Sunday, December 31, 2017

Good Bye 2017

Not alpenglow, but so much like it, ten minutes before sunset.
 I'm not sure if I have ever disliked a year quite as much as I detested this one. For so many reasons, it was the worst year... personally, politically, environmentally. It was just one bummer after another. I wanted to wave goodbye to this year with something more uplifting than "Goodbye and good riddance, and please do let the door hit you on the way out..." but I can't.

I'm not going to go into details about politics or the environment. You all know what's going on, and what the future might hold if things keep at this pace of destruction at every level. I'm not sure what can be done. I guess marching in the streets, political involvement, and getting out the vote will be extremely important in 2018. Otherwise... the future looks pretty grim.
A fogbow over the wires on a suburban street
But, really what I want to tell you is what's been going on with my mom. Back in mid December my sister went to the facility to visit with her and found her in the bathroom in a messy excrement situation. Despite my mom's Level II incontinent care, she often heads off to the restrooms alone. Sigh. We all knew what the poop could lead to... a urinary tract infection, which for people suffering with dementia and Alzheimer's is a serious compromise to their already precarious brain function. Ten days ago I spoke with her and she was more garbled and out of it than I had ever heard her before. She was not only not making sense, she was saying words that weren't really words. It blew my mind. So I set an alarm off with emails to my siblings, and my sister took my mom to the doctor and sure enough she had another UTI. She was prescribed an antibiotic and that was that. Well, not exactly, it was the wrong antibiotic, and a new one was prescribed three days later. In the meantime, my twin brother was finally able to drive down to spend some time with her. The timing of that was both good and bad. She definitely needed the support and company, but Michael once again got to see her at the worst time of her UTI-induced brain fog. On his last day there, he called me while he was sitting with her out in the sun. He handed her the phone. She sounded a bit more like herself. I made her laugh (it's my job!). I told her I loved her. She said, "I love you and Roger tremendously." We laughed and laughed. I said "Tremendously? Did you pick that word up from Trump?" We laughed some more.
A moment of zen reflection
This year of my mom's Alzheimer's has been challenging for my siblings and me. Love can't make any of this different or better. We try. Back in January on the day of Trump's inauguration, my mom's decline began in a big way with a UTI and a stroke. My older brother has said that on that day he lost his country and his mother. So sadly true.

So there you go, 2017. Now get out of here and let us all usher in some much-needed peace.

Happy New Year, friends. Sorry for being a bummer, but at least I showed you pretty pictures!

49 comments:

  1. I'm glad your Mom can still laugh. She's a strong woman!

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    1. Susannah-- She is incredibly strong, a part of her nature always.

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  2. Sorry about your mom. Old age can be cruel and for the family, nothing is more so than Alzheimer's. I hope 2018 is a kinder year for you.

    Politically, I believe we need to make the case for our ideas, whatever they might be for what will make a difference. People vote based on hope and we need leaders in the Democratic party who can realistically provide that. They are out there but many have hesitated to run due to the ugliness of our times. Money is what it takes. Marching in the streets might feel satisfying, but money lets the word get out that there are better answers. They can't just be no. I know you didn't ask for politics here but I just feel this isn't over-- not if we have better answers. I truly believe Bernie would have beat Trump and he had ideas. Let's find more like him only younger and then get those ideas out there. This is not over.

    You might watch Myths and Monsters on Netflix. I don't know if it's anywhere else but its a British documentary that tells the story of 'us' as a species and how our myths have been shaped by our times and how we create monsters and gods, in our stories, the ones that last-- sometimes created by the powers of the times. Our human history is not always a proud one but it's not over... and we can still make it good. It's our turn to do that.

    Again, sorry about your mother. It's a disease and not her. That's the hard part.

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    1. Rain-- Old age can indeed be cruel and heartbreaking. I'll check out that documentary on Netflix. Thank you for the suggestion.

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  3. Many hopes and wishes that next year will be better for you, for all of us, and that there will be relief from the challenges we've been dealing with...time for the cycle to change.

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    1. Barbara-- Thank you for your kind good wishes. Yes, time for the cycle to change.

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  4. Well, you probably know how I feel about 2017. Oddly enough, I became confused and started thinking this was 2018 around the time I returned to Round Hill. It came as a bit of a shock when I realized it was still 2017. I actually had to look at several sources to be certain that I wasn't being hoaxed. I suspect that my mind became so fed up with 2017 that it decided "This is it! I'm moving on into 2018!"

    Anyhow, I'm sure you know how I feel about this past year. I've seen enough and it was pretty ugly. Time to turn the calendar and hope for something better.

    Totally understand the situation with your mom. My mom's situation was somewhat different -- more a delirium thing resulting from meds and a recurring infection in her central venous port, but the end result was similar -- frightening mental confusion and personality changes that caused us so much stress and anxiety. Thank goodness that your mom is feeling a bit better again. Antibiotics can really turn things around quickly.

    Well, here's to 2018. Let's hope life gets a little easier and less aggravating!

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    1. Bev-- I am waiting for the clock to strike midnight tonight as if things will somehow change. Somehow I have some last glimmer of hope. Interesting how your brain played a trick on you, probably just being tired of this year and moving on, whether the calendar agreed or not.

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  5. My hopes and wishes for you and your family that life with this illness will become calmer and easier to manage. What counts is your mother's comfort.

    We listened to year review on the local radio this morning and when your country was mentioned, the commentator just let out this sigh followed by a local dialect quote *Arsch huh, Zäng ussenander* (polite translation: get off your arses and open your mouths).

    It will be hard, this new year, in so many ways. But we must remember that we are many.

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    1. Sabine-- My twin brother just emailed the director of the facility to begin the discussion of the lapses in my mother's care and comfort. We're hoping the dialogue will bring about some good changes for the whole place. We loved the quote. Thank you for sharing that with us!

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  6. Bless your heart and your pretty pictures Dear Robin. A finely balanced post. Besides our own personal depressing issues there is the enormous collective depression and sticky ever growing pool of anger and hatred that we have to pull ourselves out of. So in our best superman and superwoman poses, one fist straight up towards the sky, big harumph and up up and away towards normality, sanity, intelligent civil discourse, peace, focus, light, caring and sharing into the future of 2018 we go as we bid 'f&#k off' to 2017. Big hug to you and Roger and I hope I'll see you next year.

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    1. Jsk-- I love your dream of normality, sanity... all of it. We had a good laugh about bidding a "f&#k off" to 2017. Oh yeah, now you're talking our language. We hope to see you in the spring!

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  7. Happy New Year, I can only hope you have a better 2018.

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    1. Bill-- Thank you so much for your good wishes.

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  8. 2017 has been brutal for most of us but even more so for you having to watch your Mom decline. I am so glad by the time you talked to her the last time that she had her humor back. Didn't know that about UTI's but it makes sense.
    I chose to believe 2018 will be better for for you, Roger, your Mom, our country and planet Earth. Happy New Year

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    1. Patti-- I am so hoping that 2018 will be better in every way. Happy New Year to you!

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  9. Sending love once again. It is painful to witness the decline of those we love so deeply. My experience corroborates what Gandhi said, that love is the most subtle power in the universe. It works in mysterious ways and because we experience it we also experience grief and loss and powerlessness. My experience is that all that was left after my parents and R died was their love and my love for them. I can still feel their love and my love. Mysterious.

    There was a heavy icy fog this morning, but it has lifted to reveal a beautiful last day of this heartbreaking year.

    I love your photo of the fogbow and in your zen reflection, I see a koan trailing behind a flying fish who is kissing a Redwood tree!

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    1. am-- Ah you remind me of how I feel about my dad. It is a timeless love. I will remember that. We see a fish in the zen reflection too!

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  10. Robin - As always, my heart goes out to you regarding your mom. I have been there with my mother, as you know. Her 100th birthday is in a couple of months, should she get there. People often act like it's some marvelous milestone. In her case, it is not. It is yet more time in twilight limbo.
    It is so important that you trust the people who take care of your mom. Things can happen even when you do trust them. And I live about six miles away from my mom, and things are still a s garbled ad n upsetting as your situation. What I'm trying to say is, please don't let guilt eat away at you. I could go evrry dsy and there would still be craziness and blankness. And continual mourning of her fading essence.
    As you say, get her to laugh. And tell her you love her.
    Onward into the breach of 2018...

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    1. isabelita-- Your words were just what my heart needed to hear. Thank you so much for that. It's good to know we are not alone in the mourning of our loved ones while they are still here breathing and not making any sense. Thank you, my friend, thank you.

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  11. I do not recall any year of more loss, more sadness, more anger, more frustration, more ineffective communication, or more corruption. I am so ready to look back at this year instead of feeling like I am glued inside it, totally impotent to change it. I hope we have learned from our mistakes, that we remain active and vocal, that we educate and inform, that we push our friends and neighbors toward the precincts. I hope that medical research will offer us options for treatment for dementia, something I hear may be coming around the bend. I am glad your brother is working as an advocate and hope his letter and the monitoring the family does will bring about change. By the way, there is an ongoing regimen of antibiotic therapy in low dose form often used with elderly women who continue to have UTIs. This is a common hygiene problem in that population, even those without dementia. We wish you and Roger and your families a healthy and happy 2018, hopefully much improved from the one we are leaving behind. Happy New Year, Robin. <3

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    1. Sky-- I am looking forward to the magic hour when the clock strikes 12:00, and we can put this year behind us for good. I am hoping for a much better, more sane and hopeful 2018. Our virtual community of friends has sustained me, and I end the year with so much gratitude. Thank you, my friend.

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  12. Robin, much love to you and Roger. We'll just have to keep looking for beauty in this world, and hope we can fight to save some of it.

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    1. isabelita-- Beauty and love are the balance to all else.

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  13. Sending much love across the miles to your entire clan. Been through it, very little is worse.This year can suck it.

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    1. Kate-- Thank you for your love. And yes, LAST year can definitely suck it. Glad it's OVER!

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  14. I could not agree more about 2017! Good riddance. Hope your mom improves soon and happy Nrw Year to all.

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    1. kenju-- Thank you for your good wishes!

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  15. I was thinking about your mother the other day and wondering how the care situation is going. God, it's hard to watch this disease progress. There was a time when I posted a lot about my mother's daily challenges and triumphs, she was so sweet and funny and still so much herself. But years have passed and there is seldom anything sweet or funny to report anymore. She is just another sufferer trapped in her body. I want so much for her to die (and I feel like I can say that here without judgment), and I want all the heaven stories to be true so she can be with my father again. Same for your mom, dear Robin,except not with my dad in heaven (lol why do I always have to veer off into inappropriate humor) Anyway, sorry for what your mom is going through. You and your siblings are doing a good job, though. Your mother is still cherished by her children and that's a beautiful thing ��.

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    1. Miz S-- If not for inappropriate humor there would hardly be anything to laugh out loud about anymore. Thank you for that! I'm going to copy and paste your comment and share it with my siblings. We are tribe, we children of much-loved suffering moms. Sigh.

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    2. P.S. those question marks at the end of my comment were supposed to be heart emojis, dammit

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  16. Thinking of you and sending love.

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  17. I hope 2018 will be a better year for you and your family -- and certainly for all of us politically and environmentally! (Not sure how the latter might happen with Trump still in office, but the world moves in mysterious ways.) I know it's hard dealing with your mom's illness, but she is so fortunate to have you all looking out for her.

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    1. Steve-- I hope for a lot of mysterious world movement in 2018. Something has to balance the madness. Thank you for your kind words.

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  18. Thank you for sharing your mom's medical problem and how they came abpout. I had not thought about how much pain a UTI can cause a person. With her health, it is so much worse. I'm glad she's feeling better. I hope the new year brings about positive changes, all the way around. Happy New Year!

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    1. oldwhitelady-- It's not so much the pain, which in fact she never mentions, it's a concurring change in her already malfunctioning brain. It's really such a strange thing when it happens. Happy New Year, and thank you for stopping by!

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  19. I, and many others, collectively gave 2017 the middle finger as it left. I can only hope that 2018 is better for all of us.

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    1. Sharon-- Ah yes, the middle finger. The best way to wave good bye to that miserable year. Happy New Year to you!

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  20. Have a blessed new year, friend!

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    1. NCmountainwoman-- We did. I am so afraid of the future, but also hopeful that something will change. So good to hear from you!

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  22. Dear Robin Andrea and Roger,
    Wishing you both and all the family a Wonderful New Year filled with Happiness, Joy, Good Health and Peace!

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    1. sonia-- Happy New year to you and your family!

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  23. Oh, man, UTI's. My mother had more than her share of them, and they can really do a number on a person. We really feel for you and your family, Robin.

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    1. Mark-- This getting old stuff is way more challenging than I ever thought. Thank you for your kind words.

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