Monday, May 31, 2010


I have posted this picture before - this bottle opener means SO much. In honor of it being Memorial Day I will re-tell it's origin and journey. My Dad was captured the last seven days of WWll. They were held prisoner in a barn. For some reason they had beer and opened their bottles with this bottle opener. My Dad hung the bottle opener on a nail, outside a window on the second floor. When the war ended and they were released the bottle opener stayed on that nail. Twenty-five plus years later my parents returned to Germany. My Dad found the barn in which he was held captive which was now a restaurant. He went upstairs to the second floor loft and reached out the window and retrieved the very same bottle opener he had placed there over 25 years before. Amazing huh? I am so honored to have it displayed in a glass case in our home. I in memory and honor of my Dad salute all of our military that fight and protect and sacrifice for our freedom.

I spent yesterday afternoon with my Mom - giving my sister a much needed time away. We are all on high alert as decisions are made and procedures planned and options discussed. My Mom and I watched a beautiful Memorial Day concert from Washington.

amazing huh? My Mom and I cried quiet tears of honor and hope, fear and joy, loss and gratitude and on and on..........our emotions were on high. I watched her breathe as she eventually drifted in to a gentle sleep - a steady rhythm - a soft rise and fall - a peaceful rest. And so this morning - a new decision was made. My Mom said she felt free and relieved. I listened intently as she spoke - "I cannot turn my body over to that machine - I do not want the procedure and I feel so free now that I made this decision - (she went on to say) and they are just going to have to find another way to build a 'site' in my arm so I can have the other type of treatment, and if not, then so be it" ........ and there it was - the decision was made. I felt a mix of emotions but easily felt her sense of freedom and power over her own life. I honored her lovingly. I felt a twinge of sadness as the reality of narrowing options became clear - and yet the freedom in her own power of choice over-shadowed my sadness. Oh this is such a difficult time. Faith is tested, beliefs and values about life and death and after-life are swirling in my soul - my mind spins, my heart soars and then sinks - races and then quiets - I am overwhelmed.

Today, I am going to feel the sunlight on my face. Someone I love told me to enjoy the sunlight-and so I will. I am going to grill myself an 'official' Memorial Day hamburger. And I am going to grill one for Gracey-Blue too. I am going to play my favorite music - and watch a movie too. Skipp is working - the day is my own. Well, as much as it can be - my mind wanders easily - my heart feels deeply - fear overtakes me - and I know - I am alive.

and FYI, the following is an example of some of what we are dealing with in regards to our 'Health Care System' - and quality patient care issues. This is the letter I emailed to 'patient relations' at Yale New Haven Hospital........

To all concerned:

It is with great dismay, concern and outrage I write to you today. On Friday, May 28th, 2010 My 86 year old mother was treated horribly at the blood draw/EKG section at the Physicians Building - 2nd floor-, 800 Howard Avenue. I report the following as a formal grievance:

We were given pre-op paperwork for a blood draw, EKG and chest X-ray following our visit at the kidney transplant clinic on the 4th floor of the Physicians Building in preparation for surgery necessary for dialysis. This, in of itself is overwhelming for anyone, let alone my weary, and brave 86 year old mother. We arrived at the 2nd floor blood-draw/EKG suite and were told it would be about a 10 minute wait. My Mom was called and her blood was drawn. She reappeared in the lobby area saying that no one could do the EKG and we were told by the receptionist to have the chest X-ray done on the first floor and then return and that by then someone would be able to do the EKG. On our way to the first floor my Mom was VERY upset as she explained that the staff was arguing over who ‘should’ do her EKG, and they were bickering as they argued back and forth, each telling the other they were not going to do it and that someone else should do some work for a change, etc. . This is appalling and my mother was visibly shaken and upset. Also, my Mother walks with a rollator/walker, as do I. This ‘extra’ trip back to the EKG area was unnecessary and showed no consideration for the patient, Louise.

We returned to the blood-draw/EKG suite and were told someone would be with my Mom, Louise, shortly. We waited. I heard the receptionist say three times, “Louise is back”. A technician came out and the receptionist said, “Louise is back for her EKG”. The technician said, quite righteously and justifiably, “I’m not gonna do it, let someone else do some work around here” and she walked off. By now, my mother began to cry - I now begin to react and advocate for my mother and said to the receptionist - “My 86 year old mother is crying - crying!, NO patient should ever here staff fighting over doing their job AND they were fighting about who was going to do her EKG before and they are still fighting over it now - this is an outrage - who is going to do this EKG for my Mom?” I was VERY upset as was my Mom as she sat next to me sobbing over how she was being disregarded. I asked the receptionist for the supervisors name, and number which she wrote down for me. The EKG was finally done.

This treatment is “ABUSE OF THE ELDERLY”. I shudder to think what would have happened if I were not there to advocate for her. I cannot believe the lack of professionalism and lack of regard for a patient, an elderly patient - she felt very abused due to their lack of compassion and refusal to provide the service she was there to receive. She was dismissed with NO regard. This is abuse. This is incomprehensible. This is completely unacceptable.

I implore you to look in to this matter. Clearly, some of the staff at the blood draw/EKG suite should NOT be working with patients. The way my Mom was treated is shameful - their refusal to happily provide her the service is abuse, clear and definite ‘abuse of the elderly’.

I trust I will be informed of a response that outlines the action taken to deal with the abusive staff that harmed my mother and also what is being done to prevent this type of abusive treatment to ever happen again. I do expect a written apology to my Mother.

Can you even imagine? Like I said above in the title of this post, "This and That"...and so I have written, "This And That" Good Lord!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


"HAPPY BIRTHDAY BERNIE" you have given freely, your wisdom, love, compassion, understanding, hope, fear, joys, sadness and faith. I am honored to call you friend, and privileged to share in your world. You, your life - a true celebration! "HAPPY BIRTHDAY BERNIE"

Friday, May 21, 2010

The French Doors On Pearl Hill Street

We listened intently - gathered around her hospital bed - it was like time stood still and no other sound could be heard - the codes being bellowed , or the beeps and bells and whistles of machinery measuring life, the gurney wheels carting patients or staff in hallways and at bedsides discussing patient care - none of that could be heard - only her sweet voice - seeping out of her beautiful face laden with every emotion - and she began..............."I HAD A DREAM LAST NIGHT, I WAS HOME ON PEARL HILL STREET, (our childhood home), AND DADDY WAS THERE (my Dad passed in 1984), WE WERE STANDING IN THE LIVING ROOM LOOKING OUT THROUGH THE FRENCH DOORS WATCHING A BIG SNOW STORM, (tears fell as she spoke, we were all paralyzed with emotion, clinging to her every word), I SAID TO DAD, WE BETTER GET THE GIRLS INSIDE (me and my Sister), SO WE WILL ALL BE INSIDE TOGETHER AND WE CAN ALL FACE THE STORM FROM HERE, LOOKING THROUGH THE FRENCH DOORS.........."

My Mom believes that it was my Dad's way of telling her he is with her as she faces this HUGE storm - we are all with her - just like when we were all together on Pearl Hill Street. Everyone was crying, and then the other noise returned as audible and time no longer stood still -

Many life-changing decisions are being made - my Mom is very brave - and she, we, will face this storm together. Some issues are resolved - some have a treatment direction - some, well all, is in God's hands.

Please continue to pray, please.........

P.S> and know that I SO appreciate every caring comment - your love and prayers mean so much.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Prayers needed

A brief note - to all of you, my blog friends who frequent here lovingly and faithfully, and whose blog space I love to visit. I want to ask for your prayers for my Mom, Louise.

She was admitted to the hospital today - congestive heart failure, pulmonary embolism, arterial fibrillation. (sp)...... I have to believe that the medicines will regulate her heart, dissolve the clot and rid her lungs of the fluid they are holding. Pray with me, for my Mom - please.

I wont be posting or commenting much if at all for a while.

I love you all.................

Monday, May 10, 2010

This table

If you enlarge the photo you can see my Mom a bit better and some 'detail' of this "table of love". First and most important, Mom - she so enjoyed her Mother's day brunch and being with us, her family. I could see she was tired, and that she pretended to feel good for all of us.

And this table - oh my -it has "served" so many and heard every secret, hope, desire, fear, joy, sorrow held turkeys and omelets and wine glasses and sippy cups, paper plates to fine china - elbows, and bowed heads, praying hands and hands held, problems heard, celebrations shared, voices raised, voices in a whisper, tears shed, laughter roaring, applause and arms crossed, silence, linen table cloths and paper birthday table cloths, flowers and candles, coffee mugs and tea cups, dinner for two, dinner for eight, dinner alone. Oh this table, hand made on an Indian reservation 12 years ago "serves" us so well. And Mother's Day is just one example of this table 'serving' us - flowers from Skipp, lilacs, fresh cut from our garden, scented candles, gift bags for sharing, cards of love, fruit and coffee cake, and a lovely view to the back yard and woods and side yard and woods. Today, this table had a big job, to hold up Mom - as she leaned and gently smiled - ate slowly and savored her surroundings - this table comforted her - gave her strength - welcomed her and was so proud to serve her. Her place at this table is worn in the best of ways, reserved and honored in tradition - her place at this table is sacred.

Monday, May 3, 2010

As Mother's Day Approaches

As Mother's Day approaches I am filled with emotions. First, to all my blog friend that are Mother's and of course every one has a Mom so this wish is for you too :-). I wish you a very Happy Mother's Day!! Even as I write this wish I know that it is vast, and complex, and miraculous, and agonizing, and filled with the wisdom of all of our mother experiences, memories, desires, sorrows, celebrations, loss, gain, hope, fears, promises and LOVE>

AS this Mothers' Day fast approaches I am SO worried about my Mom - she is so tired, has no appetite, no energy and her mood and mind are changing. I love her so much and I am SO afraid of her lack of presence. I still see and feel and experience the gentle love in her blue eyes - with a bit less sparkle. I hold her small hands in mine which are seasoned with arthritis and always cold. Her body is small, so small - like she is disappearing right before my eyes.

This is me and Mom last Mother's Day. She is SO beautiful.

That is a gardenia corsage she is wearing - her favorite flower. I am so grateful she is here this Mother's Day - and as much as I am celebrating that, I am also so painfully aware of her decline. I promise that I will hold on to her spirit, and faith, and wisdom and softness and all the love - no matter what. I know many of you have lost your Mom's, and especially Diana who is facing her first Mother's Day without her Mom - my heart aches. I feel all mixed up this year - a blend, - of turmoil, gratitude, sadness, fear, hope and LOVE.

And now my Sister. A most wonderful Mother - her boys the center of her life, - three amazing sons. Her eldest, Clayton? He died. oh so suddenly, almost seven years ago. A mother's heart knows no bigger ache. Mother's day for her is always bitter-sweet as she celebrates her other two sons and agonizes the loss of Clayton. There are no words. The picture below is me and my Sis last Mother's day.

She is quite the opposite of me. tiny, small features, short sassy hair, and her nic-name is "Nancy-Nip!!!!! She is of sharp tongue! Woo! :-) We are so very close and always there for one another, no matter what.

My three children - all so unique.

Dolan - my youngest. He and I are very close. Even when he studied in Prague he reached across oceans to me. We talk almost every day, usually on his way home from the Bronx where he teaches High School English, and on his way to Brooklyn where he lives. and I love it. He always says that he celebrates me every day and that he doesn't need Mother's Day to remember and honor me. He shows me every day. :-) We always say "I love you", always. :-)

Jennifer - my middle child. She lives the closest and loves ALL the family traditions and celebrations. We have had our share of ups and downs, trials and tribulations and times of distance. We always find our way back. She makes me laugh like no one else can - she is very, very funny. :-) ANd we always say I love you at the end of every visit or call.

Kristie - my eldest. She is the most distant in miles and in family matters. She is strong-willed and a survivor and has had many, many obstacles before her. I miss her terribly and often wish she were part of our daily lives. Regardless, if something serious happened and I/we needed her I know she would get here. She ends every call with "I love you more Mom"..............sigh.

And so this Mother's Day we will gather for brunch, here. Quiche, fruit, muffin tops, coffee cake and scallops with pineapple. The day will be filled with so many emotions - a plethora, if you will. I will proudly pin my Mom's corsage on her lapel and offer my Sister her bouquet of three sunflowers that I give her every hear since Clayton died. I am most grateful that everyone feels love and says "I love you". That at times our hearts soar, and at times our hearts ache. Such is the bond of Mother's to their children and the never ending struggle to hold on and let go - hold on and let go - hold on and let go - hold on.................