On Saturday I took BART to San Francisco, walked around and made these images. I like to walk around and look—obviously I have very simple visual interests,
The lack of toleration which many people in this country show towards others is being fueled by people holding and seeking federal elective positions who have honed a “best practices” methodology for winning elections which uses the techniqueof finding issues which divide people, nurturing and growing them polarizing the public and pitting americans against americans in pursuit of their personal agenda, to get elected.
Like these toxic CDOs in which investors got banks to make loans they knew would default so that the investors could hedge the CDOs, illegal immigration from Mexico is the same thing where the same law was passed under Johnson, Reagan and Clinton, and NEVER ENFORCED but rather were used to allow 12 million illegal mexicans in the US so that Democrats and Republicans good use the issue to polarize americans for their personal agendas.
They passed laws and instead of enforcing them, did not enforce them to create a political issue that they then used fore their person agendas. Its so absurd that even when you request a Democratic congress person to enforce the laws THEY PASSED they will call you a racist. They view passing laws as a tool to be used to create, maintain, nurture and grow issues which polarize the public to be used for their personal agendas. They laugh at such a stupid assertion that their job is to negiotioate these differences in a meaningful way to find the best compromise/solution for the PEOPLE OF THE UNTED STATES. And for many Americans, it enables them to feel self righteous to other Americans at the expense of America.
noun: entropy; plural noun: entropies; symbol: S
1. a thermodynamic quantity representing the unavailability of a system’s thermal energy for conversion into mechanical work, often interpreted as the degree of disorder or randomness in the system.
2. lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder, “a marketplace where entropy reigns supreme.”
For me its that “things” change but how do you view the change? Better, or worse! A glass falls off a table, a chemical reaction, a tree becomes someone’s firewood. Suppose its a cycle in which the same particles come around to be together again. Would the same particles that make that specific moment in the universe come together again? or just some things at random places in time? Perhaps the particles that make up my dog would not appear again at the same time place that I reappeared.
And there is the problem of defining what is a “thing?” Is it defined by a specific combination of particles or other less scientifically definable terms? Does “society” have a high point from which entropy began and its been going “down hill”? At one time the particles which are me were other things which went through entropy to become me and will go through entropy to become something else.
While taking care of mom I met people with diverse life experiences, a wide range of perspectives and attitudes, family members finding ways to have their own lives while taking care of a loved one, professionals at various levels of skills and expertise, and, I watched a lot of money change hands, much of it “on paper.” It was a ”privilege to have this very human experience of being with a parent suffering from dementia.
I hope the one thing people may have learned from these “Dementia Chronicles” blog posts is that if you are called upon for this responsibility, even if you think you do not know what to do, do not fear doing something. You will figure it out by doing it and along the way meet others like you, like me, learning as they are going and going as they learn.
I think the most important thing is to do is ti identify your goals, make a schedule and follow it consistently and in a way that you can live with emotionally. We saw mom every day for 3.5 years but it did not become an obsession or a dreaded obligation and we still had our other life. This worked not only for us but for mom as well and irregardless as to how her memory worked, somewhere inside she knew we would be there on a regular basis.
Each time I was with mom I tried to have at least one common shared human experience as two people and not in the roles of a son taking care of a mother suffering dementia. Whatever time remained in her life we tried to make that which we could a positive experiences based on who she was at that time.
Some people commented its like taking care of a baby or young child, I do not agree, strongly. An elder person has a long history with memories even though the working relationships between parts of the bodyare no longer “functioning normal” and a child is on the path of creating those memories. These memories are still there to play a role in the person’s expressions and decisions,
All the other stuff, what is the right thing to do, what is dementia, can Alzheimer’s be cured, who should be taking care of dementia parents, should we spend so much money on people who are going to die soon when we could help suffering children, is big pharma exploiting us, if she has no memory what difference does it make, and so on, all questions for which different people, including “professionals,” have different answers. Spending time on these questions is a lot less important than spending time with your loved one. Probably all my life I will wonder if I had done things differently, would her life have been better questions that will never really have an answer.
After mom’s death one feeling that interested me regarding the care of mom was—“Here I did this good thing, which I say not to ”pat myself on the back” but if there were anyone I would want to know that I did this good effort it would be my parents. I would have appreciated for them to know they could count on me but they will never know and in this life I will never have the opportunity to express it to them.
Surely I am not unique and its likely most people in a similar situation have a similar feeling. Its only ourselves that appreciate it, still it makes the question no less ponderable and increased my capabilities to understand the experiences of others.
Sometimes I think I would like to write a story about life happening in reverse, we become undead, and live from being very old to being born. One may think of the universe as a bunch of very small things—atoms, protons, quarks, etc., all moving around coming together to realize ”larger thing”s which in turn come together to make even larger things or ”entropy” to make smaller things and will anyone’s specific particles ever take that form again? I think of these experiences with mom and how they would be in reverse, would it seems if she was the one taking care of me.
I hope this series of blog posts which visually chronicles my mother’s experiences of dementia will help you find ideas for your own care giving experiences. You can review these posts by selecting Dementia Chronicles in the ”Categories” list on the right hand side. The posts will be in reverse order, from last to first, (there must a WP plug-in to reverse that but I do not know). At the bottom of the page you can click on “Older Entries” to go backwards to the start (when there will be no “Older Entries” to click. These photos as well as others will be included in the book Neither here nor there, Personal images of dementia, to be published later this year (2016).
About the images: Starting 2009 when mom moved near me in memory care I originally began making photographs for legal documentation. They became a tool for communication with my sister who lived in Japan enabling her to be more involved in mom’s care. All of these images were made with a small point and shoot camera, none were set up as it should be obvious that in many cases there would be no way or desire, to have that kind of control, much less concern about focus and lighting, and often while one hand was holding the camera the other was actively involved in some matter regarding her.
She was aware of the camera as she brought the subject up for discussion twice and we discussed it. Yes, I think some of these images are personally intrusive and I think they also reflect my personal interest in “nomal” human experiences and I hope my desire to make images which show these personal aspects of our experience is enough to compensate for the lack of professional photographic skills and equipment.
I regularly walk along the path on the levee holding in the creek near my home which runs from the canyon to the bay and my common practice is to say a greeting to people as I pass them by who usually respond positively. Sometimes their eyes stayed locked straight ahead as they go by with no response or acknowledgement—or I guess that is the acknowledgement. Then as we approach and they reach my boundary of greeting, I say “hello,” and they act surprised, look at me, issue a verbal response of their own, sometimes with a smile, other times a “surprised” facial gesture or sometimes no verbal response, perhaps combined with a gesture implying what right to I have to invade their privacy.
If they turn out to be regulars we usually, but not always, develop a custom of friendly greetings as we pass and later we talk a little now, a little then and with a few path crossings it may evolve to join each other walking and talking for a common distance. I have met some interesting people this way.
If I am walking across the street in Shinjuku and I see the person approaching is yakuza I do not show any aknowledgement. If I am on the trail and the person approaching is talking on a cell phone I do not acknowledge. If I am in the Tenderloin and someone approaches me and says “That’s a really nice camera, can I look at it?,” I not only say no but I get out of there asap. One time on the trail near my home I saw a mother and daughter walking along texting each other on their mobiles which I knew because I was so curious I stopped them and asked.
When two people are approaching even if they appear not to be aware of the other, they know the other is approaching and I wonder when do they decide who they will appear as for this approaching person. Is it a mask or is it real?— more likely some combination of the two.
Its interesting parameters for this protocol. I may be approaching someone I have never seen before, I assume I will never see again, they have their own personal space as I have mine, I might want to meet the person, I might not, and so on. Of course there are many different variables which change as one ages.
I am not the kind of person who seeks to impress people with what I look like, how I dress and if you would see me you would probably think “nothing interesting.” In fact I may be too much that way although I did have my business for 35 years and and while some people may not have been positively impressed by my appearance they were they were likely not negatively impressed.
The limits of my dress up clothes might be khaki pants, tweed jacket and club tie and for very special I have a gray window pane three button suit with red and blue school tie. I would never have a tattoo, dye my hair red and even if I was paid I would not dress like Mick Jagger or David Bowie—I do not desire to call attention to myself. Further more I wear old clothes and where my wife sees rags that should be thrown out I see in the frayed collars fond memories of my experiences. Still I also drove a cab, nights, for three years in Cambreidge, MA, while I attended art school and one basic survival skill for a cab driver is the ability to profile prospective fares.
My normal strategy is along the creek trail I will alway say hi and in the city I will walk on by.