Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Assisted living...

And so it begins...

Today is the day my mom returns to California, to spend her time relinquishing herself of as many personal items as she can bear to part with. It appears that over the course of the last two weeks, as we've visited assisted/independent living facilities here in our fair city, she has finally come to terms with moving back into our "rainy" environ.

You see, she hates the weather here. Absolutely loathes it, really. She is convinced she is a sufferer of SAD (Sun Affective Disorder?), the condition where she gets depressed unless she has a healthy dose of sun every day. Each and every place we visited, she asked whether she would be allowed to install lamps with vitamin D lights -- of course, we had no detractors.

But she has come to terms, at least it seems, that she must return to Tacoma. While one could argue the point, since three of her children, plus five grandchildren (and 2 spouses), live here, she really is just hoping to reconnect with her family in her later years.

She has spent the last 12 years in California, living near to her eldest child. However, with her husband's passing three years ago (is it really that long?) and her 81st birthday having arrived this year, plus the addition of an Alzheimer's patch to her medical regime, even she can't deny that being closer to the bulk of the family is the best choice.

I am saddened. It's difficult to believe that these are the times we find ourselves in. It's a bit overwhelming to know that in the next few years I will become pretty accustomed to the terminology that surrounds the physical/mental and care tactics for an Alzheimer's patient. I am looking forward, though, to being available for her medical visits. At this time, being long-distance supporters, we are at the mercy of HIPPA (spelling?), where most of the information we get comes from mom. It's impossible to argue with the medications she's being given, or the fact that over the last few years she's undergone more surgery and chemotherapy for breast cancer. One doesn't need to speak with the doctor to understand these things.

But that being said, I really want to talk to a doctor. Her doctor. Most of my information comes second and third-hand, from mom, from my sister, from the internet. I want to sit in the room when he/she explains to mom the possibilities for progression, what can we expect, what should we/she do for her. And I know that once this happens, I will be sorry that it's what I wanted. There will be no denying at that point. But doesn't having more and better information allow a person to be more proactive? At least with knowledge in hand, you must make a move. A move can be to "not move." But it's still a choice at that point, an informed choice.

Today's blog is about Alzheimer's, breast cancer, old age, assisted living. But today's blog is also a celebration of sorts. One that speaks of 81 years of real living, of making it to a point in a life where you can say you didn't leave too many stones unturned. My favorite card on the planet is the one that points out that the alternative to having a birthday is to not be here to have it. 81! 81 birthdays! And, no, we're not done yet.

Here's to many more happy ones...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

New neighbors!

An older couple (what does that mean?) has just moved into the middle of the three new houses on the corner across from us. Too bad I'm not really good at baking pies! I do need to come up with a gift to take over and introduce myself, but what? If the roses didn't have bugs, I could take them some flowers. Being allergic myself, I flinch at that. :-)

Funny that I feel the need to connect with this couple, as I've lived here almost 9 years and I hardly know the rest of my neighbors. We kind of live on an isthmus, facing no one, with a house behind and one to the side, but far back. There's no actual house right next-door. I've had conversations over the years with the two houses closest, but there's a guy across the street and behind us who has been nothing but non-neighborly. I think he's the reason we just haven't gotten involved in the homeowners association. He really is mean and kind of weird. Was only nice when he wanted us to help him sue someone (which we didn't).

So maybe the new people are a light in the dark? Haha. I do like my neighborhood, but really because we live kind of separate. I work so much, I don't have time during the day to get to know my neighbors. This way there's no expectation.

So... Do I bring a pie? Some brownies? Or do I just let this pass and not get involved? Not sure yet, but I'll keep you posted... :-)