Two Years In…Whatever Happened To?

A few days ago, I searched “2 Years” on Word Press and found an immediate perspective. The first result was someone sharing that he is two years sober. That is awesome. He was so gracious in thanking those who have provided love and support. He included a photo of a tattoo on his wrist which bears the date he began his sobriety. His daughter is very proud of him.

The next post was “Two Years Gone.” Two years ago, the writer had her bladder removed and she was given a stoma and a bag to which she needed to adjust. But two years later, she is so “bloody happy.” That is awesome too.

My modest connection to “2 Years” relates to the anniversary of this blog. Honestly, I can’t believe that I’m stepping through the 24th month of sharing my stories regularly. Although some milestones are clearly more trail-blazing than others, I felt like I should mark it; primarily because I have learned exponentially more this past year. I’ve ventured into creative non-fiction and feature stories. I’ve posted interviews. I learned the word: Uitwaaien. (It is a Dutch word and philosophy for using wind to ease stress.)

So, in acknowledging the moment, I thought I should return to what makes the blog tick: non-fiction story-telling. Here are some updates and highlights for a few of them.

Covid Conversations from Italy

At the end of 2020, I spoke with and wrote to my friend Giovanna who lives in Naples, Italy. (For the original post, click here.) I checked back in to see what is happening there and how she is doing. Here was her response on April 15th:

“No, I have not gotten my vaccine yet. They opened for the age range 60-79 and I subscribed but I have not been called yet. Hopefully it will be before the end of May. There is a big turmoil going on regarding the Astra Zeneca vaccine. A few people in Europe died from thrombosis which was attributed to the vaccine. It’s exactly the same thing that is happening in the U.S. with Johnson & Johnson. I was hoping to get Johnson & Johnson because it is only one dose but… who knows now?”

I asked her whether Pfizer or Moderna are even available in Italy. “It is somewhat rare, but they do offer Pfizer to certain people who are in a much higher risk category.”

“I am nonetheless continuing my life in the sense that I go to work every day, take a walk along the closed shops in the afternoons (only lingerie, food, and small artisans are open) and see a few friends on the weekend; possibly outside if the weather allows it or inside since we are only 6. We continue to maintain the safety distance.”

“Many people we know got sick with Covid, some did well while some others were hospitalized. We continue to pray that nothing happens to us!”

P.S. There is an update to the update! Giovanna received her first shot of Astra Zeneca April 22nd.

Everything About Waves

I wrote a post in February about waves. It was a mix of wave facts, history and our attraction to them. It included some movie trivia too. It has become this blog’s most visited post, thanks in part to Smorgasbord Magazine which first showcased it (thank you Sally Cronin). That led to two more blogs picking it up (including a sailing blog in Australia which even wrote its own piece about it. To read it, click here.) It has received hundreds and hundreds of views which was such an incredible boost for me. These results inspire me to dig into more research/feature writing in the near future.

My Mom and Memory Care

Nine weeks ago, my 90-year-old mother tried to walk out the door of her senior living home at 3:00 a.m. They immediately placed her in Memory Care. The full story is here.

Since then, it has been a bone-tiring time. Due to the cost of Memory Care at this particular facility, Ginny would not be able to stay. We located another one with a shared apartment option, at a much lower price, and began the withdrawal process. It wasn’t easy.

I previously referenced that the current facility’s communication with us had been poor. First, they were silent regarding needed information. Did they have shared apartments? What was the deadline to move her? With Covid, what was the procedure to gain access to her old apartment to begin clearing it out? We believe that they hoped if they gave us time for her to adjust, and show how well she was doing, then we would acquiesce and suddenly find the additional $2500/month. We knew she was doing well, that was never the issue.

Once they realized that we had no other choice but to move her, they couldn’t get her out fast enough. I’m choosing not to go into further specifics, but they made a difficult time exhaustingly worse. I do understand that senior care is a business, but a sense of empathy within this type of business was shockingly lacking.

Instead, I want to focus on Ginny’s new home. She is doing well. She never cared to participate in classes previously, but so far, she has played Bingo, taken an art class and spent time with a therapy dog. She has gone to a happy hour and a baby shower for an employee. (Some of these events took place in the Assisted Living area of the facility.) The Memory Care unit is on the first floor which allows residents to freely (and safely) walk outside and sit or walk along the path. There is a wrought-iron fence to protect them. Ginny enjoys spending some of her day outside. The home is brand new, much smaller, and with some incentives, it will be easier for our family to begin contributing towards her monthly care.

Space

I wasn’t planning to include a space update, but life’s timing intervened. At 5:49 a.m. April 23rd, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket, carrying four astronauts to the International Space Station.

Living on the Space Coast, I have had the privilege to witness several launches. Given its launch time on this day, however, I thought I might give this one a pass. I love to watch them, but I need my sleep too.

As it happened, I was awake. Groggy, but awake. I wasn’t aware of the time though. As soon as we heard the rumble, we shouted “launch” and ran down the hallway to the front bedroom window. We had missed the actual rocket, but there was this brilliant glow, in fact, there appeared to be two. And they were slowly descending. But our eyes were being deceived. There was only one object headed downward towards the Atlantic; the reusable first-stage rocket which had helped boost the Falcon into orbit. It would be landing in a few short minutes on Elon Musk’s drone ship named “Of Course, I Still Love You.” (The name comes from a book “The Player of Games” written by the late science fiction writer Iain M. Banks.)

The object to the left was smaller, and it actually wasn’t descending, but rather it was the last 60 seconds of seeing the Falcon 9 rocket itself.  But something was happening with the booster rocket. As we watched, and even though it was still dark outside, the rising sun began to illuminate the plume of the descending rocket creating a “jellyfish” light display, and the result was spectacular. I was standing, real time, in a science fiction movie. For me, it was the best launch lightshow yet.  Someone in our community dubbed it the “Space Coast’s Northern Lights”.

We didn’t see this full effect, but we saw enough! Photo credit: Florida Today

Suffice it to say that I’m renewing my commitment to catch whatever they’re up to at the Cape. If I miss out on a few hours of sleep, I’ll take a nap. I almost missed a good one.

And for those who like space trivia, this was the first time that a used Crew Dragon (the capsule holding the astronauts) returned to space sitting on top of a used Falcon 9 rocket (the same Falcon 9 rocket which inspired my original post. last May.)

A Cancer Update

Since my diagnosis and treatment was a core piece of my world over the last year and a half, the topic was understandably, covered frequently. A year ago this month, I was struggling with radiation. It contributed to my dehydration which led to acute kidney failure.

I only bring it up now so that I am able to measure how far I have come; the good place in which I find myself. Sure, I want the reassurance of a clean scan (as frequently as possible) but I know how much better I am. Cancer is not the first thing I think about when I wake up anymore.

I do find myself gravitating towards “bright.” I just planted a colorful pink hydrangea plant in the garden and bought bold, bright pillows for the couch. I want new, bright artwork for the walls. It’s almost like I want to surround myself in striking, happy tones. This is probably not a surprise.

Two years in, and I am grateful for my own growth and the growth of this site. I directly contribute it to my interactions and exposure to excellent blogs. And the camaraderie is second to none. I follow a Scottish writer (Mary Smith) and we share comments about her cancer treatment and scan results. I love reading fables and stories about Romania from another kind blogger who lives in South Africa (Patricia Furstenberg). There is a retired teacher who has so many great stories about his classroom in California back in the day as well as his own poignant stories about his aging mother (Pete Springer).

And they represent only a few. There are so many supportive, fascinating writers I follow. Thank you for sharing some of your brilliance and creativity. When one surrounds themselves with advanced skills of any nature, one can only improve.


16 thoughts on “Two Years In…Whatever Happened To?

  1. Great blog! Congratulations on your two year anniversary writing it! I always look forward to reading your latest. Glad you are doing good and that your mom is enjoying her new home!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really enjoy reading your blog, I am based in South Australia and to hear your stories reminds me we are all in this together. Congratulations on your two year anniversary.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, thank you Yvonne! I really do appreciate your kind words. It’s pretty amazing how we can all connect, no matter the continent, and find similar experiences and stories…and friendships. We’ve got each other’s backs! 🙂 I clicked through to your blog and see that it is under construction. I look forward to checking back to read your stories too. Thank you for your well wishes.

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  3. I don’t remember all of these posts and wonder how I missed some of them because I blog nearly every day. I’m either not always getting the notifications (I’ve noticed this on other blogs at times, too), or I’m getting more forgetful. Well, of course, more forgetful, but not enough to forget them completely. Regardless, I’ve got some makeup reading to do.

    I’m glad to hear that there are more positives than negatives in your life these days. Eldercare (as we’ve talked about before) is one of America’s biggest problems that society has yet to wake up to. People are living longer, and the associated expenses that come with this are enormous. Glad to hear that your mom is somewhat adjusting. Doesn’t it seem we’ve been doing this longer than two years, Melanie? I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. I’ll be in touch after I read more of your articles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! Yes, it feels much longer Pete, but I think it’s because (at least for me) the blog is almost always on my mind from subjects to write about, research and writing it and then supporting other blogs. But I’m NOT complaining. It’s something I choose everyday. You are so right about Eldercare and the enormous costs associated with it. I haven’t heard whether the “human infrastructure” potential bill addresses these concerns, but I think it fits perfectly into that category. Fingers crossed that somewhere in it, something will be allocated towards the elderly.

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  4. I think we first connected on our blogs through our shared experience with our ageing mothers. But despite those challenges and your diagnosis, I have always admired your positive outlook. You always seem to find a silver lining which make your posts so enjoyable!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, we have absolutely shared our experiences having an aging mom. I loved one of your stories about your mom so much that I shared it here. 🙂 And thank you for your words about my positivity. I think that if you’re open to it, you can see/learn something good from any situation. (And isn’t that exactly what a “silver lining” person would say, haha.) But it’s true that you can always choose hope.

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  5. Congratulations on your 2 year anniversary Melanie! Your blogs are always so informative, educational ( I always learn something) and heartfelt. You started this blog sharing your journey with your Mom and it has blossomed into so much more. More importantly you have found support and friendships that have helped with your own journey!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Pam. Like most writers, I always hope that something will resonate with the reader (whether it’s factual or emotional) and to hear when it has is enormously gratifying. Thank you for being such a good friend to me and the blog. 🙂 Life changes, so the blog did too, but you’ve been with it from the start. Thank you for that. More journeys to come!

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  6. I’m glad that you have friends in Italy. I live in Italy, near Venice, and we haven’t received the vaccine yet. We’re too young for it. But I’ ve got some pathologies I am at high risk 😟

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m really sorry that you’re still waiting for it. From what my friend said, Italy is only at age 60 and older, so hopefully that will go quickly. And maybe once they get closer to your age group, they will allow you to sign up sooner because of your health? Wishing you the best, and thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am a selfless person and I let everyone be treated before me. I can still wait. The only reason I should get the vaccine is because my husband and I want to travel. But I can wait. Peace and serenity to you and your family 🌹🌺🌸🌼🌻

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