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Pennsylvania, United States
What changes hath time wrought...mostly a different hair-color, a few wrinkles and loss of short-term memory.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I find this amusing and scary. Are the Republicans seriously considering Limbaugh? Why would anyone want RUSH LIMBAUGH in a position of power? He's MEAN! Diplomacy is a very important part of being a politician: where politically correct comes from! It's what keeps nations from torpedo-ing the heck out of each other. Our whole country is based on allowing everyone an opinion. That's why it's fine that Mr. Cheney would back Limbaugh, he shot his friend while hunting quail! He's scary himself. But short of Bill O'Reilly, RL is the most narrow-minded man I've heard speak publicly. People who think they know everything and have all the answers MUST not be allowed to govern. More on how I imagine a Rush Limbaugh country later.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Memory Failure

Before I go too far- I write these with the hope that someone enjoys them or would like to comment on something to stimulate my intelligence. (More on that below.) I know that this blog will not allow comments to come through. So please use my email at yeggy25@gmail.com to leave any remarks.

I was hoping to get up at 7am each morning and spend 30 minutes on a blog. I swear those 30 minutes of extra sleep before I get up at 7:30 seem to be the most restful! But I still hope to make a habit of writing daily.

We placed my father in a nursing home last fall (Sept. '08) because of his increasing dementia. Thankfully he is not violent, nor was he ever, so he is able to be in the assisted-living unit instead of the Alzheimer's Unit. As distressing as it is to witness someone begin to forget where he is, who his family is and what is going on, we've found some of his antics to be rather amusing.

First my dad cut the alarm bracelet off that alerts the home if he tries to leave the home. My sister and her husband found it in the garbage can in his room! Then I got a call telling me he'd set off the fire alarm! Next he declared my brother-in-law (a TV news reporter in Erie) a handsome f*#!er while he and my sister were visiting. I NEVER in my life heard my dad use that word. Shit and damn, yes. It's like he's turning into a geriatric delinquent! He currently believes he is the landlord of the home and can't figure out where his apartment went and why he is living in just a bedroom.He calls us sometimes to tell us he doesn't think his phone is working! (He has a list of phone numbers by his phone.) He once called my previously mentioned bro-in-law saying he needed a ride home. John tried to explain he was supposed to remain there but my dad cut him off and barked, 'Cut the small talk and get me out of here!'

My sisters and I were not particularly close to my dad. Since my sisters left home pretty much out of high school/college (and they were 4 and 5 years older than me) I had a lot more time to spend alone with my mom and dad. Plus my dad retired while I was still in high school. But he was not one to sit and have a conversation about anything. My mom was the expert at that. So now it's very hard to spend time with him. It's hit-or-miss whether he remembers me. He frequently calls me Josephine (his younger sister). He seems to have a better grasp of the past than the present. So we frequently talk about his life in the 1920s-1950s. Which are rather interesting, but I don't know how accurate his info is because I've never heard most of these stories before! He never shared info about himself.

My dad was a salesman for Pennzoil before and after World War II and traveled extensively throughout the eastern part of the United States. (That may account for why he did NOT like to travel when we were young.) I knew he was in the Navy and had a brush with death, but not by an enemy's devices, but by his own appendix! He was halfway to Africa on a Destroyer in a Naval Convoy when his appendix burst. He had to be transferred to a medical ship within the convoy. He says he had a terrible infection and it took quite a while for him to recover. Recover he did and ended up in the Northeast US, in Boston and Maine. (Again I have no way of verifying this data.)

We just visited my dad this past Friday. A week prior to that we'd gone to the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh. They have a sub permanently docked on the river and patrons can walk through it. While in that den of claustrophobia I wondered how they selected the sailors to man the subs? That question sparked quite an interesting conversation with my dad. According to Tim they do comprehensive psych exams to determine suitability. My dad didn't dispute that. He just said he made sure he enlisted and had a choice into which arm of the military he joined. He said since he spoke two languages (Polish and English) and knew how to do shorthand and dictation he was given the job as secretary to _____________. Whoever that was, my dad had access to all the military records of everyone on board. He said he'd been accosted frequently by sailors who wanted him to change or remove items from their records. He said he never did it. Wasn't willing to chance the outcome.

We discussed how his three brothers were all in different parts of the world. Uncle Frank was in the army in Africa in heavy fighting. (My dad was the youngest son.) My Uncle Joe was in the Pacific front. And, I'd never heard this, he said my Uncle Stan was in Italy. And he was protecting some Abbey in the mountains. (My memory is failing me already at 44. I can't remember the specifics of the location.) We discussed how lucky it was that all of them came home. My mom also had 4 brothers in WW2 and one did not return home and one was in a German prison camp. I'm very impressed with soldiers who have seen combat. I don't know how you can ever put it out of your mind. These memories do seem much clearer than a lot of other memories.

Now to the mind: I read an article in a recent Discover mag about how memory loss begins about age 40. One study was concentrating on the filtering process in the brain and they believe the cause of the forgetfulness is a declining ability to filter all the stimuli that is constantly bombarding us. When we are young-er we are able to focus on matters so they become embedded in our long-term memory. But as we age this ability erodes. There was no suggestion of how to prevent this problem, but I think this is so true. This would also account for my dad's remembering the years before he turned 40 so clearly! He turned 18 shortly after he enlisted in the Navy.

Last weekend I was so obsessed with gardening (plus it was sunny all week) that was all I focused on...I even made a diagram of all my gardens, what was in them and what and where I would add new ones. Then I studied what was needed for each new plant. (They did arrive a week earlier than they were supposed to...) Saturday I forgot about Sarah's art show- I was doing soil preparation. Sunday I did not send her to Sunday school. Monday the H&S (of which I am an active part) at Sarah's school brought in an assembly from the Carnegie Science Center and we'd invited parents to attend. I remembered about it when I was redoing my calendar I hang on the 'frige to remember important dates!!! I was several days late in updating it. That really has me concerned. I'm not going to lose sleep over it. I'm an inveterate list-maker and will just have to do it more frequently.

I have this saying on my Facebook profile: We'll be friends until we're old and senile. Then...we'll be new friends. I like that positive spin on it!