which includes an homage to mr. wd, bless his big heart.
after our neighbor was left to die in the crap local hospital a month ago with a brain hemorrhage, but shockingly came back to life instead of going for the light in perpetuity…all the way, he returned to his (albeit) eccentrically peculiar dwelling to choose either his own death, or return to life, as he’d indicated rather enigmatically.
after being here for ten days, his seattle sister had to go home to tend to her life and work there, and was trying to organize a bunch of his friends to do everything that he needed done, a very extensive list of ‘needs’ indeed. but i asked her a) if he could read, and b) if he could use the telephone; she’d check and get back to me. when she did, the answer to both was No. uh-oh.
now he required either a walker or a cane to move about, and even the simplest tasks were beyond him. sister seattle finally decided to clear out a room adjacent to his garage for him to live in as the upstairs was uninhabitable and built ‘like an acid dream’ (and not in the good sense) as the plumber said so well. the bevy of volunteers scrubbed it, moved basic furniture and whatnot into it, and even fashioned a minimalist kitchen for him before she left.
we cooked for him, as did a couple others, folks stayed overnight with him for safety reasons, gave him water, directed him in using a portable toilet outside, and he did begin to do a bit better in several ways. but still he was unable to even use the teevee remote or phone with diagrams mr. wd drew for him. but aha! enter educational kinesiology! i’m sure it’s evolved since i’d first learned it jeeez…three decades ago?
but i drew a large lazy 8/infinity sign on a piece of cardboard, and after explaining to lazarus what it was for, he asked him to tape it to the refrigerator where he could see it best. i taught mr. wd an exercise to show him that i thought might actually help him to see and focus, and eventually to read: point one forefinger at the lazy 8, and slowly trace it several times, then point with the opposite forefinger and ‘keep his eyes on the prize’ similarly. they were both rigorous in their devotions to EK: mr. wd as an apt pupil to become a teacher to lazarus. after several days we added some seated gross-motor exercises to stimulate bilateral hemispheric inter-communication, which both of them loved.
and ya know what? as of yesterday…he could read, by gum, use the telephone with admittedly some difficulty, and often use his teevee remote control. woooot! guess who he called yesterday? yeppers, me. and announced that he no longer wanted folks to give him meals, nor spend the night, goddammit, he wanted to challenge himself. when i asked if he were ready to do this, he said no, but he did want to try, at least for a couple days. mr. wd and and i are all for it; haven’t heard how other helpers have reacted. so mr. wd made him a large print list of phone numbers he asked for…just in case. he delivered his last wd supper this morning (hot breakfast, actually), and stayed all day to work with the plumbers who were there, then to do an hour of EK after they’d left. the plumber’s helper is a former meth-head, and is (ahem) rather overly-kinetic and very loud, although come to that, so is the plumber, but to a lesser degree.
but i have at least Two Days of not cooking for him, mr. wd has two days of not doing anything but keep watering his gardens, and yeppers, i’m a hard-ass, and am trying to convince him not to go direct more EK. he needs to self-start, i think, and will also have therapists of different sorts to do home visits. i’ll try to catch up a bit on some of the chores that have gone begging here, and actually began a new diary this mornin’ before life had some fun with me…and derailed it. perhaps tomorrow, she sayed hopefully…
but may the gods and goddesses bless mr. wd for all he’s done to get him reading and seeing and all the karma-labor he’s provided ; there’s a long road ahead, but oh, my, what a mind-boggling difference it’s made! this song’s for him; it’s one of his faves.
It’s amazing what skillfully applied little actions will do. Thanks for the note. Glad that your neighbor is able to have some degree of freedom as he lives his life.
i suppose you’re right that in the big scheme of things that mr. wd’s dedicated actions (and a host of other services rendered) have been ‘little’. and welcome for the note.
the irony is not lost on us that lazarus has seen far more of mr. wd in the daylight hours than i have, and that we don’t even particularly like him, as his seattle sister similarly acknowledged, but after 45 years of kinda/sorta ‘la familia’, what are ya gonna do? now we hear that near death experiences and ‘strokes’ can mean new personalities, new iterations, which would be cool w/ us. it’s all been very surreal. when mr. wd got home later than expected today, he reported that lazarus had told him that it was fine if he stopped by ‘for a visit’. hmmmm. and mr. wd says that if he asks for moar EK, he’ll help, which i think is a wise decision ahead of time. dunno how far his healing will go, or how long, but i reckon the few main helpers will hit burnout not too far into future. mr. wd took two weeks off work just to be of such assistance, for instance, bless him.
what a strange world this is, and as far as lazarus, who knows what tomorrow my bring? here’s hoping he find his way home. ha; he’d also told mr. wd that if needs be, he could make to our house, even if he had to crawl. ;-)
Another way families, neighbors, and people like Lazarus are strung out by our failure to have infrastructure (what?, paid-by-whom?, done how?) that makes a due diligent effort at dignity, compassion, and care in which the familiar or the last-chance bucket-list unfamiliar are choices that allow leaving in as much peace that we all can muster.
Our own neighbor, an African-American lady with strangeness (dementia, Alzheimers, you-label-it-what-you-will), a single lady who taught here entire career as a outstanding teacher in New York and New Jersey and retired where here brothers and sisters still live, now has exhausted the professional care facilities emotionally, and also her family, and is back living alone with whatever care she decides as a still “legally competent” individual with important rights. I think I’ve sketched out the neighborhood conundrum of independence and care. Fortunately her family is close enough and will check on her and is allowing her her space. All of those nostalgic stories about extended families and the big house and even “crazy” Uncle Bob who lived with the family until he died are still difficult times.
How exactly do neighbors put a network of care and “mutual aid” around these situations? Most cases are already outside of the market economy and into the household (obligation) economy or the gift economy. The market intervenes with home health services and other professional care services. Once in the market, those caregivers have to support their lives too. And neighbors of the best kind are generally stretched between market economy, household economy (of their own extended families), and gift economies to the extent that their resources allow. And of course gift economy transactions come with: (1) the expectation of reciprocation and (2) the implicit (even if undesired) status of the donor that accrues in proportion to the amount of resources and the significant value of the context of the gift.
All three economies hold communities together to the extent they are complementary and allow for equity and voluntary reciprocity.
this is very good, thd. but before i respond, i’ll say that i may have burned out some of the remaining neurons in my grey matter on a new diary, and consequently am not understanding some of it. can you explain a few phrases?
“…now has exhausted the professional care facilities emotionally”, but oh, my heart goes out to the dear woman. and this: “Once in the market, those caregivers have to support their lives too.” and arrrgh (sorry), this, as well: “(2) the implicit (even if undesired) status of the donor that accrues in proportion to the amount of resources and the significant value of the context of the gift.”
on edit: i can’t express how liberating it was not to have to fix him a hot breakfast this a.m. before i could tend to my own needs, including mitigating pain, then make him dinner for mr. wd to deliver later. wooot!
Chapeau tip & warm embrace and advance apologies that I ain’t gonna get round d’ scrittin’ bout the ‘lection. It is, you can trust me on this, so uninspiring as to be meaningless… that is, quite demonstrably of lesser note than any state poll in memory. The press will try to make hay out of the AfD should they manage to come out third, but even if they do, it won’t amount to “leading the opposition” given that no one will work with them. And that’s all I have to say about that. Here’s to humanity’s humaneness.
mornin’, davidly (well, here, not there). ;-) 8 hrs. later there, iirc? and a warm embrace to you ass well. it’s always lovely to see you here, including the thrill i get from seeing your spooooky wunnerful avatar.
no apologies necessary, gauland makes for good click-bait hysteria, doesn’t he? but oy, the mass repression of the coming catalonian secession referendum looks evil with a capital E. brrrr-d-brrrrr.
and yes, i’ll join you in a libation toward humanity’s humaneness, including my own. as i’d indicated, i have found my inner beyotch at work recently.
an update of sorts on lazarus’s condition. i’d checked in w/ him by phone on saturday, he was okay enough and enjoying his alone time and liberation from ‘helpers’, including food tithing. yesterday i called to ask what the bar might be for his experiment in doing without aid.
he kept asking me if my phone were beeping every minute or two…no, but i finally got it: his battery was going dead, and he needed to set in the base and charge it. a long and confused conversation ensued in which he was adamant that the charger and base were different items altogether, and that he’d turned it off last night, so he knew where it was….then. wot?? eventually he circled around to ‘the only way to shut it off is unplug it’…which obviously was about his teevee. ooopsie. nope, he did NOT want mr. wd to come help him hunt, he’d damn well wanted to be victorious! i applauded his aspirations, but as far as a safety issue reckon he needs to have a live phone.
but it seemed a bit past visual agnosia to me. he reported that two jehovah witnesses would be there at 1:00 for their regular visit (yeah, i know) and might be able to find ‘it’ (maybe the remote, too?). three different therapists will be visiting him today in his ground floor ‘plant room’ repurposed as his sole dwelling.
Wonderful post and thread, bravo to you all. Just attempted my login but have to be brief. Love you all. Have learned my dear cousin who just passed had a very similar history to that of Lazarus.
your cousin died/transitioned due to a brain hemorrhage, then? here’s hoping that when the white owl came for him, and he was at least somewhat pleased about during his next journey…
things got more complicated yesterday when there was a knock at the door, and it was lazarus. wot? no cane, no walker, and he’d come thru the trees. he had found the phone and the teevee remote, and as it turns out, he couln’t find them due to visual agnosia. he’d been attempting to phone me for two days, he said, but some (not so) ‘helpful’ caregiver put mr.wd’s list of numbers that lazarus wanted to call…on speed dial, as far a s i could make out. well, that thru him a major loop, as you might imagine. so, he walked here, hello?
he stayed far to long, but the main reason he came was to offer me a deal to cook for him, but he’d pay me per meal. ??? he mentioned some ranges, but there was an alternative. one of his caregivers goes to the methodist church in town, and is in sanctuary from ICE, can’t leave unless and until her case is (hopefully) won. but he and j. hatched a plan to see if she might cook for him. yep. but he wanted to offer me the ‘first chance’ to earn some money (as if). such a great plan he and j will shop for all the food and containers she needs, then someone will deliver them to lazarus. but if he springs for all the ingredients, yes…she could charge 5 or 10 a meal and earn some dollahs. hell, mebbe other church members might want to make her a similar offer, no?
but long story short, i grrrred at him saying no to wd meals in the interim as he’s gotten so, so thin, and still wants to go w/ an omnivore diet…for now. he reluctantly saw the light. so after he left i made five meals (chinese sesame noodles in 2), dessert, and mr. wd delivered it all last night. so…we’ll see. but as to my inner beyotch, it as of course the uber-wealthy folks who got my goat, so to speak. guess that’s what fortunes are for: to keep and build. oopsies, there i go again, dammit. ;-) but yeah, after six weeks of this, i could sho’ enuff use a break.
aha! we just went out and harvested all the basil, sweet, velvety loves, ahead of the expected freeze. 5 gallons worth! yummy, pesto and all. love to you as well, juliania.