Last night was pretty tough — up and down all night long, then up this morning at 6:45am.  The same is happening as I write this and has been going on for two or three hours.  There is no point in my trying to head in to bed yet since the activity is constant at the moment.  She has been climbing in and out of bed for no apparent reason with only minutes in between. 

While, again, it is a function of the disease, it is no less frustrating.  The time that I have generally claimed as my own in these late hours after Mary Ann goes to bed is coming to no longer be my time.  Tonight I set upon having some spiritual renewal time.  There is a podcast of  the Saturday worship service at the Taize Community in France.  The music is the sort that draws the participant in with a beautiful simplicity.  The readings are done in at least three, often more, languages.   There is a calm and peace that seems to include in community people like me, listening from thousands of miles away. 

I had first read a weekly poetic devotion by Fr. Ed Hayes, whose writings have had much impact on my personal Spiritual journey.  The reading suggested lighting a candle.  I haven’t done it in a very long time, but I pulled out a votive candle, placed in on the worship center, a cabinet built precisely for that purpose, with stained glass inserts in the doors.  I lighted another candle in a tall walnut candle stand made by my Dad, many decades ago.  Next to that candle stands the Shepherd’s Staff made by a parishioner and given to me at my retirement, a symbol of my forty years of ministry. 

A small iron Celtic Cross stands on the cabinet next to the votive candle.  Joining the Cross and candle on the worship center is a large ceramic bowl with lettering and symbols painted on by the other Staff members and again, given at my retirement.  The words are the summary of the congregation’s sense of purpose, “Grow in Faith.  Share Christ’s Love.”  The bowl is a symbol of Baptism, in our tradition, understood to be that first encounter with the Grace of God, an act of unconditional love by God, initiating relationship. 

One other item on that worship center is a simple memento of a long-standing friendship with a small group of parishioners from the first parish  I served as pastor.  It is a small beveled glass case with found items, pine cones, dried weeds, parts of plants, stones picked up on a trip together to Alaska many years ago.

With the candles and the light from the computer screen only,  I began the Taize worship.  As I settled in enjoying the sensations that come with such an experience, the monitor screen that keeps me aware of what Mary Ann is doing as I sit here, revealed the activity.  Since she is at risk of falling when she gets up, needs help to use the commode, to manage the cup of ice water next to her bed, to turn over in bed, her activity demands my participation. 

I have stopped and started the worship a number of times, getting more frustrated each time, resenting the loss of the freedom to enjoy the experience.  There is a odd sort of irony, that the very thing that helps me maintain a healthy equilibrium in caring for Mary Ann, is doing the opposite tonight. 

As the Neurologist allowed, I have just this evening increased the dosage of Seroquel, which is the medicine that both reduces the hallucinations and helps with sleep.  The last increase was not enough.  It is too soon to assess the effectiveness of this increase.  Certainly, the hallucinations have not decreased yet, they continue to be on the increase.  Just moments ago she told me to be careful of the little girl when I was adjusting her sheet.  This morning when she first got to the table for pills and breakfast, as soon as I turned on the light, she tried to show me the blood on her hands.  I think she believed it to be from the raccoons or whatever biting her.  There was, of course, no blood. 

Last night’s post mentioned my need for better choices in the area of diet and exercise for the sake of this Caregiver staying healthy.  Last night, today and tonight have revealed again the difficulty of following through with such plans.  When there are nights like these that string together, it is just survival mode.   A steady pattern of changed behavior seems completely out of reach.   I am still reading the book offering helps for improving the diet part of the problem.  Maybe some changes can be folded into our days. 

As Scarlett would say, “I’ll think about that tomorrow.”

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Warm gel is a good thing when having an echo-cardiogram and a carotid sonogram.  Yesterday was Mary Ann’s every six month check of the lesion in one of her carotid arteries (the ones in the neck that supply the brain with blood), and her every six month check of her heart, the valves and general condition.

The tests happen so regularly since at some time, should the lesion in her carotid artery grow past a certain point, the question of surgery will come up.  She has already had one stroke, probably caused by bits of plaque sloughed off from that lesion.  The most we can hope for is very little change in how much of that artery is blocked.  I will admit that neither Mary Ann nor I am much interested in a major surgery.  We would certainly discuss the option.  I would not presume to know for sure what Mary Ann might want to do if surgery is suggested.  Her Mom had it when she was in her 80’s, and she did very well.

What the echocardiogram shows could have some impact on medications.  It was interesting to watch the med tech do the test.  She had a student with her.  She described what she was looking at to the student as she pulled up each view of Mary Ann’s heart.  I had a great view of the screen during the entire test.  It was helpful to me to hear her point out and name the parts of the heart on the screen.  Having watched the screen for the last few echo-cardiograms, I am getting fairly familiar with the images on the screen.  It helped this time to have a running commentary on what I was seeing.

What was especially interesting was a little mini-drama, as the med tech was describing what she was seeing to the student.  At one point there is color added to the screen.  The red indicates blood coming toward the probe, the blue indicates blood moving away from the probe.  When the med tech was checking the valves using the color mode, her voice lowered as she spoke to the student.  I inferred that the movement of the colors was indicating leaking valves and she did not want to break protocol by revealing that within Mary Ann’s and my hearing.  I had been quiet (unusual for me) until then.  I decided to relieve her distress by mentioning Mary Ann’s problem with leaking heart valves. The med tech’s response indicated my assessment of her reaction had been correct.  Up to this point, the leaking is not severe enough to warrant raising the surgery option.

Both Mary Ann and I had blood tests a week ago.  Her orders came from our GP (thyroid and cholesterol check), mine came from our Cardiologist (cholesterol).  Mary Ann is the one with problems, right?  Her numbers were great!  Mine produced a message from the Cardiologist to double the dosage on my cholesterol lowering med.  Mary Ann’s annoying ability to stop eating when she is full, as well as her distaste for leftovers and much of what I cook, seems to be serving her well in the blood chemistry department.  My inability to stop eating until everything is gone on my plate and all the containers on the table, does not serve me so well in the blood chemistry department.  I suspect a program of improved diet, exercise and weight reduction is in my future — perhaps I should have a snack and lie down until that thought passes.

We got a copy of the written results of our blood work yesterday after the tests were done.  Mary Ann’s results revealed the continuing reduction in her kidney function.  The surface of her kidneys has hardened due to decades of high blood pressure.  If you have read earlier posts about her struggle with Orthostatic Hypotension (low blood pressure when standing, producing fainting spells) you will catch the irony.  She is now taking medicine to raise her base blood pressure to reduce the problem of her BP lowering too much when she is standing and walking.  If I am reading the lab report correctly, she has just moved into stage three of five in her Chronic Kidney Disease. The good news is that we all have so much kidney capacity that it could lower to 30% of full functioning without becoming dangerous. When I include that sort of information, remember that I am not a doctor.  Don’t take my word for it. A few years ago a very candid Nephrologist told us that Mary Ann would likely die with Chronic Kidney Disease, not of it.  At that time we all agreed not to treat the kidney disease since the treatment would make the fainting worse by lowering her blood pressure.

As the tests were going on, I thought about how scary all the test results can be.  When we first were told about each of the problems, there was that feeling in the pit of the stomach that the end might be nearing.  After years of monitoring the results of the tests, it is just more information confirming what we already know.  Even if there is something new, Mary Ann has faced down so many medical problems for so many years, we just take it in stride.  Mary Ann could die in ten minutes, ten months, ten years, or more.  So could I.  Death lives just on the other side of life.  Coming to terms with that provides a sense of peace, and affirms the sweetness of the life we have at any given moment.  Our spiritual foundation steals from death its ultimate power to destroy.  Neither of us longs for it.  We both recognize the pain that is left to those we leave behind.  At the same time, we recognize our mortality and have learned to live with it.

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Remind me how much I loved weeds and bugs as a child.  I seem to remember writing something about that in an earlier post.  I just about had my fill of weeds and bugs on this trip to St. Francis of the Woods.

I have always loved the outdoors, but I have also always loved being comfortable.  Trudging through waste high, sometimes head high, weeds for a couple of hours, bugs surrounding me, checking me out at close range, stretched my idyllic view of the outdoors to the limit.

I remember walking the woods at my parents’ place in Northern Illinois, loving everything but the deer flies.  They kept me from idealizing the outdoors beyond reality.  Then there was the Poison Ivy.  The world of nature can be a hostile place.

This trip to St. Francis of the Woods was different from the last few times I have gone.  When possible, I usually go after the first frost and before the bugs have come out in the spring.  Cool and crisp air, dried weeds and clear skies have welcomed me the last few years.  This time it was warm, muggy and cloudy.

With that introduction, you might suspect that this trip was not a good experience.  It was.  First of all, while I am concerned for the environment and the well-being of all creatures, insects included, it seems to me that the person who invented the insect repellent Deet should be awarded the Medal of Honor.  I was not bitten by one mosquito, nor did I find one tick on my body, and while the bugs were everywhere, when they landed on me, they didn’t stay for long.

One benefit of coming at this time of the year was that there were flowers everywhere.  The sights were beautiful.  The flowers drew butterflies.  There were all sorts of butterflies of different sizes and colors.  Every once in a while one or two would land on me as I walked through the weeds.  There was one particular species that caught my eye.  It was probably a Fritillary, but I am way outside of my comfort zone in naming a butterfly other than a very few.  It was fairly large, and the brightest, almost, iridescent orange.  There might be as many as three flying around one another in a cluster.

There are now a couple of bee hives at the corner of one of the fields that I walk through.  I gave them a fairly wide berth.  Through the binoculars, I could see hundreds of bees flying in and out and all around the hives.  I am not particularly fearful of bees, but I didn’t want to have any unnecessary encounters by moving into their home territory.  I noticed as I walked through a nearby field, that the flowers were covered with bees.  St. Francis should have a great harvest of honey when the time comes.

The first evening’s trip through the woods provided no bird sightings at all.  The next day, there was more activity.  I was snorted at by some deer hiding in the woods as I walked by.  At one point a couple of does ran through the weeds in front of me from the woods on one side to the woods on the other.  There were a couple of groups of White Pelicans flying overhead, appearing to be headed the wrong direction for a fall migration.

It was hard to find a spot to put my three legged stool so that I could read a bit.  I didn’t want to be completely buried among the weeds.  I managed to find a spot with short enough weeds that I could sit, eat an apple and then read a very few pages.  The muggy, warm air and flying bugs around my sweaty brow made it uncomfortable enough to discourage me from staying long. I did catch sight of a flock of Common Nighthawks going by.  They are not often seen in the daytime except when passing through in the spring and fall.  Nighthawks are in a family of birds called Goatsuckers.  I just get a kick out of knowing that and saying the word “Goatsuckers.”  I need to check online some time to find out how that name was chosen for them.  I wonder if it had anything at all to do with goats?

I walked down to a newly discovered pond very close to the cottage I was staying in.  The pond was sort of ugly and messy looking, very small.  I saw a large turtle sunning itself when I came closer to the pond.  It slid into the water since I was too close for comfort.  I looked at the water through the binoculars to see if I could locate more turtles under the water.  Then I saw him.  I can’ t really know for sure how big he was, since he was just under the water at the edge of the pond nearest me.  The light refracting through the water can make something look bigger than it is.  It was a Snapping Turtle that appeared to be close to two feet long and a foot and a half wide.  He looked far too big to be living in such a small pond.  I watched him for a long time, and when he moved, I was glad he turned away and moved down farther into the pond.  I would not have been interested in him coming my way.

The most meaningful and valuable time on this retreat was the four and a half hours of catching up with a friend from the Oklahoma City area that I hadn’t seen in over thirteen years.  I have to say that John is as close a friend as I have ever had in my six and a half decades.  During the nine years in Oklahoma City, John and I spent many hours early in the morning at Ingrid’s German Deli talking about our faith and journey we were on living it out, John caring for Sherrie, dying of Cancer, and me dealing with the impact of Mary Ann’s Parkinson’s on our household.

When I went on ahead of the family to start serving the congregation in Bethany, Oklahoma, I lived for five months with John and Sherrie, and their children, Hope and Joel.  I cannot imagine more gracious hosts.  Their spirituality was a marvel to behold.  I have been around lots of folks who are committed to their faith, and sharing it with others.  John and Sherrie did it with such genuineness and humility that those around them never were made to feel inferior.

I had the privilege of ministering to and being ministered to by Sherrie as the Cancer entered her life and became the means through which she touched the lives of so many on her way to her death — and life with the Lord on the other side of death.  I had the additional privilege of conducting her funeral, attended by so many that the Sanctuary couldn’t hold them.

If that was not enough, I had the joy of performing the marriage of John and Peggy, as each was led to the other at precisely the right time to begin building a new life together.  It was refreshing to hear how their spirituality has grown and how their life together has unfolded in the years between then and now.

Not only did the retreat provide the refreshment that comes from engaging the natural world at close range, being fed by a meaningful friendship, but I probably accumulated almost twenty-four hours of uninterrupted sleep in those two nights.  This morning there was a gentle rain with soft rumbles of thunder on occasion in the background, providing the perfect setting for lying in bed, sort of semi-conscious, just savoring the moment.

All went well with Mary Ann while I was gone.  Daughter Lisa had some good quality time with her Mom, and Son Micah, Becky and Chloe were able to come over so that we could eat Pizza together tonight.

The time away provided the opportunity to think through how things are going for Mary Ann and me.  As always, there has come a renewed resolve to be more effective as a Caregiver.  Whether that resolve will result in any changes in what I do and how I do it remains to be seen.

If you want to write a comment about this or any of the posts on this blog, look to the column on the right side of this page, titled “Recent Posts,”  click on the name of a post and you will find a box at the end of that article in which you can write a comment.  Clicking on the title of the post you are reading will accomplish the same thing.  Comments are appreciated.

When Mary Ann got up from her chair once this afternoon, as usual, I got up from my chair to ask where she was going so that I could help her if needed.  She came the few steps toward me, placed her hands appropriately and began to dance.  This will be no surprise to those who know me well, but even after 22 years of Parkinson’s Disease, several heart attacks and blocked arteries, a stroke, a life-threatening bout with pneumonia, and now a couple of years into Parkinson’s Disease Dementia, she can still dance better than I can.  I stood and swayed a little, while she actually danced.  This is certainly a confusing little world in which the two of us are living.

The last couple of days have been better than the one I recounted in my last post.  Yesterday, Volunteer Edie came in the morning while I headed up to the lake to read, listen to music and watch the wildlife.  As always, Edie made a full and tasty meal for us, so Mary Ann actually ate well.

The meal I had prepared the night before did not thrill Mary Ann (pork chops, stir fried fresh veggies from parishioners’ gardens, and Uncle Ben’s butter and herb rice cooked in chicken broth).  That Saturday was pretty much a bust from beginning to end.

Sunday not only included the good meal that Edie had prepared, but there were football games.  Mary Ann is the more enthusiastic football fan in the house.  Both the Chiefs and the Bears lost, so she was not as pleased as she would have been had either or both won.

Today was a pretty normal day.  Zandra came to give her a shower.  That happens Mondays and Wednesdays.  We got out to the library, which she loves.  The library happens to be near G’s frozen yogurt, so there was the obligatory stop there.

A Volunteer, Jolene, came to spend time with Mary Ann after supper while I headed up to the spot with the view about ten minutes from our house.  I took with me a number of CD’s that I had picked up at the library.   After listening to one of the Celtic CD’s, I put in a CD of Taizé music.  Taizé is a community in France to which young people in particular come to be spiritually renewed.  I haven’t been there, so I can’t really describe what it is like other than what I have heard and read.  The Taizé community is known worldwide for their worship life and liturgical music.  The music is simple, with refrains that are repeated many times, often sung in harmony by whoever has gathered for worship.  Taizé music is in many languages.  It seems to be a place at which national boundaries cease to divide.

The music felt like a life preserver to me this evening.  It is my hope that I will find accessible Taizé resources to add some more disciplined regular times of spiritual refreshment in my days.  I suspect it might help raise the quality of care for Mary Ann and the quality of life for both of us.

If you want to write a comment about this or any of the posts on this blog, look to the column on the right side of this page, titled “Recent Posts,”  click on the name of a post and you will find a box at the end of that article in which you can write a comment.  Clicking on the title of the post you are reading will accomplish the same thing.  Comments are appreciated.

There are just a handful of us, usually four, who gather on the back deck or in the downstairs when the weather is uninviting (this is Kansas).  We begin at 7:30am each Wednesday morning.  With the disjointed and erratic sleep patterns in our household, caffeine is a great gift from God! Hot coffee is the delivery system of choice — yes, even in Kansas on hot summer days (not many this year).

Our central purpose for that two hours is to grow in our ability to engage the presence of God midstream in our days, no matter what we are doing.  We are a little slow.  We have been at this for probably seven years now and haven’t yet gotten it worked out.

That Spritual Formation Group time is one of my life preservers.  It is not a therapy group.  We have a book with readings and reflections to spark our thinking.  We do not understand life to be divided into compartments, one sacred and the other secular, or one physical and one spiritual.  We understand life to be one thing, and God to be its source and sustenance.

For whatever reason or reasons, this is a particularly unsettling time for me.  I am grateful for the lifesavers that are available to me.

One of the lifesavers is the sanctuary that is emerging behind our house.  The deck has always been an inviting place.  While it is probably no more than thirty feet from the back of the deck to the wooden privacy fence separating us from the next subdivision, there are now many good sized trees filling that space, some that we planted.  The trees and the view to either side extend pretty much without obstruction for the equivalent of at least a couple of blocks.  The fence behind us is up a fairly steep incline.  The combination of that hill, the fence, and the trees create the feeling of seclusion.

The multiple bird feeders and those who dine at them add to the sensation of an outdoor sanctuary in the woods.  Then there is the waterfall.  Four levels cascade over well placed rocks, each level adding to the volume of that wonderful sound of falling water.  That sound covers some of the people and vehicle sounds, feeding the sense of seclusion.

Some friends, Doug and Marikay, brought over additional plants for the wetland area created around the waterfall.  They also brought an old branch and placed it on the gravel base among the plants and rocks.  I am intrigued by that old branch.  It is certainly old — old enough to have patches of lichen covering it. The color of the lichen matches the lichen on the rocks and the color of the needles on the cypress tree that hangs over that part of the waterfall.

One of the things that intrigues me about the branch is the metaphor it provides for life, certainly the life we are living.  The branch is weathered and gnarled and without symmetry.  Any old farmer would have long since cut it up for firewood or burned it in a brushpile.  By the way, I like old farmers.  There is an old farmer living inside me — along with a young rebel.

With eyes to see it, there is an elegance and beauty that transcends symmetry and smooth surfaces and orderly shapes.  I wonder what that branch has seen, who has stepped over it, or climbed on it, or made its nest in it, what has marked its territory on it.  I wonder what stories it could tell.  Life as it is really lived is weathered, gnarled and without symmetry.  Trying to make life pretty and pleasing to the eye, wastes precious time needed to live it.

Our life is not pretty.  It is often smelly and ugly and messy, and certainly without a shred of orderliness.  It is also beautiful, deeply fulfilling, bursting with meaning and purpose, often emerging from the very ugliness itself.  I would not trade our cracks and crevasses and patches of lichen.

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Last night when sharing our history with our hosts at dinner, the look back opened a process that has continued today.  I asked Mary Ann if she was comfortable or uncomfortable with the conversation last evening.  The questions of her were direct and personal.  She said that she did feel comfortable. 

As I mentioned in last night’s post, Mary Ann was candid about her feelings.  She was clear that she was not resentful toward God for her situation, but she was resentful toward me for moving the family from what had been home for fifteen years.   

When we moved from Kansas City to Oklahoma City, I moved five months sooner than Mary Ann and the kids.  They needed to finish school (Lisa, her Senior Year in high School and Micah, his Eighth Grade year at a Kindergarten through 8th Grade school).   

It was shortly after I moved to OKC that Mary Ann phoned from Kansas City with the news that she had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s.  Her memory of the move is colored by the pain of that diagnosis, having to deal with her feelings without my presence for support.  She had the whole load of the family while trying to process that news. 

What, in my estimation, made it more painful was that Mary Ann was adamant about keeping the diagnosis a secret.  That secret was kept through the move and on into our new life in OKC for a full five years. 

With little stamina for involvement with others since she also worked part time at first and then close to full time for the last six of our nine years there, it was hard for her to develop close friendships from which she could draw support. 

It was during that time that we experienced very poor medical care from Neurologists who had little knowledge of Parkinson’s other than the very basic medication addressing only the motor symptoms.  Since she has the early onset variety, there are more complexities than presented when it is diagnosed later in life. 

We managed to get to the annual Parkinson’s Symposium at the University of Kansas Medical Center most years while we were in OKC.  As a result, we had access to the latest and best information on Parkonson’s Disease and its treatment.  We seemed to have more information than any of the Neurologists to whom Mary Ann went during those nine years in OKC.  One Neurologist had little to say in each appointment (ten minutes, sitting across from us at his desk).  He seemed mostly to be asking us how often we thought we should be taking the one basic medicine.  The next Neurologist questioned whether or not Mary Ann had Parkinson’s and concluded that the fact that the medication for Parkinson’s seemed to be working was all in her head.  He made the gesture folks use to indicate that someone is crazy.  Then at the end of the nine years, Mary Ann was hospitalized in Tulsa in a new Parkinson’s program.  The point of the stay was to work out the medicine regimen.  The staff administering the medication missed the timing of doses, the Neurologist dismissed a basic concern for timing the medicine away from meals high in protein (regularly reaffirmed in the literature and the presentations at the Parkinson’s Symposia).  Mary Ann ended up with a complex combination of regular and timed release versions of the one basic medicine.  The new regimen simply did not work.  She became very debilitated quickly. 

It was at that time that the move to the parish here in Kansas came.  Mary Ann commented last evening that the move back to Kansas, even though not back to Kansas City itself felt good to her.  She liked being close again to our friends in Kansas City.  Mary Ann is not the sentimental sort.  For her to say that was a very significant affirmation of that friendship. 

When we moved to here, Mary Ann went to KU Med Center and some of her best years followed.  She was willing to be open about the diagnosis.  The latest of the medications that help the basic one work more effectively worked well at controlling her symptoms.  She did not work any longer and had time to get to know people here.  When finally the Volunteers were needed and began coming, friendships grew at a rapid rate, many of them. 

As I look back, I suspect that Mary Ann’s resentment of me for taking her from KC was more a function of the struggle with Parkinson’s than anything else.  The people in OKC were as warm and loving and accepting as anyone could have hoped for.  Through my ministry, I developed some of the most meaningful relationships I have ever had and still cherish them.  Busyness while doing full time ministry here did not allow for much contact, but the feelings remain.  Mary Ann and I did spend some time together with other couples in the OKC congregation whose friendship we valued very much.  We remember them fondly even though circumstances have not allowed interactions since then. 

It continues to seem that since retiring, past relationships, those that have a long history are coming into focus to a greater extent than while I was busy with the day to day challenges of ministry.   I suppose it is mostly the obvious, that there is more time to think about the past.  I am sure it is also a way of filling the validation gap created by having days empty of the multiple tasks with potential for external affirmation, measureable successes and failures.  It is a time to process the impact of relationships, as well as look through the layers of meaning to be found in past experiences. 

It is clear that Mary Ann’s assessment of the journey and my assessment are much different.  Mary Ann has the Parkinson’s, I see it and live in close proximity to it.  She more than I, but we are both impacted by the consequences of the Disease.  However our experiences of it differ, we are living through it together, one day at a time.   

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Mary Ann is in bed.  Tonight’s was a much later bedtime than usual.  We had a very enjoyable evening with new friends, Jim and Sally.  Since Jim and I are in the same profession, even though they are much younger than we are, we have lots in common.  One especially meaningful dimension to the evening was that Sally brought out Mary Ann by engaging her very directly in conversation.  Mary Ann was more thoughtful and responsive than I have observed in a very long time.  In the course of responding, she said that she expected to die soon.  She revealed her faith to be secure. She spoke in a way that suggested that she was not fearful and distressed, but accepting of her circumstances.  (I am inferring much of that from the limited responses and their tone.)  The evening was meaningful as well as enjoyable.  There was ice cream, guaranteeing a good evening.

The night of the day we visited the Neurologist (see last post) turned out to be a difficult one.  We had increased slightly the medication that seeks to diminish the hallucinations, but it certainly had no effect on then yet that night.  The hallucinations were as strong as ever.

Even though that next day we had a number of Volunteers, it was a tough day, as it always is after a sleepless night  Both of us get pretty grumpy.  Mary Ann got up very early again, even though she had not settled down until after 2am.  Since there was a Volunteer for that time, I was still able to get to the Spiritual Formation Group that meets at our house.

Later in the day, a friend and I had coffee and spent a couple of hours talking.  He had been a confidant and care partner during the last half of my ministry at the parish from which I retired.  It was probably good that we had as much time as we did away from each other, since we were both so tired.

We both slept very well last night.  As a result the day today was better.  The fainting and the hallucinations continue, but they still allow us a certain quality of life that allows us not to feel deprived or resentful or bitter.

The day is catching up with me.  I had best head for bed and hope for sleep.

If you want to write a comment about this or any of the posts on this blog, look to the column on the right side of this page, titled “Recent Posts,”  click on the name of a post and you will find a box at the end of that article in which you can write a comment.  Clicking on the title of the post you are reading will accomplish the same thing.  Comments are appreciated.