Home Alone

Home Alone

I’m not sure I have ever properly thanked my mother for giving birth to me. But at least I finally found a way to show my appreciation. It took eight months, but we finally got her into an assisted living place she’s comfortable in and that can meet her needs. Along the way I left behind a trail of documents, scanned forms, faxes, emails and phone messages, as well as checks for legal fees and various communiques with bureaucrats at Medicaid. I was not fully aware of the emotional toll the process had been exacting on me until I got word Thursday morning from her new home that my mother had actually made the move and was settled in. The feelings I expressed, evident in my tears, were a complex mix of love, hope and relief. It did not take long for them to transform into a sense of guilt as well, for I also began to feel complicity in warehousing her. Such are the dilemmas of the elderly in our society and of our role, as both their offspring and their guardians. I have no idea how people without strong family support are supposed to negotiate the nightmare of...Read more
Dreams

Dreams

Had another one of those dreams the other night. The kind that reminds you how powerful and strange your brain can be. Afterwards I had to run through a quick reality check to ground myself and make sure it wasn’t true. This one has been an occasional theme the last few years – not exactly recurring, but familiar enough that I know it represents something ominous. No, it wasn’t about some government takeover by a bloated mobster. That I would classify as hyper-realism, too closely tied to everyday events. This one was less embedded in the news cycle than something that has been bugging me as I watch various utility companies cut trees down everywhere they can. I dreamt that I woke up to the hillside fronting our house completely denuded of hardwoods and conifers and our entire yard stripped of the various specimen trees we have been carefully cultivating the last 18 years. Not only were the trees all gone; so, too, was the habitat for birds, bears, turkeys and pheasants we had come to cherish. In their place were the beginnings of high-tension electrical lines. I was livid. Our property had been shorn of everything that made it...Read more

Unmasking

We’ll learn more of the President’s health in coming days. Unfortunately, the paucity of official information out of the White House gives rise to endless speculation by medical observers, none of whom have direct contact with the case. It’s a pattern we have come to expect from this most disingenuous of administrations. Much of what comes out of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is intended to deflect journalistic inquiry, thwart accuracy and avoid the most important part of a democracy – accountability to the public. The same could be said of the administration’s COVID-19 policy, which has been to duck and cover from responsibility for overseeing the nation’s health. They’ve denied the pandemic. Passed it off onto the governors of afflicted states. Refused to invoke federal authority for supply of PPE, testing equipment or contact tracing. The President has lied from the outset, admitting as much in taped interviews with Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward. More importantly, a White House panel assembled to deal with the pandemic was undercut week after week. Donald Trump made a circus of the media proceedings. He pretended to be authoritative when he had no idea what he was talking about, mocking health care professionals like Drs....Read more