Showing posts with label Old Age. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Old Age. Show all posts

September 18, 2019

Aging Gracefully

So as we age, we've got to cope with a different reality.

Our bodies and minds may start to deteriorate. 

We can't do all the same things we used to do (even as we can maybe do others). 

There can be a deep sense of loss as abilities, things, places, and people that were critical to us for many, many years may no longer be present with us. 

When I used to speak with my aging father about he and my mom getting older, he would joke and say:
Yes, we're getting older--what's the alternative?

Then the other day, I ran into a nurse from the Jewish Social Services Agency (JSSA). 

We chatted briefly about the good work they do in helping so many elderly and handicapped people.

And then she says to me about how she herself is starting to feel what it's like to get older, and that she often tells her mom that everything hurts to which her mother responds:
You're not supposed to leave this world alive!

Putting these together: 

I suppose we all need to do the best we can to age graciously ourselves as well as help others in the process--because there is no alternative to aging and no one leaves this world alive. ;-)
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August 29, 2019

Go Years of Retirement

Thought this was an interesting perspective on retirement.

There are three phases:

1) Go-Go:  You retire and are eager to enjoy your newfound freedom, and you spend the time and money to really do the pursuits and travel that you always wanted. 

2) Slow-Go: After the initial adventurism and spending, you settle in some more and spend your time on quiet activities, socializing, and relaxing. 

3) No-Go: This is the wind down phase, where you spend most of your time at home and at a certain point, may need some assistance to do everyday activities. 

Obviously, the last phase is sort of depressing, but it too is a part of life.  

Like a bell-shaped curve, we are born, grow, mature, and then decline.

This is the cycle of life for every living thing. 

It takes maturity and courage to face it and to make the most out of every single moment that we are blessed with.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 14, 2018

When Do You Become Old?

Is being old an age, a feeling, or both?

Some people seem to get old before their time.

They go about echting and kretzching--at 40 and 50, they are saying this hurts and I feel crummy about that!  Nu, I'm not 18 anymore!

Other people never, literally almost never seem to get old.

One lady I know is going to be 94 this month and she is going strong mentally, emotionally, and physically.  It almost seems impossible.  

This guy in the photo has a funny shirt on that says:
"I thought growing old would take longer."

Yeah, it does sort of creep up on you, but really, really fast.  Like where the heck did that come from!

I know inside for me, I always still feel like a kid. 

I have the same funny side, playful side, and curious side; the desire to be productive and accomplish something meaningful with my life and time, and to love and be loved. 

Yeah, things hurt a little more than they did years ago--can't believe the things I used to be able to do--Yes, at one time, I use to break cinder blocks with my bare hands, true!

But now, I can do other things like swim and hike and I love to write things that I am passionate about or to be a little creative too!

Maybe we do not get old...maybe we are just like caterpillars that morph into something else like butterflies during this life and into the life beyond. 

Age is experience, learning, growth--lots of mistakes--and then recovering and trying again and harder.  

Life is wonderment and excitement and appreciation for every amazing beautiful thing. 

No, life does not get old. 

Suffering and loss gets old quick and wish it never was. 

But we are physical bodies with eternal souls, so we go on and on into the wild blue yonder. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 9, 2017

@Bethesda Trolley Trail


You can walk for miles...



It's quiet and green in a suburban setting.


Who's that dummy?



Lovers come out here too.


Some graffiti tells you there is still the big city of Washington, D.C. nearby.


A little surveillance---the "I's" have it!


ADT security plus some colorful wind adornments in front of the houses. 


Park is good, but only until sunset. 


Watch out, "old people" crossing (saw a deer too).


The whole trail runs between Rockville and Bethesda--see the French International School, The National Institute of Health, Suburban Hospital, houses, shopping, parks, and more. 


Try not to get too lost in the fun of it all.  ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 15, 2017

Aging Is A Process

This guy was a hoot on the Metro in Washington, D.C. 

His shirt says:

"With age comes oldness."

Ah, yeah!

When he was sitting, he had his arms crossed over his chest, and I thought it said:


"With age, comes baldness."

That too!

Getting old is not easy.

Being young is not easy either. 

But it's really how you handle yourself during every stage and turn in life that defines who you are and what you become as an person and a creation of G-d. 

You've got to get up and walk the dance through thick and thin...life bring old age and oldness...what's the alternative. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 15, 2016

Aging Yet (Hopefully) Always Helping Each Other

I just love this drawing of the parents and child. 

My daughter found it on Instagram and sent it to me. 

As a little kid, my wife and I used to hold her hands and swing her between us when walking (like in the above illustration)--she loved that!

Now as we get older, we still try to be good, helpful parents (not too intrusive or helicopter-like--well maybe a little), but we can certainly see a day down the line when the cycle of life goes full circle. 

My daughter used to joke (I think) about putting me in an old age home--she knew that after seeing what my mom went through there with Parkinson's, that is truly the last place I would want to end up. 

Of course, sometimes there really is no choice when a person just needs so much care that it is beyond what the family can do any longer. 

Frankly, what I have learned is that the most important and precious thing that parents and children can give each other is...time!

So is that child in the bottom illustration helping his aging parents along or is he dragging them off to the nursing home?  Perhaps, we'll never know until it's too late. ;-)

(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal from Instagram Unlimited Knowledge)
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September 21, 2015

Mindful Treatment Of The Disabled

What great brain at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) came up with the idea to curb access to prosthetics for the disabled?

What is supposedly driving CMS?

It's a half-wit effort to put a dent in fraud for lower-limb prosthetics --estimated at just $43 million relative to CMS's annual budget of close to $1 trillion!

Uh, doesn't CMS have anything better to do then pick on disabled people missing one or more legs?

The profound dumbness of the proposed CMS new rules would limit amputees from possible reimbursement for artificial limbs for example, "if they use assistive devices such as canes or crutches."

But isn't that precisely what someone who can't walk and is missing a limb would use???

Here's the next doozy...CMS would limit advanced prosthetics "if the device doesn't enable them to walk with the appearance of a natural gait."

OMG, this is too much!

People with disabilities who require help need it precisely because they are not "natural" in their mobility functions--that is what we are seeking to help them with. 

You're going to penalize someone from getting artificial limbs because they still can't walk completely normal with fake limbs like with real ones?

Moreover, if the Veteran's Administration adopts these rules, this will also affect our wounded warfighters. 

G-d (and the Secretary of HHS) needs to put some sense back in the minds of the people who, in this case, instead of helping the disabled are misguidedly working against them. ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

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August 7, 2015

Why Can't We Just Stay As Superman?

So when we're young, we think we're Superman, Batman, or whatever superhero comes to mind. 

Our bodies are beautiful, supple, strong, and heal quickly. 

We are taught by our helicopter parents and philosophic teachers that "You can do anything you set your mind to!"

In our fantasies, we surely can do amazing things--we lift unbelievable weight, fly around at the speed of light, do karate better than Bruce Lee, outthink Einstein, save the world, and then make off with the beautiful damsel to boot.

Kryptonite is no problem--we are (seemingly) invincible.

Then we hit middle age--40 something--and all of a sudden what do you know?

Oh, this doesn't work right and that doesn't feel right.

The Yiddish expression, "Oy vey" seems about it.

And off to the doctors we go.

After the exam and tests, doc says, "Mr. (or Ms.) [whatever], you have [fill in the blank]."

You respond, "Is that normal--at my age--already?"

Doc says, "Absolutely, this is what happens as you get older."

I say, "Doc, does anything good happen when we get older."

"Of course not"--we both laugh. 

This reminds me of when my dad used to sing this song in this funny mock Irish accent, "You're not as young as you used to be you're getting old and gray!" 

This week, a colleague was coming down with something--possibly something not good. 

I told him how I hoped this turns out well for him and how sorry I was for what he was going through.

Writing off the illness, he says to me, "We all end the same anyway" (i.e. we all end up dead!)--ah, another unhappy notion that is. 

I joked back, "But we all don't end up in the same place."

I got a few laughs at that too (some of my father in me). 

Well anyway, I thought about this after--about some of the special subhuman beings out there--and the very special place that I am certain G-d has in store for them:

- Serial murders and other violent criminals

- Rapists and child abusers

- Terrorists and their sponsors

- Megalomaniacs, bullies, and corrupt officials

- Thieves, cheats, and liars.

And guess what about these schmendricks--they get old too, they go to the doctor too, and then they are going somewhere warm, very warm, and it's not to the Caribbean. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 10, 2015

Helpless And Helping

The following is all true.

So I dreamed last night a scary dream...

I was lying prone in a horizontal but bent position.

My clothes were tattered rags and my legs bare.

I could see my legs, but could not move them--at all. 

The bottom of the legs by the ankles were completely skinny, diseased and bright sore red (like burnt), and the skin was falling off them.

I knew I was in immense pain, but could not feel anything.

My legs completely useless, in hopelessness, I looked upward and called out:

"Father! Father! Father!" 

I was looking for my dad (who I know deeply loved me and vice versa), and hoping for him to come and help me somehow. 

Then, my voice turned and called:

"Father that art in heaven" and repeated this again. 

I was turning to G-d as the only one who could help me when everything else was stripped away. 

Then I awoke, and I was very afraid and yet somehow comforted--I had turned heavenward and found G-d. 

Later this morning, I went to the pool for a swim and as part of my post surgery rehabilitation. 

As I was swimming, I saw an old somewhat hunchback lady come to the pool.

I recognized her from other days when she does a little self-defined exercise routine against the side of the pool. 

But today, her lane at the sides were taken. 

Seeing that she was upset and couldn't do her exercise in the center of the pool, I stopped swimming and went over to her.

I said, "Why don't you share with me (there is plenty of room)?"

She hesitated and I could see maybe she needed help getting under the swim rope that divides the lanes, so I lifted it for her and told her reassuringly, "It's no problem."

And then she went under and did her exercise thing--and we shared.

It was such a small thing for me, but yet I could see it was a big deal for her--she was old and I could tell that she needed her routine.

Sort of funny but, when I offered to help, I could practically here the angels of heaven let out a little song of joy--seriously, I did. 

And I thought to myself...Andy, you can learn!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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May 5, 2015

Freak Accidents, Illnesses, And Events

Dave Goldberg, the CEO of Survey Monkey (and the husband of Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook), died suddenly in a freakish accident falling off a treadmill and hitting his head. 

Poof...dead at age 47!

Unfortunately, we hear all the time about these type of tragic occurrences to people.

And of course tragedy knows no bounds--so while sh*t happens everyday to people from all walks of life, we tend to pay more attention when it's someone we know and love or when it's splashed wildly in the news about fabulously successful people we admire and follow. 

- Entertainer, Michael Jackson (50) dead from drug intoxication after suffering cardiac arrest.

- Actor, Robin Williams (63) dead by hanging suicide. 

- Singer, John Lennon (40) shot in the back by someone he had autographed an album for.

- Martial Artist, Bruce Lee (33) died on a movie set from a cerebral edema.

- Model, Marilyn Monroe (33) dead by drug overdose.

- President, John F. Kennedy (46) dead by assassination.

Whether by a plane crash or car accident, drowning or fire, poison or electrocution, a criminal or animal attackterrorism, war, or natural disaster, a heart attack, stroke, or cancer, through suicide, punishment, or mercy killing...regardless of the probabilities and statistics, many people never make it all the way to "a ripe old age." 

We feel bad, shake our heads, say a few words of sympathy perhaps, when we hear of these lives cut short.

But like the TV shows, Six Feet Under (HBO) or 1000 Ways To Die (Spike)--there are a near endless number of horrible ways to go--and they can take you at literally any time.

While we can't stop living and just sit around worrying all the time about all the bad things that can happen, we do need to remember that anything can happen at any time (and these things are not so freakish after all)--no one is beyond the Angel of Death, no one should be arrogant, and we should make the most of every single moment that G-d lovingly grants to us.  ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Military Health)
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November 11, 2014

I Watch The Years Go By

So two quick stories on getting a little older...

First story:

After my workout today, a guy follows me into the elevator.  

He opens conversation and asks me, “Did you have a good workout?”

I said, “Sure did! What did you do today [for exercise]?”

He motions his arms up and down like pushing some machines and doing some curls, “A little of this and that [long pause]...You know I’m 80!”

I said, “Wow that’s awesome that you still work out--can I ask, how do you do it?”

He replies, “The key is to always keep going, and not to give up.”

I say, “Yes, but also I think it has a lot to do with the One Above.”

He nods in agreement, although still looking determined to keep himself pumping away in the gym. 

As the elevator doors open I say, “Well, I sure hope you can keep going like this for another 80 years.”

He gives me a warm smile, and says, "I hope so too."

Second story:

One of my colleagues at work is retiring after an amazing 51 years of service to the government. 

Now this guy having been around awhile has a really nice engraving of the agencies seal hung on the wall in his office, and months ago, I had commented to him how beautiful and special it was and that “they don’t make them like they used to.”

He said, “Well you know what? When I retire, I’m going to pass it on to for safekeeping.” I thought that is nice, but also probably just talk as they say. 

Well recently, he has announced his "big day" and so he stops by my office, and in his hands he is holding the beautiful seal engraving--he puts out his arms, handing it to me. 

I was like, “OMG, I didn't really expect this. This is great.  Are you sure you want me to have it.”

You says, “Absolutely!” referring back to his promise a number of months ago.  Then he pauses, obviously thinking for a moment, and says to me, “But you have to put in 51 years of government service also! [big smile]”

I said, "That's a noble idea, but honestly, I think I started a little late for that. How about we go for 30 or so with G-d's help?"

Anyway, thinking about these two events, I am not quite sure how these amazing people do it…years of doing, giving, and with a great attitude--and always a desire for another round to go. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 26, 2014

Between The Youngest And Oldest

My wife took this photo today.

We went to the Pastry Oven for some lunchtime chow. 

Three generations of Blumenthals--thank you G-d!

This is of me between my youngest and oldest in the family.

And of course, I am mid-life crisis! ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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September 28, 2014

Asleep During The Speech

Short story...so this nice gentleman came from the house of worship to visit my dad in assisted living over the holidays.

The man talked about the speeches the clergy gave and how he only understood the basics, and the rest was sort of over his head (hey, I can definitely relate to that too...we all can). 

Perhaps, this points to how important it is to talk to the people (and not over the people)--making it relevant and stirring--although it's probably not easy to give a speech that resonates well with everyone. 

Anyway, there are good speeches, and then let's face it, there are speeches that could be better. 

Afterward, my dad and this man joked about how they've seen some people actually fall asleep during the clergy's speech...yes, this is obviously not very respectful, but sometimes people just doze off perhaps because it's hot inside with all the people, and they work so hard during the week that they just are relaxed and off they go.

My dad goes on to tell this joke:

The clergyman is giving a speech from the pulpit.

All of a sudden he notices this guy sleeping in one of the pews.

The clergy says to the man's neighbor sitting next to him, "Can you please wake him up?"

The worshipper responds, "You put him to sleep, you wake him up."

Then my dad let out a really nice, healthy laugh...it was good to hear (the other guy was laughing with him). 

On a side note, my dad said something else funny and insightful today:

"It's not easy getting old...it takes many years!" 

Amen to that.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 24, 2014

Driving Identity Theft

It's been only about 4 months since my mom passed, and now my dad becomes very sick from chemotherapy and ends up in the hospital for a week.

His red and white blood count were extremely low, but thank G-d, the doctors were able to save him.


However, he is in a drastically weakened state and now looks like he will need regular assisted living just to get by every day. 


This has been horrible to see someone who has always been so strong, smart, and there selflessly for all of us, to be in this condition. 


We found a nice place for him, but even the nicest place isn't his place and doesn't allow the independence he (and we all) always cherish. 


On top of it, I get a letter in the mail with more than half a dozen tickets on his car.


It's impossible, because he hasn't been driving due to his illness.


We run down to check his car, and sure enough someone stole his plates (and replaced them with another set). 


They did this to his car that has handicapped tags.


In the meantime, they are driving around through tolls and doing G-d knows what.


The police were helpful--they came as soon as they could--took a report, the plates that were switched onto his car, and dusted for fingerprints.


I will never forget standing there just after my joint surgery--when not three hours before, I thought to myself, maybe things are finally calming down. 


Hopefully, the police will catch whoever did this. 


In the meantime, I take comfort knowing that G-d is the ultimate police force. ;-)


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

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December 7, 2013

Life, Cartoonish And Not

Strange day, starting with these cartoon characters standing on the street waving to everyone.

And they say texting while driving is distracting -- what's this?

Some other weird things:

- At a food store, saw an argument between an Asian customer and a Spanish-speaking cashier--they were arguing over something as silly as an orange juice, but what made this especially comical was because of the language barrier, each was getting more and more frustrated, until they both sort of gave up, and the customer storming out saying he was never going there again. 

- At the rehabilitation facility, spoke to a couple where the husband--age 88--was there "unexpectedly" for the last two months after a relatively minor surgery. The wife--age 79 (married 60 years)--was visiting him every day. She said that they had never been really sick before, and that when he got out, they were going to visit their other condo in Florida and resume their regular, favorite hobby of ballroom dancing. 

- A nurse assistant, from Sierra Leone, told me how he had escaped the bloody civil war there that left 50,000 people dead.  He described how the rebels would overrun the villages killing everyone as he pointed his finger saying "boom, boom" and making slashing movements as if holding a knife or machete--and that many from his family were murdered. He described how he had escaped to neighboring Guinea and from there called his uncle in America who helped get him here, but the price was that he had to leave his family--a wife and two children behind. He said in the last 11 years, he was able to visit them only once in 2008 for a couple of weeks, and at the end of this month, he was finally able to go back to bring them to America. 

I wondered how very different our lives are--and how some people suffer with war, poverty, illness, and loss, while others are vacationing and dancing into their 90's. I'm not judging or implying anyone as good or bad--especially since all these people seemed very nice--but these events reminded me of a Jewish saying about the conundrum of the seeming righteous people that suffer and the wicked that prosper--and that only G-d is The Judge, who knows who is really righteous and wicked, what they really deserve, and that some people get rewarded in this world, while others in the world to come. 

Either way, I hope G-d has mercy on us, so we don't suffer, and have much more happy dancing times and less to none illness, poverty, and fighting. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 11, 2013

From The Window In the Nursing Home

I visit the nursing home pretty often to see my mom who is there. 

While I try to focus on my mom and her needs, I do notice other patients there. 

The images are deeply impactful on me...here are ten that are on my mind today:

1) The husband and wife who are both in the home in a shared room--the wife is wheelchair-bound and the husband dutifully pushes her around the floor. This weekend, I saw them together at the nurses' station asking for some crackers. When the nurse came back with some individually wrapped crackers in cellophane, the couple took them and went off down the hall happy as clams.

2) The lady at the table who is overweight, but always asks for more food. She doesn't talk much except to ask for more dessert. She stares at the other patients and seems annoyed and upset with them.

3) The guy who was a lawyer, but now has dementia, and sits and talks half to himself and half trying to engage others, but all that comes out is sort of gibberish. So others just nod or say something to politely acknowledge him, but can't converse with him with any meaning. 

4) The lady in the room who sits in a chair hunchback. She never seems to leave the room or the chair. Sometimes, she watches TV and other times appear to be crocheting. Mostly she sits hunchback, looking uncomfortable, but settled for the long hall like that. 

5) The woman who sits outside her door in the hallway. She is in a wheelchair, and she doesn't say anything, but she stares at you while you walk down the hallway. She sits there watching--sitting and watching. 

6) The younger but still old disheveled guy. He comes into the dining room to eat, but gets food all over himself. He sits alone, always. He eats quickly, leaves half his food, and gets up and goes out while everyone else is still picking away at their food. 

7) The lady with a wall of baseball caps. She has no hair, maybe she has cancer, I don't know. She usually is in bed, sitting up. The caps look like they have a lot of meaning to her, but I'm not sure if it's because she's a sports enthusiast or why.

8) A lady in a wheelchair that pulls herself along down the hall. She puts one foot in front of the other in these baby steps motions, and the chair moves along, slowly, but at least she is mobile, somewhat. 

9) This weekend, I looked out the window of the home, and there was a woman on the sidewalk. She had fallen on the ground, on her butt. Her walker was next to her, but she could not get up. Some people were near here, apparently trying to get help, but not wanting to touch or move her themselves. I ran for the floor nurse, and she came to the window to see. She said is that so and so, which meant nothing to me, and then she ran off to help her get up. 

10) A lady sits downstairs by the glass windows--she is dressed up fancy like older healthy people are want to do. Next to her is an older gentleman in a turtleneck, but he is just visiting and is her son. They seem to be sort of wealthy as they sit upright in the high-back chairs and discuss family and what she's been eating at the home. They look askance at some of the other patients who are crying out in pain. 

The nursing home, like the hospital is a horrible place to be, even when you have to be there.

In both places, even the most caring doctors and nurses and attendants, cannot make up for the fact that you are a prisoner of age, failing health, and disability--and let's face it, even if many are nice or attentive, not everyone is. 

I am still unclear why people must suffer so--why we haven't found a better way to end good, productive, and loving lives.  

I am not sure that people are really even focused on this issue of old age, because it's not sexy, it's at the end anyway, and "they had the chance to live their lives."

Maybe, it's because we simply don't have the answers yet, can't afford what they would take, or we would just rather not deal with mortality, pain, and suffering when there are so many other things to do. 

But one day, we all will face the piper--and it would be comforting if we had better answers.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 3, 2013

People Needing People

My wife always tells me she needs a lot of personal space--she likes time and focus to do "her thing." 

No one nagging, yapping, coming around, asking for things...just some quiet time for herself.

I can appreciate that--we all need time to think, be creative, take care of personal things, and pursue our own interests. 

At the same time, people need other people. 

When we are done doing our things, we need human interaction, attention, conversation, sharing, touch. 

I saw a few things this week that really brought this home:

1) The Netflix show "Orange Is The New Black" about a young woman put in jail and how she handles all the challenges of being incarcerated with literally a cast of characters.  But in one scene in particular, she is thrown in the SHU (Solitary Housing Unit) and within about a day, she is hearing voices and talking to someone that isn't there. Alone, she crawls up into a ball--like a baby--craving someone to come, anyone. 

2) Visiting the nursing home today, I saw many old people screaming for help. It is a really nice nursing home as far as they go, and the people apparently weren't screaming because of mistreatment, but rather for attention--a human being to be there interacting with them. Interestingly, even when the old people are sitting together, they are still yelling in a sort of helpless anguish being alone, only calming down when a family, friend, or caretaker comes over to them, touches their hand or hugs them, asks about their wellbeing, and shows genuine human caring. Yes, they have real physical needs they call out for help for too, but I think even many of those calls for help--too many and too often to all be for actual needs--are just for someone to come around and pay them attention and be there with them.

3) I remember years ago, seeing some parents put their child to sleep at night. But the child wanted their parent to sit with them and comfort them while they drifted off to sleep. But this parent strictly followed the Dr. Spock guidance that you just let them cry it out, and boy did this little girl cry and cry and cry.  I said to my wife, this is not the right way--it can't be. And I myself always fought that the children should be held and comforted when they cried, not forced at such a tender young age to be alone and "self-sufficient."

While people need time and space for themselves, even the biggest introvert among us needs other people. 

In solitary, people can literally lose their mind--alone, scared, desperate, but solitary doesn't have to be a prison, it can be an emotional and mental condition where people are craving even just a hug from someone who gives a damn. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Clover 1)


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April 28, 2013

The Pain of Parkinson's

At the dedication of the new George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, the picture of the elder Bush in a wheelchair really struck home.

My mom has Parkinson's Disease and is wheelchair bound. 

For a number of years, I have watched (feeling helpless) my mom go from a vibrant person to succumbing to the devastation of this disease of unknown origin. 

First, for many years (before we new) was a slowness of gait--with everyone yelling "come on mom, hurry up! Why so slow?"

Then, the uncontrolled shaking, especially of her hands, and deformity of the joints. 

Next came the difficulty moving, the shakiness when walking, and the falls--until the time, some nerves were damaged and her foot got turned inward, so she could no longer stand.

Therapy, a walker, and then a wheelchair, and now for most of the day--confined to bed and loss of basic movement that we usually take for granted. 

With loss of mobility, came loss of appetite, insomnia, depression, and GI problems. 

Despite visits to numerous medical experts--we could only treat the symptoms, but could never keep up somehow with the progression of the illness. 

My beautiful mom has suffered terribly, and my dad (despite his own medical challenges and age) has been her caretaker through it all.

Dad has done all the things for a person that can be done--on call every minute--until exhaustion at times. He has been nothing less than heroic in his deeds, dedicated to my mom and doing it with endless love for her--and always remaining (at least outwardly) optimistic and hopeful for both of them. 

My mom went to the hospital a week and a half ago and this last week was transferred to a home. 

Her eyes show the story of her suffering, and her body is drawn from fighting the illness, yet inside her the intelligence and love--she shows with a mere rise of her eyebrows and smirk--gives me strength. 

I love my mom and dad. It is a tough road when age and illness take their toll. 

It is scary to think at times what the future holds for each of us and how we will endure in the face of it. 

Mom and Dad have suffered in their lives from the holocaust, with seemingly endless hard work trying to make a living, and with debilitating illness. 

Their story and lives are a monument of strength and courage, love and devotion, and faith in the Almighty.
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December 14, 2012

See Yourself In The Future

Now seeing how you will look in the future is not just theoretical anymore. 

Merrill Edge (Merrill Lynch investing + Bank of America banking) has an online digital program that shows how you will look aged over time. 

They developed this as tool to encourage people to save more money for retirement by bringing home the message that you will not be young (and beautiful) forever. 

The Face Retirement tool asks for your age and gender, takes your picture, and then displays snapshots of how you will look over the course of your lifespan. 

I tried it and my smiling face was quickly tranformed into an old man with sagging skin, wrinkles, and more. 

My wife seeing those pictures says to me (even though we already save for retirement), "We better really start investing seriously for retirement!" -- gee, thanks! ;-)

And thanks Merrill Edge, you scared us straight(er) by looking at our own mortality, face-to-face. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Judy Baxter)

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November 17, 2012

One Day We'll Be Old


This is a wonderful, moving music video by Israeli composer Asaf Avidan, remixed by German DJ--the song is called One Day/Reckoning (Wankelmut Remix)--it has topped the music charts across Europe. 

The reframe:
"One day baby, we'll be old
Oh baby, we'll be old
And think of all the stories that we could have told."

On a simplistic level, this music video is about two lovers torn apart and wondering how they'll look back one day and imagine what if only they had been able to make things work.

On a deeper level, perhaps this music video is a representation of the Israel and German who produced it--more than six decades after The Holocaust and the murder of 6 million Jews by the Germans and the feelings of lose and of what could've been instead. 

"No more tears, my heart is dry
I don't laugh and I don't cry
I don't think about you all the time
But when I do I wonder why"

Why the murder of six million men, women, and children--helpless--shot, starved, gassed, burnt in the ovens, electrified on the fences, attacked by dogs, and experimented on by sadististic scientists?

"We can't cry anymore, the heart is dry."

As time passes and we age--we think what could have been if we were allowed to live in peace --"think of all the stories  we could have told."

Now in Israel, again Six million Jews living in the Middle East, the fulfillment of the promise by G-d to Abraham, the return to The Promised Land. 

But the Middel East is composed of more than 20 countries and contains 20% of world's Muslim population or has roughly 315 million Muslims. In some areas, fundamentalism has taken root, and it is a volatile and dangerous neighborhood to live in.

Missles fly to Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem and and the people of the Holy Land take cover in bomb shelters as thousands of missiles threaten them.

In modern history, Israel has lost over 22,000 soldiers,with another 75,000 wounded, and there have been about 4,000 civilian victims of terror attacks. 

To put this in the perspective of a country the size of the U.S., this is the equivalent of us losing more than 1.1 million American soldiers, having almost 4 million wounded, and another 200,000 civilian victims of terrorism--it's unthinkable!

"I don't laugh and I don't cry"

Now Israeli's are blamed for defending their small country and the remnants of their people from being driven into the sea by those surrounding them on all sides. 

"Here I go again, the blame
The guilt, the pain, the hurt, the shame
The foundering fathers on our plane
that's stuck in heavy clouds of rain"

Next is Iran who threatens to wipe Israel off the map and is rushing to develop the nuclear weapons to accomplish their malevolent goals. 

"I don't think about you all the time
But when I do I wonder why"

Why won't you let us just live in peace--leave us alone, once and for all. 

"One day, we'll be old
Oh baby, we'll be old
Think of all the stories we could have told"

If only, all could live and let live--think of all the better stories we could tell and all the lives not lost, and all the promise of a better future.

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