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    • CommentAuthoroakridge
    • CommentTimeMar 29th 2020
    The Spanish Flu took my grandfather when he was in the army, 1918. My Dad was just a young boy. When his Mother died 2 yrs later, he and his younger sister were put in an orphanage. Through genealogy records we discovered there was family on his Mothers side still living. This has always been our family question. What happened? My Father would never, ever, under any conditions talk about it, and his sister was too young to remember much. The few records that existed were lost when the courthouse burned. I found so much family history but we could never discover exactly what happened to his Mother nor find where she was buried.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeApr 2nd 2020
    "Do you want coronavirus with that??" the voice coming through the speaker asked. No thanks. Just the egg mcmuffin and the coffee, thanks.

    There's no getting away from this. Sports, entertainment, news, and politics are all coronavirus all the time. Normally, the media would be full of Trumpisms and the election but that stuff has all disappeared into the gaping maw of all coronavirus all the time. It's enough to choke an elephant.

    The thing about fear is that fear is not the thing. Fear comes along with the thing like a back seat driver, but has nothing else to do with whatever events are going on. Fear is like a seven year old child with a learning disability and a cattle prod. In exactly the same way it never gets tired of prodding you that THIS could happen and THAT could happen, over and over, with no other plans whatsoever.

    That's how it was over half a century ago until, with my heart in my throat, I crawled out of bed and slid underneath it in the dark. There was nothing there except me being stupid. Later in life I realized that evil is boring. It's either sadism, revenge, unbalanced chemistry, ill treatment, or a mind that has gone bye-bye. Evil is like the slow kid in class who just doesn't seem to catch on. It's like the Rocky and Bullwinkle thing. "Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat", says Bullwinkle. "What?? Again?!?" says Rocky every time.

    Here's what I want. I want lazers shooting out of my eyes capable of taking out a coronavirus at twenty yards. I want an impermeable ion shield that comes on automatically at the slightest threat while the lazers shooting out of my eyes make short work of any Captain Hook virus cells with ideas. Or even without ideas.

    Instead, I'm self isolating like I've been told where there isn't anywhere to go anyway. We are well and truly locked down. This is unprecedented in history and no one knows how effective it will be while we watch the number of cases increase daily. Without New York city and across the river, the American numbers would be almost halved. I hear the US army corp of engineers is building numerous hospitals there and the first military hospital ship docked there a few days ago. It's going to take 'normal' patients from other hospitals so that they can free up beds to deal with the virus.

    This all reminds me of that famous line in the Groucho Marx movie. He's leaving a boring party and speaking to the host says, "I've had a great time. But this wasn't it."

    Stay safe everyone.
    • CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeApr 2nd 2020
    Don't fall over but Pelosi and Schiff are already working on doing an investigation into how Trump handled this. They can't even wait until this country is back up and running.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeApr 3rd 2020
    Seven minute video of someone biking around New York city on March 21:
    • CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeApr 3rd 2020
    Interesting comparison of how things have changed. I have been to Time Square and it was sure not empty!

    There was a doctor talking this morning on the news who commutes by train. She said when she goes home it is almost impossible to find a place to sit to be 6 feet away because so many on the trains.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeApr 9th 2020
    All is not lost even though the stories that are written, are written. What I am seeing is crucial in this long, evolving journey is to keep finding my ways of accomodating what is before me. That was true in public school already, has been true throughout my life, and seems especially true these days.

    It seems that way for a number of reasons. I'm much older and so much less indestructible. Most of my life is behind me and so I'm more fragile and nostalgic. I've been through a lot where I have top flight professional advise that that is true - I, and every other caregiver of a long term fatal disease, goes through a great ordeal.

    The most important single thing, I believe, was to hold on to that idea as truth. That I wasn't doomed to always feel the way I did when it all crashed down, that I had an abundance of reasons to feel as bad as I did, and that I had to learn how to let go of the way things were with some time, so that I could actually move forward in the way things are now.

    Some of the people I know have argued that I'm not moving forward because there is no visible sign of anything different. I've changed so much I don't worry about what other people think either way. We've all moved back to our original roles which is that I'm fine with deciding things myself and I'm fine with friends having other opinions. I was very sensitive to just being present with other people for some time, let alone with them arguing that I'm wrong.

    I'm not happy as I've been saying, but that wouldn't be me. I'm not unhappy either. I'm just here and feeling like the older version of myself I actually am. I turn 70 this year and most of the last two decades were hardly noticeable the way a normal person would notice themselves in years going by.

    I'm a glass half full kind of guy. I don't like sugar coating or pollyanna thinking (for me) but I think severe outlooks and too much seriousness are just as half baked. What I naturally am didn't matter most of this time afterward because it never came into play while I wasn't feeling natural. Most of that time was a long progression of feeling less bad which isn't that easy to notice. It was only as some things resolved that other feelings and thoughts became noticeable and then some time more to become tangible.

    I want. That's one of them. I had no access to 'I want' for a long time and I didn't know that was a thing until enough bad had faded or gone for me to move in to thinking like that again. I never lost 'I don't want' which on the night of her death included everything. Now I don't want my freezer to die while this virus is going on.

    That fridge was old when I bought the house in 2006. Now it's 14 years older. The whole time it has occasionally made very strange noises, like it's communicating with aliens. Now would not be a good time to go kaput. In fact, when this dies down, I'd better get my behind out there and buy a new one.

    Some friends are going buggy in this bleak landscape. I know better. I know 'bleak landscape' because I spent a huge chunk of my life there - and this isn't it.

    My sincere hopes for the health of those locked down in nursing homes and for everyone here. Stay safe.
    • CommentAuthorpaulc
    • CommentTimeApr 9th 2020
    I am thankful that my wife’s facility hasn’t had any cases. I am sure they will at some point. They are working to prevent any invasion from spreading.

    I’ve been reading about ventilators. Very unpleasant, and with long term ventilation I’m not sure if I would put my wife on one. Her quality of life is good and I want her to keep it. I am afraid that if she was on a ventilator for COVID-19 she would be much worse off. A discussion to have if she ever gets it and she does poorly.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeApr 9th 2020
    I had a do-not-intubate order for my husband. I think ventilators are considered life support. After hearing what people (even young people) who are put on ventilators go through during and after the procedure, I'm thinking of signing such an order for myself. My greatest fear is becoming helpless due to a stroke or medical treatment.
    • CommentAuthoroakridge
    • CommentTimeApr 10th 2020
    We are still on the upswing here, one day last week I was shocked at the number of new deaths posted in one day. Then heard the majority were elderly from one nursing home. They didn't identify the place either. I still think my "illness" is being caused by the mold problems outside with record heat and rain. I thought I was over it, feeling fine, worked outside Wednesday and Thursday, trying to pull the mulch back over my tender plants in time for a freeze last night. This 82 degrees to 30 degrees in one afternoon is just too much.

    I had a sore throat last night, threw up about 2:30 am but got up at 8:30 feeling fine. Was sitting here reading about 10am, when DH got up and began to feel very cold, which went to freezing chills. He turned the heat up, piled blankets over me, and I felt very sick. But once the chills went away and I warmed up I was able to sleep awhile and not ready to go dancing but don't feel bad tonight. I just can't believe this is covid-19 as I've not ran a fever - unless we consider the 98.6 a temp for me.

    DH ran temp for several days but no other symptoms other than fatigue. Just don't know.
    • CommentAuthoroakridge
    • CommentTimeApr 10th 2020
    On a similar topic, I needed to talk to my dr about DH. Nurse says not possible, not even email, only way is e-visit. That isn't an option since he is always with me, listens to every phone call and if I try and get away for privacy, it causes problems. Can't access internet in library or other facility these days so decided I'd just stick it out. She told me to go ahead and schedule an appt for late May. Not life or death or I might get upset.

    DH is having trouble swallowing, not all the time and not with any particular food. I know this is common, just not sure how to help him. I also don't know if his extreme fatigue is, az, laziness, from simply not getting any exercise or what. Years ago he had severe chronic fatigue syndrome, had to take a 3 month leave from work to recover. I tested positive for the Epstein Barr syndrome, which is what he started with but never had the problems he did.

    The light in our shower is out, DH says shower in daylight. It's high, and I think the entire box has to be unscrewed to access the flourescent tubes. Not particularly hard but takes two people. Has to be done during the day as I have to shut the power off in there. Been almost two weeks, so very frustrating. Can't even have someone in to help me with the stay-home order in place, and DH can't/won't, one or the other.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeApr 10th 2020
    In England they have a lot of canals. They came about during the industrial revolution where moving things by canal was part of that. Almost nobody ships anything by canal these days and certainly not pulled along be a horse and it's one horsepower.

    The Brits, however, have restored most of their canals and one very popular thing they do is what they call narrowboating. The canals these days are full of long, thin boats that are 6'10" wide and often over 50 feet long. Many live on them moving around from place to place through the hundreds of canals that crisscross England.

    One of the things I do is follow some of them. They do weekly videos and I've been following some of them for several years now. They're locked down just as we are. Here's a 13 minute video David made a couple of days ago showing his typical day in lockdown.
    • CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeApr 11th 2020
    Here there are still service people working if you need them. As for you husband's condition, I would say if he is having problems swallowing that would warrant a doctor phone call at the very least. I love how they think everyone can do video calls or they think they have the option or want to. I have contacted my doctor via email. I can't believe they have said not even that way.

    It is horrible the way they have shut down medicine for all but the Covid 19 cases - or it seems that way. People still get sick, still need medical care or at least a doctor visit.
    Wolf, how do you find these off-beat hilarious youtube videos?
    • CommentAuthorpaulc
    • CommentTimeApr 13th 2020
    People still get sick. But we need to keep our medical staff healthy. And we do not want to catch COVID-19 at the doctor's office or hospital. But this is why pandemics are so dangerous, they reduce medical services for everyone. They are just trying to minimize contact.

    Today was unexpectantly busy. I won't go into details but I had to go to the office to make someone happy and then the work just fell from the skies. Still waiting for the last work to get done but I'm home. It did give me a chance to pick up an invoice with some information I need for a call tomorrow.
    • CommentAuthoroakridge
    • CommentTimeApr 15th 2020
    Charlotte, I could probably find someone who would come in to fix the light, but I don't know anyone personally and don't think I want a stranger inside right now. The pump man is working, he came and marked out where they have to dig, then another man came this morning to mark the water line - outside. Not sure when they will begin, or exactly what they have to do - nor how much it's going to cost - but has to be done. When they have to come in the house I'm going to have them come in the side door - nearest the bathroom. The utility closet is actually on the other side of the bathroom so they have to cross through. So I'll either stay far away from them or go upstairs while they are inside.

    I am so tired of hearing about this virus, I don't watch the news anymore and don't look on the computer. As you said, people still have a life outside the virus. I've not been out but gd said no one was out yesterday when she had to pick up a prescription - but there wasn't much to buy anyway. I saw where Walmart has all their garden aisles closed as they are not essential items. dh is almost out of coffee so I may have to go out in a day or so and see what I can get.
    • CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeApr 22nd 2020
    I want to go on a journey but where do I go?

    I did take a 'journey' to the chiropractor on Monday.

    My other journey's have been to Taco Bell, Subway or Panda Express. Yesterday I journeyed to Panda Express where they had a special if you ordered online 4 bowls for $20 - basically buy 3 get 1 free! I figured 4 meals - yesterday lunch and dinner, same today. I am disappointed because they are not doing brown rice right now so have to settle for fried rice.

    I have not journeyed to the store since the 6th - can't believe that long. I set my alarm for 6 am tomorrow since Winco has senior hours 6-7:30 am. Now sure I can get up that early - probably get up, shop then come home and nap! If I make it up that will be my journey for tomorrow.

    I have chiropractic appointments for the next three Mondays, so I at least know I will have a journey to go on those days!

    Sucks with gas prices so low but you don't need to fill up! Would be a great time to fill up my motorhome but I have to buy tires and use up the 6 year old gas in it. Finally got it down to 1/2 tank just letting it run for a while. Amazing how quickly it goes when you are driving but when parked it goes slowly.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeApr 22nd 2020
    With the gas so cheap, you could consider going for a drive where the drive itself is either nice or not seen before.
    • CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeMay 7th 2020
    Hope no one minds but I am bringing this to the top so it doesn't get lost in the spam. I always click on the spam so it shows as read to get it out of the way.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeMay 13th 2020
    Interesting afternoon. Neighbor rode by on his horse. Haven’t seen him in years. Years ago he was thrown from his horse in the valley below us and my husband went down there to stay with him waiting for EMTs and helicopter. Before that he was riding by one day and tipped his hat and said “Howdy Ma’am”. I mean... cowboy had me at hello. We knew him and his wife just to wave to and exchange Christmas cookies. Watched his son grow up.

    So today he rode by on his horse, Wrangler. Beautiful copper color. When we spoke the horse came over to say hello. Horses seem to like me. The guy was a cop and Wrangler was his police horse. He said they were all in a line once and someone asked the horses names. He said Wrangler and the next guy said Levi and so on down the row. They were all lying, of course, but it’s a funny story. Turns out he’s divorced now. Has been for a few years. The son is now 6’1”.

    He has his 93 year old father living with him now. He has dementia. I gave him my phone numbers and said to call if he needs another pair of hands, or a calming person to help with the Dad sometime.

    It was nice talking with him. Really nice Cowboy. And it was really nice cuddling with the horse. Then another neighbor stopped by and gave me a shoebox full of avocados. I recently saw someone said you can freeze them once they ripen. Gonna have to try that.
    • CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeMay 13th 2020
    Avocados yield the best result when frozen as puree. Place peeled, cut avocado into a food processor or blender. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon or lime juice for each avocado to prevent browning. Pureeing in a motorized appliance ensures that the acidic juice distributes evenly to all the avocado flesh. Mashing avocados by hand works, too, but make sure you blend the juice thoroughly into the avocado to avoid any brown patches.

    Freeze avocado puree in ice cube trays to create cubes perfect for adding to smoothies, spreading on a sandwich, or serving as baby food. If you plan to make guacamole or other dip, freeze the puree in the portion size needed for a recipe. Pack the puree into zipper-style freezer bags or freezer containers. Leave one-half inch of head space in containers.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTime4 days ago
    There appear to be four main ways in which life continues to confront me that together dominate my outlook about what my life is:

    1. Climate change. Time does not heal all wounds, but it does provide time and distance from the overly cruel and long assault on the senses which caregiving is to the victim who is the care giver. The daily cruelty stops and time begins passing without fresh pain.

    That begins when we enter what is normally considered grief, and most people have backed up issues in the same way a flood victim might be done with swimming through the disaster safely, but hasn't had time to take in the devastation of their home or themselves without one.

    When that disaster takes years to inflict itself, it usually takes extended time to fade. Victimization is both extent and duration - and dementia tends to go to town on both. Time passing after such events is usually over rated, but it does have a fading effect with enough of it.

    2. Bomb shelter psychosis. The first time we go into a bomb shelter to survive an attack, we are usually miffed, indignant, and unwilling - in other words, normal reactions. As the attacks continue over years, going into the bomb shelter transforms into an awareness (conscious or not) that this is how we survive the assault. Spend enough time needing that and it gets tough getting people to come out - even when the attacks are guaranteed not to return.

    3. Victimization transforming into reality. This is a form of Stockholm Syndrome where oppression becomes our state. Dementia caregivers have often had their entire lives transformed in real ways, and have managed to survive that by adapting. What they adapt to is vanishing expectations, where it might actually take more courage to come away from the surivability of that than it took to shrink into that state.

    4. Reinvestment into what was painfully lost. There is a vast difference in surviving this (which almost everyone does), and reopening the spirit to a new round of life. Even when later, the memories of Alzheimer's seem distant and life feels fairly normal, the average person has developed deep feelings about burning themselves on the hot stove again.

    There is a period little discussed which I believe is far more common than said, which is that even while parts of us want more life, other parts are protecting us from dangers we needed everything to survive. Our conscious minds tend not to see the extent of that with good reason, but the full mind remembers and protects from what it knows are very real dangers.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTime4 days ago
    -page 2

    There is a wide variation in people in numerous ways. Some people are smart or learn things quickly. Some people find it hard to learn things. Some people have deep emotions and some don't feel much emotion. Some people adapt to change well, and some struggle with change. Some people are very competitive and some don't want winning and losing. Some people are very controlling and some think of life as compromises. Some people are naturally comfortable with themselves, some people have no idea what that means.

    When we try to lump things into the human dual viewpoint of, for example, good and bad, we miss the complexities of how things actually are. Duality in thinking is like making fine furniture with a sledgehammer. People aren't like that and neither are you. Go back to the last paragraph and find yourself in those six aspects. Realize that many aspects were left out in using just six, for example shyness versus extrovert.

    This might be interesting reading for some, but when you're in the bomb shelter and the bombs are going off, there aren't many options. It's after grief and shock that these ideas have potential to come into play for most. For extroverts who don't feel deep emotions, it might seem easier, but they have their own hurdles.

    Ultimately, it might be that one universal idea that applies to all the others is the belief in the inherent validity that having life brings along the authorization to be. Our ignorant and sweeping generalizations about anyone else have nothing to do with that. One hundred percent of our authority to be ourselves comes from within us. I personally believe that is designed and is universal in the true sense of that word. Inert matter follows the laws of physics without exception. Living matter chooses whether the next step taken is left or right.

    There is no reliable right or wrong choice. That is true because the choices of every other living thing and the inert matter following physics may as well be random from the viewpoint of any living organism. There is only one truly predictable thing about life. We remain alive to make further choices until we are not where both parts of that are certain.

    Most people don't like thinking to these extremes. We don't have to. We can choose to ignore this, forget it, or not read it for example. That's what authorization is. It's the authority to be ourselves. Some people have no problem moving on or getting into new things afterwards. Most do. None of that comes into play most of the time anyways because we're usually in the moment. When we do look at our lives, it might be better to understand we're entitled and even responsible to that, and the more we know about what anything means to us, the better our chances of spotting more meaningful targets.
    • CommentAuthoroakridge
    • CommentTime3 days ago
    Wolf, it amazes me how you can get into my mind.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTime12 hours ago
    OMG. Bomb Shelter Psychosis.
    Last winter a young man from the neighborhood bought some tools from me. I liked him and was impressed with how he was supporting himself and working to build a future so I gave him more tools. A few days ago he called asking if he could buy a fishing rod that he couldn’t afford last time. I spent the afternoon going through he rods in my attic and found a small tackle box to go with it. Made sure the reel worked. And put together an extra drill package I thought he might be able to use. I met him downtown cause he moved and didn’t want to drive all the way out here. We talked for about an hour or more about all kinds of things, including philosophy for crying out loud. He told me he’s made a lot of money with the tools I gave him and his boss is really jealous that he got them for free, but he didn’t tell the boss my name. He showed me some other new tools he had bought. He asks a lot of questions about how I came to be in the Air Force and how I learned how to do some of the things I’ve been doing. He knew I’d be interested in his new tools. I’m really proud of him and told him so. I think it really made him feel good that some random lady in the neighborhood is proud of him. I enjoyed the conversation very much.

    Then I thought since I was all the way over on the other side of the valley I could run some errands. There were a number of stops I could have made. But I found myself driving past each turn off and rushing to get home. Ran inside and closed the door and just leaned back against it hardly able to breathe.

    Couldn’t figure out where all that anxiety came from. But I’ve learned to listen to myself and do what I need to do at the moment and not whatever I “should” do. Bomb Shelter Psychosis describes the feeling perfectly.

    Since then I’ve been home, but everything looks different somehow. No idea what it means. I frequently find myself wondering if “having life brings along the authorization to be.”
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTime5 hours ago
    bhv, I wrote that badly. 'Having life brings along the authorization to be' means being alive includes the license - but not necessarily the usage of that license. We're entitled to be ourselves. What we do or don't do isn't part of that.

    I have similar reactions. Sometimes they're quite subtle. The crux is that I don't react to going out or doing something. I react coming back to bunker. That can be as subtle as having thoughts about possibilities on the way and there, and having thoughts about the limitations and unlikelihoods on the way back. The function is that you are having complete normality which cannot be sustained because the outlook is still visitor and not resident, and so it's back to the bunker (which also doesn't exist - they're all mental outlooks).

    It used to be the opposite. I used to react to going out or doing something. In fact being around people brought anxiety and wore me out back then.. That's progress for you.

    The fundamental problem for most of us is our need to belong somewhere. That doesn't become a nuanced awareness until the buildings stop burning and the land returns to some semblance of normal. That is our grief, shock, depression, anxiety, and whatever went into our bundle, have dissipated enough to notice other things. That's when this dance begins which is the simultaneous re-insertion into 'things' while at the same time still being entangled in the long tail of the rarely respected, serious stuff we went through.

    If I may, you've sounded more willing recently than I am. Consider taking stock of the dungeon you're actually in and both how it's a pretty nice bomb shelter and how it's OK that we need time to come around more fully. Secondly, consider going to play golf, and reviewing your interest in basketball games (tall men), flea markets, antique car shows, and other local gatherings where your mechanical aptitude might combine with being around people with similar (even mild) interests. Don't solve. Just attend.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTime3 minutes ago
    Yeah. Usage of that license is a good description. Also visitor, not resident.

    I’ve been trying to understand what is so difficult about living alone now and realized that when I lived alone before I had that sense of belonging from school or work or helping care for my siblings. We were retired for 21 years before he died and he was my sense of belonging. OMG it’s physically painful to be without that even while not wanting to return to Alzheimer’s hell.

    My doctor gave me a referral to a psychiatrist because I’m still such an emotional wreck. Sometimes I think about calling. But I have a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. So what kind of help could that person provide? I don’t think so. But I’m far from ok. I’m glad you’ve stayed here and are far better at expressing some of these concepts than I am.

    “If I may...” I’ve been so happy to hear how willing you’ve been recently. I was just starting to try exploring a bit when this pandemic hit. Now I’m assessing risks of various activities, and whether I care about the risk. Gonna try golf soon. Walking with a pull cart by myself has very little risk.