... the journal

The Guest
Refrigerator Door

These aren't exactly magnets, but they were off of a wonderful wall at my friend diane's house in England...and there are a bazillion of them.

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* Discussion *

Talk about it here.


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Becoming a Man:
Half a Life Story

Paul Monette


Mackenzie Phillips


Samples of two of the
slide shows I've been making
can be downloaded from
this ZDNet page

and four more are posted at Beechbrook Cottage

Pictures from our The England and Orkney trip are on my own Club Photo page.

Not to be missed:  Steve has uploaded some of his new songs to the web.  Check 'em out

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That's it for today!



13 October 2001

I wasn't sure whether I should expect a gun-toting fella trying to block our way, or whether there would be a police escort or what.

Priscilla and I set out this morning to rescue her Mama from the clutches of Priscilla's brother, who had been determined by the authorities to be abusing the mother, when she was found alone, without food, and lying in her own waste. Priscilla had been waiting for the word from the agency in charge of the investigation to tell her that she could come and get her mother.

Or so I thought.

I picked Priscilla up at 9 a.m. and we headed our wheels southward. She had told me it was "about an hour" from her house. Fortunately, Walt informed me it was more like two hours, so I wasn't surprised when an hour passed and there was no sign of the city we were looking for.

On the way, Priscilla talked about her hopes for her mother, how unhappy the mother had been, how Priscilla wanted Mama to spend her last years surrounded by family and friends who loved her.

As we started getting closer, I decided I should kind of get a feel for what might be awaiting me.

"Does your brother know you're coming?" I asked.

"No," she answered. She didn't want him to know anything about this.

"Have you talked with the police?" I asked.

"No," she answered. Contrary to the impression I got, she had never spoken with the police.

"Does your mother know you're coming?" I asked.

"No," she said. She didn't want to get her hopes up.

So it appeared we were going to show up unannounced and whisk Mama back home with her. I felt I'd probably seen this in a movie somewhere--probably with Chevy Chase.

I finally learned that she was not, after all, at the brother's house (so I could relax about the gun-toting.") She was actually at a rehabilitation center. Priscilla didn't know where exactly it was, but we managed to find it and only had to stop to ask directions twice.

It was a surprise to see the mother. I met her about a year and a half ago, and remembered her as a rather large woman. I wasn't prepared for the wizened, tiny form that stared lifelessly at the ceiling. She was in a dark room with absolutely nothing to do. She didn't even have a TV. Since she had one leg amputated, she couldn't get out of bed, and since a stroke had left her partially paralyzed, she wasn't able to reach for the call button, raise and lower her bed, or really do much for herself. The stroke had also affected her speech and when she talked, she reminded me very much of Jodi Foster in Nell.

She was kind of withdrawn when we arrived, and it was amazing watching the life come back into that body as Priscilla talked with her. Priscilla found herself in tears, thinking that her mother had to be in that place, and knowing that her brother had barred the family from interacting with her and had even attempted to keep the mother's location a secret from everyone who loved her.  It was only through Priscilla's persistance that she learned where the mother was located.

As I watched the two of them talk I began to get concerned about whether I could handle getting this woman back to Priscilla's house. Could I carry her from the car to the house when we got there? She had a catheter inserted, how would we handle that? Could she even sit up in the car? I began to wonder if this was a good idea or not.

The woman who had investigated the brother's home for suspected elder abuse finally arrived and she met with the mother alone while Priscilla and I waited outside.  She needed to have the mother state for herself what she wanted to do.  Ultimately, she questioned the mother's ability to make a rational decision because she stated one minute that she wanted to remain where she was and live with the brother, and the next minute she said she wanted to go home with Priscilla.

I felt so sorry for the mother. The pain of having to choose between her two children was plainly written on her face. Priscilla wanted so desperately to make her mother's days happy, while evidence seems to indicate that the brother mostly wants to keep the mother's Social Security check, but not allow her to have any interaction with other people.

I finally asked if we would be taking the mother home today, and was told that things had to be in place before the mother could leave, if she decided to go with Priscilla. "Having things in place" meant having a hospital bed, wheelchair, etc. ready for the mother, so it was obvious that this could not happen today.

The discharge nurse was brought in and he conferred with the elder abuse investigator and a tentative plan was made, once Mama said that she did indeed want to go and live with Priscilla. They're going to investigate how to go about getting a hospital bed and will send police to the brother's house to get Mama's clothing, wheelchair, etc. When all is in place, Priscilla and I will return and bring Mama home.

Priscilla danced around the room, clapping her hands, like a little kid on Christmas morning. She's been worried about her mother for months now and the fight to take care of her seems to have given Priscilla a strength that I have not seen in her previously. Though she has put off her own chemotherapy treatments until she gets things settled for her mother, she seems, at least outwardly, to be stronger physically than I have seen her. She is so focused on doing right by her mother that it has taken precedence over everything, even Priscilla's own precarious health. I asked her if she felt she was really up to the rigors of taking care of a semi-invalid and she is adamant that she loves her mother and can't do anything else.  She also points to all of the family who have been frustrated at the brother's insistance on keeping everyone away, and the host of friends of the mother who are eager to help.

So it's all still tentative, but there is probably another little 300 mile jaunt in my future. For the sake of both Priscilla and her mother, I really hope this works.

That's for darn sure.

One Year Ago:

Some pictures from this journal
can be found at
Club Photo

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Created 10/10/01 by Bev Sykes