Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Old Age Question Isn't Answered Here

My Dad isn't very well. For the past few years we've thought he was suffering from Altzheimer's - but two days ago I discovered that he is not! He's suffering from Dementia caused from a series of mini-strokes over a number of years. At least that's what the doctor thinks now!

I am not sure why he has been taking outrageously expensive drugs developed for people with Altzheimer's Disease. And I'm not sure why the diagnosis changed or even why it was made in the first place. And I'd like to know more about when these mini-strokes started and why.

Thankfully, my father recognizes all of us and still has the ability to speak and to reason -- but very slowly. My husband and I think it could have started with a botched cataract operation. It was immediately after that that he lost the will/interest/ability/who knows -- to talk about everything -- to have endless things to say -- to go on and on .... This was over twenty years ago. It's been a long and painful and very slow decline.

And needless to say there have been many 'should have done's' and 'wish we hads' along the way. We seem to know so little about getting old. Suddenly I'm there and I've no idea where I am. He wasn't but a few years older than I am now when he had that operation. What is 20 years any more -- it's almost here.

My father would rather nap now undisturbed. He is very very tired, but tries valiently to hold on. For the moment anyway he is in a nursing home -- unable to live with my mother, who sits with him every afternoon willing him to go on. Daily he goes through physical therapy -- tries to throw a ball or a bean bag -- it's difficult because the good eye that he did have from the successful cateract operation, now is afflicted by macula degeneration. He still tries very hard. But he is so tired all the time.

And as my parents struggle to come to terms with what their life has become they are also assaulted with the trials and tribulations of a whirlwind of complicated and expensive paperwork that must be written up and disseminated among various departments of medical and health care institutions that are probably what keep the economy of the United States going. This is a terrorism that is insidious and pervasive. It is engulfing and digesting the country as slowly and unremittingly as mini-strokes have been my father.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Comments for President Bush

I added the following comments to a petition organized by Air America Radio.

Mr. President,

if you do not fire Karl Rove, could it be that he was just 'following orders'? Could it be that the 'buck' really does stop with you?

Your integrity and honesty are once again on the line, Sir. You are the President of the United States. Isn't it time you assumed the mantel of the office? If Karl Rove is not called to account by you, his employer and President of the United States of America then how can you demand or call to account any one or any nation?

You say you will fire anyone 'found guilty'. That is not enough. When suspected of wrong-doing, policemen, soldiers, and others are suspended -- sometimes with pay, sometimes without, until there is a final outcome.

This is not about loyalty. This is about the integrity of your office. Guilty or not, Karl Rove has brought into question the integrity of the Executive Office and how it is seen to be. At the very least, he must be susupended until the questions about his role in this matter have been answered.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Extraordinary People, Extraordinary Times

Do not think the terrorists have won this round. There is shock, there is anger, there is turmoil, to be sure. But the chaos that was sought by the perpetrators of the horror, is fleeting. The British people have not been bowed by the Luftwaffe, nor the IRA and the people of London in particular will not be intimidated by these blood-thirsty and callous criminals.

9/11 was a spectacular success for our enemy. The economy of the USA was dealt a blow that took a long time to overcome. The confidence of people was shattered and many of us were afraid to travel, to invest, of the future. But even terror can be lived with -- we adapt to our traumas and uncertainties. Our perspectives change. Witness the slight faltering of the world markets this time around.

The emergency services are to be most highly praised for their immediate response. The people of London are to be congratulated on their ability to cope with the drama and inconvenience of the day. They got on with it, as they always have, they got home, they did not panic and they are as back to normal as is possible in less than 24 hours.

And what a lesson in life. The day to day routine is always on the edge. One day there was great jubilation at winning the Olympic bid only to wake up the next to catastrophe and pain. But there are still days of jubilaton to come along with lessons still to be learned and murderers we must try to thwart -- probably for many years to come. We may need to compromise our freedoms in this effort by complying with the necessity of identity cards and by withstanding more and more security checks. I am sure that the British people, by and large, crumbling along the way, will endure it all with forbearance and good humour.

This is a story about resiliance and bravery in the face of murder and evil hatred. It is about people standing together in their suffering and insisting that 'good' will prevail.