A MIND FOREVER VOYAGING THROUGH STRANGE SEAS OF THOUGHT, ALONE


This is my second blog.

My first blog chronicled my experiences over three years caring for my dad as he lived through and finally died from Alzheimer's. That is the book that is for sale.

This second blog kind of chronicles of life, what it is like to start your life over in your late 50's. After caretaking, you are damaged, file bankruptcy, and the world doesn't care what you did. After 8 months of unemployment, you wake each day knowing the world doesn't want you. Finally you do find a job, 5 weeks before homelessness, but doing what you did 30 years ago and getting paid what you did 30 years ago. So this is starting over.



The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

LESSONS I LEARNED PART ONE

I guess one responsibility I have to society is to share with everyone what I learned after all these years taking care of my mom and dad.  This will probably be a continuing blog, as I think of new things.

1.  Your legs.  You MUST keep your legs strong and in shape to be able to stand, walk, sit, etc.  It's not about walking two miles, it's about being able to stand, to balance yourself getting off the toilet, the little stuff you take for granted and don't even think about which become major quests in old age.  Once my mom and then dad's legs went, things went from bad to worse very quickly.  In some ways, I got mad at my dad over this one; he saw what happened to his wife but I could not get him to exercise - he just refused to make the effort.

2.  Intestines: there is an old Rabbi who wrote a health book about 1000 years ago and speaks about the importance of regularly daily moving your bowels as being the most important factor in health.  I think he was right.  Blocked bowels are a death sentence to seniors now with Obamacare Rule 76 which says no life saving surgeries after 76.  Regular exercise and lots of fresh whole foods.

3.  Falls: A physical therapist told me once that after the age of 70, if a person falls and breaks their hip their life expectancy is less than 18 months.  Sure, some get by it, but most don't.  Falling is really bad and keeping your legs in shape will go a long way to preventing such events.

4.  Money: Whatever you have, it won't be enough.  Let's face it, if you need to go to a nice nursing long term care place, it's at least 6k a month.  Caretakers, not selfless family member, will run you 20 bucks an hour.  Drugs will run you thousands a year, medicare supplement will run you thousands a year, and even the little things like Depends will bust a budget faster than you can say "Oops, I pooped my pants again".  I didn't use Medicaid and that might have been a mistake; then again if I had signed up for it in March there would be no life insurance check headed my way.  I'm not sure what the answer is here, I certainly will admit I serious screwed up financially taking care of my dad, but all I know is money will be very short when you get old, no matter where you start.

5.  Church.  Okay, here it goes.  My dad and I attended Timberline Church in Fort Collins for almost two years.  We went every weekend, we went to the Wednesday night services, the Wednesday night summer class, and went through the first level of membership to become members.  Timberline is a mega church, probably have almost 30 ministers on staff.  My dad had a big upset in January and we had to leave in the middle of a service; one minister was sitting right in front of us, another was sitting right behind us with his wife.  Not a word, not a call.  Three weeks after that I called and talked to the minister who's job is visiting members in their homes.  Never stopped by, never called.  They knew what was going on and didn't give a crap.  Last week I sent an email to the church letting them know my dad died and they could remove him from the membership list.  Got an email back thanking me for letting them know and they would remove him from the membership list.

And still, not one minister has picked up a phone or stopped by.  So what is the point of this besides me getting in a little dig?  The point is churches are totally ill prepared for the coming explosion of baby boomers hitting old age and the epidemic of Alzheimer's about to burst forth in our country. Oh sure, you are wealthy and retired and they have great programs for bus trips and wine tours.  But when you get truly elderly, can't walk, can't talk, and become broke trying to survive in a society that doesn't give a crap, well, you get the picture.    Churches need to rethink their purpose; they spend all their focus on kids yet kids leave the church in the area of 80%.  Kind of tells you whatever the churches are doing with kids isn't working and ignoring the elderly is a downright sin.  Gee, how about getting all those teens to spend a few hours a week helping to care for the elderly; helping the caretakers with cleaning, housework, etc and actually serving someone rather than sitting around eating pizza and listening to some middle age preacher with his shirt untucked trying to be hip might cut down on that 80% loss of kids to the dark side?

And, just to show you how my mind no longer functions properly, the whole idea for this blog today came to me as I was brushing my teeth and I thought of something specifically I wanted to write about and when I sat down to type I immediately forgot the damn point I wanted to make in the first place.

The stakes are high
We have to seize the chance
A case of do or die
This is our last dance

A moment's hesitation and we always pay the price
Hiding in the wings is just like walking on thin ice

All our yesterdays will soon be ending
Hide the walking shadow on the stage
All our yesterdays be soon forgotten
There's an easy way to turn the page


Alan Parsons Project

Friday, June 28, 2013

WEEK TWO

For three years, I wrote on the blog The Cognitive Dissonance of Barkley Pontree about my dad dying of Alzheimer's and the insanity of trying to care for him on a daily basis.  Hopefully, I will be able to turn that blog into a book, we shall see.

My dad died on June 19th, 2013 and it was not a good final hour.  But that is my burden to carry; this blog is an outlet for me to write as well as a subject probably not often covered; what happens to a caretaker when there is no one left to care for?

The first week was much more difficult than I imagined it would be.  I added to the problem by going cold turkey off of Xanax.  So sleeping is a problem.  And I sold the TV, so that is a withdrawal also.  Who knew I'd miss reruns of Rules of Engagement and Kojak late at night?  Gee, I can't wait until next week when I give up nicotine patches and Pepsi.  Hide the kids and pets.

But today's Chautauqua will be about the trial in Florida, which has certainly replaced California as the strangest state in America, especially when it comes to trials.  This years adventure in crazy is the Zimmerman trial, which probably should not even be a trail, except that the black "send me money" preacher team of Jackson and Sharpton forced the state to press charges on a case that there is no evidence but still might result in a conviction.

I was interested in reading about the young black woman who testified for the prosecution the past two days.  I actually kind of admired the girl.  She is relatively illiterate and was in way over her head, but she got her nails done special which is a fascinating comment.  There are two articles linked on Drudge by black women as to why white people don't understand what she is about and I think everyone should take the time to read them.

One of the subjects that fascinate me is when can you use a gun in self defense?  If someone is pounding on you, beating the crap out of you, are faster, stronger, quicker, and a better fighter than you are, can you pull your gun to save yourself from a beating?  The problem lies in when someone is beating the tar out of you, it won't be until the fight is over when you know if you just got the tar beat out of you or if you are a veggie in a coma or if you are dead.  If Zimmerman were a woman and she thought she was going to be raped, no one would question the decision; but a fight is something different.  People are killed every day in this country in a beating, most never are big news stories, so to say you thought your life was in danger is not a stretch of the imagination.  And once he pulled the gun, he had to use it and not risk it being taken from him and used against him.  This is an interesting question that really needs to be answered about at what level of threat can a person pull a gun and use it in self defense.  Because if Zimmerman is convicted, is the message really going to be if a white person shoots a black person you can assume you are going to have a lot of legal problems in your future?  And the truth is, anytime you throw a punch, you can kill a person.  They can fall and hit their head, a bone could dislodge and cause damage to internal organs, a blow to the chest could stop a heart.  It's not like television folks, you can't Chuck Norris cowboy boot kick a guy in the head five times and have him still standing.  One kick to the head and it's lights out and maybe life over.

The second story I found interesting was the idea that if Zimmerman is acquitted, blacks will riot.  That is a tremendous amount of pressure to put on a jury of all women.  The idea if they hang or find him not guilty, that cities will burn, people will die, or find him guilty and avoid all that conflict.  And will Obama use the riots as justification for the concept of some sort of marital law?  Gun confiscation?  Who knows, I won't put anything past Obama or our government at this point.

So that is what is running through my mind today.  I picked up my dad's ashes this morning; it always surprises me how heavy a persons ashes can be.  I've cleaned just about every room in the apartment now; I've moved my bed to his old bedroom and it was a little strange sleeping in there last night.  I sold his bed frame, the TV, and hopefully soon will sell his Rock Island books, some limited edition prints I've owned, and hopefully his 10k life insurance will arrive soon and I can pay off the two credit cards, a friend, and then take July off to decompress and figure out what I want to do with my life.  I am also getting ready a query letter for literary agents to see if I can publish my old blog as a book, but I suspect it would be wise to have a Plan B and Plan C in place.

Now life is sweet, and what it brings I tried to take
But loneliness, it wears me out, it lies in wait
And all not lost, still in my eye
Shadow of necklace across your thigh
I might have lived my life in a dream, but I swear it, this is real
Memory fuses and shatters like glass
Mercurial future, forget the past
But it's you, it's what I feel



REM