Family; and Frustration

The title may be misleading, but the odd semicolon is intentional.  This week brought family visits which were wonderful. The frustration is my mouth.

First the family visits: My sister Sue is visiting from Houston for two weeks.

at Icecycle Creamery
When she saw the cattle horns made out of bicycle seats and handlebars, she had to do her hook ’em horns as a two time proud University of Texas mom.

We have had a lot of fun sharing old memories. She reminded me of things I had forgotten about – a game we made up on our front steps that we called Watercolors. One sibling would be the caller, and each stair had a color associated with it. When a color was called you had to jump to that stair. And when the top step’s color was called you had to get to the top first to be the next caller. And I reminded her about roller skating around our big furnace in the basement that had concrete floors and space around the whole furnace, so you could go around and swing off pipes and really get up speed.

We also had a visit this week from cousin Teddy and his gal Damaris. It was my step brother Brian’s birthday and Teddy’s had been the week before, so we celebrated both.

Damaris and Stan
The whole family
My dad and Brian, the birthday boy, ordering
Brian’s birthday dessert with his mother Anita and Andy across the table

Sue is the one that did the research to find my dad’s half brother and half sister. For the past 6 years we have been blessed with wonderful additional family to love. Thank you Sue!

Teddy and Damaris with my step mom Anita

It was a great, but too short, visit.

Sue has enjoyed going to aqua fitness with me. And we spent some time at the Truckee River with her. 

skipping stones

One of the best things we did was to go through old photo albums.  There were lots of favorite pictures. Here are a few:

Our mom as a happy first time mom, our dad as a proud first time dad, with our brother, Tom
Our mom as a happy first time grandmother with baby Ellie

And Sue said that she was able to tell our Grandma Saunders that she was pregnant right before Grandma died, and Grandma clappped.

My brother Pete helping mom in the Hoyer lift on Halloween. I told Pete that he is too scary to ever be my caregiver. But this shows what a great caregiver he was for mom. He said they always tried to have fun.

And now I will tell you about my frustration. My latest Botox treatment on my saliva glands has left my mouth parched dry and uncomfortable. It is an inexact science of trial and error. I will have to wait for the Botox to wear off in about two months, and try various dry mouth products. I also still have irritated eyes and I was really hoping that discontinuing the Robinul (glycopyrrolate) would solve my irritated eyes too. The good thing about it is I don’t drool.

But these frustrations are minor compared to the anxiety felt by all the people in the path of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and especially the ALS patients. I heard from one patient friend in Gainesville, Florida and he was worried about power outages for his external vent and cough assist machine. But then he heard from his advocate that he would be moved to a shelter with back up power. I also thought of the ALS patients thoughout the Carribean and Cuba, Florida, Alabama, Texas. To be unable to move yourself with storms like those bearing down would be higher anxiety than even my Xanax could help. I hope you all had help to be safe.

7 thoughts on “Family; and Frustration

  1. Dear Meg…
    YOU, YOURS and the Leary Family’s LOVE is perpetual. For sure Ellen’s Family’s LOVE abounds. Your words REMIND me of my Mother ( Lucy, Louise Leary, Conlin: your mother’s Aunt) who would stay-up late at night to write letters to her siblings— no doubt my mother was a contact sister.
    Those days a 3 minute phone call was costly…highways were few…Also during WW2, Uncle Howard was on the move, so was my Dad…but we all kept in contact. Of course not by Facebook, etcetera,, but communication was through written words, then delivered by mail.
    Please know that my children (always Kids), namely Len, John, Jane, Tim, Liz, Jimmy (a Downs) & Mary, including myself hope and pray that the new drug will reach you sooner than expected so you’ll benefit from it’s promises.
    God bless you, Meg.
    Love always, Cousin Len

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Uncle Len
      Thank you so much for linking my writing to your mother’s letter writing. I love knowing that is a family legacy. It has been a joy to connect with cousins through this. I appreciate and feel the family love!, I hope we can see each other on my next trip to Boston.
      Love, Meg


  2. Thanks for another great blog entry, Meg!

    It is great to see everyone together at the birthdays dinner! Cousin Teddy! I’ve been thinking of Andy the last couple of days. Please tell him his Aunt Cathy and Uncle Rick wish him well. Cousin Sam, soon 10 on October 20, says, Have fun being 17, Andy Bro Bro!

    As usual, your inclusion of photographs is excellent, Meg! I don’t remember ever having seen the one of newborn Thomas Joseph Saunders with Mom and Dad! Boy does Beth resemble Mom at her prettiest in that photo! And moving forward from 1958 to 1993-4. I had forgotten about the Gorilla Halloween even though I was most likely the photographer! Mom’s face in that photo is striking to see because it’s very much how I remember her in the last year of her illness: a lot of inner strength despite tiredness and some joint pain. I can hear her quiet laughter when Pete lifted her wearing that Gorilla Mask!

    I appreciate how your writing extends my compassion for the hurricane and flood victims to include those with ALS and other medical issues! Here in the Portland, Oregon area, we have a terrible forest fire damaging our beloved Columbia River Gorge since Labor Day weekend, the Eagle Creek Fire. There has been a good deal of discussion amongst family and friends about what would be appropriate justice for the 15-year-old boy who was witnessed starting the fire on a hiking trail by throwing a lighted firework into the trees and laughing at the power he held. An act of wanton destruction. Our Rabbi David Kosak asked in his weekly blog, per se, What is the worst social act you made at an adolescent? Were there repercussions in your life? Is there a way you can resolve a destructive action later?

    Sue, I’m glad you’re having such a nice Reno family visit. You look great and your swimsuit is so cute! What great reminiscences you two are calling forth! Watercolors on the front steps of 811 Fair Oaks Avenue! A classic Saunders Family game! And Basement Roller Skating around the furnace, without a single injury I can remember! And don’t forget Adventure Girls in the Forest Preserves! Also, Kick the Can and Post-Storm Mud Puddle Splashing with the Neighborhood Gang of the Saunders, Montroys, Dwyers, Blackallers, Quinns, Zimbels, Hoods(?) and Fleeges! I bet some healthy parts of our brains were formed doing those fun activities together!

    I’m sorry to hear about your frustrations with the Botox and medication changes. I bet you get a lot of well-intended suggestions, but I’ll risk adding one more here: How about using a spray bottle with carbonated water to moisten your mouth, then dabbing it with one of your now lonely, lovely cotton cloths? You could use flat water, but the carbonation might give you a nice mouth sensation! Just a thought.

    Thanks again, Meg, for keeping the family ties tied so nicely with your alteringlifspectations appreciated writing!

    With love from your sister, Catherine

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cath,
      We saw news of the Columbia River fire and were sad. Your rabbi’s comment about adolescent transgressions is great.
      Adventure Girls started in those bushes across the alley. And yes, the 800 block of Fair Oaks was a magical place to grow up. So many kids and so much fun. I remember Kick the can turned into another game after daek. Can’t remember the name.


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