Today in My History

2000: Stuff & Nonsense
2001: Moving On...
2002: "Doing" Hollywood
2003: Onward and Onward
2004: Alice Through the Looking Glass
2005: G-Wiz, Revisited
Writing Womyn
2007: The Momma Meme
2008: Grand Tour, On the Road Again
 The Tonight Show that Wasn't
2010:  The end of a beautiful career
2011:  Making a Difference
2012: Sunday Stealing
2013: Unplugged

2014: Giggles
2015: Turkeys
2016: Today at Atria
2017:  Saturday
2018: Sunday Stealing

Theater Reviews
Updated 8/11
"Yeomen of the Guard"

Books Read in 2019
 Updated 7/20
"Play Dead"

Personal Home Page

My family

Books Read in 2019
Books Read in 2018

Books Read in 2017
Books Read in 2016
Books Read in 2015
Books Read in 2014
Books Read in 2013

Books Read in 2012
Books Read in 2011
Books Read in 2010


updated 7/16

(you know how to fix it)

Mirror Site for RSS Feed:
Airy Persiflage

Some Background Links:
The Philosophy of Juice & Crackers
The story of Delicate Pooh
The story of the Piņata Group
Pumpkin pies
Who IS this Gilbert person anyway?

mail to Walt / mail to Bev  



16 September 2019

First ... it is done.  Ned and Marta are out of their Sacramento house and here completely.  Now "all we have to do" is figure out where to put all the stuff--theirs and ours"--still in boxes.  And of course now that Ned has filled the patio with stuff he needs to sort through, the weather prediction was for rain today.  He and Marta spent an hour or so moving things and covering them with tarps.  It did rain, but fortunately only briefly.

It's nice to have dinnertime conversation.  When there are only two of you and you haven't left the house all day, there really isn't much to say at dinner, but Ned always has something interesting to say, so I am loving the chatter over the meal.

Another wonderful thing about having Ned here is that he loves doing mis en place, cutting up all the ingredients before you start cooking.  I hate it.  It is probably the thing that makes me put off starting to cook dinner each night.  But somehow, I have raised three children who love to chop.  Jeri did it for me when she was here, Tom says he loves it, and even on the days I've cooked, Ned has offered to do the chopping.  It makes the cooking go so much faster.

I have my own sous chef!

60 Minutes had a segment last night on frontotemporal dementia, which is a rare form
which attacks younger people---60 and younger.  But that report, combined with the book I am reading, "Keeper: One House, Three Generations, and a Journey into Alzheimer's" by Andrea Gilles has given me a deeper perception of what is going on in my mother's brain ... and left me wondering what it is that makes us who we are.

The frontal lobe, the front 3rd of the brain is where we think in the most obvious, self-conscious sense, plan, imagine, debate, decide.  It is crucial in the retrieval of memory.

The temporal lobes at the side of the head are memory banks and instrumental in language and the comprehension of language, which explains why my mother can't carry on a coherent conversation, and mixes up words like "hot" and "cold"

The parietal lobe at the upper part of the back of the head, helps orient us, giving us spatial awareness.  Number recognition and the ability to manipulate numbers is worked on here too.

The occipital lobe, at the lower third of the head is responsible for vision and visual interpretation.  Giles talks about her mother-in-law and how she always loved watching the sea, like my mother has loved trees.  They bought a house that overlooks the sea and her mother-in-law seems not to notice it, like my mother no longer tells me how beautiful all the trees are...or is amazed at how many new cars she sees on the street.

The motor cortex, "like a stretchy headband" and the somatosensory cortex are "where messages from the nerve endings in the body arrive for processing."

The limbic system determines our sense of smell and contributes to problems with appetite.

The amygdala is  the "fear zone," the seat of primitive emotions, instinctive, fearful and aggressive.

The hippocampus deals with short term memory and as it disintegrates you remember less and less of your life.  Occasionally my mother remembers part of her past life or things about her siblings, but lately sometimes she is losing that as well.

The cerebellum involves movement, coordination, posture and balance...and holds the most deeply embedded memories. Things you do automatically, like brushing your teeth, are handled by the cerebellum...eventually you forget how to do things like swallow.

As each of these areas of the brain deteriorates, or disappears, the subject loses that much more of herself.  What is left is perhaps a "new brain" without all the things that made you YOU for all of your life.

When all those areas of the  brain have died, who is the person who is left?  My mother no longer is enthusiastic about trees, but though she may or may not know who she is talking to, she's always happy to see someone she recognizes.  If she turns her head in one direction and then back in the other direction, she's thrilled to see this "new" person who has been sitting with her before.  With help she can remember to put her hands on the walker, but if she takes one hand off, she has to be reminded, sometimes with difficulty, how to hang on again.

It was very nice "visiting" with her the last time I was there for visiting at Eldervilla.  She slept the entire time, which made our "visit" a very peaceful time for me to "be with" the person who looked like my mother but who, when she woke up, was not my mother after all.

Dementia is such a cruel disease.  I suppose the "kindest" thing about it is that once one part of your brain has died, you no longer realize what senses you are losing and the pain of the disease is for those who love the one who is affected.


Celebrating National stuffed donut day.

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