Tag Archive | health

Lucky No. 7 on Friday the 13th (and some bad news, too)


Big little Zuzu turned 7 on Friday the 13th – a lucky day for us.

Ah, me. I’ve been very remiss with The Lolly Diaries. So much going on, so much energy expended with the resistance, and so many appointments with Mother, partly because of a new serious new wrinkle in the fabric of our lives. And we’re still reeling a bit from the gaping hole left in our household by Tess’s departure, especially Zu. (She will get a baby sister for an early Christmas present – we hope she’s happy about that.)


Zuzu has just never loved opening presents, as all our other dogs have. But she was intrigued by what might be inside.

I grieve for our country, and for the first time in my life, I start each day wondering what fresh new hell that man occupying the White House hath Twitter-wrought. But this is supposed to be a politics-free zone (my Twitter account is another story), so I’ll move on to other topics, mainly Mother’s newly diagnosed condition.

For tortuous weeks we’ve awaited a diagnosis, since we discovered in July, shortly after she turned 82, that Mother is losing her vision at an alarming rate. Now we know she has auto-immune retinopathy, which, in layman’s terms, means her body is rejecting her retinas. This is in addition to, and not caused by, her rheumatoid arthritis. AIR, as it’s called, is very, very rare – that’s how we do things in this family. No treatment for Mother, so we’ll just ride it out.

Of course she can’t drive anymore, but we’re making do. Wednesday she had back-to-back doctor’s appointments and my battery died in her garage (!), so she had her first Uber rides. She is a remarkably resilient woman – a wonder to behold. She intends to keep painting, though she’ll probably have to go rather impressionistic or abstract from now on. I just got her two packs of playing cards for the visually impaired, since she’s still in at least two bridge clubs and will host one at her house Thursday.

And fortunately and fortuitously (or maybe nothing’s by chance), my daughter finished her master’s degree this spring in orientation and mobility for the blind, so Mother has someone who loves her and looks like her to help her adapt as her vision worsens. We’re hoping it will go slowly. It’s already gone so far.

John and I did get away for two fabulous weeks in Sicily and Southern Italy last month, which I’ll talk about another time. I turned 62 in Marsala – a good place since it’s hard to feel old an area formerly populated by Phoenicians.


That’s me looking through a street in old Pompeii toward Vesuvius. John, who took this photo, said he loves the juxtaposition of the little modern woman looking down a road to the past at the same distant view the ancients saw – I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the drift. (The three random black dots were permanent fixtures on the camera lens of his old iPhone, which he just replaced.)



Sitting, waiting, wishing

Oh, my. No time for details, but just a quick note to say that since three hours after my last post, most of our time has been spent sitting, waiting, wishing in ICU and hoping my stepfather of 30 years will survive – and thrive. How quickly life can change and how hard it hits.

Mother/Grandma and Grandpa Bill just a few years back with their oldest grandchild, our son Ben. You can see the pride and love

Grandma and Grandpa Bill just a few years back with their oldest grandchild, our son Ben. You can see the pride and love.

Mother has had her back surgery, which went OK for someone with brittle bones. She was the rehab champ and is doing well physically.

Emotionally she’s fragile. She lost my real dad 31 years ago, and now Bill is hanging on by a thread after suddenly collapsing with severe abdominal pain, which tuned out to be dead bowel – I’ll spare you the graphic details, but we’ve had to fight long and hard to get him treated and keep him alive this long.

At Liz's graduation in Dec. 2010, Mother and Bill are still looking great.

At Liz’s graduation in Dec. 2010, Mother and Bill are still looking great.

Mother’s surgery was expected and long-awaited. We had it scheduled for Jan. 2. On Dec 29, life turned upside down and we’ve been living at hospitals. During that time, my precious Annabelle turned 2 and Luke 2 months. Today is their 2-year and 2-month checkups, and I can’t help with the appointment, something I would love to be doing.

But right now the parental end of the generations sandwich is the priority. Lots of us boomers are in the same boat.

And now I must get ready to fly back out to the hospital to see what today brings. More later.