Tuesday, June 08, 2010


LIfe is beautiful, but fragile. Much like this rose. I don't know about your life right now, but several beautiful aspects of mine feel fragile, so much so that I feel compelled to communicate, to write about them to help deal with them and their impact on now and the future.

Where to start? With the smallest, most personal--Duncan? With the closest, longest lasting--Mama? With the now 50-day-old sorrow that appears to have no end--the oil in my beloved Gulf of Mexico? With the most recent--the disappearance last Friday of a seven-year-old boy from an elementary school a dozen miles from where I sit, safe in my home?

Duncan has lived over 16 and one half years, half of my younger son Leland's life. He's been a small bundle of warmth and love, companionship and curiosity. For the past few months his age and the accompanying infirmities have become increasingly evident. His back legs are weak. He has cataracts which surely now are not what the vet called immature. He has developed a desire, for reasons we will never know, to stand in small, close spaces wherever he can find them. A couple of times we've had to search for him, finding him in unexpected nooks and crannies. Then today his back legs seemed to have lost their ability to support him for more than a few seconds; they slip beneath him and he sits down, or they slide outward and he sits down. I came up with a support system, placing his front legs in a very small white plastic crate and setting his dog food bowl on top of a lidded plastic container so that he can easily reach it. I suppose that I can take the crate on potty trips, too. We'll see. And we'll see what the vet has to say--it's time for Duncan's semi-annual visit. I have to call to make an appointment. Want to make a comment as a reminder? I need help. Please. Thank you.

It looks like Mama has a new medical issue, an autoimmune disease, Sjögren's syndrome. Her lung doctor sent her to a rheumatologist because of extremely high numbers in some blood work which mean inflammation somewhere in the body and inflammation in her chest CT scans. We went to see him for the first time Monday. Mama's got the main symptoms--dry eyes, dry mouth--caused when the body's white blood cells attack the moisture-producing glands. She's got some secondary symptoms--an all-encompassing debilitating fatigue, maybe even the peripheral neuropathy which she's been dealing with for over 30 years! The doctor wants her to take Imuran and be monitored for results and side effects. When we last saw the lung doctor she had prescribed a month-long regimen of Imuran; we noticed no side effects, but then we didn't have any blood tests done until today, one week after she had taken the last pill. What we did notice was a quickly worsening of Mama's extreme fatigue, as the week went on. Y'all add her to your prayer list. Please. Thank you.

About the Gulf of Mexico and the devastation rampant there, I am depressed, concerned, saddened. How much can that region endure? Will someone set a precedent and actually tell the truth? We humans must wise-up, change our life styles, respect what God has placed here for our environment, and teach our children to do oh so much better than we ever did. Not that we can't keep trying until no breath is left in our bodies--every effort helps, surely. Living here in Portland has shown me the every day aspect of recycling when the local governments and citizens get behind it. Where I work we have bins in our break room--one for compost (food and paper towels mostly), one for glass only, one for general recycling, and one for garbage (things that cannot be recycled). This is happening on all six floors, and we're just one of many, I imagine. Living here in Portland has shown me the ease of shrinking my particular carbon foot print by using mass transit for 98 percent of my Portland metropolitan area transportation needs--I ride the bus and/or MAX (light rail) to work and back every day. I do the same for dining at 3 Doors Down Cafe on Friday after work, for my volunteering at the Portland Center for the Performing Arts, and for my lectures at the Architectural Heritage Center. And I even did the same for the concert I thoroughly enjoyed Saturday night--Sting and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. And now Mama and I are Zipsters, having signed up for the Zipcar program which means we will not drive the 1996 year old Buick on our gambling jaunts (which she really would like to be able to do again but is very, very afraid that she'll never get to go again) or our rides around Portland to see the sights. We'll be using newer, better mileage, lower emission vehicles that I can walk to get for our planned trip(s). Leland still uses the Buick, but not all that often, the same for Lamont and his old Volvo station wagon. Let's all pray for the Gulf of Mexico and our environment. Please. Thank you.

About the heartbreak of second grader Kyron Horman's disappearance Friday morning, I can't get his little face off my mind--in the last photo taken of him, he stands proudly, smiling, in front of his science fair project about the red-eyed tree frog. I've watched all three local stations to be sure that I didn't miss any possible good news about the search for him. The only good news so far has been that it didn't rain today after almost and inch and a half fell yesterday. Many people are working practically 24 hours a day to find him, walking in waist high grass, berry brambles, ravines, steep hillsides, woods. Capt. Jason Gates, one of the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office persons who spoke at today's press conference, spoke from the heart about the strong desire they all have to find him and bring him home to his family. He almost broke down. Let's all pray for seven-year-old Kyron Horman, his family, and those seeking to find him. Please. Thank you.

And thank you for allowing me to communicate.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So sorry to learn that mama is not up to par at the moment and that Duncan isn't either.

I tell you it is really sad and heart breaking when a pet comes down with old age. We never seem to think of it when they are rambling young puppies.

Our Autumn went blind with cataracts but could get around outside to do her business. It is sad though.

Hand in there. I hope the Gulf Oil Spill comes back to haunt BP and I think it will.