Family Life

Family Life27 Nov 2008 02:55 pm

Matthew on the field

Here are pics of Matthew from the ’08 season. He still loves playing!

Family Life and Life07 Nov 2007 09:47 pm

My mother is now largely confined to a wheelchair, since standing up without help is just an accident waiting to happen. Her balance is poor, Parkinson’s disease affects her ability to step more than a few inches at a time, and she has lost a lot of her vision to glaucoma. Her condition seems to be declining quickly in the last year or so. In the last several months she’s started to have trouble lifting her hands to her mouth, so now she is mostly fed by the nursing home staff. She often has trouble speaking at more than a whisper (another symptom of Parkinson’s disease) and can be very difficult to understand.

Mentally she comes and goes. Very recently she has trouble staying with a conversation for more than a few minutes. One minute she’ll ask who I am, and complain about the people gathering in the corner of the room (“No one’s there, Mom — that’s just a cabinet…”). A few minutes later, in a fleeting window of complete lucidity, she’ll express frustration at the fact that she seems to be confused about what is real and what is not. It is painful and sad to watch.

I often think fondly of a picture I took of her when I was twelve and she was, well, about my age now. Wow, life is short.

Mom, around ‘76

Last weekend she was pretty out of it. At the end of our visit I wheeled her into the dining area for lunch while Alex and the kids headed down to the car. It was only then that Mom started tuning in. After trading a few coherent sentences I realized everyone would be waiting for me downstairs. I got up to go.

“We’re heading out now. See you next week.”

She looked up at me. She said, more clearly than usual: “So I’m taking the kids?”

That caught me a bit by surprise, and I chuckled, wincing at the same time.

“Oh, no, you don’t need to worry about that, Mom. We’ll take the kids with us. You just stay here… and we love you.”


Some more pics.

Family Life16 Oct 2007 12:44 pm

Our youngest, Matthew, really enjoys playing soccer. Here are some pics. It’s so cute how his tongue sticks out when he’s concentrating ;-)

Matthew on the field

Family Life and Life06 Oct 2007 08:43 am

My mother has been in a nursing home for a couple of years now, in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease. We visit on weekends.

Sadly, the aging elevators at the nursing home often behave in a way that mirrors some residents:

Me: Up, please.

[No elevator comes.]

Me: Up…

[Still no elevator.]

Me: Up!

[Both elevators open.]

Me (stepping in): Sigh… Second floor, please.

[Doors open at the third floor...]

Then a few hours later, leaving the building:

Me (entering passcode on the elevator security control): 12345, down please.

[No elevator...]

Me: 12345, down please.

[Elevator opens, one of the nurses steps out.]

Me: First floor, please.

[Door closes, then nothing.]

Me (after flicking elevator on / off switch): First floor, please.

[Elevator stops on first floor, but only the rear service door opens.]

Me (stepping out, welling up with tears at how bad the situation is getting): See you next week…

Family Life30 Sep 2007 06:24 pm

Here’s just one bit of advice for you youngsters:

On the rare occasion that you and your sibling are in the midst of a tangle and things are so clear that I step in and actually defend your position, you should not — I repeat NOT — think it helpful to jump in and back me up!

In this situation, bolstering my position with your explanation of the affair will not help you out. Right now, your best move is to keep your mouth closed and watch the fireworks.

And — as long as no snide expressions are involved — you could even take this opportunity to quietly bask in your minor accomplishment.

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