Parental concerns

Highs and lows. This past month has conjured up  both extremes on the parental front.

A few weeks ago I wrote about my elderly dad’s quintuple bypass surgery. It was a very difficult surgery for him, followed by a second operation to stop internal bleeding, and since then he’s been back to the hospital again. And is home now, hopefully with no more complications.

This week spilled out fresh challenges (no, I’m not talking about our elections). No, this time occurred Wednesday with a soft knock on my door and Mom saying she was experiencing numbness in her legs and feet.

“All right, we need to go see your doctor. Today.” I said.

Mom refused. Nope. Seeing her doctor would cost money. I phoned Medicare to verify her coverage with them and the fact that she’d satisfied her medical deductions. It took a few minutes even then to reassure her that it was safe to go.

The coin flipped when I called the doctor’s office and asked for an appointment. Upon hearing mom’s symptoms, the nurse told me to get her to the Emergency Room. Fortunately my sister was with us through a very long afternoon of waiting to be seen, tests and more tests, and finally the news that mom had neuralgia, meaning an intense nerve pain in her lower joints and feet.

An E.R. nurse advised Mom to begin wearing warmer socks to help circulation in her feet, instead of her usual nylons and delicate shoes. “I can’t do that, none of my shoes will fit,” Mom protested.

I wanted to laugh, to groan at the same time at her determined expression. We will see her doctor next week and hopefully the cause of the pain can be identified.  Possible medications include pain killers and topical creams. However, Mom won’t use a topical cream, because it’s a sticky substance and would “ruin” her nylons and shoes.

So it will be my role to advise the doctor of that particular concern. And to make sure the office has my name and phone number as the contact person. They called mom the day after her E.R. visit, and she lost the notes (taken during the call)  in her piles of “must keep papers.”

All of this is concerning and draining. Somewhere between the parental concerns, I’m scraping together enough energy to forge on, for my two “paid” caregiving jobs and for writing, and staying sane.

Wish me luck..

(C) 2016 by Mary Louise Van Dyke. All Rights Reserved.

Now is the hour of our voting discontent

Today is Election Day here in the United States.

In the furor over who becomes president, it’s easy to overlook the local aspect today. But I am hoping voters in my area approve additional funding for emergency medical services, for development of our green park/trail systems, for adding more commuter rail lines in the Seattle-Everett and regions further south.

These issues matter.

Then there are the races for president, for governor and a host of local and other state positions. What a bloody process its been, chiefly among our two presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton. Neither is illustrious. Or perfect.

But the reality is one of them will become our next president. I plan to do my best to show support for whichever one wins — despite grave reservations.

May whoever is elected:

Proceed with integrity, care and concern for the citizens and others who reside here in the United States.

Remember to speak thoughtfully and to act in a timely, reasoned manner.

Base decisions on what is best for the United States and not just for themselves and the closest friends who helped them get elected.

God help us all — and may we all do our best to help ourselves!

(C) 2016 by Mary Louise Van Dyke.

Birthing a novel

Its been years since my last great novel expectations. Years of dealing with the break-up of a marriage. Returning to college as a middle-aged student. Dealing with the lows of being homeless for a time.  Battling depression through all of the above.

When life requires major amounts of energy just to survive, creativity, I discovered, tends to hibernate and its not easily coaxed awake.

But I am awake now and reclaiming that long ago ability of mine – the art of birthing a novel.

Writing fiction isn’t simple. The process involves dreaming up fictitious people and setting them up in an imaginary world filled with conflicts – and releasing their angst, areas of denial and growth at the keyboard.

I am thrilled to reconnect with this part of myself. The characters are taking shape inside my head. However, one in particular – I’ll call him the Professor – who’s supposed to play a minor role, keeps bugging me, demanding to be featured in his own chapter.

I tried to shoo him away, go bug another writer. I have two primary characters and they are the only viewpoints I want to present.

Well, the Professor refused to take a hike. Reluctantly I gave in today and was surprised and pleased with the result. He’s got plenty to say about matters in his world.

I don’t know where the next page will take me. But I’m not going to stop until I’ve birthed this novel and gotten it cleaned up and ready for presentation to the world.

Wish me luck!

(C) 2016 by Mary Louise Van Dyke. All Rights Reserved.