Thursday, December 14


• Alzheimer's has all but pushed real life to the margins the past several days. I keep trying to write about it, but it's tough to stand outside it all and put it on paper. You imagine you're prepared, and that you see how bad things are, and then they get worse, and once in a while you see through that enough to realize the end result is a life erased.

• I never got around to mentioning the November 30 agreement between Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter and Planned Parenthood of Indiana which has ended Carter's attempt to grab the medical records of girls under fourteen years of age. Carter has agreed not to appeal the Appeals Court ruling that upheld Planned Parenthood's request to stop the seizures, which had been described as a naked political ploy pandering to anti-abortion forces by at least one blogger matching my general description. Whether the November elections had anything to do with Carter's decision is merely obvious. Whether there is truth to the rumor that Carter's Medicare Fraud Unit minions obtained the original batch of records by misrepresenting themselves and their legal status to a selected, part-time clerk will apparently not be litigated now that the suit has been upheld, leaving us no choice but to assume there is.

• Reader quiz: In the following comment:

"The genius of Tom DeLay is now seriously in question," said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University.

Which is the ameliorating factor: "political science professor" or "Southern Methodist University"?

Army, Marine Corps To Ask for More Troops

By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 13, 2006; A01

...Senior Pentagon officials stress that the U.S. military has ample air and naval power that could respond immediately to possible contingencies in North Korea, Iran or the Taiwan Strait.

"If you had to go fight another war someplace that somebody sprung upon us, you would keep the people who are currently employed doing what they're doing, and you would use the vast part of the U.S. armed forces that is at home station, to include the enormous strength of our Air Force and our Navy, against the new threat," Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a briefing last month.

Got that? Prior to the Iraq disaster Army doctrine called for 400,000 troops in response to an invasion of South Korea by the North. Now it's 1/4 of that (our strategic reserve, once crack regular troops, now composed of actual reservists) and the Air Force. It's actually been that way since around Spring 2004 at the latest. Jesus (and Bush 41) wept.


D. Sidhe said...

Having a standing army merely emboldens the enemy. Having a smaller force available to meet any given threat limits our potential to have a huge force enmired in a no-win mess like Vietnam.

And when I take enough meds for the headaches, I can think like a republican. It also makes me want to engage in a bit of self-trepanation.

Anonymous said...

Does this mean the Medical Establishment has finally agreed on a diagnosis for you mother? At last recount, they were all over the map.

James Briggs Stratton "Doghouse" Riley said...

Yeah, Scott, sort of...I have to deal with this stuff so much I tend to assume everybody in the world knows about it.

She wound up with a new physician at the Institute on Aging on what was otherwise going to be her last visit with them. He proved to be more thoughtful and we left her in his care. On her last visit he called my sister and I into another room, and my sister asked him point blank about the earlier "no Alzheimer's, just depression" nonsense. "Oh, she definitely has dementia," he said, and it looks for all the world like Alzheimer's, though, as we've seen, that diagnosis can be slippery.

He muttered something about "a possible miscommunication" earlier, but there's no question they told us her short term memory was nominal and that there was no evidence of dementia, and they took her off the dementia medicine and put her on anti-anxiety meds. She's in the hospital now as they look for some additional problem, because she's not responding to a new pharmaceutical regimen.

Anonymous said...

Doghouse, I'm trying to read between the lines here. Are you and the sister now on the same page now?

Anonymous said...

Which is the ameliorating factor: "political science professor" or "Southern Methodist University"?

I believe that the two together constitute the amelioration of all that is necessary.

Doghouse, in January, my brother and sister and I moved my mother from her apartment here in San Antonio to an "assisted living" facility in Florida, near my brother and his family. The move was jarring and difficult for her (for months she talked about going "home" to SA) but she has always been cheerful and good-spirited. However, shortly after the move, the facility decided they weren't the appropriate place for her (it appears the problem was that she kept wandering into other residents' rooms)and my brother had to find another place. She is now in a wonderful home with four other Alzheimers patients and full-time live-in help. I miss her like crazy, but she is doing well and I am so grateful for the care she is getting.

I think I told you in earlier comments that I (and my mother) have been through this not only with her mother but also with her second husband, my stepfather. It is a truly horrible disease that I feel resigned to having to cope with myself (my favorite comment about this from a girlfriend: "Shit, if I had known this was going to happen anyway, I'd have done more drugs.")and my current dilemma is how to plan for a departure from this world with a modicum of dignity and which doesn't involve saddling my children with my care. I dunno, I'm thinking maybe now IS the time for more drugs. What do you say?

James Briggs Stratton "Doghouse" Riley said...

It's always time for more drugs. Consider the universality of intoxicating beverages: without access to naturally-fermenting products the use of digestive ferments is required. That is, you have to chew your cassava root then spit the mash into a recepticle. While your average deodorized American just looks upon this as "gross", consider just what prodigies of desperation drove people to try it in the first place.

And, yes indeed, my sister and I seem to be on the same page now, as of a conversation this morning. She has taken some time to understand the depths and irreversibility of the problem.

Anonymous said...

I don't see any amelioration, but the word that really gunks up the whole mess is "science." Without that, the guy babbling about the genius of Tom DeLay is just a political professor from SMU, and it all makes sense then.

Hope you realize some genuine amelioration in your personal marathon with your mother. My experience of something similar eventually settled into a rhythm of high and low expectations, like a sine wave whose peaks got flatter over time. I suppose it wasn't much different than a lot of other life tests in that regard, and while it certainly tested endurance, it did become endurable.

(I don't know if that made any sense but here's hoping the fates are as merciful for you.)