March 26th, 2009

4 in the morning

I've been up since four, thinking about all the things I need to do. Today I need to pack up and get ready for the long drive back from my mom's house to Portland. You guys have no idea how devoted I've been to post and try to keep up on postings - my mom has dial up and a computer that's about ten years old.

On the way out of town, we'll swing by my favorite store in the whole world, Grocery Outlet, and pack the ice chest I brought down with Whole Food rejects from the freezer case. Once I'm home, I have to plan my talk at Powells in less than two weeks, decide whether or not to teach a class that I've been offered, work on an editorial letter for Shadows Walking Backward, get back to a book I was working on. Oh right, and I'm speaking with bestselling thriller writer GM Ford to Oregon librarians in a week, and I haven't planned that either.

A year ago, my mom was so sick that she spent most of her time lying down and even when she was "up" she often had to curl up on the couch. I cried myself to sleep, and in the morning I would get up and go for a run and cry some more. It turned out she was experiencing a rare side effect from statins that causes muscles to break down. The good thing is that it can be reversed if caught in time.

This week we've gone for a walk every day, talked, laughed, and laughed some more. She still has congestive heart failure, that hasn't changed, but her life isn't dwindling away. She volunteers, reads voraciously, and radiates joy.

Teen is teaching herself sign language (just like she taught herself braille, Morse Code, and some Esperanto). Two nights ago we watched an old movie on TV and signed back and forth, laughing like crazy. "Crazy feeble grandma." "Need money. Feeble grandma climb ladder."

Last night, the guy my mom is crazy about was over for dinner. He is a little more coy about his feelings for her. We were showing him some of our signs. He seemed distressed by our choice of words for my mom (we were limited to what ws in the book). Effervescent. That's the word we should have used for Mom, according to him.



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