Grow old along with me – – a thank you

It is my belief that humans are created to be tribal, multiple generations together providing the strengths natural to their ages, from wee small babes to grey-haired elders & all the ages in between.

This posting started out as an invitation to join ME in my continuing quest for deeper richer wilder moments days months years.  Writing the title – literally, typing it in – got me thinking about two women:  my mother, Katharine Reynolds Lockhart, & my mother-in-law, Marie Nice Murphy.  John & I are forever in their debt – they gave us life & showed us how to live it well.  We had their examples & those of their compadres, the older friends & family who were part of the fabric of our lives.

Olders – if we are blessed, elders – have as much to give the youngers in their lives as they gain in return.  Even ones that drive us up a wall ~or~ we drive whackadoodle.

In our mother’s, John & I were given superb templates for inching upwards – they lived fully, both of them, to their last.  Yes, the two of us provided core support , but both of them allowed us to be their apprentices in living from an inner core that remained unshakable, unflappable.

Mom, Mom M – – just taking a moment to shoot off my annual thanks for giving us a preview of these “senior” years.  The light of your lives continue to shine on us.  Would more people as blessed as John & I, seeing a generation up.  Your example of aging well gave us the wondrous gift of “the best is yet to be.”

Breast milk, seriously? In which I make a rare foray into current events

It’s rare that I bring up current events on this blog, but today’s hot news about the USA’s weird (& wildly consequential) attempt this past May to weaken, then to block the introduction of a World Health Organization (WHO) resolution encouraging breast feeding seems noteworthy as beyond bizarre, especially as it unwinds to its end, which is either a) funky ~or~  b) makes perfect sense, depending on your ideological perspective.

Mind you, the 05/28/18 resolution was about as uncontroversial as they come, based on eons of research that concludes – no surprise here – that mother’s milk is WAY better for infants than formula.  It reinforced governments taking steps to limit misleading, even flagrantly inaccurate marketing of “breast-milk substitutes.”

The US won a small “victory” – language supporting countries that tried to stop “inappropriate promotion of foods for infants & young children” was withdrawn from the final resolution – but our nation’s reputation took a beating as our nation’s representatives flat-out bullied Ecuador by threatening withdrawal of military support & imposition of financial penalties if it dared introduce the resolution, which left made other nations unwilling to take the lead.

Let the curtain rise on the fascinating denouement.  One brave nation rises to the occasion, steps up & acts on behalf of the world’s children.  Strangely – or not – that nation was neither bullied nor threatened in any way by the USA.  And the country that put the interests of infants & their mothers over corporate profits?  Drum roll please…  RUSSIA.

No idea why a story that supposedly unfolded in May is only now being reported, but it is well worth putting on your radar for its multiple outcomes:

  • The USA appeared to put corporate interests about the health of children & mothers.
  • It succeeded in weakening the language of the final resolution.
  • It flagrantly bullied, both militarily & financially, a sovereign nation that attempted to introduce the resolution.
  • Its intimidation tactics kept other nations from taking the lead.
  • Which left the way clear for RUSSIA to step up to the plate & be the white knight for infants & mothers around the globe.

 

Bottom line – the USA shredded any reputation the Trump administration might have for protecting children & families, deepened the image of the USA as a swaggering bully, and set up Putin’s Russia to save the day.

Funky?  Nah.  Makes total sense.

When the ambulance chaser IS the ambulance

originally published on Rx4Caregivers.wordpress.com

 

Eye-opening article in KAISER HEALTH NEWS on ambulance service billings, often in the thousands!

“Forty years ago, most ambulances were free for patients, provided by volunteers or town fire departments using taxpayer money, said Jay Fitch, president of Fitch & Associates, an emergency services consulting firm. Today, ambulances are increasingly run by private companies and venture capital firms.

‘”Ambulance providers now often charge by the mile and sometimes for each “service,” like providing oxygen. If the ambulance is staffed by paramedics rather than emergency medical technicians, that will result in a higher charge — even if the patient didn’t need paramedic-level services. Charges range widely from zero to thousands of dollars, depending on billing practices.

“While the federal government sets reimbursement rates for patients on Medicare, it does not regulate ambulance fees for patients with private insurance. In the absence of federal rules, those patients are left with a fragmented system in which the cost of a similar ambulance ride can vary widely from town to town.”

Be a savvy consumer of health care costs – read the article, discuss with friends & family!

 

More July 4th illuminations

My 4th was filled with unexpected illuminations, of the personal kind.  Stunned to hear two friends, both in their sixties, discussing risk of dementia, worried about the potential of being a burden on their children.  In their sixties!

The biggest surprise on the 4th was discovering that someone I’ve long turned to for clarity about & a more tender perspective on my complex & frustrating sister is & has been for lo these many year engulfed with anger at her for not being what my friend felt/feels I deserved.  Her ire seems especially stirred by Mim’s lack of kindness towards me.

How could Mim be kind toward me?  She held a deep distrust of kindness.  To her dying day, she held any kindly action toward herself as suspect, totally – and I mean COMPLETELY – rejecting its sincerity.

The depth of my friend’s outrage over the perceived injustice blew me away.  How had I missed it?  Small wonder it took me so long to step far enough away from my confusion & heartbreak to get a clearer picture of Mim’s unhappiness.  Never suspected that the “wise woman” to whom I turned for decades to help gain clearer sight was clouded by her emotions!

Two days later, it still astounds me.  She wouldn’t allow me to say a word in Mim’s defense.  “She should have been there for you!

None of it made sense to me, until I remembered how close she is to her own baby sis, a naturally tight bond made snugger tighter when their father died when way too young.

Perhaps it’s as simple as my friend’s horror at life without the love & constant support of a sister.

Was also taken unawares by her statement –  “All you wanted was to love & be loved!”  – which made me realize how forcefully she was projecting her feelings onto me.

Yes, I thrive on loving, on being a friend, on providing support when I can, on being present.  But since I never experienced the same in return, expecting it never occurred to me.  The very thing that’s an essential nutrient for her wasn’t missed by me.  But it was clearly on my radar, since I embraced it fully when John showed up.  But expect it from my family?  Nope.

How could someone I thought was so wise – infinitely wiser, more experienced in the ways of family & relationship than I – be so shut down in her opinion of a tortured heart?  Am still shaken by July 4th’s unexpected, unimaginable illuminations.

July 4th’s unexpected illuminations

Yesterday was illuminating in ways I never expected.

Friends had us over for an evening bbq – their property boasts a great view of the local rockets’ glorious glare.  John was the elder of the group, at 72, with the rest of us all 60-something.  Two of them were discussing whether or not to take a particular medication, with their focus apparently on whether it would be as beneficial for warding off dementia as they’d heard.

Curious, I asked about why, in their 60s, they were already so focused on the possibility of dementia.  “We don’t want to be a burden on our children.”

That left me jaw-dropped in surprise.

They’re not even into their seventies & already worrying about being a drain on their family, wanted to take proper precautions against heart disease, which ran in both their families.  (I had a hard time not saying, “Well, for starters, you can have something more heart-friendly than grilled steak with a side of potatoes but no other veggies,” but held my tongue.)

It brought to mind another dear friend, a school mate, who also fretted a few weeks back about being a bother to their children.  She explained – “Parents love their children more than children love their parents.”  Like the other friends, this was a mother who had raised terrific kids who loved her to pieces.  She, like them, is afraid of needing their support in the future.  Am beginning to wonder if this fear is typical of the sixties or mere coincidence.

This is an area where John &  I are clueless about parental fears.  We weren’t blessed to have children – God apparently had different plans for us.  It’s left me floundering to understand otherwise sane & reasonable people driven to attend to wants rather than needs, who apparently pandered to an adult child’s longtime weakness rather than showing tough love.

That’s just one of many aspects of parenting that’s forever outside our ken.  But this whole thing of “I don’t want to be a burden on my children” from a contemporary of mine still has my brain reeling.

These are women who hold dear to their hearts the Ten Commandments.  Yes, children don’t have the same natural love of their parents as their parents have for them.  Most people seem to understand that only the rarest of rare parents don’t feel a deep personal connection to their offspring, a driving desire to protect them, sometimes at all costs.  For parents, that desire to support seems implanted from the earliest moments, a bond that seems especially strong with mothers.  For children, there is an admonition from God – and a promise.

Honor your father & your mother, that YOUR days may be long (that you may prosper).”

All three women rolled their eyes & made it clear they think that it’s an issue I can never understand because I never had my own.  But maybe it’s the other way around.

Perhaps they’re blinded by an all-encompassing love that feels – at least in their case – let down by the fact the children don’t have the same love of Mom & Dad.  But we are told that, in spite of that,  they are MEANT to be there for their parents, even when it is a huge bother & even intense inconvenience.

The most brilliant illumination last night lit up my inner understanding.

Over the past week, I’ve pondered WHERE to focus my experience, insights, energies.  My friends’ worries seem to paint a great big arrow pointing in the direction of right where my thoughts have been lingering of late – – on helping everyone embrace aging, from first breath to last, as a natural & naturally glorious evolution, with every moment filled with horn-to-hoof awareness that, whatever our circumstance or situation, what is happening, even if it seems to totally stink, is what is meant to be.

That might sound simplistic.  It is.  Oh, life isn’t easy.  AND it is meant to be lived.  Take precautions.  Use medications wisely, without forgetting the basics of core good health practices like a wise diet to reduce known risks.  And don’t fret.  “Consider the lilies of the field….”

Am I unrealistically upbeat?  I think not.  I was there for my parents, especially my mother, when they needed support.  It was often wrenching at times with Mom, looked to my friends like I wasn’t looking out for myself.  But, ultimately, both Mom & I filled our parent/child roles; in her last few years, the two of us consciously came to our situation with love & a right attitude that acknowledged that when server & servee approach their situation from love honor respect those roles drop away & all that was left was service.

Last night, John & I went to our friends’ house looking forward to an evening sparkling with good friends, great food & awesome fireworks.  I arrived home with a mind illuminated beyond my wildest imaginings.  I’m meant to be a rocket of hope for people fearing what’s meant to be fabulous, even when it’s fiercely challenging.  To dissipate dark foreboding with the illumination of WOW!

 

In which Joan Borysenko joins the team

I’ve admired JOAN BORYSENKO for eons, since reading A Woman’s Book of Life after a 09/2001 perfect storm of upheavals stripped me of long-time core expectations, turned foundational assumptions to rubble.

The PlantPlus Diet Solution has been tucked away on a den bookshelf for 3+ years.  Apparently read a few pages before the Universe realized, “Not YET!  She’s not ready to process this!  She still has work to do!

Here I am, two days into July 2018, post-processing The Greatest Salesman in the World,  (just reading it properly takes a YEAR), post-Die Empty & Playing Big, You Are A Badass, The Right Kind of Crazy  & anything by Brene Brown.  FINALLY, the Universe considers me ready for the Big Time, kicking in my Analog Summer & connecting me with the great Joan’s book on… dieting?

Right person, right approach, right info, right reader.  When the student is ready…  July 14 will find me starting a Reboot Month, which will be… interesting.  At 66, am old enough to PAY ATTENTION.  And – thanks to the personal growth program customized for me by a wise & tough Universe – reading to take big plunges with integrity & determination.

Joan ~ welcome to the team!   Looking forward to your energies disquieting the status quo, connecting me (and a delighted John) to a true-to-my-true-self wise ways!

Crucial read about intubation & olders!

Another must-read NY Times article ~ ~ if you can’t access, get thee to a library or borrow from a friend.  IMPORTANT!!

EXCERPT –   Intubation “is not a walk in the park,” Dr. Ouchi said. “This is a significant event for older adults. It can really change your life, if you survive.”

After intubation, 31 percent of patients ages 65 to 74 survive the hospitalization and return home. But for 80- to 84-year-olds, that figure drops to 19 percent; for those over age 90, it slides to 14 percent.

At the same time, the mortality rate climbs sharply, to 50 percent in the eldest cohort from 29 percent in the youngest.

All intubated patients proceed to intensive care, most remaining sedated because intubation is uncomfortable. If they were conscious, patients might try to pull out the tubes or the I.V.’s delivering nutrition and medications. They cannot speak.