“Love is Interchangeable With Time.”

October 26, 2009 at 1:26 am (By Amba)

Said Moshé Feldenkrais.  (I think I have his words right.)  What you love, you find time for.  As our friend Chris told me this morning.  And then proceeded to demonstrate.

She came over late this morning, kindly bringing coffee, coffee filters, and milk, which, when she asked, was what I’d said I most urgently needed.  (Animals and addictions must be fed first.)  She offered to stay with J while I went shopping for necessities that couldn’t wait another day.  But then we wound up talking for a while, and then it was too late for me to go shopping because she had a chance to meet her favorite person in the world to go to the state fair.  She said she’d keep in touch and would come back this evening to sit with J while I went to an internet café to finish my work, because I haven’t so far been able to pirate or borrow a connection.  She, also kindly, took some laundry to do for us, because the landlord here has been so frantic moving fire refugees into not-quite-ready apartments that they haven’t put a washer and dryer in here yet.

Never heard from Chris again.

I’m not complaining.  She was wonderful to do as much as she did.  I’m observing that it is best to be thankful for what people do give you (above all, of their time) and not to expect more, even when more is promised.  In fact, it is best to be aware that people’s “eyes are bigger than their stomach” when it comes to offering help — help that costs time — and that they may offer more than they can actually give without resentment if they then keep their word and guilt (with its attendant resentment) if they break it.  (I imagine that Chris never called to tell me she wasn’t coming because she felt bad about not coming.)

In my experience, especially my recent experience (and it’s a signal experience of older people), you can’t expect or ask very much of people unless a) they’re in love with you, or b) they need something from you.  Which are somewhat the same thing, except that in the latter case they’re in love with something else that they think you can serve.  (Editors get a lot of this kind of bank-shot love.)

I was originally going to say “unless they’re your parent, your child, or are in love with you, or need something from you,” but I had to reconsider even the former as simply a subset of the latter.  How many parents wait in vain for their grown children to throw them a scrap of time — until the children need some money or a place to crash rent-free for a while?  Generally speaking, parents are in love with their children but children are in need of their parents, not in love with them,  except very early and too late.  Now that’s a nice epigram, but it’s too neat to be true.  “Parents are in love with their children but children aren’t in love with their parents” holds true in much of modern American culture, where children and young people have the power.  In traditional European culture, adults, even old adults, had the power, and children were much more likely to be in lifelong love with their parents.  But there are also plenty of cases anywhere in the world where the expected “natural” love fails completely on one side or the other of that bond.  So much for generalizations.

In case it wasn’t obvious, all of the above is IRL.  It’s different OL.  Isn’t it?  Or is it?

I’ve received, and also organized and transmitted, incredible help from people online.  I’m not sure how much time it costs us to do this.  Some, for sure.  But physical time still is — is more than ever — one of the scarcest and costliest goods we possess, and therefore we reserve it for a very few.  It has to do with the fact that a body can’t be in more than one place at a time.  But a mind can.  The time we spend online actually costs us far more than we know (LOL), but it doesn’t feel like it.  It feels light, like flying around in dreams, without a body.  (Is cyberspace all we can know of heaven? or a preview?)  Clearly, we love this feeling and devote a lot of time to it.  It gives us an intoxicating sense of power.  It multiplies our knowing and our loving beyond what is physically possible, the way money multiplies our doing beyond what we can do with two arms and one shovel.  It’s not surprising that these two forms of broadband shorthand go together, and that (even though still discriminatingly and sparingly) we can more easily help online friends with money than real-life friends with time.

It’s particularly ironic to be mulling over this just as several of my online friends have literally given me gifts of time — cellphone minutes —  in the form of money!  They say time is money.  But old Feldenkrais said time is love.  I think he was much more on the money.

If short, catchy communications in advertising and the media are called “sound bites” (who remembers that that was the original term, not “sound bytes”?), maybe what we give each other online are “love bites”?

The only trouble with this online community is that if the plug is pulled, it disappears like a dream.

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44 Comments

  1. Ron said,

    I owe so much to everyone who has helped me online…I don’t where to begin! But Amba, this love goes from you and now will come back to you…let me know if there is something I can do.

  2. pathmv said,

    Regarding parents and children and time, Harry Chapin said it all (actually, it appears the real credit for the words and thoughts go to Sandy Chapin, who wrote a poem about the relationship between her first husband (Harry was her second) and his estranged father):

    My child arrived just the other day
    He came to the world in the usual way
    But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
    He learned to walk while I was away
    And he was talkin’ ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew
    He’d say “I’m gonna be like you dad
    You know I’m gonna be like you”

    And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
    Little boy blue and the man on the moon
    When you comin’ home dad?
    I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then son
    You know we’ll have a good time then

    My son turned ten just the other day
    He said, “Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on let’s play
    Can you teach me to throw”, I said “Not today
    I got a lot to do”, he said, “That’s ok”
    And he walked away but his smile never dimmed
    And said, “I’m gonna be like him, yeah
    You know I’m gonna be like him”

    And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
    Little boy blue and the man on the moon
    When you comin’ home son?
    I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then son
    You know we’ll have a good time then

    Well, he came home from college just the other day
    So much like a man I just had to say
    “Son, I’m proud of you, can you sit for a while?”
    He shook his head and said with a smile
    “What I’d really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys
    See you later, can I have them please?”

    And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
    Little boy blue and the man on the moon
    When you comin’ home son?
    I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then son
    You know we’ll have a good time then

    I’ve long since retired, my son’s moved away
    I called him up just the other day
    I said, “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind”
    He said, “I’d love to, Dad, if I can find the time
    You see my new job’s a hassle and kids have the flu
    But it’s sure nice talking to you, Dad
    It’s been sure nice talking to you”

    And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
    He’d grown up just like me
    My boy was just like me

    And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
    Little boy blue and the man on the moon
    When you comin’ home son?
    I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then son
    You know we’ll have a good time then

  3. wj said,

    I guess I’m just not as generous hearted as you are, dear. I understand that people have multiple demands on their time, and all. So if they say “I will try to . . . ” I realize that it may not happen. But if somebody says “I will . . . ” I feel like they made a commitment that should be honored.

    Yes, of course, force majeure exceptions — but even then, I would hope for at least a brief communication saying that there was a problem. Maybe it’s obsessive of me (OK, no “maybe” about it), but that seems to me like the only proper way to behave. So your willingness to just accept that that’s how people are looks, from my perspective, very, very impressive. “Saintly” even.

  4. pathmv said,

    wj, I think it depends on the context. In some cases, and particularly for some people, I’ve learned to interpret “I will” as “I will try to.”

    This is particularly when the someone is providing gratuitous assistance to me. Certainly those who say “I’ll bring you some supper later” (or whatever chore they are helping with) and who then follow through get a special place in my heart, and I will remember that when they, in turn, need help. But it’s such a common failing, to not follow through on such offers, that if I treated each person who did so as an oath-breaker of sorts, I think I’d be quickly out of friends.

    As amba points out, so many people have eyes bigger than their stomachs when it comes to offering help. They have their own lives and family commitments to attend to, and they may just have never learned how to accurately anticipate how long a particular task will take. Now, if they’ve offered something like fixing supper, and I’m going to rely on it, my own self-preservation leads me to call them up along the way and confirm that they really are coming back with supper. “Chris, Susan just offered to swing by with some food for supper, and before I told her no, I wanted to make sure it was still convenient for you to do that.” If the person says “of course I’m still bringing you supper,” then yes, they better do everything they can to follow up.

    Plus, as a practical matter, if you make such folks feel guilty for only helping you the amount that they actually did, without doing even more for you, then soon they won’t offer you any help at all, and you might be in a worse situation.

  5. david said,

    Peter Ustinov said it even better:

    “Parents are the bones on which children cut their teeth.”

  6. Mom said,

    Are you back in the complex? Sounds as though you are and it is still sort of camping out–not good with J, cats, settling in (temporarily). Couldn’t you have left him in the hospice until you got the place minimally ready for him? I s the Hoyer lift in place? I can’t imagine how you are coping. Doors too narrow for wheelchair, etc. Could you call hospice for emergency help to stay with him or exercise him at “home” while you try to get your feet under you and planted more firmly? This sounds as though it’ll be more than just the few hours Chris could’ve devoted to you both. Did his residential time run out at hospice so that you had to transfer back to Conner Dr.? Well, no matter–you are evidently there. I think you need a lineup of emergency people–Wish I could be there! I realize that when someone says, “I will,” you count on it. But from my vantage point–a cynical ole lady–I’d say, “Don’t.” Even those in love with you can falter. We are all imperfect critters. Have some backup, if possible. Lean on hospice if you can. It is all so overwhelming in the discombobulated state of being halfway moved.

    Love you–what can I translate THAT into that will reach you now when you need it?

    Mom

  7. Danny said,

    Hold it–this person took your laundry and then disappeared?? Not okay, but I’m sure you’ll hear from her and get your clothes back? I am firmly in wj’s camp—”I hope we can get together soon” or “I’ll try to call you tomorrow” is WAY different than “I WILL be here tonight to relieve you so you can go finish your work.” That is a definite commitment and if the plans change one really must be contacted. (And where is your laundry?)

  8. Melinda said,

    Hold it–this person took your laundry and then disappeared??

    LOL! Yeah, I was wondering that, too!

    BTW, when Jim was first diagnosed and went into the hospital, everybody told me, “If there’s anything I can do, like feed the cats…” That was the one thing everyone offered, and if I’d taken them up on it, my cats would weigh 25 pounds.

  9. pathmv said,

    Funny about the cats, Melinda. That’s the difficulty with helping from people who are less than close friends of the person needing help; you just don’t know what they need, and the most obvious needs are usually met pretty quickly. And coordinating the assistance can wind up taking more time for the person than just doing much of it themselves… and the more specialized their needs, the more likely that is to be true.

    Those of us here in internet land probably have it easier… I would not likely offer money to a local friend, because I would be offering other help instead, and even if I wasn’t sure of what I could do to help, the different social dynamics of in-person relationships would make it more awkward and thus more difficult to offer money. But for a good internet friend, I was simply able to send some money electronically and fulfill an obligation of friendship with little time and effort.

  10. amba12 said,

    I did get my laundry back. Chris kinda did it again, though. She called me this morning (no mention of last night) and asked, “Do you need anything?” I couldn’t tell whether she wanted me to say “Yes, I need this, this, and this” and give her a chance to be useful (sometimes accepting help is the generous thing to do, and I’m not real good at it), or whether she wanted me to give her an out. So I said, “We’d love the company, and I do need someone to stay with J while I do errands, but we can manage if your plate is full,” or some such. So then she abruptly said “I’ve gotta go” and got off the phone. I wondered if she was feeling snubbed, so I called back to let her know that I’d followed her good advice and gotten J’s accordion and a suitcase full of photos (neither of which would have taken kindly to mold) out of there already on Friday. She then said, “As soon as I get myself together, I’m just coming over.” Well, OK. So I thought maybe she’d sit with J. I waited a long time for her, time I could have spent finding some other way to get out and run errands. It did give me time to work out, which I was grateful for; my whole body had been shouting in protest. Finally around 2:30 she called from the Southern Season parking lot. She was bringing good bread and coffee and my laundry, but she could not stay because she had “Fred” with her (her husband). It somewhat screwed up the afternoon. I managed to get hold of the hospice (why do I keep wanting to say “hostage”?) volunteer, who’s J’s contemporary — and he came and stayed with J with very good cheer — but I could have called him sooner.

    Seems fair to say Chris is conflicted about all this. I think she is also somewhat bullied by her family. But maybe she likes it that way because it reins in her impulses to help others, keeping them genuine but not too costly (in time).

    Meanwhile, our karate friend, Nathan, has been exemplary. I’ve squinted dubiously at him from time to time in other circumstances, but it turns out there couldn’t be a better person to have around in a crisis. Not that he spends hours holding your hand — he’s busy — but he takes charge, anticipates needs, asks questions, mediates with authority, negotiates solutions. Today, after getting back last night from a tournament in Connecticut, he just showed up at our door with most of the framed photographs. He’d gone in and gotten them out. (Of course, he’s saving things he wants someday. But, hell, he’s earning them!)

    I’ve been, I think, for the most part, fanatically independent and self-reliant in the three years we’ve been here. I’ve only asked for help when we really needed it. I’ve also tried to make it reciprocal, to give as good as I took, from making dinner and lending the van for hauling to listening and counseling. As someone said earlier — I think it was Pat — that is practical. It’s the only way to avoid burning out people’s good will and thereby to insure that when you really do need help, you’ll get it.

  11. pathmv said,

    Thanks for the update, Annie… Good luck dealing with Chris; it’s a tough situation.

    As to practicality, there is such a thing in the world as true altruism, but a great deal of what appears altruistic from day to day is really not much more than the mutual agreement between two primates to pick the ticks off of each other’s backs.

  12. anonymous said,

    I wonder if your friend Chris is reluctant to take on the bigger responsibility of caring for J alone. Even if he is napping, or just watching tv, something could happen while she is there alone, necessitating her being the one in charge making emergency decisions for your husband (or at least having to wait with him while you are called for an emergency situation). Perhaps she doesn’t want to take on that size responsibility, and would prefer to help in easier ways — like bringing coffee, doing your laundry, sitting and visiting with you for a limited amount of time, etc. Perhaps she is protecting herself from getting in over her head by having alternative plans (state fair w/friend; her own husband in car) so that the boundaries of her volunteered help are set, even if she might waver in your presence, seeing all your needs. (Is there any way you could advertise for a paid sitter when you need to work? It seems a bit much to expect, even with a “promise”, an unpaid volunteer to take on your home tasks while you work. Stay-at-home mothers often will help another when there is a medical appointment, temporary emergency, planned appointment, etc, (with comparable reciprocity, if the need should go the other way with a dependent child) but they might be leery on watching a child unpaid while the mother is off to work.

    Good luck, and god bless. Maybe looking on the bright side, the renovated apartment will be better off than where you had been previously?

  13. anonymous said,

    At the very least, it sounds like you will have more blessing to count and be thankful for this Thanksgiving. “A friend in need is a friend in deed.”

  14. amba said,

    I think much of the above is true of Chris. She has very generous impulses and probably uses her family’s possessiveness to put boundaries on them for her, which I can well understand — I’ve used J’s possessiveness the same way. She’s now brought us food and coffee several times, which has been wonderful. And the hospice volunteer (whose voluntarily assumed “job,” after all, is just that — to be helpful however he can, within bounds) stayed with J and gave me a chance to get errands done. That’s the hardest part — needing to get out to do things and having no one to stay with him. (I can leave him alone for about half an hour with the bed railings up.) I don’t want to ask too much of the volunteer either. By definition, anything anyone does, who isn’t immediate family, is a gift, above and beyond the call of duty.

    It’s just hard when people don’t do what they said they were going to do, and don’t inform you that their plans have changed, and so throw your plans into a tizzy.

  15. amba12 said,

    Pat: examining myself as a test subject, I always think there’s a reward in doing something for someone else. (Especially if you’ve ever made yourself needed ’cause you weren’t sure of being wanted.) The security of having made a down payment on reciprocity; strengthening of the relationship; feeling good about yourself; plus what the Buddha called “sympathetic joy” — just being happy because someone you care about is feeling delighted or relieved of stress. It’s not all economics.

  16. anonymous said,

    *It’s just hard when people don’t do what they said they were going to do, and don’t inform you that their plans have changed, and so throw your plans into a tizzy.

    Gotcha. Agreed, and I think you were spot on above in thinking she didn’t call because she couldn’t face “disappointing” you. When she does come in person, and if the topic of the cancelling/no call comes up, do you ever look in her eyes and see anything there? Sometimes people communicate like that. Too bad she doesn’t get it that not promising and not showing is actually better than promising (good feeling) and then not following through. I wonder how you could subtly convey that because, cancellations aside, it sounds like you have a decent enough group of friends there.

    Your comment on the karate friend sometimes, and how many people volunteered to feed the cats, made me smile. Keep working out!

  17. amba12 said,

    It works because most of the time I vent to my blogfriends instead of venting to the person in question, with whom I usually stay very neutral and accepting (USUALLY, not always). I’ve never had a meltdown with Chris (maybe because we’re not that close); I have had a few with Nathan!

  18. reader_iam said,

    In-home caregiver support, respite care and in-home health services are all rather large gaps in our system. Despite issues of quality of care, dignity of life and even potential cost-savings (given the higher cost of in-hospital and even in-institution care), this is something that appears to get very little discussion or even attention, systemically, much less financial support. Yet it would seem to make a lot of sense, from various standpoints.

  19. reader_iam said,

    Annie mentioned how J rapidly seemed to be turning into a nursing home patient in the institutional setting, even thought it was a hospice. So it was important for J to not be in that environment until absolutely necessary. There are other communities where there actually IS no hospice institution. Although hospice services are available, they aren’t necessarily plentiful enough, and so if someone can’t cope at home, the alternative is actual hospitalization. How does that make sense?

  20. amba12 said,

    None of it makes sense, but I understand a little bit about the lack of in-home services, to wit:

    When people are institutionalized there are economies of scale. Some supplies can be ordered in bulk and collectively. Employees can take care of multiple patients and still be paid by the hour.

    In-home care is better for all concerned, but most family members just can’t do it, physically or time-wise. (It used to be done by stay-at-home women, but there are much fewer of those now and fewer who can afford to be. Also, most of the stay-at-home women were in a community setting with extended family members, friends and neighbors nearby. We can also no longer assume that, rather the contrary. We can’t even assume the presence of a male to do the heavy lifting.) That means that keeping a patient in the home would typically involve much more time coverage and intensive help than I need. I’m the ideal case for this because I can do most of it myself (so far) and benefit enormously from a relatively small and inexpensive amount of help. That would not be the case with most people who are disabled to a nursing-home extent. One-on-one coverage by home health aides adds up unbelievably fast. Add to that the fact that people with conditions like J’s kept at home probably live longer.

    It ends up being that in the typical case, to cash in assets, go on Medicaid, and go into a nursing home is the only economical way for both family and society to care for the elderly disabled.

    Pretty shocking. But what’s the answer?

  21. amba12 said,

    The reason J was turning into a nursing home patient was because he was being treated like a nursing home patient: kept in bed alone in front of the TV most of the time. There was nothing much the hospice people could do for him except keep him clean and pop in and say hi every now and then. They seem nonplussed by someone who has no pain that needs controlling.

    I do not AT ALL mean to criticize them. They were great. They’re just not cut out for taking care of someone in J’s condition, which, in any institutional setting (except perhaps the most elite and expensive and no-expense spared), invites nursing-home-type care. Only a family member would go to the trouble, and it is trouble, to get up and keep going and keep engaged in life someone who is, on his or her own, incapable, passive and indifferent.

  22. Donna B. said,

    So many of the problems of care of the elderly and physically compromised is highlighted here.

    Having helped take care of my step-mother whose cancer had spread to her brain, I can relate somewhat. She was not as cognizant as J… and caring for her had much to do with trying to relieve her pain and keep her as “socialized” as possible.

    Her death was only 24 hours after a severe episode of choking. It was honestly a shock to us caregivers that she was that close to death. The hospice nurse who spent those 24 hours with us was a saint. She carefully treaded the line between “there is really nothing you can do because she is dying” and “we will try this to ease the way for her”.

    Hospice and the full-time care of both related volunteers and paid nursing is quite obviously responsible for at least two months of my step-mother’s life. What I often ask myself is whether that two months meant more for her or for me and her other caregivers.

    It definitely meant a lot to me. I learned more about myself and humanity and its horrors in those two months I lived with my step-mom and my father. She would occasionally decide that my father wanted to kill her. This hurt him horribly, yet because he knew her background, her childhood, he didn’t hold it against her. He gladly turned her over to me — a female — to assure her that she was in no danger and no one was trying to harm her.

    Several times, she thought I was her mother and she asked my why I let her grandfather hurt her. Her mother died when she was 8 years old, and her grandfather did sexually abuse her. I was not in any way prepared to answer such questions other than to tell her I loved her and did not know she would be harmed. And assure her that she would never be hurt that way again.

    Her trust of my father was such that she did not want to sleep where he wasn’t present, but she also felt the need to have a female presence also… as protection and comfort. This led to what many would deem the unsuitable situation of either his daughter or her daughter sleeping in the same bed with them.

    The few times my father tried sleeping in a separate bed simply resulted in no one getting any sleep. We finally decided that social norms were absolutely useless in this case. And thank goodness for king sized beds.

    Yes… I do have a point in laying out this history of mine. It is that Annie is making J’s life as normal as possible and that this is beneficial to his physical as well as mental health… and it is a testament to the importance of mental well-being.

    My step-mother’s last words were “it is so hard to let go” and I choose to think that this meant she enjoyed in some way or another any life she could cling to. That we perhaps prolonged some suffering by taking care of her we also prolonged some joy and happiness. I hope this is so.

    Had my step-mother been committed to a nursing home, I have no doubt she would have died sooner, possibly experiencing less physical pain. Though we tried with methadone, morphine, and xanax to relieve her pain as much as would have been done in a nursing home.

    This results in the argument of whether pain is physical or psychic… and whether, in the long run it makes any difference.

    Is there some grand spiritual table where psychic pain vs. physical pain is measured? On which plane is measured the pain of loss of mental ability vs. physical ability?

  23. reader_iam said,

    (It used to be done by stay-at-home women, but there are much fewer of those now and fewer who can afford to be. Also, most of the stay-at-home women were in a community setting with extended family members, friends and neighbors nearby. We can also no longer assume that, rather the contrary. We can’t even assume the presence of a male to do the heavy lifting.)

    This is uncanny, and/because in some places almost word for word the part of my original comment that I edited out.

  24. reader_iam said,

    Also, I wasn’t arguing for full-time outside care to come in. Not even close. I am positing that we should look at providing more out-side care to come in, at reliable times, as support for the person who needs care AND the person whose life is defined as caregiver. I know it’s subtle and complex, but it’s a distinction that’s key. The economies of scale of in an institutional setting are also subtle and complex; yet they’re not as economical, necessarily, as is generally assumed (partly because they benefit from the assumption of apples-to-apples, which assumption I’m specifically questioning).

  25. amba12 said,

    What amazing stories: Karen’s; Donna’s. There are eight million stories in the naked city. I mean, nothing and everything is extraordinary. Any one of us who has ever had “How do you do that?” said to them can immediately turn and point to another, more egregious example, more outlandish endurance, improvisation, heroism. J and I have it easy compared to many. I thought so when I was reading online forums (and there were people with lots of paid help who had it harder than we do) and this only confirms it.

    On which plane is measured the pain of loss of mental ability vs. physical ability?

    Strange as it sounds, I consider J fortunate to have lost both together. If he had lost only physical ability, his strength and athleticism having been so key to his identity, he might be deeply depressed. If he had lost only mental ability, with that strength, he’d have to be locked up. Chained up.

  26. amba12 said,

    Reader: eek. . . .

  27. anonymous said,

    I usually stay very neutral and accepting (USUALLY, not always). I’ve never had a meltdown with Chris (maybe because we’re not that close); I have had a few with Nathan!

    See, that’s what I don’t understand. How can you “expect” anything from these people, strangers to you and J, and where does the “you owe me this” attitude come from that entitles you to a “meltdown” at them letting you down? Shouldn’t you be kissing their feet for even coming to help you out with J, washing your intimates, etc?

    You made your bed; you lie in it. And if people take pity and want to help you, ought’n you be thankful and looking at that empty glass as being filled drop by drop through charity and kindness? Or do you reciprocate and take in laundry yourself, voluntarily?

  28. anonymous said,

    Pretty shocking. But what’s the answer?

    Family based home care, or “family” home care made of a like-minded pool of people — a community, or neighborhood say, and yes they are out there. Not something you just “buy” into monetarily. Of course, you have to start planning years ahead.

  29. anonymous said,

    The reason J was turning into a nursing home patient was because he was being treated like a nursing home patient: kept in bed alone in front of the TV most of the time. There was nothing much the hospice people could do for him except keep him clean and pop in and say hi every now and then. They seem nonplussed by someone who has no pain that needs controlling.

    I wouldn’t complain too loudly about the help.

    Plus, it makes you (and your husband) sound rather … passive. Can he control his bowel movements to transfer to the toilet, with the diapers only for aged urinary incontinence?

    Plus, did he toss in a load of laundry, make a meal, or take care of himself generally when at his peak? If he’s always been served, even when he was on his own two feet, perhaps that is contributing to the problem? Let them do for themselves what they can; encourage it even — in the elderly. And perhaps feed him less if he’s not burning it off?

    Maybe that nurse sees some potential in J. that you are dismissing as impossible?

  30. amba12 said,

    LOL, Anon. There you go — can’t contain yourself for long — spraying venom like that critter in “Alien.” You try to sound normal to lure people into talking to you, then you let fly. You have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. No context but your own fantasies. You’re a sick puppy. You’re out.

  31. amba12 said,

    I am positing that we should look at providing more out-side care to come in, at reliable times, as support for the person who needs care AND the person whose life is defined as caregiver.

    The reason why there’s the impression that it would be so prohibitively expensive is that people are not encouraged to realize that they can do this with some outside help and relief. Many people find themselves doing it and find that they can, even though it costs them and they sometimes wonder if they can go on. Many others are encouraged to believe that they can’t. A few months after we got down here J was hospitalized with pneumonia. He was really, really out of it (and then, as soon as the IV antibiotics took effect, he wasn’t) and a doctor asked me, wasn’t it time to think about — what were her words — “outside-the-home placement.” As if that was the norm at some point. A stage of life: youth, middle age, elder, nursing home.

  32. Randy said,

    Amba: I think someone made a movie about Anon.

  33. reader_iam said,

    Good Lord. Of all times, are we seeing the Lazarus Effect enacted by the re-emergence of–dare I name her?–Mary?

  34. reader_iam said,

    It’s been a long time, Mary. How are you? Seriously. How are you doing?

  35. amba12 said,

    Too late, reader, I banned her! Her MO is to show up and act like a human being until someone takes the bait and starts talking to her.

    Oh, sorry, I forgot . . . what she’s doing is acting like a human being, of a certain sort.

    Talk about pity.

  36. amba12 said,

    Randy: you mean the one at the top of that page?

  37. reader_iam said,

    Annie, as well you know, NP: I (as well as Randy) was trying to post a warning–in my case, not knowing if you were still on line, as well as not seeing Randy’s warning until after I posted my own.

    And times have changed: Unlike then, I don’t see her as an heretofore unknown, shocking, threatening creature, with whatever potential I can’t truly grasp. I can grasp now, and it energizes, even though I choose, mostly, not to grasp anymore.

    I was so much older then: I’m younger than that now.

  38. amba said,

    I should say that I’m leaving now to try a rare experiment: going to sleep before 4 A.M.

    BTW, in case anyone other than Mary thought I was exaggerating: J was frighteningly strong — literally: he frightened people — and if he weren’t disabled, he still would be (despite whatever fraction he might have lost to normal aging). On top of which, people who are out of their minds are stronger than normal. Demented but not disabled, he’d have been, maybe not primarily dangerous, but uncontrollable, and dangerous when his delusions were challenged.

  39. pathmv said,

    Boy, we’re just seeing the best and the worst sides of humanity in this thread, aren’t we? I’ll say a prayer for Mary tonight; she won’t want it, I’m sure, but she needs help desperately, there’s so much hurt or fear or anger or hate or whatever it is in her heart.

    Oh, and would everybody please pray or think good thoughts for my dog tomorrow (well, later today, I guess)? She ruptured the canine equivalent of the ACL (the ligament running through the middle of the knee) last week, and she’s having surgery to repair it on Wednesday.

  40. Maxwell said,

    what she’s doing is acting like a human being, of a certain sort.

    Nah. She’s a classic snidebot. They’re a minor evolutionary offshoot of spambots.

    Pat, best wishes for your pal. Hopefully she’ll be off and running again soon.

  41. amba said,

    Pat, I meant to ask you her name. I wanted to send her good thoughts in person. Or in dog.

  42. Icepick said,

    I was so much older then: I’m younger than that now.

    Thanks, now I know what to listen while driving around tomorrow. The Byrds it is!

  43. reader_iam said,

    As it happens, I’m listening to the “West Side Story” soundtrack;–specifically, at present, “Officer Krupke.” Long evening: activities interrupted the rule, imperative phone calls declared “trump!:–and so it goes.

  44. amba said,

    We’re depraved because we’re deprived.

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