Eeek - it's been ten days since I've written.
I love my life because usually I am my own comic relief. I am channeling Lucille Ball most of the time. Things happen. Can't explain it.
But lately, life and the process of living has been depressed, much like our economy. Have you noticed that nobody is really saying we are in a depression???? It's a recession, they say. I had to look up both words.
Depression – a slump, a recession (I hate words that define other words that I'm trying to define in comparison. How can Webster do that????), slump, downturn, fall. Ok – those all can be applied to my poor skeleton of a 401(k) plan.
Recession – depression (see????), slump, downturn, collapse, decline – Well, this definitely applies to our situation today. Maybe there is no difference?
Anyway – back to depression – I'm kind of in the human depression of despair and hopelessness. I've mentioned my friend before, who has ALS. I have started taking care of her Friday mornings before I went to work. She now needs 24/7 care and our Red Hat chapter is taking turns helping out her husband so he can go to his day job.
I just got off the whirligig of doing the same kind of care for my mother-in-law; doing the same for someone my own age is startling. I'm kind of paralyzed in what to say to my friend. She's the one with a sense of humor. (I like to think I have a sense of humor – but it's hard to be funny when you see your friend's body steadily slipping away, muscle by muscle.) She can't speak, can't walk, can't stand. The first thing that happened was that she slipped out of bed onto a foot stool. By the time I got to her, I was horrified to find out that I am not wonder woman like I thought. I had no strength whatsoever to pick her up and put her back to bed. After several attempts to lift her, I was debating calling 9-1-1 just to have someone pick her up so I could get her into her motorized scooter. She flung her arm out towards the front door and I asked if she wanted me to get the neighbor. Yes! Yes! Yes! She nodded in a frantic sort of way. (At the same time it was finally registering with me that she was naked. She well knew it – I was just getting the hang of it – she kept patting the bed and I didn't get it – well her clothes were folded at the end of the bed. How could I not see that she was naked???) We threw clothes on, I raced next door and woke up the neighbor, who blearily came over and between the two of us, she was miraculously back in bed. Heavy sigh. The rest of the morning was pretty uneventful. We maneuvered into the living room and into her easy chair. The dog happily bouncing along beside her. Later she kept trying to get the dog to sit with her but he was focused on me. Finally she got out her only means of communication – a white board. And she wrote, "I have taught that dog everything he knows, but I forgot to teach him how to read." That whiteboard was her lifeline to the rest of us. She once wrote "I'm working on my bucket list." Her bucket is almost full.
I am signed up for Fridays, 7-9 in the morning. I promised her I would go directly to her bedroom and help her get up for the day, instead of waiting to find her squatting on the floor.
So, what kind of friend are you – and I mean this in a double-sided coin way. Would you help your naked friend with natural ease? On the other side, would you be a pleasant patient if a friend picked you up naked from the floor?
She and I decided that next time I even think of calling 9-1-1, I will call Hospice instead because they have promised to send the tallest, cutest, hottest firemen to our aid. She is making motions of fainting even now.