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Danger, this subject may make you feel uncomfortable.

5 Mar


Because I live with my 101- year- old mother, and sometimes fear that she will outlive me, I think more and more about what I want my own children to know. What do they need to know about my wishes for death and dying?

It is so important to talk about things like death and dying, beforehand. People put it off. I believe, for some people, this is such a difficult subject that they avoid it over and over again. These may be the same people who won’t talk to their children about what we used to call “the birds and the bees.” They wait so long that their children are already sexually active before the parents bring it up. The poor kids laugh at their parents. But the parents might actually know a thing or two that would be helpful… or would have been helpful, if they had spoken up in time.

Don’t be afraid to go through the gate.

So, the subject of death and illness or accident is much like that. People wait until it is too late to talk about it. Don’t be one of those people. Stir up your courage and tackle the problem of talking about something that is sad and distressing so that it won’t be AS sad and distressing if it happens suddenly.

For one thing, you need a “living will.” Do you have one? Do you know what that is? If you were suddenly incapacitated, would your family know what to do?  If there are decisions to be made about you, would they know your wishes? Have you made your wishes clear? Do you want to be kept alive, no matter what? Or do you want someone brave to “pull the plug”? Do you want your children to have a medical power of attorney? And if so, which children?

Do you know what your children or family feel about the issue of assisted suicide? Have you talked to each of them about how YOU feel? And if you have no children, is there another family member, or a spouse, or even a lawyer or friend of the family who would serve in this capacity for you? You may be surprised to find that your family has differing views on this very delicate subject. It is so sad to see families fighting about this issue. But they do. And sometimes, not knowing your wishes, it does irreparable damage to the family.

When something happens to you…or your spouse, and your children disagree about whether to use “heroic measures,” the disagreements can become vitriolic and destructive to the family unit.

There are things that can happen even to young and healthy people: accidents, or health events that are entirely unexpected, but nearly fatal. Have you had family discussions about this and decided what to do?

A will is a good thing.  Many people have a will in place but have never thought about a “living will” or a medical power of attorney. But it is imperative that you do think about it.  With no plan in place, your wishes are not only not followed, it could be that no one even knows what they are.

Don’t let this happen to you. Be brave. Write down what you want and what you want your children or your family to know. Make sure they are all in on your wishes. And ask questions. Do they agree with your wishes? Or are they going to try to superimpose their own on you?

You need a checklist; there are sites online that have great ones. I won’t try to duplicate such a list here. But you will need one and putting it off is not helping. When I went to look at the various things I found under “checklist on death and dying,” even though it was only for this blog post, it made me feel sort of sick. Well, sick is not the correct word, but uncomfortable in a way that translated into a sort of heaviness in my tummy and tension throughout my body. It is a difficult subject. I get it. https://www.oktodie.com/preparation-checklists/3-resources/4-planning-your-death

But it will be a lot more difficult if you ignore it. It will not go away. And in the case of sudden illness or death, it is the last thing you want to be thinking about doing. In fact, you will be doing yourself and your loved ones a huge service to get this under control now, while you can think about it dispassionately and calmly. You have time for research and discovery. You can really explore the possibilities with a reasonable sense of taking care of something normal that needs taking care of.

A couple of years ago, my mother and I sat down to write an obituary for her. She said she wanted to do this after reading the obit of one of her friends. Probably, the friend’s sons wrote that and thought it was fine because it listed the woman’s family and clubs she belonged to. But my mother was shocked at how little of her friend’s personality showed in the written words. She wanted people to know more about what she was like. Mother said, “I want it to say I loved dancing, and dogs, and pretty colors, and jewels and traveling, and family.” So, we wrote something that she liked. When the time comes, we won’t have to guess at what Mother would have wanted to see printed in the paper.

That is normal enough because she is definitely old enough now to be thinking of things like that. She is over 100 years old.

But what about me? Or you? The fact is, we all need to think about this, if for no other reason than to help our families out. Just like having a will or insurance, additional planning for eventualities makes good sense. Write an outline for an obituary if you don’t feel like writing a complete one.

Now that I have written   this, I myself have an idea of what I need to do to complete my own checklist. I will try to complete it in the next week or so, or at least by the end of the month. You, too, can begin if you have not started.  I wish you long life and great health. And peace of mind, knowing that, whatever happens, you have arranged for everything.

Spring is coming, buds are beginning to be visible on our forsythia and the daffodils are almost up. It is a great time to complete and put away these wintry tasks and prepare for the new life coming with spring.   

                                                                        **

Copyright©.  2019 Bonnie B. Matheson

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Dinner at DeCarlos

13 Dec

We eat at DeCarlos all the time. It is a wonderful restaurant for local people. We love to go there because we feel completely comfortable. Low lighting and no steps to enter the place make it easy for anyone using a walker or a wheelchair.  The parking is easy, too.  There are a whole lot of neighbors who use DeCarlos as their “go to” dinner spot.  And it is to their credit, that the waiters learn what drinks their regular patrons prefer.  They pride themselves on getting those drinks on the table, while the guests are still settling themselves into their chairs.

It is quiet because the tables are covered with table clothes, often two deep.  There is carpet on the floor and acoustical tile on the ceiling. The place is a lot bigger than it looks. It can seat something like a couple of hundred diners, in a night. Usually, it is NOT that crowded.  That is part of its charm.  Guests often feel like they are among the ‘few’ customers, in any given night.  But actually, the place has a lot more diners than are obvious at a glance.  There are several private rooms and alcoves and booths. Even if you sit out in the middle of the front room,  you can not really tell how full the place is.

We love going there. My 100 year old mother feels comfortable and cared for by the staff.  When they see she is coming in to the restaurant, the manager immediately grabs two pillows to put in her chair.  This is especially for her because she likes to move out of her wheelchair and sit in a regular chair. Almost every table seems to have at least one patron in a wheelchair, with a walker or at the very least with a cane.  There was a period a couple of years ago, when I was in a wheelchair, due to a broken ankle/leg and my mother was using a walker.  We were able to do just fine there, because it is so accommodating.The Italian cuisine is delicious and augmented with specials, which change daily.  They have wonderful things such as a whole steamed artichoke. This makes a low calorie, but delightful one dish meal when I am cutting calories. They usually have calves liver and bacon, which is “soul food” to me. The owner, Lucy DeCarlo runs a tight ship.  She is personable and friendly and often greets her guests in person.

The place which is located on Yuma Street behind the Spring Valley Shopping Center, is wonderfully near to our house. It requires little effort to go there.  The moment we walk in, we feel peace and familiarity.  I recommend it for those who may be physically impaired.

I often go there for lunch with a friend.  It even has a bar where one can sit and have drinks or a light meal.  This is the perfect neighborhood meeting place for enjoyable dining experience.  Don’t miss DeCarlos, if you are in North West Washington D. C. and feeling hungry. You won’t be disappointed.

Copyright©.  2018 Bonnie B. Matheson

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Men cause 100 percent of Abortions

10 Nov

Choice has always been important to me even though I, personally, am glad I never actually had to have an abortion, I believe there are circumstances where it is the best choice. Gabrielle Blair puts her finger on the true cause.

Gabrielle Blair wrote :

“If you want to stop abortion, you need to prevent unwanted pregnancies. And men are 100% responsible for unwanted pregnancies. No for real, they are. Perhaps you are thinking: IT TAKES TWO! And yes, it does take two for _intentional_ pregnancies.

But ALL unwanted pregnancies are caused by the irresponsible ejaculations of men. Period. Don’t believe me? Let me walk you through it. Let’s start with this: women can only get pregnant about 2 days each month. And that’s for a limited number of years.

But men are fertile 365 days a year. In fact, if you’re a man who ejaculates multiple times a day, you could cause multiple pregnancies daily. In theory, a man could cause 1000+ unwanted pregnancies in just one year. While it’s true that sperm gets crappier as men age, it doesn’t have a fertility expiration date; men can cause unwanted pregnancies from puberty until death. So, starting with basic fertility stats and the calendar, it’s easy to see that men are the issue here.

“But what about birth control?” you might ask. “ If a woman can manage to figure out how to get an abortion, surely she can use birth control to avoid unwanted pregnancy, right?”

Great question. Modern birth control for women is possibly the most important invention of the last century, and I’m very grateful for it. It’s also brutal. The side effects for many women include migraines, mood swings, decreased libido, depression, severe cramps, heavy bleeding, aneurysm — and that’s just a small fraction of them.

Discouragingly, a promising study on a new male contraceptive was canceled in large part due to… (wait for it)… side effects. To be clear, this list of side effects was about one-third as long as the known side effects for commonly used women’s contraception. There’s a lot to unpack in that story alone. I’ll simply point out that, as a society, we really don’t mind if women suffer, physically or mentally, as long as it makes things easier for men.

But, men, I’ve got good news. Even with the horrible side effects, women are (amazingly!) very willing to use birth control. Unfortunately, it’s harder to get than it should be, but that doesn’t keep women from trying. Birth control options for women require a doctor’s appointment — sometimes multiple doctor’s appointments — and a prescription. They’re not always free, and often not cheap. Some are actually trying to make female birth control options more expensive by allowing insurance companies to refuse to cover them. In addition, contraceptive options for women can’t be easily acquired at the last minute. In most cases, they don’t work instantly.

The pill requires consistent daily use and doesn’t leave much room for mistakes, forgetfulness, or unexpected disruptions to daily schedules. Again, the side effects can be brutal — and not just in rare cases. Despite the hassle and side effects, I’m still grateful for birth control. (Please don’t take it away.) But it’s critical to understand that women’s birth control isn’t simple or easy.

In contrast, let’s look at birth control for men — i.e., condoms. They’re readily available at all hours, inexpensive, convenient, and don’t require a prescription. They’re effective and work on demand, instantly. They don’t cause aneurysms, mood swings, or debilitating cramps. Men can keep them stocked up just in case, so they’re always prepared. They can be easily used at the last minute. I mean, condoms are magic! So much easier than birth control options for women.”

Then she goes on to prove it.  It is such a brilliant piece I have decided to promote it here. https://medium.com/s/story/men-cause-100-of-unwanted-pregnancies-eb0e8288a7e5

And here is the Twitter feed:

https://twitter.com/designmom/status/1040363898862358528

Normally I am not a “man-basher”. I love men.  But it is true that they really like having sex without a condom. They will cajole and complain and even beg, to be allowed to leave off the “jacket”.

It is true that the phrase “she got pregnant” has bothered me, sometimes only subconsciously, for many years. SHE did NOT get pregnant by herself. And if the man had been more helpful (wearing a condom or pulling out) or less intent on sex, (no tricking or drugging or raping ) she would have NOT been pregnant at all.

I loved it when Gabrielle said that it takes two to make a baby when there is consent to do so.  That is when you can add the woman’s complicity. Otherwise it is all up to the man, who is the real cause of pregnancy.

Does this bother anyone?  It really should not. This whole abortion debate which often leaves women out completely, makes me uncomfortable. And now I understand why. It is because women are the ones who suffer the consequences and also the ones who get blamed. Men get off “Scot Free”. I believe it is time to change that.  But, it will have to come from the men.

Otherwise a bunch of angry women may, in fact get legislation passed to castrate rapists, or to force all men to get a reversible vasectomy at puberty.(as Gabrielle Blair suggested in her tweets and blog)

At first, men may think this whole idea is a joke.  But the tide is turning against them, and though it makes me sad for them.  They actually have brought this on themselves. The world is such a different place from the world I grew up in, but be warned it is getting so politically correct that men cannot touch a woman without asking for permission. I believe the pendulum has swung way too far.

However, as far as pregnancy is concerned everything Gabrielle has said is true. Time to do some serious thinking about this.

 

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