Friday Night, February 18, 9:34 P.M. Eastern Time, USA

For many years my mother has been saying to me, “take some time to write every day. Write down what you’re doing, and what you’re thinking, because you won’t be able to remember it later.” Then she says, “I wish I had done that. I wish I had written down what was going on.”

Today she said it again, so today I am finally doing what she has so often said I should:   I am writing down what happened today at 4 Players Club Drive, in Charleston, West Virginia.  

First, I should explain that I am taking care of my mother,  her mother, and my father.  I’m not doing it single-handedly, but I am managing their care.  Some people ask me how I can do this, and sometimes I say, “Well, I don’t do it very well,” and sometimes I say, “You do what you’ve got to do.”  Some people tell me I don’t have to do this, and I know that.  But personally, I do have to do this.  There are options, but I don’t like them.  So it’s my choice to do this.

Fortunately, I have excellent help.  I have two shifts of capable women who come in the morning and evening. They help a lot with Grandma, who at nearly 102, requires a lot of attention.  That leaves me with Mom to deal with. She has Stage 4 lymphoma, now complicated by congestive heart failure, thanks to a seven day stay at a local hospital where she suffered some spectacularly bad care one night, which dulls the lustre of the otherwise good care she received in ICU, where she landed because of the spectacularly bad care.  

Almost everybody who has been in the hospital has at least one horror story.  We like to think we are easy to get along with, not complainers, etc., but a hospital stay will either make you aggressive on your own behalf, or somebody will find you dead in a corner several days after your demise.   More about that later.

Today I was able to coax Mom into doing the coffee enema that is recommended by the Gerson Therapy.  Day before yesterday, we did our first coffee enema, which was an ordeal.  You have to know that my mother is more modest than Martha Washington.  (I am assuming Martha Washington was modest, as I have heard that she was lowered into the baths at Hot Springs, Virginia, fully clothed, side bustles and all).   No one has ever seen my mother even partially unclothed, so for me to assist her in a coffee enema is an event of monumental proportions.  Since she is arguably dying of blood cancer, she suffers many indignities.  The first coffee enema, with her lying on the shower floor… well, we need not go into details.  Suffice it to say that the second episode, this morning, was less stressful and easier.  And, it appears that what we are doing is working.   We still haven’t made it to the three coffee enemas a day which is recommended for chemo patients, but what we’ve done so far seems to be working well.  She has no swelling in her feet and legs, just the slightest pouchiness in her face, and her color was very good today.  Success.

It is rigorous, though, trying to keep her in freshly made juice on the hour, beginning at 7 a.m.  Tomorrow Sarah and I will be gone, so someone else–the excellent Charlene–will have to do the juice routine.

My back is aching, so I am going to bed.  I always want to read, but I’m too tired.   I’m going to make a sign for my back that says, “If you see this sign, don’t interrupt me.”    I am considered the grump of the family.

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My mother named me Rebecca at about 2:30 a.m. on May 25, 1949, after nine months of thinking she would call me Sherry. She then began calling me Becky, and the people around me soon foll0wed suit. My Aunt (pronounced ‘awnt’) Ruth sometimes called me Rebecca and so did my dad, but it always seemed formal, like they were talking to someone else. My father’s mother called me Beckybelle. Corny, I thought, but I endured it because she said it with such good humor. Rebekah is the original Hebrew spelling, which I like. So there it is: a good enough name for a blog, Rebekahbelle. A little that is inherited, a little that is adjusted to suit me, and a little that has come to mean much more than I knew at the time of my first awareness.

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