A Return to Italy

Arrived in Lecce today. Tomorrow I join a tour of Southern Italy. So happy to be traveling again. My view for dinner at the Hotel Patria Palace. A perfect way to start my trip.

The Perfect Coronavirus Christmas Carol

Weekly Prompts asked us if we were feeling Covid Crazy. Well, yes I am. And this melancholy carol tells it all. Christmas is my favorite holiday and I am not happy to be spending it without family. The message of this song, that the world is changing, is so true. Changing probably never to return.

Do I wear a mask? Yes. I spent the first six months of 2020 with one of my sisters who was immune compromised and undergoing surgery and treatment for cancer. There is absolutely no way I would not wear a mask. With hospitals in this country facing emergency conditions because of overwhelming number of covid patient cases, I think that covid health care rationing decisions should start with the questions: “Did you wear a mask?” “Did you socially distance and avoid large groups?” Did you question the disinformation being spread by the elected officials, church leaders, crazy doctors, and the My Pillow guy?” If the answer to any of the questions is no, the patient should go to the back of the line. Responsible individuals who put the public health needs of the community ahead of their individual wants and beliefs should take priority.

Will I take the vaccine? YES. Of course. I can’t believe taking the vaccine in the US has become a political issue.

Do I think the pandemic is over-hyped? Absolutely not. And I will never forgive those people responsible for all the death and misery that has resulted from their selfish disregard for the health of the American people they are supposed to be serving. That includes all the churches and synagogues that think that bodies in pews is more important than bodies in the body bags that are piling up. Forgiveness is supposed to be a Christian virtue; I guess I am glad I am not a Christian. If you can pray, you can pray anywhere. Find a nice pew in a forest and commune with your god surrounded by what he created. Churches, though, need those bodies in the pews to fill their collection plates. They really don’t give a damn about the individuals. The forests are free.

Will I Zoom my Christmas? Yes, when I can. My siblings are scattered across the country and I will try to be in touch. Their voices will fill me with good cheer.

Sigh. Now one of my favorite Christmas Carols

Join Weekly Prompts Challenge: Covid Crazy.

Toilet Paper Rex

Jurassic Generosity

Taking a walk in my sister’s neighborhood, we ran into these two young dinos handing out excess toilet paper. Luckily, we had a sufficient supply. Humor and laughter is so important in this time of great stress.  They made my day. Bravo.

Join Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Week 3 Pick a Topic

Life is a Crapshoot

I haven’t posted anything since December. For many reasons, my interest in blogging crashed. I have been in Southern California since mid-December. I came to celebrate the holidays with one of my sisters and her daughter.

I stayed to help care for my sister, who discovered on December 27th that her breast cancer had returned and metastasized to her hip. On December 29th, her pain and inability to move on her own were so great we had to call 911. Today, she is doing well, following surgery, radiation, and oral chemotherapy. But it hasn’t always been an easy journey. And now, I remain in Southern California under a stay-at-home order as Covid-19 forces much of the country to shelter in place. Who knows how long I will be here. I live in Virginia. The stay-at-home order there runs through June 10, 2020.

I’ll be honest. The last three months have been a challenge for all of us. Watching my sister in terrible pain. Waiting for the results of each test and scan. Waking up and wondering what day it was and what was procedure was scheduled. It was my choice to stay and be her caregiver, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Luckily, three of our other sisters and her son were able to come for shorter periods of time to provide support, advocate  for her care, and to give me a break.

Her recovery from her February 3rd hip reconstruction and replacement surgery to remove the tumor and the damaged bone has been slow but steady. Today, she was organizing one of  her kitchen cupboards, as best she could with her continuing movement prohibitions.

Now we are bound together by a virus. I was able to make two quick trips home, one in early January and one in mid-March. Returning to California on March 17th, just as many of the travel warnings and restrictions were being put in place, was an eerie experience. Empty airports, nearly empty planes. Confusion about the lack of interest on the part of anyone in the airports if I had traveled outside the US recently. No extra screening. I flew on Delta and have to say I have never been on such a clean airplane. I felt like the airline took the risks of spreading the virus seriously.

I’ve learned a few things over the last three months. I’ve learned how comforting the company of a cat can be when you are worried about someone in the hospital.

Cleo the Cat

I’ve learned that even with the best medical care (and her’s has been wonderful) patients need to have family or friends to advocate for them so they don’t get lost in the circus that can be modern medicine. I’ve learned I never want to be in a skilled nursing facility if I have a choice. I was so distressed by the facility she was transferred to after her surgery that I wanted to put her in the car and run away. I’ve learned how important family is and how comforting it is to know they care. I’ve learned to appreciate social media (in most of its forms) for providing immediate connections and information, both on a personal and a human level. And I’ve learned how glad I am that I am not going through the pandemic on my own, isolated in my house in Virginia.

Oh, and I have learned to admire the doctors, nurses, and other medical professional who don’t always get the credit they deserve. And my hat is off to anyone who is a caregiver. I have a new appreciation for the struggles long term caregivers must face.

I think I am ready to return to my blog. I don’t have access to my photo archives so who knows what sorts of pictures I will post.  Luckily, I have lots on my phone. In an age of uncertainty, I am going to try to put a bit of order back into life.





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