"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I done seen the fyewcha

Drove into the hills beyond Oroville yesterday to visit an elderly client, we'll call her 'Liza. She couldn't come to the regular outreach location for want of a ride down from them hills. I was worried myself if my truck would make it up the road to her place...a two-lane highway turning into a smaller paved road turning into a gravel road turning into a strip of rutted red dirt as the forest closed in around the hillside. Ms 'Liza was a bit hard to pin down over the phone and I thought maybe if I went up there, she'd have some paperwork I could look at. Because I am always thrilled to have paperwork in contrast to somebody's disrememberings of what they wished had happened, but didn't. I asked 'Liza if she had any papers related to this issue she had at one time remembered well enough to call for advice about. That time had apparently passed. She thought she had a paper somewhere, though, so she started unloading the contents of her purse onto the table.

Now when I arrived there, 'Liza was following behind in a neighbor's car. He was giving her a ride back up to her house after she'd hiked down the mountain to get her mail. 'Liza walks slowly and with one of those canes that have a platform and four legs on the bottom. So she had packed her purse for a voyage of uncertain length. She pulled out two waterbottles (at least), two cans of Ensure, a package of soda crackers, several small apples or pears from her tree, and a series of small seemingly nondescript rocks. And then she got to the normal purse stuff, like three or four different wallets with different cards and scraps of paper in them (but no money I could see).

I asked her what the rocks were for because I saw she had many more rocks in a plastic bag on the table. She instructed me to turn on the lamp and look at them in the light. I saw that some of them were sparkly with bits of pyrite or silica. She sees them sparkling in the sun along the road and can't resist putting them in her purse.

I have a hard time going places without my current bag of life's necessities but I allow a lot of crap to pile up in the bag that I haul around for weeks or months until I realize how dumb it is to be carrying this particular pile of papers or that old magazine or last week's lunch dregs, and I purge them. I might as well pick up sparkly rocks and cover my minimal food and hydration needs if I'm going to pack the bag around anyway. You never know where you might end up needing a light meal and something pretty to look at.

How is Ensure? Anybody out there tried it? Dean Karnazes says that Pedialyte is the ideal sports beverage. I'm thinking similarly that Ensure may be the ideal warrior's liquid meal replacement. I may have to test it on the road.

Anyway I see where I'm headed and it's not all bad. I know that confusion and memory loss can be very distressing to the individual experiencing them, but on the other hand I was able to give the same piece of good news about 3 - 4 times to another client last week, and she was delighted every time.


Stine said...

ensure is really tasty when you've been at death's door and are trying to make your way back. mmmnnn, good.

Emily said...

It may be just the thing then, since long distance running is an effort to recreate briefly the whole death's-door-&-back sensation without (hopefully) really having to go there.