Father’s Day 2018

Today is Father’s Day, first I would like to wish all the men who are fathers, or who have accepted the role as a father and have touched the life of someone in need of a fatherly touch, a very happy Father’s Day.

My father died in 1992 at 69 years just three short years after my mother’s death.  I loved my dad, but I did not always like him.  Dad was not always a loving man, he was an authoritarian in many ways and he ruled in that way.  But dad was a dreamer.  He was always going to start his own business or get a pick up with a camper and we would do a lot of traveling and camping.  None of these things ever took place, but we heard about them all the same.

What did I learn from all this?  I learned how to be a realist.  Oh, that does not mean I did not have my own dreams.  Some have come to pass and others have gone to the wayside.  Whatever my dreams were I knew when to drop the pie in the sky dreams and concentrate on the ones that were realistic.  People talk about the optimist and pessimist.  You know the one that goes “The optimist sees the glass as half full and the pessimist sees the glass as half empty.”  No one ever thinks about how the realist sees the glass, he sees it neither half full nor half empty, he just knows that someone must wash and put the glass away after it is finally empty.

I had dreamed at one time, that after I retired, Kathy and I would go back to Europe traveling around and finally renting a small villa in an Italian village, where we could shop in the local market, learn some Italian and relax, using the villa as a home base traveling the country, enjoying the good life.  After I finally retired Kathy said that she really did not want to do all that traveling.  Then she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease that caused me to realize that this was not a dream I would realize.

One dream that did come to pass, was when my daughter asked me to go with her to Hawaii after she had graduated from College.  Kathy and I had promised that when she finished school we would send her to Hawaii as our present for graduation.  She did not want to go alone and she did not have any close friends to ask.  I had longed to go back to Hawaii, after a brief stop in 1970, as part of the long journey to Vietnam.  My dream came true and Lara and I had time that many fathers wished they had had with their daughter(s).

Now I temper my dreams with a stiff shot of realism.  It does not stop the dreaming or the desire to do something.  It just reminds me that there are dreams and there are realities and my realities must take priority over the dreams.

Today I received two beautiful cards, one from my wife with a very special message that only a wife and mother can give to a father and husband, the other from my daughter, her card is very special to me, it is one of those cards that is placed in a very special place in the heart and displayed for a very long time.

Finally, I want to thank Dad for giving me the gift of dreaming, but also the greater gift of realizing when dreams must end.  It is not easy to make that decision when a dream ends, but it is worth every moment of dreaming and finally setting them aside.

 

Gains and Tribulations

Recently I wrote about losses.  Losses are hard on the spirit and relationships, but we need the losses to learn how to appreciate the gains we also experience in our lives.

About 11 months ago we lost a family member who had only been with us for a year.  Chloe was a sweet little girl, but as the cancer started to take hold she was becoming more aggressive towards people other than Kathy and I.  It was a big loss for us because it was a loss of two dogs in two years.  We said that was the end of it we were not going to get another dog.

Well you know how decisions such as these go.  During the last year I would go on the local websites and look at the dogs, getting my puppy fix I would say.  Then some weeks ago when I clicked on the Oregon Humane Societies (OHS) website there waIMG_0487s a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, not one but two.  They came from the same family but they were not siblings.  I showed the pictures to Kathy and she fell for the female, we decided that we would try for one of them. I was up early the next morning and found myself fifth in line.  When I got to the desk I learned that someone had already put a hold on the male and I was the first to put a hold on the female named Kiki.

After visiting with her I went back to the desk and placed a formal hold on Kiki.  Kathy had an appointment at noon, after which we proceeded to OHS for Kathy to visit and evaluate Kiki.  As soon as Kiki walked into the room she engaged with Kathy immediately.  The longer we were in the visiting room the closer they were getting.  We decided that we would adopt this little girl. First thing was to change the name from Kiki to Katie, she has responded to the change like a champ.

The first night we were taken a back, we were told in the information given to us that she was house broken.  We took them at their word, big mistake.  She peed and pooped in several places in the living room and hallway.  We know that she was kenneled a great amount of time and to have that much freedom all at once was probably too much.  The next day we got a kennel which she loves and utilizes a lot, we keep the door open during the day and closed at night.

Each day Katie’s bond with us is stronger and stronger.  She wants to be with us as much as possible.  Being only 22 months she is fully grown, but she still has quite a bit of puppy left.  It is a joy for us to see her playing with her toys.  Cavalier King Charles are known for their character, boy can she be a character.  With her presence and playfulness Kathy has perked up and is more of her old self.

Kathy’s nurse practitioner is writing a letter for Katie to be an emotional companion dog.  I’m hoping that we get it soon.

When I take Katie out for her walk and we pass the garage door she stops and waits for me to open it, or if she sees the car parked in the lot she heads straight for it ready to get in.  Somehow she has become a great enthusiast to riding in the car.  She would ride all day if we gave her the chance.

Something I had never considered before was, do dogs have a preference to which side they prefer?  In other words which hand or paw are they?  All of our other dogs we think were right-handed.  Before we give them their meal we have them do some tricks, one is to turn in circles, all our dogs have always turned clockwise but not Katie she turns counter-clockwise.  When we come in from a walk she will run in circles, always to the left, while I am getting the door open.

We encourage her to run in our apartment, wearing herself out and making us laugh.  After all this running she is ready to settle down with Kathy on the couch.  Most of the time she lays down on the pillows above Kathy’s head, on top of her or at her feet.

Katie is fitting in just nicely.  We look forward to many years of fun ahead.

More than I will ever know

This last Sunday was Pentecost, while the choir was singing, two little girls started dancing in the center aisle.  They were certainly in the groove, these girls could not have been more that three years old, but they sure liked the feel of the music.  Those little girls were not alone, many of the adults were feeling the rhythm of the music and was allowing it to carry them along with the spirit.

While watching the girls dance I was reminded of a song I sang a few years ago in the church we were then attending.  It was a song made popular by Louis Armstrong, “What a Wonderful World”.  The third verse in the song came to mind as I watched those girls dance.  The verse goes like this – “I see babies crying, I watch them grow, they’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know, and I think to myself what a wonderful world”.

Remembering that verse caused me to start thinking about all the things that I have learned or more importantly seen developed during the past 69 years.  I remember when television first came to Portland, it broadcast on channel 27 with the call letters of KPTV, it was the first commercial station in the US to broadcast in the UHF band, later they changed over to the VHF band and channel 12.  I also remember when KWG – 8, KOIN – 6, KATU – 2 and the educational channel that would later become KOPB – 10  signed on in Portland.

I remember the US testing atomic and later hydrogen and plutonium bombs just to stay ahead of the Soviets.  Testing was first out in the middle the Pacific Ocean but later moved inland to the Nevada Proving Ground test site 65 miles north of Las Vegas.  I have seen pictures and movies of people who lived in Las Vegas sitting in their living rooms or in hotel rooms watching the mushroom cloud develop those many miles away.

How many remember the big 2, 3 and four prop engine airliners before the advent of jet airliners.  Four big, bulky jet engines propelled the planes though the sky, then smaller planes with two or three jet engines were developed.  Then came the giant of the passenger planes, the 747 with four massive engines, double decker, this behemoth could fly nonstop from New York to Tokyo Japan, now smaller planes can fly the same distances.

The Soviets beat us into outer space, they placed Sputnik 1, the first manmade satellite into space, causing many in our government great embarrassment.  The US then put our own satellite into space Explorer 1.  I recall we would lay in the grass on warm summer nights and watch for the satellites to pass overhead as they reflected the sun. We were the first put man into orbit and on the moon, Later we teamed up with the Soviet Union and build and maintained the International Space Station.

Talking about space and satellites, we now have satellites that beam to us radio and  television programs, and internet data.  The military uses satellites for many missions that save the lives of our service personnel.  Drones also are used to deliver munitions to areas not accessible to regular aircraft, and to gather and disseminate information on the battlefield.

The Century 21 Exposition (also known as the Seattle World’s Fair) in 1962 showed us new things that would be coming in the next century.  Many of those things became available during the remaining years of the 20th century, and many more that were not imagined also came to life.  A prime example is the computer, in 1962 a computer took up large rooms requiring vast amounts of air conditioning.  Now they are on our desks, on our laps and hips in the form of laptops and cell phones. They have even tried to put them in our eyeglasses.  Computers may be on our desks and in our phones, but they have not moved out the of air conditioned rooms, now they are called servers, small computers chained together and serve as the cloud to store vast amounts of information that can be retrieved anytime.  Computers are networked together to share information, can you imagine getting along without email, the World Wide Web or social media?

Computers are not only in businesses and our homes, but also in our cars and trucks, they track where we go, how far we have gone, how long it took to get there, the speed, braking time, fuel mileage and a host of other information unbeknown to us.   After an accident the police and insurance companies can download the information to help in the reconstruction of the accident.  Cars are now being developed to drive themselves.

Medicine has come a long, long way.  Remember when the only imaging machine was the X-Ray?  Now we have the CT (Computed tomography) the MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging), and the PET (Position emission tomography).  All of these machines new in the past 69 years.  Cancer is more treatable now, and heart disease, according to NIH (National Institute of Health),  has decreased 75% since early 1960’s.

Now imagine all the things these little girls and all the boys and girls will be seeing and learning about that have not been imagined.  We can only guess at what these youngsters will see in their life time.  Maybe it will be colonizing the moon, or Mars, or even further.  How about going to the store or work in self flying cars like in the cartoon of the 60’s the Jetson’s.  The future is in their hands, they will be the ones, both boys and girls, to forge ahead and make the unimaginable. 

Losses

 

Elephant costume jewelry
Elephant costume jewelry

Have you ever had a loss?  Losses come in many shapes and sizes, also

Grandmother's wedding ring
Grandma’s wedding ring

emotional and unemotional.  Take for example the loss of a piece of costume jewelry, it is not something that has any great intrinsic value and probably little emotional value. But if it were your grandmothers wedding ring and it were lost or stolen then the value increases greatly both intrinsically and emotionally.  Everything has its own worth, large or small.

 

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Scamp

Almost three years ago, Scamp my miniature Schnauzer, died after a

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Chloe

severe stroke, and last year we lost Chloe, another schnauzer, to cancer.  We had Scamp for almost 13 years and Chloe for only one.  We were devastated over the loss of both dogs even though we only had Chloe a year, she had become part of the family and burrowed herself deep into our hearts.

'57 Chevy
’57 Chevrolet

Cars are sometimes as big a loss just like the loss of a pet.  According to one insurance company ad on TV we are so close to our cars that we name them and if we have an accident and it is totaled, we are depressed beyond measure, then when the insurance company pays for a car that is newer you break out into your happy dance.  Really, you must kidding.  I have had cars I really liked but never to the point that it was a love affair.

Some people are that way about their houses or the possessions in them.  When we sold our house 11.5 years ago there were some nostalgic feels I had when we left, it is only normal, it is not like losing a pet or a loved one.  Within just a few months we were settled into our new home and had pretty much forgotten about the old house.  but if that loss is the result of a fire or a violent storm would that change how I woud feel? More than likely I would be devastated, the loss of everything that Kathy and I have worked for over these many years and the memories they represent.

But these losses are trivial compared to the loss of someone you love. The physical death of someone is devastating at the monent and the feeling of hurt will last a short time and turn into a mild ache coupled with the memories that will last a lifetime.  What about the loss of a loved one, not by death or divorce, but by an illness.  It is a toughter loss than can be imagined.

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Enjoying a trip to Crater Lake.

My wife, Kathy, has Parkinson’s disease, it is hard to feel the loss when she is right here.  Her walking has slowed, balance is an issue we can overcome with a walker.  Sometines cognitive issues have come up and has caused friction between us, it is not like losing someone to dementia or Alzheimer Disease.  We get irritated with each other, but that is because we are around each other a lot more now that we have entered in that part of life call retirement.  Because of the changes that my wife has gone througth I now do more things around the house, such as grocery shopping, doing laundry, making beds, doing the dishes after meals.  And then there are the doctor’s appointments and since she no longer drives I take her to all of her appointments.  Someone told me not long ago, they having recently lost their loved one, that it was like losing your loved one twice, once to the disease and again when the loved one passes on their rewards.

I had hoped that the two of us would be able to do some traveling and visit places that

New Year Celebration Anywhere
Illumination by fireworks

we had never seen or do again things that we had done in the past, but that is not going to happen.  If I want to see or do something, I have to plan it for the times that I take for respite care.  This does not mean that my wife and I can not go places and take some time to enjoy ourselves, it is just not very often. For example, this July we are going to the Oregon Gardens in Silverton to see the 4th of July celebration. Can you imagine seeing the Gardens lit by the exploding rockets?  It should be spectactular.

Ainsworth UCCLosses like these are what you make of them.  They can be devastating and overwhelming or with a lot of love and support it can be rewarding.  Support comes in many varities, your church (if you have one) can be a great resource, disease related support groups, your city/county may have programs to help with care while you are taking respite time, organizations that you belong to (Masons, Elks, Eagles) might also be able to help.  While on respite ensure that your loved one has plenty of stimulation, lonelyness can turn into depression which can lead into much tougher issues.  Some places, like here in Oregon, have organizations that support particualar diseases or illnesses, ours is Parkinson’s Resources of Oregon

Masonic Square and Compass
The Masons
BPOE_logo
Elks Lodge

And for goodness sake take care of yourself, be involved with activities that will help you relieve the pressures that build up.  If necessary get yourself a therapist, this a great way of blowing off steam without judgment.  Many therapist have tools to help you cope with loved ones suffering from diseases or illnesses that may or may not linger on for years.

 

When? When did it happen?

For close to eight (8) years the Republicans have been telling us how bad the Affordable Care Act (ACA or also known as Obamacare) is and how it is exploding and going under.  Really!  Well tell that to the millions of Americans that did not have healthcare before the ACA and do now.  Tell that to those who because of Pre-existing conditions were denied coverage, even for having acne as a teenager, or to the women who gave birth and were then denied coverage because of pregnancies.  How about those who were not denied but because of the amount the insurance companies charged effectively denied them coverage.

Insurance companies really do not want to provide anyone coverage unless they are young and healthy and have never been sick or injured in their life, other than minor ailments.  That effectively eliminates a lot of folks.  There are a few ways to get around this – 1) is to be covered under an employer’s healthcare plan, 2) join the military (they have great coverage), 3) (this goes with #2) go to war, get injured and be covered by the VA (great benefit and care, but not everybody qualifies and this is probably the least desirable way to become eligible).  Now what are Health Insurance Companies, really?  They do not see patients, nor do they prescribe medications, do surgery or any other form of medical procedure.  They are bankers, they move money around, they collect your premium, pay themselves an incredibly high salary, then they nickle and dime the doctors and hospitals to accept lower payments for a procedure.  Even worse are those (especially doctors) who are not in NETWORK, boy do they get the shaft.

Now the Republicans in the Senate (and later in the House) plan to vote on a Repeal and Replace bill before the end of the fiscal year (September 30, 2017).  So what does this new bill do?  It will allow insurance companies complete control over who will or will not be covered.  Over the next several years it will eliminate Federal Medicaid, coverage that millions of our citizens (especially children) need and turn it over to the state who will decide what to use the funds for.  It will change how states will receive Medicaid funds by changing them into block grants.  It also changes the formulation that affects distribution of funds to the states.  Under the ACA states were encouraged to expand Medicaid, the federal government would pay 100% the first three years and 90% thereafter.  Some so called blue states including California, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon and Washington, to name a few, will be penalized for following the rules and expanding their Medicaid programs.  So called red states such as Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas and others will benefit because they decided not to expand Medicaid.  Because California and New York are such large states and they had the audacity to expand Medicaid and they will not be allowed to go to a single payer health care system.

This bill, which has not been scored by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), will eliminate millions of our citizens from being able to afford, let alone qualify, for health insurance.  What does this really mean?  It means that people are going to DIE.  Die because they could not afford to see a doctor or if they do see a doctor it will be at an emergency room where we, who are insured, will eventually pay the costs.

Now to answer the question “When did it happen?”  I believe that we really started this downhill slide to this point of our country’s history in 1981 when President Ronald Reagan told us “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”  I have always found this statement to be absolutely absurd.  Why you might ask, because under our form of government WE are the government.  We ask people, that we think that we can trust, to represent us, therefore a representative type of government.  The more you ridicule and distrust those who are elected only means that you ridicule and distrust yourself.  If they pass laws that are contrary to what you want, it only means that you were not paying attention and keeping your elected officials in check.

How do we stop this madness?  How do we regain control over our government?  It is by taking charge and stop being so cynical.  Step up and declare yourself to be a candidate for an office.  It does not matter if you are a Democrat or a Republican as long as you do the job with honesty and integrity.  Run for office be it for dog catcher, for a position on the school board, or any number of offices that can use a fresh face and new ideas that help rather than hurt our fellow citizens.  After a couple of years at this level try running for the city or county council, from here and at high levels of office, you have an impact on state and federal legislation and regulatory decisions.  If you are young enough, and age is not necessarily an obstacle,  step up to state offices, positions in the State legislature, House and Senate (most are part-time positions and in some states your regular job, by law, must be held for you), are just as powerful and rewarding as on the Federal level.

On the Federal level positions in the US House of Representatives and the Senate are not as plentiful, but this is prestige and strut time.  This is where you make a name for yourself, by being a leader or a follower.  It is what some people want, they like the cheers, the music, the glad-handing, and the speeches.  This is where the big boys and girls live, work and play, many will not have the stomach for such high power living and others seek even more.

Okay, are you in – as a voter or as a candidate?  But most importantly be an active, charged up citizen that is ready to take on the idea that – if you are from the government and you are ready help – it is not used in a negative way.  We are Americans, we stand up and take charge and do what is right.  Let us stop sitting on our hands and continue to gripe about how the government is no good and they do not listen to the people.  You and your fellow citizens can and must join together to change this country to again be caring and compassionate.

Will He or Won’t He

The most important question every Senior needs to ask

Well here we are stuck in limbo not knowing if Mr. Trump will protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as he promised.  All through the campaign he said that these programs would not be changed but should be made stronger. 

Then came the transition and he nominated Tom Price, a Congressman from Georgia and a Physician to be the secretary of Health and Human Services, he also nominated Mick Mulvaney, a Congressman from South Carolina to head the Office of Management and Budget.  Mr. Price and Mr. Mulvaney are outspoken critics of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  They do not think that the government should have anything to do with these programs and calls them “Entitlements” which we all know is shorthand for “Welfare”. 

I don’t know about you but after working over 50 years I think that I am entitled to the “Earned Benefits” that I paid into for all those years.  Ok, I know the story, I paid for those who were already retired and the next generation would pay for mine, but wait they say there are not enough in that generation to keep Social Security afloat.  That was true until the early 1980’s when President Reagan and the Speaker of the House Tip O’Neal came up with the idea that the Baby Boomers would pay double the payroll tax.  That way they not only paid for those who had already retired, but would also pay for their own retirement, and then the tax would revert to its previous level.  That way the working generation would take care of those who had gone before as the law was originally intended.  Now the story is Social Security and Medicare is going broke, They have been saying that ever since I can remember in the 1950’s.  How can a program that people are still paying into go broke?  I remember an old quote my father use to say that “Figures don’t lie, but liars figure”.  When it comes to a politician I don’t trust them doing the figuring.

As if Mr. Price and Mr. Mulvaney were not bad enough, the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan wants to privatize Social Security have you seen the fluctuations in the stock market since 2008?  Mr. Ryan, Mr. Price and Mr. Mulvaney want to change Medicare to a voucher system.  This is where the government gives you a voucher for a set amount of money and you go out and purchase your own insurance and if the voucher does not cover the amount of the insurance then tough luck.  I do not know many seniors that have extra money lying around to cover the extra cost of health insurance.

Ok, so Mr. Ryan, Mr. Price and Mr. Mulvaney want to privatize Social Security, change Medicare to a voucher system and make Medicaid into a block grant.  What in the devil is a block grant you ask?  Well a block grant is a set amount of money the federal government gives to the states and the states decide how much of that money is used for health care for the poor, or if it is to be used for other projects.

I just turned 68 and have been retired for four years.  I am enjoying retirement with my wife, even with the major surprise that occurred with her health.  A year and half ago my wife was diagnoses with Parkinson’s disease.  For her it has been a major change in her life, she no longer drives, nor does she go for the long walks she used to do, her energy level depletes rapidly, and one of the side effects of the Parkinson’s is that she falls asleep very easily.  Parkinson’s is a very strange disease, no two people have the same symptoms or severity.  It has also changed my life, I am now responsible for taking care of her, walking the dog, and chauffeuring my wife to and from appointments.  My biking has come to a sudden halt and my golf game has also suffered a major hit. 

Now back to the question at hand “Will He or Won’t He”?  I am quite concerned with what will happen to Social Security and Medicare.  My military retirement supplements my Social Security.  Kathy and I could not live on what we get from Social Security alone.  The military retiree medical program is my supplement to Medicare. 

If Social Security is privatized will my benefits be reduced or increased, will the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) still be applied?  What about Medicare?  Will the military retiree supplement still be available (retirees were promised medical care for life) relocation to be closer to a military base is not an option, on top of that will the military facilities be able to handle the increase of retirees?  Besides it will be telling military retirees where they must live when they retire, my wife and I have returned to where our families lived when we retired.  Will the insurance that we buy with the voucher accept the retiree supplement?  How about pre-existing conditions, Parkinson’s definitely is a pre-existing condition and like most conditions such as these are very expensive to treat, will the insurance cover that?

Too many questions and not enough answers.  The main reason that answers are slow in coming or even non-existent, in my humble opinion, because those who want to change all of this don’t know the answers themselves.  Playing it by ear is not good enough.

 

 

Whoa, Hold on, Wait a minute!!!!

New Year Celebration Anywhere
New Year Celebration, this is like celebrations held all over the world.

What do you mean this is the last day of the year? The year has only started, correct? It only seems like we just started 2015 and now we are on the verge of starting 2016. How quickly time passes and many of us are so busy that we barely notice the changes as they occur.

Looking back over the last year many significant events occurred. We, like most, started January off sleeping in late, not because we were out partying though we did stay up later than usual. After that quiet beginning everything was off to the races.

I had good intentions about getting onto my bike and start riding and getting back into shape. It did not go as I had planned, do they ever? I let myself be my own worst enemy, I did not want to get up, I had too many errands to run, I needed to help Kathy with whatever (she usually did not need my help). We did notice that when she walked Scamp, she was taking longer and the distance was getting shorter.

In March two significant events occurred, the first event was that we made arrangements to start visits with my 12-year-old grandniece, Diamond. She is in Foster Care and likes the visits she has with family. The second event involved Kathy taking a series of tests. The results were somewhat surprising but not overly so. In October 2014, after a couple of near accidents, we decided that Kathy should not drive for a while until she was more aware of her surroundings. The test indicated that we had been wise to in our decision. Shortly thereafter Kathy decided that because she was walking so slowly, because of the pain, and Scamp was not getting the walk he needed and was use too I would take over walking him.

Because of these and many other changes I decided that I should give up being the Building Manager for my lodge. I enjoyed the interaction with the many groups who share the building and the work to maintain the building, but spending more and more time taking Kathy to appointments, I was not devoting the time I thought needed to be spent at the lodge.

In late June Kathy had a visit with a Neurologist. He ordered a mass of tests and procedures and in August told her she had Secondary Parkinson’s Disease. This threw both of us for a loop, even now 6 months later we still have times when it does not seem real.

Towards the end of August was a difficult time for both of us. I had gotten up early and walked Scamp, met with a friend to play a round Scamp with haircut 2002-11-02_0034of golf, drove out to Forest Grove where I picked up Diamond, we took her shopping for school clothes and out to dinner, back out to Forest Grove and then returned home. I took Scamp for our usual walk before going to bed.  During our walk Scamp was playing, running and having a good time. Near the end of our walk Scamp jumped over a curb, gave a yelp and fell over. I picked him up and was holding him when he decided he wanted down. When I put him down he fell and had a Grand Mal seizure. After the seizure he had a hard time standing and walking. Kathy and I took him to the Emergency Vet Clinic and after evaluation we decided to let Scamp go. I did not want to prolong his suffering.
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October began with Kathy and me spending a few days at the Oregon Gardens near Silverton, Oregon to celebrate our anniversary. It was good to get Kathy away from home and even though she had started using a walker most of the time, I had borrowed a wheelchair which we used while in the gardens. Adjacent to the Gardens is the Gordon House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, which was moved to its present location to save it from being demolished. It is an interesting place to visit, but it is not a place that I would like to live in.

A few weeks later Kathy was referred to the Parkinson’s Clinic for evaluation. Since it only meets once a month we had to wait until December for an appointment. Here she was evaluated by another Neurologist, a Social Worker, a Physical Therapist and a Speech Therapist. The diagnosis was changed from Secondary to Primary Parkinson’s.

Over the past year our lives have changed in ways we could have never imagined. Becoming a care giver has changed my life in so many ways. Sometimes I think that Kathy feels that she may be a burden on me. In all the years we have been together and all the events we have shared, nothing could be further from the truth. We have taken care of each other all these years and many times I have felt that she has taken care of me more than I have her. Caring for her is a privilege for me to give back all that she has done for me.

New Year Celebration in Munich, Germany
New Year Celebration in Munich, Germany

Happy New Year – 2016