I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Potpourri of thoughts

Celestial triad
Last Tuesday night I was leaving a meeting of the Advance Care Planning facilitators, and I looked up to see something much like this picture. This one is displayed just because I didn't actually stop to take a picture, and this is not real, but it's amazingly similar to what I saw. A crescent moon, Venus and Mars shining brightly in a clear sky. The meeting was a gathering to decide how we might proceed going forward, after the funding for our program has been lost. Hopefully it is only temporary, but it's a blow to those of us who care about helping people make their wishes known, in case they are unable to speak for themselves at the end of life.

I've been an ACP facilitator for more than a year now, and I've seen many, many clients over that period. I also became a Notary Public so that I can notarize the completed documents and get them on file at our local hospital. It's been a very satisfying period in my life, and I don't want it to stop. We are all volunteers, so there's now a need to find another venue where we can counsel clients, since the offices where we were located before are now no longer available to us. We have lost the one paid position of administrator of the program, and that's why we were having the meeting, trying to figure out where to go next. We'll have another meeting in two weeks and I volunteered to create a web page for us.

That's all well and good, I can do that (I've gotten started), but then I ran into the problem of content on the site. I have realized that I actually need to be part of a committee so that I don't have to be the one to make all the decisions as well. We are struggling here, but this is a very important service, helping people make the tough decisions of who to appoint as a surrogate and what kinds of intervention is appropriate for each person. Here's some information about Advance Care Directives. Everyone should have this information at least written down, and the laws are different for each state.

Anyway, that's one thing on my mind, along with several others that just won't let go. I've got to make an appointment with my doctor for my annual wellness visit, where I'll also find out how my blood work compares with previous years. The hospital in my city, PeaceHealth, allows me to go online and take a look at every year they have gathered that information for me. It's a great resource, and I realize that it's very possible that health care will become even more difficult to obtain in the near future, what with all the changes on the horizon. I don't even want to think about my Medicare Advantage plan's prospects. I think I'm good for this year, but who knows about 2018?

I think I am pretty healthy, but nobody can really tell about those internal organs we don't see. My digestion and elimination are normal, and I get all the tests you're supposed to have on a regular basis, but I can't help but wonder what's going on inside my body. My mother was a bit of a hypochondriac and I think I could be one if I let myself, too. Sometimes my mind just looks for something to worry about. As long as I am able to enjoy my activities without difficulty, I just hope for the best. Wasn't it Reagan who once said, "trust, but verify"? That is pretty much how I approach my health.

I'm in the process of visiting the local theaters to see all the films that have been nominated for Academy Awards. Yesterday I saw 20th Century Women, which was only nominated for one Oscar, but Annette Bening was robbed, in my opinion; she should have been nominated for Best Actress, if you ask me. Today I'll see Fences, which is up for Best Picture and Best Actor for Denzel Washington. So far, my favorite movie has been Hidden Figures, about three amazing African-American women who worked at NASA in the early 1960s, before it was integrated. I went online to find out how much of the movie was real and how much just Hollywood hype. It turns out that it's mostly based on actual events. One of the women, Katherine Johnson, is still alive at 98 and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Obama in 2015.

Now I've only got to see Hacksaw Ridge, a story about a Conscientious Objector during World War II who refused to carry a gun or kill anybody. It's gotten great reviews but I hear it's pretty violent, so I have hesitated about seeing it. I felt the same way about 12 Years a Slave a few years back, but I finally saw it and was glad I did. I wouldn't see it again, though. The main character was played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, who has quickly become one of my favorite actors. He has an amazing range; I've seen him in other movies lately where he becomes completely absorbed into the role. An amazing talent.

See? I told you this would be a "potpourri of thoughts," and sure enough that's what it has become. I'm sitting here in my bed, in my usual configuration with Partner next to me, stirring a bit but as always supine as I sit here with my tea and laptop. He goes to bed later than I do, so I am glad that he is getting a little more sleep. It's an important element of health, getting enough sleep. I'm glad I don't usually have much problem with it, unless there's something on my mind that won't let go. This post was bothering me last night as I had nothing at all to begin with, and even if it's not one of my best posts, it's done, and I'm feeling much better. My obligation to myself and to my readers has been met, and now I can get up and start the rest of my Sunday.

Until we meet again next week, I ask that you try yourself to get enough rest, and don't forget to treat your loved ones to a smile. Life is so much better with plenty of them, and they don't cost us a penny!


Rian said...

DJan, I saw a program on PBS recently about the brain and dementia/Alzheimer's. It mentioned how important 8 hours of sleep was - especially as we age. It also mentioned the importance of *learning new things* - not just brain games. Health does become a priority as we get older and although I do get annual checkups, feel that although we cannot control everything that goes on inside, we have a responsibility to listen and trust what our bodies tell us, eat appropriately, and exercise when we can. After that, it's in God's hands.
I hope you get the ACP facilitator problem solved. I think it sounds like a great service. And I intend to check out the Information on Advanced Care directives.

Linda Reeder said...

So many services that are important to many are so dependent of precarious financing. I hope you get your AC Program going again.
We are trying to see all of the nominations for Best Picture. This weekend we saw "Moonlight" and "Manchester-by-the-Sea". I think Manchester is our second favorite, after "Hidden figures". I am appreciating Moonlight more in retrospect.

Tabor said...

So sorry to read about the challenges to your program. Do you have to address legal issues if you carry on with "just" volunteers? I looked at the SAME sky a few nights ago. You and I were looking up together!

Carole said...

I'm grateful that I too, seldom have problems with sleep. Thanks for sharing what you have been doing with end of life issues for folks. Such an important issue. Too many times folks don't address it and then it can really create problems for their loved ones. Great post DJan! Thanks :-)

Gigi said...

What a bummer about the funding! What if y'all started a Go Fund Me to try to help the group until you can secure more funding?

Here's me sending you a smile - :-)

Have a wonderful week.

Red said...

All your posts are top notch! I think it's normal to worry about our health. we get the annual check up but that's only good for that day. Now we don't need to have the worry about health care funding when we have enough to worry about our health. It would be tragic to lose health care funding.

Arkansas Patti said...

I'm impressed you have seen so many of the films. This is the first year that I have seen none of them--bad Patti. I do want to see Hidden Figures though and probably will via DVD. I have also heard that Annette Bening was grossly over looked. I really need to get back into Netflix.
May your check up bring only positive reinforcement. You do lead a healthy life and should feel confident.

Marie Smith said...

Hidden Figures is amazing!

I hope the program continues as effectively as it has been. If there is a way for that to happen, your group will find a way!

Far Side of Fifty said...

I am impressed that you see so many of the Movies!
Here the Library meeting rooms are free to non profits...if you stop and talk to some other non profits one of them may take you under their wing...the Hospital too...or a Church. I hope you get your funding back. I don't see the need for a person in a paid position but then you would know more about that.
We just got our papers from the Hospital, filled them out, had them witnessed and made copies and took originals to the clinic and the hospital. BUT each State is different, Minnesotas are pretty straight forward :)

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

Sorry the funding for a very worthwhile cause is on hold. Here we have no such organization. One has to really search for assistance outside of a hospital . Our city has one that is specializing in aging populatios and needs but much is research based, hubby is now an outpatient. Being followed as he ages is an interesting but also trying journey. I have lots to learn to keep him feeling less lost.
You are ambitious with your movie events. Glad it has you so keen.
Over the years you have touched on your concerns as you and family members age. We are all faced with those concerns and the older we get the more those issyes pop into our minds. I guess counting our days does tend to send us wondering?
Enjoy your week.

Anonymous said...

I don't watch movies or TV much, but David is a movie buff and has been predicting who the winners for the Oscars will be.

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, I sure like the starting image in this post. I often wonder how you pick such a perfect image to accompany Eye and do it week after week. One of the reasons I enjoy Eye so much is that we share so many values and interests. When I saw today’s image I was sitting by the window and looked outside to see that the clouds have departed and stars are visible. A while back I added a little app to my computer so I can see the night sky on the computer screen and know what I’m looking at. Tonight, the bright “star” to the west is not a star at all, it’s Venus and it is quite bright. Not far away from Venus, at about 10 o’clock, is an orange dot which turns out to be Mars. Pretty neat, I thought, to be seeing two of your Celestial Triad! :-) I hope your meetings go well regarding how to keep ACP going without the funding you’ve had in the past. Your work is important and what a blessing you and the other volunteers are providing to help folks make their wishes known at the end of life. I also hear you about concerns regarding our health care and where the country is going with that. I’m afraid I’m already sick of our new Administration and they have only been in office a couple of weeks. I better not get on the soapbox about that! :-) Thanks, as always, for an excellent Eye on the Edge.

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Hidden Figures was awesome.
And so is this post, DJan. Thank you for the info!

Sally Wessely said...

What did you think of Fences? I hope you will let us know on Sunday. I loved Hidden Figures. It was such a wonderful movie.

You sure do keep yourself busy. That is GOOD. That is the best thing you can do. Hugs.

C-ingspots said...

I saw that same night sky a while back. It was absolutely beautiful! I didn't have a camera at the time, but your shot is quite similar.
I haven't seen any of those films, but you mentioned several that I'm interested in seeing.