Monday, January 31, 2005

-0.5 February 2005

...All That Is the Case
The view from here is limited. There is a 96 year-old woman downstairs - she's more or less lucid, physically extremely fragile, and totally dependent on me for most of her daily needs. We've been a team for 32 months. Her medication load is staggering, but it has to be to offset the pain from her manifold forms of arthritis. Her grip on life, and her interest in the world - both the wider one and the familial one she is stuck with - astonish the healthcare pros who have followed her a lot longer than I have.
I should have made a better deal when I took this gig, but I didn't (friend of the family and all that). There are about 10 free hours a week, technically, and 3-4 of those are devoted to travel and errands - grocery shopping and so forth. I sneak out for gym (down the street) in the early morning and get one or two cardio sessions of 30 mins during the rest of the day. I am a regular at the am/pm half a mile away - midpoint on the cardio - and I know everyone there who pumps gas or punches out lottery tix. If I have the time, and my patient is tucked in, I'll sip a coffee and dispense a little IT tech.

For the time being, this blog will have precious little running around town, but it won't be an echo chamber of all the papers and zines and blogs I read every day, either. That would just add to the din, though I will link to particular pieces I admire. A book, a DVD, a CD can expand to fill a day or more. We have to eat, and I cook for pleasure. We have a great dog (rabbit-hunting sized chocolate dachshund), named (but not by me!) Noodles. Dog blogging will be allowed. The constant crises of the very old, and their consequences, will not be buried.

There will be discretion - no dish on the family I work for. Caregiving - so-called - is notoriously stressful and ill-defined, for the agent and for the families that must have his or her services. See? The job is keeping a sick person alive, and comfortable, and the generality tends to bureaucratic language that subsumes life and comfort into a vague service. I'll try to make it more specific and immediate.

Ms. A will be the pseudonym for my patient (but you may think of Livia in I, Claudius, if you wish - yeah - absolutely!). She has definite ideas about the new crop of American Idols. She knows that Alfonso Cuaron makes a good movie. She watched all the debates this last fall. She can clock you in 10 seconds; again, think Livia redivivus.

Next up - Candidates for the DNC Chair - the over-90 Take!

-1 February 2005

A Cheese Log -

...and I was just going to admire that baby picture of Mildred at The Rittenhouse Review, and now look what I've done. Curse you, Blogspot! Tied a bell to my naked tail and now I'm obligated to make music with it, making my minions dance!

Until then, I will refer you happily to Neal Pollack's Maelstrom, where an ongoing discussion of prime literature and, from the evidence of the linked post, fragrant cheeses, deserves your attention. I confess to having been an acolyte of the Fake Neal, and was his self-described pig (a fact he acknowledged in my inscribed copy of Never Mind the Pollacks....). Buy his book.


Statements of Principle, Scope and so forth are going to have to wait until they are composed; same with all the cool formatting I will want to attempt on the page. More, more curses....! One day, this will all be at the bottom of the Archives, and I ask you, readers, to be kind.