I was fortunate enough to take another trip to see my parents in Florida this month (thank you Dad!). I feel blessed to be able to be there and help out, yet it is so hard to leave them when I go home.
Mom is still in the Manor Care facility, working hard to improve her strength so that she may one day go home. Dad and I visited twice most days for 2-3 hours at a time, and puzzled long hours over her declining health and what the causes might be. She has continued to decline in health most days, with only an occasional "bright day".
We were able to take her out to lunch a couple of times and for a drive around Naples, yet it was exhausting for Mom, and the mystery of her mental confusion and weak muscles continued. Dad and I searched and investigated all the various medicines she has been on, and we suspect that we have found the 'culprit'. And now Dad is working on getting her off that one medicine. Fingers crossed fervently that this is the solution for her current troubles. Diagnosis in the elderly can be truly complicated, and care facilities move slower than molasses.
While I was there, I worked on kntiting socks (the photos look much like the last time, since I am working on sock two of both sets).. and so I won't bore you with those reruns - Socks are remarkably comforting to knit.
Yet I will show you some of the lovely sights from Naples and Marco Island FL.
Banyon Trees are amazing - and long ago, they were reputed to be used as jails.
'flame trees'. The leaves appear first, then totally drop off as the tree flowers, leaving it aburst with the glorious red flowers!
And although I did not go walking on the beach at all this trip, we did make a brief stop at the Naples Beach so that I could photograph the resident pelicans...
what pelicans you say?? Here they are, only feet away from sun bathers.
And then I walked a little ways out in the water to get a better picture:
They didn't even move at all as I walked close. It's wonderful to see that they are so comfortable there, and that no one harms them.
And directly across the street from Mom and Dad's house, there is a nest of Burrowing Owls. One afternoon, we noticed that a post had fallen over (these posts have warning signs to caution people, and to protect the owls, since they are endangered.) I grabbed Dad's hammer, and my camera and set off to right the post.
Can you see the little owl yet?
It's the Dad owl, and the Mom and two babies are inside.. let's get closer...
and now, you can see him looking at me, sizing me up.
I kept talking to him in a soft voice, saying I only wanted to fix the post..
He kept looking at me, then away, but he didn't move.
I got within about 2 feet of him then, and right up to the post.
Here he is pretending that I am not so close, and he isn't moving at all.
that hole is their burrow.
And Dad told me that normally when people get this close, the Dad owl will pretend he has a broken wing, and drag himself off away from the nest, hopefully having the "predator" follow him, and leave his nest alone.
Yet, as I continued to speak to him, he remained still.
And it wasn't until I began to pound the broken post back into the ground that he flew up to another post to observe me.
Mind you, he is still only about 2 feet from me as I am pounding.
He's a small thing, probably about 10" tall, yet very handsome, don't you think!
And after I had replaced the broken pole, a neighbor came out and said how amazed she was that he let me close by, and that her husband had tried to fix the post earlier, and the owl had flown at him, attempting to attack him!
I love owls - and I guess that they know it :-)
Every day, on our way from Marco Island to Naples, we would see this sign - or one like it. I tried to get a couple photos, but Dad took this one, and it came out so great I decided to use his!
I thought it was very cool, and I kept hoping to see one while I was there, yet alas, it didn't happen.
Dad says that there are only about ten left in the wild mangroves region that separates Marco Island from the rest of the towns. This sign is less than three miles from Mom and Dad's house.
It is a shame that their habitat has been so destroyed, yet hopefully, as people are more aware of them, they can rebuild their numbers.
the very last day I was there, it was around 8 am, and the sky was looking ominous. The winds picked up, and hundreds of friggett birds were floating / soaring on the winds on Mom and Dad's street.
It was like they were having a blast playing with the strong winds coming off the Gulf Coast, and they must have beckoned to all their friends to join them.
Dada and I got in the car, and headed up towards Naples, and within minutes, the sky opened up and poured rain. I mean truly came down so hard! He was driving about 20 mph, and we could barely see, even with the wipers on high.
We slowed down even more, and it took about 25 minutes to get up to the hospital where Mom is...
when we got there, it had stopped raining, and the sun came out.
Dad told me later that day, he looked in his rain gauge, and it accumulated 3 1/2 inches in that short time.
The Gulf Coast of Florida is still a specatcularly beautiful place, and as I have flown back and forth across this huge country, I have been contemplating moving to that area to help them out even more. I am considering Naples, (which is only 20 minutes from their home).
Working with my Dad to attempt to get Mom the best possible care has been an education in futility. The care facilities are overworked, and understaffed, and people are neglected every day - some with serious consequences. More than once, my Mom was badly neglected, and without intervention from Dad and me, it could have gotten very bad in a hurry.And, interestingly enough, the facility she is in is considered one of the very best.
The goal is to get her home. as soon as possible. Dad's health has improved tremendously (for which we are all grateful!!), yet caring for her or anyone recovering from serious injury every day is too much for anyone. And the options of at home care at not always reliable.
Thus, with every stitch I knit, and every thought that crosses my mind, I am praying for answers to difficult questions. What would be best? Where am I meant to be? How can I not be there? and how can I leave my life here? It's all very challenging, and thus my silence in blog world. The choice appears so clear when I am there - yet when I return home, confusion sets in once again, and the inevitable questions as to whether or not I would be able to re-establish myself there professionally, and whether I would once again need two jobs to make that transition again.... too many questions.
I'm praying for certainty, and clear guidance.