Alfred Korzbybsk

Some people think they have their lives mapped out for themselves, then an unfamiliar landscape rises up and changes the map.

That is what has happened in my sisters life.

She worked as a legal secretary, now days called paralegal. She was very good at her job. She always had a very precise mind. Neat and orderly. A place for everything and everything in it's place.

Lois has always taken great pains to order her life and surroundings in a way that gave her control over them.
She is a very Private person.

I'm sixteen years younger and have always thought of her as my elegant sister. She has style! Even now, when she isn't feeling well, she is up and dressed, her hair perfect, lipstick on. You get the picture. Her look is very important to her.

I've always said, "You could wear a gunny sack, and still look stylish, I don't know how you do that?"

We are moving her up to Bend to assisted living. A very nice place just a few streets away from where we live and where our in town brother works. As I wrote before, it is very hard to be making these decisions for someone else, but that responsibility has basically fallen to me, with the moral support from the rest of the family, I'm doing my best for her. I want her to be as comfortable as possible.

Dementia is not something I'd ever read up on before, no reason, until now...
We still don't know what this will mean for her immediate future, or even the long run, but we know her life map has changed, and that right now she needs help.

She ask me last week, "When you lose pieces of your mind, where do they go?"

I didn't have an answer.



Fear Not.
What is not real, never was and never will be.
What is real, always was and cannot be destroyed.

Bhagavad Gita

Another sleepless night.

A few weeks ago my sister, who lives alone in San Francisco, hurt her back. I was in Portland visiting our sons when I got the call that she needed me right away. I fly down from PDX and arrive in an hour and a half. She was in a lot of pain and on pain meds, not very cogent in the middle of the night when I arrive. Pain meds make you loopy.

I spend two days lining up in-home service care. One twelve hour shift a day. Hugely expensive. I think twelve hours should be enough as she will be sleeping most of the other twelve hours. When I get home and call the care giver, I discover in talking to her that is not going to be enough. So another twelve hour shift is added.

Fortunately, my sister has been frugal all her life and invested well and has a good retirement and insurances, but in home service care is not sustainable on a long term basis. I'm her executor and power of attorney in case of death or incapacity. Health and financial.

You say yes to this sort of thing because of love, wanting to set their minds at ease, never thinking what kinds of choices you may have to make for them when and if a break in health comes before death.

I never knew how hard it would be to make those choices. Is this the best thing for her, physically, financially, emotionally? I have all the necessary paper work, but what is right for her?

She has agreed to move up here to Independent or Assisted living if her health doesn't allow for a return to Independent living any more, but this has been the most difficult decisions I've ever had to make on behalf of someone else. Where to move her to, how to change over the insurance coverage. Finding another Doctor.

I know I'm not the first to go through all this, but it's the first time I've had to.

I want to make choices she can live with comfortably and that I can live with too, where ever that takes us.

In moments of panic, I think, I'm the baby sister, what do I know? How can I do this? Why did I say yes?

Then I think, its an adventure. (Duncan reminds me.) Like the river rafting trip. Not all quiet waters. O.K. I suppose some of it can be fun. (Once it's over, and she is living up here just a few minuets away at Aspen Ridge.)

So why all this being awake in the middle of the night and not being able to get back to sleep. Searching the Internet for answers.


Wanting to make a positive difference in her life.

The one real thing.