Love is Enough

 

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John Lennon might have said all you need is love, but I’m not sure it is entirely true. Nor, am I certain ‘love is enough.’

This is an adoption post. I’ve been adopted. My last step dad gave my little sister and me his name, for better or for worse. I went to see a judge (about the only time I had an excused absence in Jr High that was completely allowed!) and I spent ages alone with him discussing how I didn’t mind having my dad’s last name. I was glad to have been adopted, it could not have been easy for a grown man to legally become responsible for two young girls who had no real father for most of a decade.

I learned, recently, my niece is also hoping to adopt. Although, they will do this as young people (29-30’s) getting a baby. I am going to be the great aunt, so to speak, but I’m so nervous for this small one. Princess told me about the process. She and her spouse are adopting a ‘domestic’ child. (which seems awkward already) The place they are going thru is in the PNW and is an offshoot of the orphan trains of bygone years. I’m not sure I understand the program, but needless to say, they have had to fill out reams of paperwork on their families. The history of their families. The fact that Princess has a mom of 4 dads, that Princess had two dads (One who vanished and no one knows yet where he might be), and that her spouse had a dysfunctional family as well. They look this over carefully and then mom’s to be choose which yeast gets to raise their little bun. The biological parent and grandparents have visitation rights, but no actual rights. (I didn’t get this) This is to help the adopted child realise they are a member of a family or more. The whole thing seemed confusing.

Princess is in incredibly poor health, she has a stellar job, and her spouse has at least one child from a previous relationship. (He skated around child support for years, I’m assuming he’s paying that now) As our short conversation continued, I was getting a low blood sugar and feeling out of sorts. Then, Princess told me if anything happened to them, my sister would have guardianship of the child. My sister. Princess loves her ‘mommy’ very much and told me that she and her husband discussed everything and decided that ‘love was enough.’ I was certain sure my glucose was making me not hear things straight, but I did.

I decided to keep my mouth shut and hope to God if they do get a baby, they survive to help it grow up. Adoption is a huge step, I get how places want to scope out the best parents for a child, and I’m sure all those thousands they’ve spent already are for a great family. The agency is going to visit Princess and her husband at their house to see if it is an appropriate home. Princess has a Diabetic cat (she shakes when she has to give it shots, she has definite tremors), a huge loving dog, and a wonderful spot to live in the SeaTac area. I hope they don’t go further up the tree to her mom, though. Not to mention drifting to the other side where I might be!

 

Hairy Situations

Last night, when I washed my hair I noticed a lot more shedding than usual. I was disturbed and researched essential oils that might help stop hair loss. This morning, it was naturally gicky from the oils, so I washed it again and saw even more strands collecting on my comb after. This time I researched more about the hair loss thing. There is a science and an actual career surrounding hair. Beyond the lady at the salon who cuts and chats and knows everything about you and your dog and your cousin’s cat. (And probably styles your cousin’s spouse’s hair, too) This person is called a Trichologist. I know, it sounds like a disease, but it isn’t!

I learned that hair reacts to all kinds of things. Dead cells that are affected by everything from diet to stress. It appears it takes about 3 months for hair to react to stress and that makes perfect sense. About 3 months ago it was January. In January, I had made plans to leave AK to return to Oregon. In January, most of my life seemed to be tumbling into a dank hole. I had to cancel my flights, my endocrinologist had to tell me she couldn’t take care of me anymore, most of my stalwart supports were growing away from me, my body was ill, and mum was getting sicker. (she’s always getting sicker, I keep thinking there must be a limit to how sick a person can get. Obviously, mom is an anomaly).  Yes, it made perfect sense when I read the article about why hair can suddenly shed at a greater rate.

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In despair, I also read it takes 6 weeks for any positive changes to make a difference. I decided it needed cut off. It is so ridiculous it seems like oversized daddy long legs when I see the tumble of threads in the sink or on the wall of the shower where I collect them to toss out after. (I also have a trap in the drain, but it fills up too fast with the lost locks.) I don’t like short hair. It is hard to take care of. It needs taken care of all the time. At the moment, I pull it back and attempt to trim things on my own. (Badly) Easy. After a bit, I realized something. I don’t need to cut it short, exactly. But, I can have it chopped off shorter. Shoulder length (or thereabouts) is not entirely shingled to not much at all and it will still be in the realm of fairly easy. Now, I just have to find time to get it done. I am NOT going to attempt to trim off 4 or more inches on my own. (Probably more….) I have a very good friend who cuts hair, she’s just incredibly busy. I might ask her-

Then, I discover Medicare has changed a bit. Mum isn’t going to be allowed to test as often as she does. So, I’ll get her a cheap glucometer and strips. Since she’s not using her insulin pump anymore, it won’t matter what glucometer she uses. She’s so sick now, anyway. As her nurse last week said, just let her be happy in what she’s doing. I’m still having problems pertaining to the pain pump paperwork. (oooh, alliteration!) I am hoping I can get that resolved on Wednesday.

My sister was going to visit on Sunday, but mom didn’t feel good. I texted her to let her know mum was not up to visitors and she responded, ‘We did try.’ She’s on her way in a few minutes again. I’ll update after her family leaves!

Great. I’m in the doghouse again. My oldest niece called and she talked to mum while my sister was here. Princess lives in WA and works in YMCA. Her office is an original part of the building. Well, mum tried to tell her that my dad might have been a patron of the YMCA in those days. I told mom that was improbable. Mom got very upset with me. Dad, at the time when the original YMCA was created would have been in elementary school. I’m not sure he’d have been one of those youth who would have benefited from the facility. But, since I’m never right and she always is…I should have kept my mouth shut. She’s also annoyed because we were talking about spring and gardens and I’d mentioned my Oregon garden was needing a lot of work. I laughingly suggested mum should come down and weed for me. Mom said she’d love to, she’ll need to sell everything up here and move with me. (I do NOT want her to move in to my house for keeps.) I can hardly get her to go to a church service. How on earth will she survive traveling for several hours and living in a house with stairs? She’d sleep in the master bedroom, The Craftsman and I would have to move outside to the little house. (NOT where the TV is or a bathroom and all in all, it would be kind of fun in summer, til it got too hot, and distinctly uncomfortable in winter.) If she could travel, I’d send her to MN for a few weeks. More improbability! Then, she found out something I found out on Friday when I was at lunch with our retired pastor friend. I said I already knew that and learned when her friend spoke to me. Mum sadly said in a little tiny voice, ‘I’d have liked to talk to her.’ Thank goodness I didn’t tell her I went to lunch with the amazing woman.

She says she hurts today, because of the weather. It is warmer and things are melting and it is damp. Oh,, and am adding a hairy woodpecker photo, just because. (Hairy woodpeckers look like a Downy, but are a couple of inches larger. Downy are about 6 in and Hairy are about 9.) Maybe I can jump out of this hairy situation!

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Overflowing

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I know it is a sort of 70’s, but I feel like these last two days have been inside a Barry Manilow song. Sure, there were some truly mucked up bits. I offended a friend badly and mum’s car’s brake light came on suddenly (that was scary. Turned out it I somehow depressed the emergency brake. I had no idea where the darn thing WAS on a Pacifica, much less that it was the problem! The squire for Sir Wrench fixed it right up.). Mum’s going thru fittings as fast as Trump shuffles thru White House personnel and trying to get the paperwork sorted so she can have her pain pump filled closer to home is driving me bonkers!

However, the days have been crowded with many delightful people. The lady who was assisting me with the paperwork was kind and friendly and extremely helpful. Even though I need to go back on Monday, she made it seem like it wasn’t a horrible inconvenience. I was able to communicate with KK (Kurt, from the header photo) for quite a while, something we’ve not done in months! I talked to SSC for a very long time, I’ve not done that in ages, either. Friday, I had lunch with a good friend who helped me look at where I might be headed in a different way. (I honestly thought I was without skills of any kind, useless, and a dead end. She showed me I might not be.) I also spoke to one of my favorite people in the world just before she went to sleep prior to her flight back to China, where she lives and works as a librarian. (I’ve not seen or spoken to her in years!) One of my favorite people from my older school days texted me, I was glad she was home. I had thought she was still on vacation in a much too sunny clime. (Cabo??)  We texted for a long time. I had trouble sleeping, as usual, and in the wee hours of the new day, was fortunate enough to message TnT for more than several minutes. Completely rested me. I slept for almost 5 hours, straight thru alarms and the dog and mum! I woke, took a fast shower, and dashed out the door to get fittings and the paperwork sorted as best I could. (I had wanted to wear a skirt, but opted for a shapeless favorite black sweater, tan jeans, black boots, and my black and brown chiming earrings. It wasn’t my Sunday clothes, but I felt on top of the world anyway. A good rest will do that.) Those errands were done before noon, when I was hoping to meet with a friend from days gone by. He showed up almost an hour later, which was ok. I was texting Podman and reading PG Wodehouse. (That author can make me laugh at the turn of a phrase. BEST line today: “Archibald, mark you, whose golf was a kind of blend of hockey, Swedish drill, and buck and wing dancing.” I wish I knew more about golf, I bet this story would have had me giggling even harder than I was!) BeZen finally arrived and the next hours were golden. We last saw each other when we were probably 8 years old, it didn’t matter. We may have been over 50 today, but his eyes were still a penetrating blue and dimples peeked out fairly often as we talked, showing glimpses of that boy I knew decades ago. (I didn’t ask if there was anything about me he reconised….too scared. The last person I spoke to from when I was a kid remembered me as tall and thin!!) It was fun to reminisce about the days when Homer was a fishing town and still new. The spit was a playground and not full of reserve habitat and shops and people. (The spit is a speck of land jutting out into Cook Inlet. I’ll find a photo and add it below!) The big lake was where kids learned to ice skate and grownups hung onto bumpers of cars, skating at tremendous speeds, while their silver blades sparkled on the ice in moonlight or sunshine. Then, I discovered something that surprised me. BeZen’s dad was the only doctor for miles back then, now, this long time family doctor man specializes in working with aging and sick adults. (I’m sure there is more than that, but I didn’t google him much.) I’d love to have mom visit with him, but when I told her about my afternoon, she didn’t seem all that impressed. Piffle!

I arrived home with mom’s second favorite bread from a particular bakery (if I had brought home the other kind, she’d probably want this one!) and she was too tired to got to the funeral service she had been hoping to attend. She said she didn’t want people to feel sorry for her and she was sure she’d probably get sick because it was going to be a very full service with a lot of germs. She also was hurting, had taken a pain pill, and wanted to watch Duluth hockey. Thankfully, they won!

Rounded out the day with pizza. I’d had pizza with BeZen and then part of a giant apple fritter. I got home and sailed back into the fritter because I was moving it and it smelled soooo good! Then mom decided she wanted pizza! I went with it. She’s not really hungry, even though she’s eating. She looks so much frailer today than she did when I left. I think she’s wasting away. But, I’m just the daughter. What do I know?

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Privileges, rights, and choices

It isn’t any surprise that the US health care system is not entirely helpful to everyone. Health costs are expensive and they often don’t give people the care needed. Vets who truly should have the right to good healthcare, are often left behind. Good intentions are paving the road to healthcare and it is pitted with political machinations being tossed out like fire crackers from each mucky ditch.

I was talking to mum as we drove to her almost next to last teeth appointment. I had mentioned how fortunate she was because she was able to pay for so much out of pocket. (We have spent about 20 grand on just her mouth, in the years I’ve been home.) If daddy hadn’t invested and mum hadn’t continued, she’d be toothless. I mentioned how I couldn’t afford to have my sore tooth looked at and one of the hardest merit badges my boys had to earn was the one where they had to visit a dentist. I was so sad when Strider almost didn’t get his Eagle because of the bit of a merit badge we couldn’t afford. It was then I realized how health care really is a privilege and not a right. (mum then mentioned how her mom had wanted to take them to the dentist, but my grandpa wouldn’t let the kids go…which was so random, I felt like I was in wonderland!)

It goes beyond teeth, though. Mum’s had several different kinds of cancers. Not just breast or colon or pancreatic, but all three. Actually, four. The breast cancers were also different. Yet, she is still solvent (and kicking!). She has 2 private insurances, plus her Medicare. She is damn lucky. She’s got me, so she doesn’t have to live anywhere else. She has her house almost all paid for and can afford all the crazy costs she incurs. For instance, those fittings she needs. A box of 10 are 148 dollars (with the senior discount I get because they know it is for mom). She often goes thru a box a week. We pay for those straight. Medicare will supply them, but she only gets 10 for a bit more than a month, I think it is. Now, if mom was healthier or ate better, maybe 10 would be enough. I don’t think so. The paste is 19 dollars a tube and the waste bags are another 40 some dollars for 10 (although, I could be wrong on that last one).

Youth and adults in prisons have better health care than I do. Mum used to work in a juvenile facility and kids would be taken out all the time for medical visits. Those teens felt it was their right to get preventative and necessary treatment at no cost. Mum was known to tell the kids who praised their free health care that it wasn’t free for mom to take care of them!

Mom chooses to eat poorly. Choice. Mum chooses her doctors. Choice. Mum chooses her pharmacies. Choice. However, those last might also be privilege. I texted a query about this to Sir SSC and he responded with this. “Morally, it is a right, I am afraid, practically, it is a matter of privilege.” I believe he is absolutely right. What can be done to fix this? I have no idea. I’m just incredibly thankful for dad’s choices way back when. Mom is upset she’s spending all this money. She had wanted to use it to travel. She still could, maybe, but, it is her choice and her privilege as to how each day will be spent. She’s also angry she can’t be fixed again. That, I think is where cancer has the right of way now and not her.

(photos are of mom in order. With dog in hospital Summer 2015. With head in hand November 2016. With health nurse Summer 2017. All  professional health costs paid for completely.)

Easter Cat Nips

Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays. It astonishes me how much Jesus packed into that last week of His life and how fast a crowd could turn from one mindset to another. I’ve also loved the different parts of the pagan celebration. Easter baskets and eggs and candy! I am a total sucker for spice jelly beans, the original starburst ones are better, but I don’t even look at those or I’ll weaken and buy them! (My favorite spice jelly bean is purple and I eat them by color, like any other hued candy.)

When the boys were little we’d hide plastic eggs all over the yard and the real hard boiled eggs in the house. As a college student, I held the title of the Activity Coordinator for a couple of years. One of the more memorable events I planned was a campus wide Easter egg hunt. I also learned that squirrels will eat hard boiled eggs! (We did count the nibbled on eggs among the actual number found) I’ll never forget how cracked the eggs became when I was a kid and my sister and I hid them all over the house for each other to find. (Below is a photo I’ve shared here before of the two of us one Easter. My new stuffed lamb didn’t have a tail. I felt sorry for it in the store and knew it might not ever get adopted, so I did it!) When I was a teen, we still had hidden baskets. Dad hid mine in the dishwasher once! (That was the year we got Trixie Belden books for Easter.)

I keep finding ways to celebrate even with everyone all grown up. So, in 2016, when I was in a thrift store, I saw the ceramic cats in the photo above and knew needed to get them for The Craftsman for Easter. I’m not real big on dust catchers, but these were perfect. Even Moses seemed to accept them!

Seesaw

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I was never much of a seesaw fan. I was a pretty small girl and almost always ended up stuck in the air, seemingly a million and a half feet above the ground for what seemed like a good portion of the recess. Or I’d be let down with a thump that jarred my baby teeth hard. I might actually get someone who would tit for tat and after a bit, it would bore us both to tears and we’d carefully dismount. It was so difficult to find someone trustworthy to get off the end, hold the board, and allow me to dismount without that heart stopping fall! Balancing it was always fun, we usually needed someone to help. Or several some ones.

This whole last week has been a seesaw and not a ton of balance. I’m going to block out most of the jarring bits while sharing the highs. Although, they were not scary highs. More like middle of the hill sort of things that briefly existed in time.

I didn’t pay much attention to Maundy Thursday this year. I haven’t in a while, actually. A re-creation of the Last Supper and what it means is beautiful, if you are able to be a part of this story sometime, it will humble you beyond belief. Good Friday, I went out in the afternoon and was able to attend a service in the evening with mum. It may be considered a black day, but it isn’t. It is a good day to remember. A day when a promise was fulfilled. One of my favorite scientific studies of stars is a search for the star of Bethlehem. You can look at quite a bit of history using stars and technology and math and history.  At the end of a video about this search, the author shares a rendition of the sky from space just after the time of Jesus crucifixion of a solar eclipse in the constellation Aries (the ram). (To be fair, this is one man’s interpretation of stars and science. It is open to conjecture as is anything anyone says. It may or may not be factual. I happen to think it is all kind of cool!) Anyway, Good Friday is a day of celebration. The day the Ram was sacrificed for mankind. Yes, it was sad. But it was such an exciting promise to look at for the future. OK, enough preaching!

Good Friday, I went to the beach. It was not entirely cold and I waded in the water (in my boots) and there were guys out fishing and I took photos of ice. That evening mum wanted to go to church. It was interesting. They didn’t have a piano player and mom did not volunteer to play! Later, she told me thank you for taking her to church. I mentioned I would have gone anyway and I’m glad she wanted to go. She then told me ‘thank you for letting me go with you’. It was just awkward. Sunday was also odd. Mum did get to church. I went to part of the first service and skipped out of the second. I could not sit there and listen to people talk about how great and wonderful mum was. She wore herself out, forgot her jacket, and had horrible glucose levels after. She was also given some flowers (flower photo below).Much later, I went for an almost evening short tramp in the breaking up winter (Alaskans call spring, breakup). I love my mud boots!!

She also told me she wants to attend a funeral service on Saturday. It appears another acquaintance has died of cancer. I was able to pay for her new teeth Tuesday, they gave me a discount and the extra money will be on a credit for her. For her next cleaning—but, do they clean the gums of a toothless mouth? (I may ask them to cut me a check.) The receptionist also told me I was paying for maxillary and mandibular teeth. (they apparently are NOT like stalagmites and stalactites, even if they sound like they are.) I was not able to have lunch with a friend from grade school, I did have a late meal with a friend from the years after I graduated. (she knows mom) I got new books from the library and managed to get a really fun fantasy romance sort of story that is the first of TWELVE! (it was published in 2014, but the library doesn’t have any more.) I did very little elfing, but was able to love on the resident cat for quite a while (even an elf is good when one wants petted!). I still need to print off an apology letter to mum’s pain doctor for how abrupt I was when we visited last. I also found out the doctor here in our town might not be able to refill her pain pump. So, I left a message with the clinic where the procedure was done. I’ll call again tomorrow as they didn’t return the call. If mom can’t have it done here, we need to get it done up there ASAP because the doctor is going on vacation. I’m so glad I didn’t make plans to leave yet. It needs refilled before mid-May.

The completely jarring part was when I got home and mum discovered she didn’t have any more Humalog insulin. I was prepared to go back into town, however, she literally doesn’t have any more. Since she has been taking care of herself, I’ve not paid close attention to her meds. (Remember, if I leave, she’ll be on her own.) It appears that particular medication has no more refills. Thankfully, I also take Humalog insulin and will inject her with mine tomorrow before I call the doctor office. The pharmacy said they would contact the doctor, but it was suggested I call, too. So, stupid!

My tooth hurts, my internet is wonky, I’ve been essential oiling myself and smell very good, (not sure how well I am, but I do smell good!), and have been getting fun messages from friends all over the world. It is kind of funny. I often get a message in the morning from a friend. He’ll text me a simple line, ‘good morning, sexy beautiful.’ This makes me smile so much more than the two or three lines from The Craftsman saying he’s sorry it is late and didn’t call and that he loves me and hopes I have a good night. Crazy, huh??? I’m entirely thankful for those quiet lights who shine in my day via the internet or technology. Those people who remind me I’m not really completely alone in a northern basement, even if it seems so! The ones who help me figure things out and bring me song and laughter and knowledge. Big hugs from Shadow Girl!