He’s the Only One Calling this a Vacation

So here we sit, in the middle of the apocalypse (Kidding, kidding! It’s merely a terrifying plague!), wondering if this is what Orwell had in mind when he began writing fiction–no, not Orwell! Our present crisis is too scientific for Orwell. Maybe the guy that wrote The Martian? I don’t know. All I do know is that tomorrow’s literary agents better prep themselves for lots and lots of dystopian novels coming their way, because the writers of today suddenly have a LOT of time on their hands to produce–that is, if they can snap themselves out of their shock-induced paralyses to put down the bag of potato chips and write. Did you do your panic shopping? I was looking for lentils at the store a couple weeks ago because the internet told me I needed them, and ended up buying cans and cans of garbanzo beans instead. What am I going to do with this many garbanzo beans, you guys? It’s not like I can make hummus–the internet didn’t tell me to panic-buy tahini. I have to hand it to many of…

10 Survival Tips for the Caregiver (So to Speak)

Oh, hey, hi! How are you? It is weirdly warm and rainy here in our part of Pennsylvania today. I’m writing this in a near-empty Panera Bread (coronavirus!), after having purchased toilet paper online because we ran out at the house (children!) and all of our stores have been emptied of it (coronavirus!). I just ate a bagel with my bare fingers that had not been sanitized ahead of time, and I expect the dry coughs to start shortly. Last week’s progress appointment with Mom’s neuro-oncologist was odd. Here’s the thing: Mom can’t walk more than a few steps at a time. Last week, she couldn’t do even that–couldn’t support her own weight at all–and after an afternoon of physically lifting her from wheelchair to car to wheelchair to seat et al, we expected to hear the worst from her MRI results. But her tumor is stable. Can you believe it? It’s just that her body is failing more quickly than the tumor is advancing. She’s also not always recognizing where her body is in space…

A Little Psychological Sewing, if You Will

I thought maybe I should spare you an update this week, because I’m in a crappy, crappy mood (a friend asked Sunday how Mom was doing, and do you know what I said? “Oh, she’s totally dying.” The poor guy looked like I’d slapped him in the face). Mom has been declining again–no sooner did we pull her off hospice than she started acting like, well, maybe that wasn’t the best idea. She’s grown progressively weaker, and has become just sort of older-seeming. (This cancer of Mom’s likes to keep us on our toes, but I much prefer the happier surprises, you know?) On Saturday, David and I had made plans to take the kids to see Mom in the afternoon and have a movie day. The kids were excited–they’d settled on Jumanji, because “cake makes me explode!”–and Mom had been looking forward to it. We went tumbling into her house around 2:15, a big bowl of freshly-popped buttered popcorn in hand, but Mom was nowhere to be seen. The house was quiet…