help people who are sick or just need help because they are up against a time crunch and need bodies...like when someone moves. I arrange volunteers to show up and help pack boxes, or to help load and unload trucks.
I have been told that the reason we are here on earth is to learn things...and often I wonder if I am learning appropriate things during the times I have spent helping people.
This past week, I learned a few interesting things. (Feel free to stop me at any time and administer a good swift kick in my rear end).
I learned that the woman for whom I worked this week felt perfectly comfortable asking others to help her do all her work while she sat around on her large dooper and sorted her silk scarves and had chatty chatty talks on the phone with her friends....and then she was perfectly okay, after others had been working for her for eight hours, hoisting herself up and toddling off to get a pedicure.
And then during the day she cried...she had a big breakdown and cried and I had to stop work and go and give her hugs and calm her down while she whined about how she didn't want to leave, and I had to tell her to look to the future and don't dwell on the past...and all the while I should have been packing boxes. Why does that make me angry? She was wasting my time....and I'm a terrible person. That was one lesson I learned. I have no sympathy for whiners. I gave her hugs but inside I was saying to myself, "Suck it up, whiner!"
As I was sorting her food pantry, and her freezer, I could see why she was so extremely overweight. She purchased lots of little 200 calorie frozen dinners and yet her food pantry has 28 boxes of crackers and 10 boxes of cookies and there was candy all over the house. Somewhere she was experiencing a mental disconnect.
When I got divorced, I had to downsize from a large house to an apartment, and I thought I understood what it was to learn the lesson that material possessions have no importance, and that we can, in fact, learn to live with very little. However, this woman does not have the least idea that such a concept exists.
She was a 6th grade teacher, and she has saved every bit of paper from every child she ever taught...she has saved every business card, every book, every Highlights magazine since 1952, and has plans to show every scrap of paper to someone, sometime.
Her house was filled with what we could charitably call...old stuff. Broken, chipped, damaged antiques of all desc
I felt wellings of pity for her son. He was going to arrive on Saturday and she expected to fit ALL of it in his garage. She and her husband were to stay in ONE room in his house. The papers alone would fill his garage....and another garage besides.
I learned that I must go through my filing cabinet and start shredding. I must never submit another human being to 30 enormous boxes of papers and memorabilia. That is, without a doubt, the most selfish, sloppy, horrid legacy to leave behind. Certainly old photos can be saved...but old magazines? Every article you ever clipped out because you thought it was interesting? No one is going to get a backhoe and dig a pit in the ground deep enough so that you can take all of that with you when you go.
I learned that the homes of elderly people are...or can be....infested with years worth of the accumulation of just plain old....junk. Junk they don't need. Unopened things they bought that they didn't need. Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stuff that they didn't need that is now a problem....because what are they going to do with it all? Their junk is now an albatross around their necks. They have no place to put it.
Watching her sort her scarves was such a lesson. She is moving into ONE room which she will share with her husband, and she had about 25 scarves. She was sorting them to try to find some she could donate so that she wouldn't have so many things to bring to her son's house. She donated ONE scarf....and I thought to myself...does she think the scarves will be going into her coffin with her, too?
The biggest lesson I learned is that I am such a bee-yatch....I am so critical of others.
Here she was, leaving her lifetime home. Her husband was blind and bedridden, sick with pneumonia, and she was a basket case and couldn't function. Her son had just told her she couldn't handle her own husband's medical care any longer and he was taking over. She was being forced to move, crying to strangers like me because she had no one who could help her.
I hope I may receive forgiveness for my critical attitude....and I hope everyone who reads this says a little prayer for that couple....they have a hard road ahead. Her husband is so sick, and she just can't handle it anymore.
Religion is not a popular subject. You bring up the "R" word and you can see the short hairs raising on the backs of some folks necks. Some folks are intolerant of discussions of the "R" word. They had a traumatic experience in their childhood with some religious a-hole who gave them a bad taste in their mouths forever and ever.
I know this one lady...let's call her "Old Iron Pants'...who is so rigid in her beliefs that she gives every religion a bad name.
Here's the thing...religion is man's attempt to explain the Divine Being to himself...and to explain to himself how he fits into the afterlife. Most religions are...or should be...filled with love.
Religions are often ba
Religions tell you that if you live by the law, you will be rewarded. Some religions tell you that even if you break the law, you can be forgiven if you are sorry enough about it.
Some religions tell you that you will be judged at the final day, and if you have repented of all your sins and your soul is clean, you can sit at the right hand of the Father. Otherwise you will be cast into the fire.
Some religions teach that after death, the spirit goes to a place of gray void and peace, or nirvana.
Although it matters to me what you believe...the important thing is to live and let live.
I have a neighbor who is a Southern Baptist. She has gone a bit off her rocker, and she has decided that she can't tolerate my beliefs for one more moment, so she has decided to impersonate me.
What she does is she writes to every Southern Baptist television show and radio show that she hears, and, pretending she is me, she signs me up for their literature and puts me on their mailing lists so that I am flooded with junk mail. When I say junk mail, I hope you don't think I am saying that Southern Baptist idealogy is junk...it is just that I did not request the mail, it is unwanted, therefore it is junk.
The latest one was a cd that actually targeted my particular religion...as an attack.
I have to write letters to all of these television and radio ministries requesting to be removed from their mailing lists, and it costs a small fortune in stamps.
There is a definition of an intolerant person on the online dictionary....they are known as BIGOTS.
2 lb package of dried kidney beans
2 huge Vidalia onions, chopped large
2 green peppers, chopped large
2 packages of Andouille Sausage sliced 1/4" thick
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1 tespoon garlic powder
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained.
Cooked rice...any amount
Shredded Mexican cheese...(optional)
Soak the beans overnight, then cook them according to the package directions in a 5 quart dutch oven.Cover the beans with water. Add salt if desired. Cooking time is usually 20 minutes after the beans come to a boil. Drain.
In a very large stockpot, combine the sausage, the oil, the onions and the peppers and saute till the onions are slightly golden. Add the diced tomatoes, the cajun seasoning and the garlic powder and stir well. Add the beans, stir well again.
Serve over rice. If desired, garnish with a small amount of shredded cheese.
4 cups cooked rice
1 can Ro-tel tomatoes and peppers
1 15 oz can corn drained
1 15 oz can kidney beans drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can black beans drained and rinsed
2 large or 4 small cans of chunk chicken, drained.
2 teaspoons Goya Adobo seasoning
1 teaspoon Mrs Dash garlic and herb
Mexican shredded cheese (optional)
In a large glass microwave casserole dish with a lid, combine all ingredients except the lime and cheese. Stir well. Heat for 10 minutes on high heat. Top each helping with a little shredded cheese, and serve with a lime wedge.
They were together all their lives. He loved her so much. He was so patient with her...so kind, so sweet to her when she became confused. It tore at my heart sometimes to see them together. He would sit in his wheelchair, and yet seem so strong....and he would reassure her as she sat on the bench next to him. That was when she could still walk. She didn't know where she was...or if her dinner was paid for...and he would tell her that everything was all right....and his tone...his voice....was so loving.
Even when she became impossible...he would watch over her....worry in his eyes....not ready to stand down from his watch...even at death's door.
And he did die.
No one told her. She was incapable of understanding. And yet somehow, she knew. Even though no one ever spoke a word...even though people assured her he was just in the other room...she knew.
She died one week later of cardiac arrest. The doctors diagnosed it as broken-hearted syndrome. Impossibly...she sensed that he was gone....and she went to join him.
Previous PostsTender Mercies, posted August 19th, 2014
Weighing In On Obesity, posted August 17th, 2014
The Little Caterpillar, posted August 9th, 2014
I DO LOVE YOU, posted July 10th, 2014
SHOULD YOU BRING YOUR MOM OR DAD HOME TO LIVE WITH YOU?, posted July 10th, 2014
The History of Oscar the Cat, posted July 3rd, 2014
Family History, posted June 25th, 2014
Thoughts On a Tree, posted June 24th, 2014
The Odd Antics of Oscar the Cat, posted June 6th, 2014
Grape Salad Dressing, posted June 3rd, 2014
Would You Know Him?, posted May 25th, 2014
The Coffee Crop Disaster, posted May 22nd, 2014
Medical Manners 101, posted May 17th, 2014
Oscar the Cat, posted April 25th, 2014
Moving, posted April 20th, 2014
Religious Tolerance, posted February 19th, 2014, 2 comments
Red Beans and Rice...BIG Batch, posted August 10th, 2013
Mexican Can-Opener "Casserole", posted August 9th, 2013
The Greatest Love, posted January 19th, 2013, 2 comments
My New Name, posted January 15th, 2013
Dance, posted January 13th, 2013
Goodbye, posted January 10th, 2013
Snickers Diva, posted January 2nd, 2013
Do I Look Like Richard Simmons?, posted December 12th, 2012
Romance, posted November 25th, 2012
A Good Man, posted November 15th, 2012
Are They Lost, posted November 8th, 2012
The Need For Love, posted November 4th, 2012, 5 comments
The Swan, posted October 20th, 2012
Waiting for the Dollar Sale, posted October 16th, 2012
My Inner Puppy, posted September 26th, 2012, 1 comment
The Miracle of the Flowers, posted September 20th, 2012
Part D (Continued), posted September 17th, 2012
Fashion Plot, posted September 3rd, 2012, 1 comment
The Woman Who Lost 100 LBS and Rocks Her Bikini, posted August 21st, 2012, 1 comment
Part D, posted August 17th, 2012
My Lucky Day, posted August 13th, 2012, 2 comments
Life Is Good, posted July 17th, 2012
This Blows, posted July 12th, 2012
Let Me Call You Sweetheart..., posted July 7th, 2012
Web Connection, posted July 6th, 2012
What Do You Want?, posted July 5th, 2012
Incredible, posted June 24th, 2012, 2 comments
A Story About My Salmon Hors D'Douerves...By Popular Request, posted June 21st, 2012, 2 comments
Smoked Salmon Hors D'Oeurves, posted June 19th, 2012
Feeding The Ducks, posted June 18th, 2012
Unusual Animal Movement, posted June 16th, 2012
Cut Your Food Bill in Half, posted June 4th, 2012, 2 comments
The Story Of Rolle, posted June 1st, 2012
Yes, But My Car is Clean, posted June 1st, 2012
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