Tag Archives: fall

Go, Edith, go!!!

One Last Hurrah!

By Edith Morgan
 
We are very lucky to live in a zone that has four seasons – each brings its joys as well as its challenges. So now we face another autumn.

Already, we are having cooler nights, and the grass grows more slowly.  The ever blooming roses are gearing up for their final blooming of this year, and soon we will begin to see whatever maples are left after the depredations of the Asian Longhorned beetles, breaking out in magnificent reds, golds, yellows, and finally dropping their leaves in preparation for the winter.

It’s a time for enjoying what we here call “Indian Summer,” a time when tourists from far and wide make pilgrimages to New England just to admire the colors on display along the highways and in our parks.

For those of us who live here year around, it is a time to take a final jaunt through our parks, enjoy our porches, and do some preparing for the coming seasons.  A final clean-up will be done by the City to pick up debris that has cluttered out sidewalks and streets (mostly leaves, I hope – but there will also be swept up with the leaves an assortment of trash thrown about by the careless and the lazy). And we homeowners will be looking for mulch to cover and protect our perennials, rakes to gather the leaves and wilted blades left over from the flowering bulbs of spring. 

We will make sure that our bird feeders are in place and filled for the birds that winter over, and we will plan to continue feeding some of the wildlife that frequents our yards all summer. 

This year the Jewish New Year falls within a week or so of the formal beginning of fall – so for all our Jewish friends, it’s a double celebration – beginning a new year ( #5776) while at the same time welcoming the coming of a new season.

And of course it is apple-picking time: the symbol used for the New Year in the Jewish religion here is a slice of fresh apple, signifying a round, full year – with honey drizzled over it, to wish others a sweet year.

Worcester is surrounded by apple orchards, offering many varieties that you can pick yourself, or buy by the bag or bushel. Apples keep a long time, and are so very good in pies, sauce, dried, or as juice.  Remember the old saying about “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”? There was a lot of truth to that old belief: apples eaten fresh provide so many benefits to us all at all ages, it seems foolish not to take advantage of this bountiful natural product every day. I see that our schools and even McDonald’s have rediscovered the wonders of this marvelous fruit. And of course it is deeply ensconced in America: remember our saying about ”It’s as American as the flag, motherhood and APPLE PIE”!

So, let’s all get out and enjoy the fruits of the season, and prepare for the seasons to come!

Fall feelings …

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Happy! Cuz it’s fall color time (note my auburn dye job!) and cozy sweater weather! I have three closets filled with fall sweaters (plus autumnal dresses and skirts)! I hear the siren song of my fave fall boots …

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Proud! Saw this an hour ago: St. Mary’s church guy cleaning their little church yard, mowing the grass, trimming the hedges and cutting back the weeds. Looks great! Pride in the neighborhood is a wonderful thing!

Go, St. Mary’s church, go!!!!

– pics + text: Rosalie Tirella

Seasons of change

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

“A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

“A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

“A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

“A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

“A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

“A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

“A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

“A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”

Ecclesiastes 3, 1-8

By Parlee Jones

Peace and blessings to you , Worcester People!  I hope this issue of InCity Times finds you and your world in a serene space.  As the season changes from summer to autumn, I find myself reminiscing about my life and how it changes.

One of the highlights of living in New England is the beautiful fall foliage.  The trees are going through changes.  And they are beautiful changes.  I was going to try and explain it here, but it is complex.  Much like life.  It’s a process.  It’s change.  Our outlook on change and the process we take is what determines how difficult the change will be.

This weekend, my sister and I took our brood to the apple orchard.  This has become a family tradition.  Something started with my mom and dad many years ago when me and my sisters were very young.  It’s a tradition that my mom and sister continued with my nephew Jahnoy when he was a toddler.  Jahnoy will be graduating from MCLA this coming spring.  I mention this so you can understand how long my family has been doing this.  I have done it every year with my two since returning to Worcester in 2000. Tradition.

We lost my mom, Clementine Jones, on Friday, September 13, 2013, during one of the most incredible thunderstorms I have ever witnessed.  My dad, W.J. Jones, joined her this past September 6, 2014, a beautiful, warm, easy, Saturday morning. Change.  The process of life.  There is a time to live and a time to die.  I was blessed with loving, hard working parents.  They did the best they could with what they had.  Something I have come to understand as I grow and parent my children the best way I can.  I am left missing their presence and energy.  Change.

This tradition of Doe’s Apple Orchard in Ayer, MA with a stop at Willard Farm in Still River, MA  will always be close to my heart. And a trip I hope to share with as many folks as possible because it is truly a great way to view the beautiful, colorful fall foliage.

Change.  Our world is changing.  I remember an elder telling me one time “if you don’t change, you will die.”  Everything goes through some type of change.  Seasons, butterflies, relationships, careers.  Whether we are aware or not, each moment is always changing. Nothing lasts forever. As human beings we are equipped to move and expand with this natural flow.

Change is an inevitable part of life. The sooner we can accept this as fact, to become acquainted and comfortable with change versus treating it as an interruption in our life, the sooner we can feel more grace.

To grow in this life requires the courage to continuously move with change.

If changes are a basic fact of life (actually life is nothing but change), then why resist? Why not embrace and enjoy?

See the beauty of change.

 

The “nursing” home

By Rosalie Tirella

“I think she was sick before she got here,” the nurse at the rehab/nursing home (Holy Trinity on Barber Ave.) told me.

I had just left my mom’s room and walked to the nurse’s station at the end of the corridor to voice my concerns to the gaggle of nurses in charge of the care of a couple of dozen “patients” stricken with mild to moderate demetia – including my mom who is also there for “rehab” after a fall in her studio apartment. I am alarmed because I have never seen my mom so ill, so stuck in illness, a tube carrying oxygen to her lungs stuck up her nose, her arm bruised from the poking of IV needles. There she is, in her half of her “new” room (nice roommate) sitting alone in her wheelchair, her head bent forward, snoozing quietly.

When I visit my mom (almost every day), she seems awefully sleepy. Today, when I first entered her room, she was asleep again – totally alone, her head hanging forward again – how uncomfortable! How I missed her old pale pink wingback chair that she parked her little butt in for years as she watched cable news, catholic mass and the Red Sox. You are always in a wheel chair! I told her last time I visited. She said: It’s so comfortable, it doesn’t even feel like I am in a wheel chair.

I did some inspecting and, yes, there was lots of foam, a pillow behind her back, etc. “She’s languishing!” I screamed inside my head. I told myself: This is what people told me would happen if I stuck my mom in a nursing home.

There would be no recovery – only the slow (or speedy) descent into … death.

Where is her comfy wing back chair?!

“Ma,” do you want me to buy you a cute little easy chair for the window?” I ask her one time.

“No, no. I like this.”

“She’s always bounced back,” I tell the nursing home nurse, trying not to show my alarm. I should know! I was her primary care giver for more than four years. Every time she fell in her studio apartment, I sprang into action and rescued her! Saved my mom from the jaws of death. I was always PRESENT, following the ambulance that took her to Memorial Hospital, confering with the doctors/interns (kids) there, being nice to a passel of nurses and social workers, being nasty, threatening with a column when people seemed unresponsive – whatever it took to make my mother well again! I was the miracle lady! And my mom – 85 – always returned home! To her cat, her rosaries, her prayers, her little kitchen and coffee maker.

I don’t want to piss these nurses off, get off to a bad start with them, I tell myself. This could be a permanent thing. They take care of my mother. Her life is in their hands. I want to make them love her one one hundredth as much as I do!

Maybe then, my mom can get well! Well, enough to enjoy a few fruitful, comfortable years at this nursing home, where friends and family can visit and she can be safe. She gets three hot, square meals a day. She has all kinds of nice people taking her blood pressure, taking her temperature, combing her hair, putting her to bed. A time to be nurtured, even spoiled .. like a little baby. My old mother has come full circle.

I am now resigned to the fact that she can never return home. I have the heartbreaking task of closing up her apartment.

I smile at the nurse sitting at the nurse’s station, a lady in her sixties who does seem kind and does seem to like and care about my mom. I tell “Mary” that my mom has had pneumonia before and that several days of intravenous antibiotics usually knoocks out the infection in her lung.

“But we had to give her [oral anibiotics]… so that they would work on the infection on her leg,” Mary explained to me, looking a tad annoyed that me – a mere lay person – has the temerity to stick her nose where it doesn’t belong – in the MEDICAL PROFESSION.

Quiet please! MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS AT WORK! Mary told me she also gave her 50 milligrams of tresedone at night, to calm her down. And mymom gets some during the day. “She gets too busy,” Mary tells me. I am a little worried. My mom has never been sedated like this, and it seems nurse Mary has called the shots. The doctor of this nursing home hasn’t examined my mom. It looks like he rubberstamps what nurse Mary prescribes.

At one nursing home I worked at as an activities assistant decades ago, some nurses there were incredible – most were pretty average. There was even a dud or two – take the head nurse of the dementia unit there. She was always so solicitous of patients when their families were visiting, and then when they left, she would make fun of the patients … or sometimes take her shoes off and paint her toenails!

I can’t help it. My mom, old people have gotten under my skin. Even though I didn’t live with my mom, I took care of her – got her on the Meals on Wheels/lunch bag program, got her home health aides, personal care attendants. I was there every few days checking on her, making shopping lists, bringing in cleaning supplies or toiletries, keeping tabs on everything – the entire freakin’ operation. That’s what it became at the end – a freakin’, time-sucking operation. Exhausting!! – loving my mom! But she had loved me all these years, I told myself, and now foggy-brained and incapable of keeping up her own place, she needed her eldest daughter to swoop in an SAVE THE DAY. She has always expected it – and I have never disappointed her.

I won’t fail ya now, Ma! I tell myself as I watch her … letting go.

So, I want to tell Mary the nurse, I know a little bit about keeping my mom happy and healthy. For you to tell me “she came in sick” is BULL SHIT. Utter buck-passing. I am no fool. I tell her I want a doctor to check my mom and that i will make a special appointment with a gerontologist – a doc who specializes in old people! – to make sure she is on the right meds. Mary frowns. She says he may not even be allowed on the premises, since he is not the doctor in charge at the nursing home – Holy Trinity. I am taken aback. I tell her: I want my mom seen by this excellent gerontologist. “Mary” says he has to be cleared – to make sure he has the right credentials. I want to say: You mean like you, bitch? A nurse PLAYING doctor for my mom and all the other demential patients here? (most of whom look drugged out, as they have their chairs parked around “Mary’s” nurses station – quiet, drugged up little babies. No problem at all caring for such quiet, subdued seniors.

I want to rush into my mom’s room, grab my mom in her wheel chair and roll her out of this place – forever!

But my hands are tied. What can I do? I cannot unhook my little mother from her metal, ugly oxygen tank. I cannot drive her to the hospital and demand the docs “make things happen.” Been there – done that – four times! And Ma can’t go home because THE STATE of MASSACHUSETTS HAS CUT HER SERVICES/MEALS thanks to Elder Services of Worcester, whose nurses/social workers tell me she will be much better cared for at a nursing home. … this nursing home, Holy Trinity, where I can see her looking bloated, drugged up, attached to tubes, arms black and blue …. .

And yet Mom is quietly happy. She tells me the people at the home are so nice, everyone is so gentle with her, they take such good care of her, the food is excellent, they always bring her her coffee. She likes her roommate, too. And she he seems … happy. It’s as if the attention and all the nursing staff and activities staff coming and going is llike a tonic to her. A people person her whole life, my mother now, through her anxiety and tiredness, stresses she doesn’t want to go back to Illyrian Gardens, a place now filled with tight ass staff, a senior citizens complex now run by people who don’t even like senior citizens. I always knew this. My mom did, too, but she repressed her true feeling because she so loved living in her little studio apartment.

Now she calls a spade a spade. She says: “I wasn’t happy there [Illyrian Gardens] – the people … ” and she makes a face. “They [director and staff] were snobs!”

She used the word “snob,” but what my mom meant was that: the staff at Illyrian Garden never cared about her, never stopped by her apartment to say hello or wish her well. No smiles, no pats on the shoulders. Definitely no hugs.

Here at this new place, a nurse told me: “You mother is so nice – we all love her.”

She seemed sincere. I chose to believe her.

Still, the medical care seems substandard.

I have to leave now. I walk back to my mom’s room. “Ma,” I say to her, “I have to go.” I grab her hand off the utility table where she has a plastic cup filled with coffee waiting for her (I will bring her her super duper official huge Red Sox mug tomorrow!). My mom’s little bed side table is covered with the prayer books and photos and perfume bottle I brought for her from her apartment. I notice how warm her hand is. A fever perhaps from the infection in her lung (pneumonia) and in her leg (the bruise from her fall is not healing fast enough). I cannot believe her hand has gotten so gray, so veiny, so bony. Still, I love the warmth I am getting from her. I am loosely holding my mother’s hand in mine. I want to hold it forever.