Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Meanderings and some Haiku

It's been a stressful week here in Mauiville. My aunt, who was hospitalized a couple of weeks ago with dehydration, turned out to have a growth in her colon which is cancerous. I had to take her to the doctor to hear the news on Tuesday; he had given me a hint of what to expect when the biopsy results came in, so I kind of knew already that the news was bad. She took the news well - she'd had a similar diagnosis 20 years ago, was operated on, and was OK - but of course she was a lot younger then.

My aunt will need to undergo an operation again, if she is strong enough to withstand it. She is 88 and frail, so the outcome would be uncertain. I am hoping she can gain strength back after her illness (which was not caused by the growth). Then we can see whether she is able to undergo the operation, which would probably cure her if she can survive it.

My aunt has always been part of my life and it is hard to imagine the time when she will no longer be with me. Her sister, my mother, is two years older, yet my mother has always been the healthier one. At 90, she is doing well despite her pack a day smoking habit, whereas my aunt has heart failure, high blood pressure, and has always had digestive issues.

It seems as if my aunt always got the short end of the stick in life. My grandparents were not wealthy, and it was my mother who was sent to college; my aunt, who was less sure what she wanted to do in her life, ended up going to some kind of trade school where she was trained in occupational therapy. That didn't work out so well, as she was working with mental patients who were kind of violent, and after one of them knocked her down and broke her glasses, she left that career rather quickly. She then tried to join the WAVES during World War II but was discharged for health reasons shortly after she joined, after she had an allergic reaction to something and fainted.

She eventually found a good career working in a laboratory performing spectroscopy on precious metals and worked her way up to being the group supervisor, so she did finally find her niche.

My mother married and had me, and stopped working at her chosen career of journalism after that; my aunt, who never married, was the one with the career even though she didn't get the college education. She also was the daughter who ended up taking care of her parents in their old age.

When I was young I thought of my aunt as quite glamorous - unlike my mother, she had this career, she had a lot of friends, and used to travel a lot when she was younger. She was also willing to sit on the floor and play with me when I came over to my grandparents' house and was always a lot of fun. I loved going over there.

After she retired, she still kept busy with her church group, she played cards with friends, and did volunteer work. Now of course most of her friends have moved away to retirement communities, are living with grown children, or have passed away. She had to give up her house last year and move into the seniors apartment building my mother had moved into the year before, as taking care of the house was too much for her.

Now it seems her time may be running out, and it's hitting me rather hard. She is not always an easy person to deal with, as she has very strong opinions and tends to be rather contrary sometimes. But she has always been a fixture in my life and it will be hard to imagine her not being there. And she's always been very good to me.

It also makes me realize my mother will not be around forever either (not that I didn't know it, but we always tend to be in denial about these things). That's another thing that's hard to imagine.

I was going to write about President Obama's decision to begin the tribunals in Guantanamo again (disappointing, despite his reassurance that the prisoners would have expanded legal rights).

I am also concerned that he has decided to try to block the release the torture photographs from Iraq. Maybe his motives are correct, and that it would indeed inflame anti-American sentiments, but it is still a concern when he reverses his position on these issues. And we're still waiting for him to reverse "Don't Ask Don't Tell."

But I find despite these concerns, it has been hard to concentrate on them this week with everything else going on. So instead I've used my spare moments to play Scramble on Facebook...or sleep. I'm really good at sleeping, it's a great avoidance technique.

This weekend will be a busy one - after a neighborhood park cleanup we're heading up to the Adirondacks just for Saturday night, to get away and relax a bit. In the meantime, we have received the good news from our contractor that the painting will be done inside the cabin shortly and the well will be drilled soon as well. So by the time the summer really comes we may actually be able to stay in the cabin itself instead of paying to stay in a cabin nearby!

I'll close with a few haiku. Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Cheney is guilty
Of authorizing torture
We all know this now.

Nancy Pelosi
Knew about waterboarding
Way back in '03

She too is guilty
And so are many others
Where is the justice?

On to other news,
GM is closing dealers
And so is Chrysler.

Luckily for us
Our Jeep dealership survived
And will still be there.

And what of the Saabs?
There are two or three bidders
Who may buy the brand.

Times are really tough
For all the car companies
But some may survive.


Christopher said...

I'm sorry to hear about your aunt.

I hope she gets excellent healthcare for the cancer. The best cancer treatment facility in the U.S. is MD Anderson in Houston, TX.

They do miraculous things. It's about a 3 hour flight from the northeast and she should consider going there if she's unhappy with the care she's receiving.

Mauigirl said...

Thanks, Christopher, I agree, it is really important to go to a major cancer center to get good care. I've always heard great things about M.D. Anderson but she wouldn't want to travel. However, Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York actually has a satellite facility here in New Jersey and their NYC doctors come out there at least one day a week for consultations so I may try to set something up with them. I'm waiting to get copies of all her records (some of the reports weren't yet available even though the doctor had them on his computer). MSK will want all of them including the actual biopsy itself. (I know from having gone there for my own little bout with oral cancer a few years ago). But until she is eating normally and has her strength back I don't think she'll be able to have any treatment at all. Her stomach is still pretty dicey so she's eating a lot of rice, potatoes, and very bland food, and not a lot of it yet.

Thanks for your concern and will keep you posted.

Annette said...

It is hard to face mortality. I know it was with my dad..

Let me know if there is anything I can do if it's nothing more than to listen.. I will be glad to do that. I can't say I know what you are going through, because no one does. It is unique to us all.

As for the pictures, I find myself actually supporting him on this one, how many more pictures do we need to see, to know we, as a country tortured. I just want Congress to get on with it. The pictures can go to Congress and they can see them and use them in the hearings. That's where they need to be, not in the newspapers, or where ever.

jmsjoin said...

Both party's and even Obama lately is proving a disappointment. A third Bush term. Sorry about your Aunt I hope things goo as well as they can. You never know the hand you were dealt or how it is going to play out. Mortality... Thinking of you and yours!

giggles said...

Oh, my. Prayers and thoughts for auntie and you... A difficult road ahead.

I've posted a live feed of a red tailed hawk's nest with 3 little nestlings at my place.... Perhaps watching for a few minutes will put a smile on your face.... I found watching them quite awesome... (Must watch during the day, no artificial light...dinner is served 5ish.)

Peace be with you.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your aunt's health issues. I'm so glad you had someone like that in your life. The thought of losing her must be really hard, though. Sending you hugs.

Fran said...

Hope things go well for your Aunt. Even when relatives are elderly, it is still hard to deal with major health issues, and concerns about end of life issues- but mostly missing their presence.

so here is my attempt at poetry:

liars lying through and through
makes you want to throw a shoe
does it matter who knew what when
let's not allow it to be repeated again

breaking laws, and violating human rights
should keep us all awake nights
do not rest until we can say
the truth has seen the light of day

I know ..... keep the day job.

themom said...

I have a very dear friend who was given 6 months to live with colon cancer...27 years ago. thanks to Sloan-Kettering he is still here and cancer free. I wish you luck with all you have to tend to. It soundslike you have some wonderful memories to hold on to for the future.

Comrade Kevin said...

Oh My. I seem to be holding lots of people in the Light today.

Take care. I'm thinking of you.

Mauigirl said...

Annette, thanks, I appreciate it. It's always hard to accept that our parents and other close relatives won't always be there but it helps to know others have had to go through it and have made it through. As for the pictures, I know what you mean, we probably don't need to be sensationalizing this further. The way I was looking at it was that if they were released he'd almost be forced to prosecute those responsible. But perhaps it isn't necessary.

Patriot, thanks, appreciate your thoughts. Regarding Obama, I don't think I'd go so far as to say a 3rd Bush term (he has done some good stuff for some other issues) but probably a 3rd Clinton term.

Giggles, thanks, will be over to see the hawk! I think it will indeed cheer me up. I saw a Rose-Breasted Grosbeak in the Adirondacks this morning and that was certainly a treat. Getting out into nature really does clear my head and make me feel able to cope with things.

Ruth, thanks so much - it is hard but I guess it is all part of life. I'm starting to get used to the idea but I still hate to think of what she may have to go through. That's what bothers me the most.

Fran, thanks, you're right, it's a combination of all of those things. As for your poem - well done! I like it and it says it all.

TheMom, so glad to hear your friend is still with you 27 years later. That is great to hear. I know if my aunt were younger the prognosis would be so much better. But I'm not giving up yet...will have to see what they say once I take her there.

Kevin, thanks so much for your thoughts. It really does help.

giggles said...

Hawk feeding time? Monday I saw mom feeding kids at around 1:15...Dinner is around the 5:30 hour....

It is amazing to me how long the chicks are left alone... Parents are away hunting virtually the entire day, I think... I also checked in at one point today and htere were only 2 chicks. Uh oh!!!!!! but no. I went to the Franklin Institute website and it said there is a fairly large, safe ledge the chicks wonder on!

Mauigirl said...

I wouldn't think those chicks would be big enough to be wandering anywhere! But I guess if the parents are leaving them alone for long periods they must be growing fast.

jmsjoin said...

I agree, it just gets disappointing. I have to remember the R's are working so hard to screw him up on top of everything else.

D.K. Raed said...

I am late, as usual, so just know I send good wishes for your Aunt. She sounds like a real self-made person who will hopefully be able to recover from this hard battle.

libhom said...

I hope your aunt does as well as possible.

The weird irony of the torture photo controversy is that the Arab and Muslim worlds already know what is going on. The photos are being suppressed in order to keep Americans from knowing what is going on and to prevent pressure for prosecutions of the higher ups and the mercenaries guilty of horrible crimes.

Liz Hinds said...

They still sound like 2 feisty ladies. I hope your aunt is treated well.

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