Monday, March 19, 2018

The Non-Shedding Clause

George is my better than standard poodle I adopted from the Memphis Animal Shelter. I gave him the title "Better Than Standard" to compensate for his being abandoned by his former owners.

We walk the off-leash dog park in Shelby Farms twice a day. Without fail, everyone who encounters us for the first time remarks on the fact that poodles don't shed.

I don't bother to explain that although he doesn't shed, George loves to roll in the dead grass in our back yard. Every dead molecule clings to his curls leaving him to look like the poodle version of the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz.

At least that's the way he looks until he comes in the house where he shakes it all off on my hardwood floors. So much for not shedding.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Nobody Gives a Damn

Our son is a paranoid schizophrenic. We are lucky that he had his first schizophrenic episode while living in northern California because there is no dependable mental health care in the mid-south.

He lives in a group home with five other young men all suffering from similar mental illnesses and sees a psychiatrist once a month for about 15 minutes or less depending on how long it takes the doctor to write out the next prescription.

My husband and I live in a suburb of Memphis, TN, and keep close tabs on our child. One of us talks to him every day if he’s feeling well enough to answer the phone. We gauge his health by the number of days in a row he doesn’t answer. I visit him every three months.

The most effective medication to keep the voices at bay damages the liver. Unfortunately, those are the only ones that keep him on a half way even keel.

His life is a vicious cycle. Given the medications that best work for him, he can be fairly stable for months, but as soon as the doctor changes the prescription, the paranoia takes over.

A week ago today, our son assaulted one of the other residents of the group home, and when the manager of the house stepped in to try and stop it, my son hit him twice in the face. The police were called, and he was arrested and charged with resisting arrest. At the time, he was hearing voices and probably yelling back at them. He’s insane. Of course he resisted arrest.

We were told he would be held in jail until his transfer to a mental care facility, but they released him at 3:45am the next day without any money or cell phone or notifying anyone. He turned up 12 hours later in the neighborhood park by the group home. There’s no telling how he got there.

He’s been in the emergency department of the University of California at Davis Hospital for almost a week now waiting to be transferred to a mental hospital. He’s on a waiting list with 15 ahead of him.

We’ve been told the hospitals that do have openings “cherry pick” the patients they will accept. They don’t want the most difficult cases.

This is purported to be the wealthiest nation in the world with the biggest heart. Why can’t we provide adequate care for those in our society who are in such dire straits?

Having a mentally ill child deprives me of a peaceful death. Once I’m gone, he will be at the mercy of whatever social services the country provides. I have no doubt it will be cost effective and efficient and that my son will be neglected.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

What Really Happened?

Last week, the news reported that Rand Paul was attacked from behind by a neighbor in his up-scale community, and had sustained five broken ribs in the ensuing scuffle. The attacker was described as a physician. The story raised way more questions than it answered.

What did Mr. Paul do to cause his neighbor to lash out in such an unprofessional manner? What would cause anyone who has taken an oath to do no harm and to value human life to attack another human?

I believe the key is in the description of the area in which they live as a community rather than a neighborhood. Community suggests it is an area with definite boundaries and a list of covenants or rules that everyone who buys into it agrees to follow.

I respectfully suggest that Mr. Paul has blatantly ignored one or more of the covenants of the community to such an extreme that his neighbor is frantic and lost his temper over Mr. Paul’s flagrant disregard to the rules of the community.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

If You Don't Have Anything Good To Say

The last half of this summer has been difficult for our family. My husband, a childhood polio victim, has post-polio syndrome. Symptoms of the original disease have returned: muscle aches and severe fatigue along with weakness in other parts of the body.

My husband has walked with a cane for the last 55 years or so, but now, he's experiencing weakness in his hands and arms forcing him to depend upon an electric wheelchair.

The blow to his morale is devastating.

There are countless other aging polio victims facing this same dilemma The doctors think that the good muscles wear out from over use but can't be certain. As far as the medical community is concerned, the cause and cure for polio have been found. Only a minor percentage of the population suffers from post-polio. Most are senior citizens and won't be around long enough to make research on the condition profitable.  

My husband has been told to exert himself as little as possible to conserve what strength he has left. All we can do is take each day as it comes and hope he will reach a plateau in the degeneration process, adjust to it and have a reasonable quality of life for the time he has left. The prospect is pretty grim.

But whatever happens, life must go on. I'm back now to my blog and sincerely appreciate your kind attention and patience during my absence.

Junk Food Stew 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Cut the Girl Some Slack

Mrs. Bridge by Evans Connell is the wife’s version of a pre-World War II marriage.  The couple live in Kansas City where her husband is a workaholic attorney and her life is centered on their three children and the country club.

When Mr. Bridge proposes to her, he promises she will have an easy life with every luxury, and he keeps his word a little too well. There’s no real communication between these two. Mrs. Bridge tries now and again but Mr. Bridge discourages it. She doesn't know how to talk to him, and he discourages it.  
Neither has been trained to be intellectually curious. They enter into the marriage with a set ideal of how their lives should play out and never vary from it. No room is left for individual growth or development or their relationship.

Mrs. Bridge has a full time housekeeper and a laundress. Once the children are grown, she finds her life is empty. She has nothing to fill her time and feels lost. 

Others in her social circle are also caught in this void. The most progressive thinker winds up committing suicide. Mrs. Bridge hides the cause of death from her family and only discusses it superficially with her other close women friends.

Although these characters live in the central part of the country, they are  isolated from the less attractive aspects of American life beyond upper their own country club set. As a young adult, Mrs. Bridge does volunteer work handing out used clothing to the poor, but wears gloves. Symbolically, she’s out of touch with the world.

Upon hearing that World War II is approaching, one of her friends remarks she hopes the war won’t last long and take too many of the young men. It isn't the loss of life that worries her but rather the concern there won't be enough men available for her grocer to employ a delivery man. 

This novel of manners is heart wrenching and thought provoking It was particularly amusing and endearing to read how this highly structured woman struggles with rearing a boy.  

Mrs. Bridge is a sympathetic character. She was raised to be a good person, wife and mother and does her best to follow the dictates of her world. It takes way more gumption to go against the standards of our social group than most of us have. It’s really too bad this well-meaning, superficial woman is pretty much smothered by the expectations of others.

It’s almost enough to make me grateful for housework, yard work, laundry and errands. The emphasis was on “almost”.

Friday, June 30, 2017

A Girl Can Always Dream

Considering today’s tweet from the man in the Oval Office and his latest approval ratings, I believe the majority of people in this country would agree he is a seriously flawed individual without the slightest inkling of what it takes to be the leader of the Free World. The concept of dignity is obviously beyond his grasp.

You can take the good old boy out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the good old boy.

I was pleased to hear leaders from both parties react with equal disapproval. If the President continues to behave like a total juvenile mental case, perhaps it will shame our Congress into approaching their positions with more dignity and statesmanship rather than political gain.  Some good may come out of this election after all.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Poor Timing and No Sense of History

The current Catholic Bishop here in Memphis was assigned to this diocese a year ago. He announced recently that most every priest in the diocese will be reassigned.

In this time of political unrest, the people have turned to their church for solace. They need the comfort of the priest they know and have an established relationship.

The Bishop’s argument for this change is that the message should be the emphasis of Catholicism rather than the priest.  There is general discontent among the faithful.

It is unfortunate that this current Bishop has not familiarized himself with recent Catholic history of the Mid-South. In the mid-1960’s, Memphis and Nashville were part of the same diocese. I moved into the area during the upset, and am not sure exactly what happened, but I do know the Bishop upset the Catholics of west Tennessee.

What followed was a most unpleasant period. Volunteerism and contributions to the church dropped dramatically. It was only a matter of a couple of years until Memphis was granted its own diocese.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Will this Bishop be “promoted” and a new one sent here?