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PULSE OF THE PEOPLE
13 June 2016
When I turned on the TV this morning, at 5:30, after feeding the dogs, I learned that 20 people had been killed at The Pulse, a gay bar in Orlando.
Watching the report with horror and watching the endless speculation about the shooter, his motives, the victims, the interviews with terrified parents and friends, etc we have become inured to, I fell back asleep until after 7, by which time the death toll had risen to 50, with an additional 53 wounded, making this the largest massacre in our nation's history.
Talking heads have been talking all day. I have to admit that I feel sorry for them. It's a major disaster and it must be covered 24/7 or they might miss some rapidly breaking new development. But about 23 of those 24 hours there is NOTHING substantive to say. They bring in the same "experts" to guess what the shooter might have been thinking and speculate about his ties to ISIS, but really it's just killing time until the next breaking news tidbit is released. I finally reach news overload and actually (oh horror!) turn the TV off.
I am heartsick, as is the rest of the country that we are counting bodies yet again. I feel so sorry for Obama, having to make yet another speech about the tragedy and how helpless this country is about doing anything to restrict the sale of assault rifles. And of course there is the usual round of messages by the Obama haters pointing out how much violence there has been during his administration, conveniently forgetting how many bills to try to curb all of this he has been unable to get through Congress.
I listened to a mother trying frantically to get news about her son. Her story was so heartbreaking because I knew exactly how she was feeling...only she was feeling worse.
One of the saddest, surreal things I read was from someone who realized that the first responders were all in that club surrounded by dead bodies and listening to cell phones ring, here and there, calls from loved ones wondering if they are OK.
I read this afternoon that Canada has had 8 mass shootings in the past 20 years; we have had 5 in the past week, yet nobody on the right side of the House of Representatives sees this as an issue that even needs to be addressed.
Donald Trump, not surprisingly, was not at a loss for words today. He congratulated himself for demonizing Syrian refugees (which shooter Omar Mateen was not), calling for increased border control (Mateen was a longtime US citizen with no criminal record), and for calling for unconstitutional surveillance of Muslim-Americans (Mateen was already on the FBI’s radar, but thanks to the Republican Party, a ban on weapon sales to terrorist suspects was defeated in Congress).
To cheer myself up, while Ned painted the shelves for my office, I went to Atria. I hadn't been there in 3 days and had my mother's clean laundry ready to bring back.
It was the kind of day that I just hate because (a) I feel so helpless, and (b) I don't have a clue what to do.
She was kind of curled into a ball on the couch when I arrived and was asleep. I sat in a chair and waited for her to wake up, which she did about 10 minutes after I arrived. She felt terrible and she didn't know why. There didn't seem to be any pain, but her body just wasn't right. She said she hadn't eaten, but you can never know if that's true or not because she can't remember if she has eaten as soon as we walk out of the dining room. Her shoes were near the couch, which I always take as a sign that she has at least been out of the apartment, hopefully for a meal.
She seemed sick to her stomach and tried to vomit several times while I was there, but I don't think she actually brought anything up. She sat in her chair, looking like a limp dishrag.
I checked her kitchen and saw that she has NO food at all, which isn't surprising. I decided to go and get food and stock the cupboards so that in case she doesn't feel like going out, she has something to eat. I went for junk food rather than anything nutritious because I wanted things that would (a) last indefinitely and (b) be appealing to her. (The first thing I bought was a box of Twinkies since I've heard that there are so many preservatives in Twinkies that they will outlast most humans on the planet),
I also replenished her big jar of cashews, bought the kind of potato chips she likes, the oatmeal cookies she always bought, and some goldfish crackers, and then a package of Hershey Kisses, which she used to have in the house all the time. None of those things will go bad if she doesn't touch them for a year, but if she is hungry they are there. Oh, I also bought two tiny cups of Haagen Dazs ice cream for her empty freezer (I am remembering when she had 12 partially eaten ice cream cones in there).
When I got back from the store, she was in worse shape and was again curled on the couch with her hands over her head and moaning. She would try to sit up and when she put her head back would yelp and dive back to the pillow. I stayed for a long time during which time she sat up again and we started talking. As before, the more we talked, the better she seemed to feel.
My dilemma is whether to take her to the doctor or not. If she didn't start sitting up, I would have rushed her off (against her will) to the doctor, but it's Sunday and Kaiser in Davis is not open on Sunday and we would have to drive all the way to Sacramento. She NEVER wants to go to the doctor and if she feels very sick tells me to wait until she's better and then she will go. Her childhood years as a Christian Scientist really kick in these days, though she converted to Catholicism more than 50 years go.
I have to work at Sutter tomorrow and I considered not going, but either she will be fine, with no memory of today, or she will still feel bad and grudgingly agree go to the doctor and then sit in the exam room and tell the doctor that she feels fine and she doesn't know why I get so worked up. Then she'll get back in the car and moan about it all again.
The worst part is that as bad as she does or does not feel, what compounds it exponentially is that she doesn't know what's wrong, she can't figure out what caused it, and she can't make it stop, so obviously she is stupid, stupid, stupid (I lost count of how many times I heard that) because she should be able to diagnose it and control it. But she's just stupid, stupid, stupid.
This lady had better die in her sleep. She has never had a serious illness in her life and should she have some sort of organ event that requires hospitalization, she is going to be the world's worst patient.
I was quite ready, at the end of the afternoon, to lose myself in the Tony Awards broadcast and that was a great tonic. Even though (and I know it's sacrilegious to say this) I don't really much like Hamilton (at least based on everything I've seen--and I've seen a lot), it was fun watching the show win 14 of the 16 awards for which they were nominated.
I'm going to work tomorrow, but will stop by Atria on the way home at 4:30 and see how things are. I know I will worry all day about her, but she doesn't seem to answer her phone any more and sleeps until noon, so I can't stop by on the way to work either.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
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This is entry #5924