TV Hospital versus Real life hospital

I’ve mentioned before about my dad’s declining health.  Well, it seems like it’s taken another step down.  Imagine a terraced yard.  Just when I get use to the view from one level, and it’s short comings, comes another step down.  Soon I will be in the street run over by traffic.

My dad has dementia.  And we decided assisted living was best for him 3 years ago, he was still pretty with it, but we didn’t want him to be alone.  I would take him out once a week for a meal or a movie.  Not a full life, but okay.  Then not only did he drop down more, so did I.  Madoff and a new baby made my weekly visits bi weekly.  And he was now using a walker, I couldn’t fit a walker and stroller in the car at the same time so I had to figure that in, and frankly, I was just more stressed, and sometimes visiting him was stressful.

Little did I know that would seem like the golden days.  In the last month he has been in the hospital twice.  Honestly, for nothing serious.  But, the first visit, combined with a change in meds pushed him further away from us.

Today I saw my dad and he said, “where are my girls?”  Meaning his daughters.  I told him I was here and that my sister’s would see him on another day.

Then I said, “you know who I am don’t you?”

His face lost some of the anxious mask he wears now, almost a little expression like his old self.

“I do, but why don’t you remind me.”

“I’m Daphne, I’m your daughter.”  And my heart broke a little.

Then he gripped my hands so tight.

“who am I forgetting?”

I named everyone in our family.  He long ago told me that when he is flying at take off he always recites the names of my mom and myself and my sisters like the Holy Trinity.  It was his prayer for our safety and for his.  I told him we are all okay.

“you are okay dad”, knowing that’s a lie.  The care giver he was with was someone my dad had told me about several times, he liked him, but now he didn’t see him.  I told him he was safe and that I would come again.

At one point when he looked hard into my eyes I saw a montage like a movie of my dad through my life.  A slim, well dressed, well coiffed man in the early ’70’s, more stout but still charming in the ’80’s. joyful at my wedding and even a few months ago at my home for his birthday.  I was searching for what was similar now. My father is a flawed man.  And has not led an exemplary life, but we could all be guaranteed that my dad made the biggest fuss over us.  He loved seeing his daughters.  A month ago he grabbed for Rex, trying to kiss him as Rex squirmed away from the non parent hands.  Now, he barely registered his presence.  Only a few weeks ago dad would have exclaimed, “look at you my boy!”

I know many others have gone through this.  And I guess it’s my turn, my families turn.  But, it totally blows.

This vlog was inspired by his most trip to the ER.

It’s News! Sort of.

On the eve of The State of the Union speech by President Obama, I was trying to watch some political shows per usual.

“Vivien, let me watch the end of ‘Hardball,’ and then I will play dress up dolls with you.” I played dress up dolls while Hardball was on. Compromise.

I’m sure you are like me. You sit at home watching the news or reading it online, and you think,

“No, no you aren’t getting it.”

or “Um, that’s not how I see it.”

So here are a few of these random thoughts in no particular order.  I would love to hear from you about when you challenge the conventional wisdom of a news story. Political, pop culture, whatever.

QUIT CALLING IT A HUG! Florida Governor Charlie Crist did NOT hug Obama. It was nothing like that pathetic shot of McCain Squeezing George W Bush like his momma after she has been out of town for a few days. Crist grabbed Obama’s arm while they shook hands. It wasn’t even the “Straight Man hug,” the embrace while they each loudly pat each other on the back. Crist may be an overly tan moderate who has gotten on the wrong side of some conservatives, but news people stop saying he hugged a guy he didn’t.

MASSACHUSETTS SENT OBAMA A MESSAGE TO SLOW DOWN ON HEALTH CARE.

Yeah, not really. The Bay state sent a message that charisma plus retail politics still rules the day. That race was decided the same way most are: who is more likable? Who would you rather have a beer with? Martha Coakly seemed cold and officious and couldn’t talk about baseball (among other gaffes). Scott Brown is a hunky, likable pro choice Republican. He handled questions very well and the first person he called when he was elected was Vicki Kennedy. That’s a smart politician (weird comments about his daughters came after he was elected, oops). Yeah, the economy still stinks, people get nervous about some big proposals, but I think if I had met Scott Brown years ago I probably would have slept with him.  I’ll vote for that… in my mind.

WILL OBAMA STOP TALKING ABOUT HEALTH CARE AND START TALKING ABOUT JOBS?

I may scream if I hear some hack pundit say this one more time. Way to allow the health care business–and it is a business– to set the debate. It does have to do with jobs, it does have to do with job creation. If a business is crushed by the cost of insuring their employees, will they hire more people? No. Will they try to hire less employees and only pick up freelance people whom they don’t have to pay benefits too?  It’s already happening. If health care costs eat up the little profit margin a small business has, will they stay in business? The costs are soaring. I’m still perplexed at how cost containment isn’t more front and center for the debate on both sides. I’m not saying the Obama plan can fix these issues. I am a big hair less Dane or Swede in my heart when it comes to health care, I’m for cradle to grave, but fat chance getting that in the US. Bottom line, health care debate is NOT separate from jobs.

OCTOMOM PLEASE KEEP YOUR CLOTHES ON

Barf, who wants to see that head case parade her newly bounced back body? Not me. Right, I’m sure you are mother of the year with your 14 kids and your workout routine. Good for you. Go away.

And most importantly,

MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

Can we please discuss how our emphasis on being a war machine bleeds education and safety from our kids, robs the middle class of resources, and leaves our mentally ill and poor to wonder the streets and annoy as we walk out of Trader Joe’s? One doesn’t have to be a dyed-in-the-wool hippie to see that these huge companies that make the weapons and support staff (Blackwater anyone?) hide behind our patriotism and support our troops sloganeering. It’s called war profiteering, and it’s so ingrained in our country, few see it, and less speak about it. It’s not a mainstream discussion, and this mother thinks it should be.

What are some of your fist pounders or head scratchers?

Just cuz he’s cute…

Obama and the Princess

I had planned to lace into President Obama this morning. As I waited for Vivien to fall asleep in her pop-up castle my mother gave her for her birthday, I composed the blog in my head. I would start out saying, “Look, you all know I was a Hillary supporter during the primary, but when that went south I threw my support (like I’m Al Gore and being sought for my backing) to Obama.”  I never thought he was the transformative figure others saw. I’m old enough to have been jumping up and down for Bill Clinton and though I love me some Bill, his flaws are well documented. So, I feel like I had been through this before.

I really liked Obama’s personal biography. Single mom, abandoned by dad, involved grandparents who sent him to the best high school while living in an apartment. And throw in first president of color and I’m in. Not to mention, I cried in 2000 and 2004 with Bush/Cheney. I was going door to door in Florida for Kerry, so unlike the “Yes I can” people, I didn’t need a cult of personality to know that Bush was not smart enough to be president and that Bush/Cheney are the kind of military industrial complex hacks that Eisenhower warned us about. And one of the big shovels Obama used to bury Hillary was his opposition to the Iraq war (which I never supported) and her vote to authorize forces. I used to argue, “But he was in the Illnois Senate at the time. He might have voted differently had he been in DC at the time.” No, the Obama mamas and others were so forceful at Vivien’s ballet class, I started talking about the weather.

So, now President Change is authorizing 30 thousand troops to Afghanistan. A war we have lost lives and spent billions on for 9 years. In a place that has no victory. I spoke yesterday to a former Marine officer who works in my building. He had tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. I always say, “Thank you for your service, and I’m sure I’m talking out  of my ass, but here is what I think; I really want to know what you think.” In short, he said unless we bomb the place to smithereens there is no victory in Afghanistan. They have home field advantage. They shoot from high up the mountains. And the “bad guys” mingle with the civilians so the enemy is not always clear (Vietnam anyone?). And they move into different countries when the heat is on and come back when they can. And in Iraq they are told not to shoot at mosques, but the insurgents (during Faloujah) went into the mosques and shot at them. And then there was the story of during a siege when they ran out of ammo.

Me: “You must have been so terrified.”

“Anyone who says they weren’t are lying,” the vet said. Finally they airlifted ammo and ordered air strikes on the mosque where they were being shot from.

We know the soldiers will do what is asked of them. We knew Bush wasn’t a student of history. But Obama seemed to be. So, we are still in Iraq, escalating Afghanistan, and the GOP is using this as an excuse to not fund health care, which is something that we all need. Americans do die, become sick, and go bankrupt because they aren’t covered. I support the war tax because I think unless there is a draft the cost of war will not come home to Americans and thus no political pressure will be applied.

So, except that Sarah Palin doesn’t get to fly in Air Force 2, what’s been the advantage to electing Obama over McCain, in regards to foreign policy?

Anyway, look, that’s the rant I had planned. I don’t want anymore of our soliders to die, and I don’t want to leave my children with a debt for a folly. But instead, my friend called early this morning and said she had $100 tickets for free to a special screening of The Princess and the Frog. The princesses would be there. Would Vivien want to go?  Would she! So, I’m scrambling to get showered and people fed and out the door.  But later I’m really going to speak my mind.