Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sweet hitchhiker

When cancer attached itself to me, it didn't account for the fact that I have responsibilities, such as, doctor appointments, grocery shopping and taking my son to and from his activity of the moment.

I continued to be errand girl in chief until I had my second surgery. Then a doctor suggested that I give up my driving privilege, for my safety and the safety of others.

Since then, I have struggled to find a sensible solution to my transportation issue. First I tried "Ride Connection", a a transportation service for the disabled. The problem with the service is that it is volunteer, so the disabled person knows not whether he or she will get a ride.

I have done things to lessen my need for a ride, such as scheduling my mris for Saturday, and giving up the cancer writing group and support group I was in. My husband and I grocery shop on the weekend, and I have two stores within walking distance.

But sometimes I, or my son, need to be places on weekdays, when my husband is at work. We were using cabs for awhile, until the cab showed up at 4pm to take my son to a 4pm appointment.

Lately, we have been using my sister's driver, Ahmed. We pay for Ahmed's reliability. I don't see using his services as sustainable.

Perhaps my son and I should learn to hitchhike.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Confessions of a former conservative

My freshman year in college, I knew I wanted to major in journalism. As such, I wanted to find a school paper to work on,  and write for.

I wrote a freelance piece for the main student newspaper at the University  of Oregon. The paper was called the Oregon Daily Emerald, and I got paid by the column inch, but I wanted to build up a portfolio. I looked for more writing opportunities, and landed at the only conservative newspaper at a very liberal university, called the Oregon Commentator.

How conservative was this paper? The office was the size of a closet, the walls were littered with posters of conservative heroes like Ronald Reagan, Phyllis Schlafly, and William F Buckley. I was the only female on staff. To be honest, at that time I didn't know what my political beliefs were. I just wanted to write. My first assignment was to do a profile on Peter Defazio, who was running for congress in 1986 and is still serving. I didn't get paid, but the powers that be liked my work, and gave me more. Meantime, one of the other young conservatives took a liking to me and asked me out. He became my first boyfriend and broke my heart in 17 places, but looking back on it, he and the other young men who worked at The Commentator, contributed greatly to my not being a republican today.

First of all, all of these men were sexiah him, and how other young women at the university would "go down like an anchor". Not exactly pleasant talk. In addition, there was too much fartin Eg and belching, at least for my taste. The guy who was my boyfriend, would poke fun at the Jewish faith of another staffer. To be fair, this person didn't seem to mind the ribbing, but I didn't get it.

My boyfriend and I were made Editor and Managing Editor, respectively, but was I really conservative? I wasn't sure.  Then I started talking social and political issues with my boyfriend.

He was pro-gun. He called himself a responsible gun owner, but hunt and kill raccoons for fun in the forest surrounding his Medford home. One time, my parents let me go visit him, and he went outside.The sound of gunfire was loud and shook the house.

I have never touched a gun and still don't want to be around them.

He was way to the Right on the on the issue of abortion--hated it--no exceptions. To me abortion is not a black and white issue. I am fortunate to have never had to choose.

He made fun of the ethnic student unions, such as the Black Student Union, and the like. In protest, he formed the Irish Student Union. I guess he felt that Europeans don't have enough representation at our nation's colleges.

Finally he didn't like the Gay and Lesbian Alliance at the UO. He referred to lesbians as "Bull Dykes" and probably other things when he was with his buddies.

Right or wrong, this gave me the impression that conservatives hate women, love guns, and are homophobics.

I hope I am wrong, but for now, I'm a flaming liberal.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Dodged a bullet

Tumor update...

I had my most recent scan last Saturday, and got results Tuesday. I was especially nervous about the results, because in December, three doctors couldn't tell if my tumor was recurring or not. These doctors included a radiation oncologist, a general oncologist, and a brain surgeon. The MRI report noted subtle enhancement. I have heard those words before, a few months prior my 2010 surgery.  The general oncologist told me if my MRI in March looked like the one in December, that would mean no recurrence. The brain surgeon said my surgeon did a great job both times, and any changes were too minor to worry about.  Still I wanted official word, and I wanted to see pictures.

So this week, I did. My brain is still the same.  It has a hole in it with what appears to be a halo around it. The halo is still the same too.

I  think about death often, though I don't want to die at this age, and I'm not sure the benefits of another surgery would outweigh the  toll it would take on my body.

I'm happy I don't have to make any big decisions just yet.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Tears for my father

The other day, I was shuffling through my music library, and a song came up that reminded me of him, as so many songs do. Lately, I've been loading my library with such songs, as a homage to him.

When tears come, they are often provoked by an unexpected, random trigger. In my case, it was an Al Stewart song.

Stewart is arguably most famous for "Year of the Cat," but my dad always liked a more obscure song,"Roads to Moscow," best. Perhaps dad likes the melody or the classical guitar bits, but as the song played the other night, the tears came, and didn't stop until I was near sleep.

Maybe I shouldn't have cried, but the dad I grew up with doesn't exist anymore.

And it's heartbreaking.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Babysitting Grampy


Grampy is the nickname the family uses for my father, because he's a grandfather of two now. Grampy is 75 now and not in the best of health. His given name is Elmer Bartelle Godbey, but over the years he has gone by Bart, EB, and sometimes Elmer. I call him dad.

Less than a year ago, dad and mom moved from what was to be their retirement house, because dad was showing signs of dementia, including wandering around (in the house) at night. He was crashing his car and not remembering the circumstances of the accidents. One time, I was visiting, and there sat a prepared salad on the island, and the television was playing loudly, that I thought dad was there.

He was not. He had left the house, allegedly to put gas in his car.

Tests confirmed a diagnosis of early onset dementia. My sister took on the task of looking for retirement villages with memory care, and selling their house. Dad was anxious about the move, both positively and negatively, so he stayed at our house on the actual moving day. I took the above picture then.

Since moving, dad's dementia has worsened. Just yesterday, he told me he had front row seats to a soccer game, and even told me he enjoyed the game. Just one problem--he didn't go to a soccer game.

Another time, I called and was talking to mom, hearing him in the background. He was talking to a friend who was not there. When mom told him that his friend wasn't there, he then guessed he was talking to my sister. She wasn't there either.

Mom doesn't want to leave him alone, because he gets anxious and feels abandoned, so my sister and I have started keeping him company on Sunday evenings, so mom can play bunko.

Dementia is a cruel wench. It can take an extremely cool, interesting individual and turns them into a helpless baby. There but for the grace of god go us all.