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Archive for the ‘Priorities’ Category

January 1, 2016 • Welcome, weary web traveler! You’ve come upon the blog chronicling a very interesting time in the life of Deepwell USA – the years from late 2009 to the end of 2015, when a strange last will and testament by someone named Ruby Wood wrought some pretty far-reaching changes in our town. If you haven’t yet been to RubysBequest.org, make sure you do so – that’s where all the action took place. (And if you think something’s amiss, better read this.)

Deepwell mourns its friend

Deepwell mourns its friend

As the people of Deepwell struggled with the challenges posed by Ruby’s will, they posted their thoughts here in this blog – as well as events in their lives and the occasional bit of news about the bequest. Most of it is mundane I guess, but some of it I find quite profound. It’s all in reverse chrono order, so best if you start with the oldest posts and work your way up.

But maybe you don’t want to read it. You’re time-pressured, darn it! You shout, “Etta, GET TO THE POINT!” Okay. The point is: It was really hard to think about caring – but it was really necessary, too. It was really hard to talk to others about caring – but that was really necessary, too. In the end, thanks to the hundreds of people who shared, some amazing things happened and some really true things were revealed about the future of caring.

I especially want to thank the people who wrote to us about loss, who gifted us with wisdom they learned through hard experience. Because we in Deepwell are in loss today – one among us, Phil Geddings, has died of leukemia. You don’t know Phil – he didn’t post to this blog, or end up telling his story at Ruby’s Bequest. Like so many people, he was too caught up in caring for real to afford the luxury of talking about it in the abstract. But most of us here in Deepwell knew Phil, many of us worked with him (or wanted to).  He was one of those people you can openly like right away – he was so clearly a team player, and everyone was on his team. Regarding Ruby’s Bequest, he was very much with us in spirit – he still is – and our hearts go out to his family and friends.  Photo by Shad0.

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Feb 15, 2015 • Over the past few years, so much has changed in Deepwell. I can’t believe it’s been six years since all of this began. While we’ve worked to make Deepwell the town that does care right, I’ve tried to be the man who cares right. I’ve cared wrong in the past and thought I had it all figured out afterward. Ruby’s Bequest has taught me so much more.

Throughout all of this, I’ve known that I’ve been avoiding a big caring issue in my own life. I knew I had to sit down with my father and talk about the future. My father lives up in Wisconsin, far from the rest of the family. I often wondered what we would do if something happened to him, but it wasn’t something we ever really talked about. Well, I finally bit the bullet. I sat him down and we talked. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be and I don’t really know why I was ever avoiding it in the first place. All I really had to do was start the conversation and my dad rambled on and let me know everything he wanted. So here it is. Seventeen minutes of our heart-to-heart talk. (Can you take it?) 😉

Hopefully, it might help someone else get up the nerve to start the same conversation with their parents.

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Jun 27, 2014 • It hardly seems like four months since we lost Ida May. Valentine’s Day was always a bittersweet day for me at best, but will be doubly so now.

Since then, I have been lost. I spent so much time caring for her that I have not known what to do with myself. I’ve been rattling around in this big old house all by myself like a lone pea in a can. The loss of Ida May on top of all my cats to the double-cursed “pinkeye” or “zoo flu” or whatever the news wants to call it these days nearly killed me as well. I admit that I hoped I would get sick and die, too. A dark time for MeelieSue, ducks.

Several weeks ago I sat down with Ida May’s estate lawyer and it was no surprise to me that I was named sole beneficiary to her estate. What was a surprise was the absolute enormity of the estate itself. She had been very canny about her investments over the years. Very, very canny. I’m talking about nearly nine digits canny. I had no idea.

What’s an old woman (or a Cool Old Bat) like me going to do with all that money? I’m perfectly happy just the way I am – or the way I was, before Ida May got sick. And there’s the rub. I bet there are a lot of people out there in the world right now who are perfectly happy just the way they are right before they are struck with Alzheimer’s.

So here’s my little contribution: I have been speaking with none other than Ashleye Blackbourne and I am going to use all of Ida May’s money to set up a foundation to assist people who need Tauremopravil to stave off symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, but can’t afford to pay for this incredibly expensive drug themselves. Mental clarity should not be reserved only for the rich.

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Feb 13, 2014 • This is a hard thing to say, but Ida May’s time is very soon now. If you have been thinking about coming over and saying anything to her, you should do it as quickly as you can. I don’t know if she can hear you – in my heart, I like to believe that she can – but I know it makes me feel better to talk to her even though she can’t say anything back.

It feels so ironic to me that I’m watching her leave me just as the “miracle cure” for Alzheimer’s is coming into play, that drug that nobody can even pronounce and everyone just calls “Tau.” Tauremonpravadil? Something like that. I haven’t had enough energy to watch the news. All I know is that there are so many people it could help, but only the very rich at this point can even dream of affording it. It’s too late for people like Ida May, but those just diagnosed? So help me, if I could keep just one person from going through what I’m going through right now, so help me, so help me. This is hell on earth.

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July 26, 2013 • Sometimes when things are terrible, I try to think about things that are not terrible. Sometimes, that seems impossible to do. Terrible things can be all-consuming—they are monsters that swallow you whole and you get lost inside their cavernous stomachs.

The terrible, all-consuming thing right now is that Tim’s latest full body CAT scan revealed that the cancer has metastasized to his liver and his shoulder. All those treatments, while shrinking the initial tumor somewhat, were not enough to prevent the cancer from spreading. So, there will be no surgery. He has actually been feeling better and has gained a little weight, so finding out the cancer had spread was such a shock. We have gone from praying that he can be rid of the cancer to praying that he will live for at least a few more years. I know that sounds gruesome, but it’s the reality we are facing, and reality is often gruesome.

At least he can still be treated, which is so different from when my dad had colon cancer in the 1970s. After his spread to his liver, they basically sent him home to live out the rest of his short, painful life. The phrase the doctor used, which is burned on my brain, was to “let nature take its course.” I remember being so upset that he wasn’t straightforward about it—to this day, I hate euphemisms for dying.

Anyway, since then, they have made great advances in not only pain management (which is a great help), but in treating the cancer itself—even when it is as advanced as Tim’s. At first they inserted a PICC line for his chemo, but it has been removed and now he has a port. The drugs they are using do not make him as tired—in fact, he seems to have as much energy as he used to before he got cancer. If there is anything positive to say about all of this, it is that we are making the best of the time we have together and that is not so terrible at all.

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Oct 22, 2012 • I just want to publicly congratulate the PODCare group for finally getting off their collective tuckuses (tucki?) and implementing the excellent Kids Kare program. Yes, I realize I am also a member of the PODCare group, so I’m including myself in there. Put your noses back in joint, dearies.

Anyway, for those who haven’t been to the board meetings, we’ve gotten together with the schools and are getting kids to take active roles in real caring situations for extra credit. They’re not just learning about it, they’re going in there and talking to people with disabilities. And it’s not like being a candy striper and cleaning up – well, stuff you’d rather not clean up. They’re dealing with disabled people on a one-to-one, person-to-person basis and starting to understand that they are really people.

I’ve been having a lot of the kids over to my house after school because I do a lot of baking while Ida May is napping and for some reason, these growing kids like cookies. Sure, some of them are sassy, but I have been known to be sassy once or twice myself, and they seem to respect that. I overheard one of them call me a “cool old bat.” I kind of like that. I’m a C.O.B., dudes.

But with autumn in full swing, I always tend to get a little bit of the weepies, and this year has been a little harder for me than most. Ida May is not doing well. It tears me up to see her like this.

Kerrek sat with Ida May the other day and I went over to get my hair done at Etta’s place. It’s great to talk men with her, since technically she is one. I told her about my lost love, so long ago, and what I wanted to do: get Kids Kare talking to the local vets. She thinks it’s a good idea, so I’m not crazy. Well, at least not about that. I’ll be making some phone calls in the morning.

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Jan 3, 2011 • Just wanted to wish you all a belated Happy New Year! 🙂  I’m really hoping this year will be a better one for both me and Deepwell!

I’ve personally had a very rough year.  Between beginning my search for a caregiver, doctors appointments, and another hospitalization, I’ve just barely had a chance to catch my breath.  But largely due to the support of all of you I’ve made it through, and I hope you all know how thankful I am!

Ever since I read Donielle Watkins’s touching story about her son Logan’s ability to make a difference and another moving story about a girl named Abigail, I’ve been thinking about what positive impact I can make on Deepwell instead of waiting for Deepwell to come to me.  Right now I’m working on setting up something with the local elementary school like Walkernomore suggested.  Taking some time to get the details sorted out.  But I’m looking forward to getting out there and working with the kids!  It would be a lot easier to arrange if I had a caregiver to help me get to and from and assist me while I’m there.  So of course my search continues.  I have some potential caregiver interviews set up this week.  We’ll see…

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