Monday, February 26, 2007

Is Anybody There? Does Anybody Care?

Tonight I'm wondering... how many people are accessing this blogspot on a daily or semi-daily basis? Only one person -- wonderful Amy Ulen -- has left a comment at this site, and another amazing woman -- Vernita Porter -- has let me know via email that she has read and enjoyed it. (She thinks I'm a good writer. Aw, shucks! ) This morning I awoke to an email from Jeanne Boyle, a former Warner Bros. co-worker, who said I could have a side career as a movie reviewer if I wanted it, after she read my "review" of AMAZING GRACE.

I had to confess to her that I see very few movies because the themes of so many of them are anathema to me, so I would only be able to review movies I elected to see (few and far between), and most I did see would lean heavily toward redemptive themes (CHRONICLES OF NARNIA) , clean comedy (like BRUCE ALMIGHTY), history... that there would be zero action-adventure flicks among them (aside from Original series TREK films, I am not into sci-fi or action adventure at all... and it has been 15 years since I've even watched a TREK film, although I own all of them and the entire Original Series on DVD, thanks to you know who: one Jackson DeForest Kelley and his missus).

I have been known to walk out of a movie when I could see it was going pretty much nowhere... or if it was so crude or filled with blood or vulgarity that I got turned off by it... which I do pretty easily.

But I am also a member of the HOLLYWOOD PRAYER NETWORK ( a large nondenominational group that prays for everyone in the entertainment industry -- Christian, Jewish, Muslim, atheist, Republican, Democrat, liberal or conservative -- in a concerted effort to impact the city that so powerfully impacts the rest of the world with its products: movies, television, radio, porn, children's programming, etc. So I am not anti-Hollywood.. not by a long shot. I love much of what it has created and I especially love its potential to impact the world for good.

I was born again in Hollywood and have many friends who work in the industry who are Christians, Jews, Muslims, black, brown, red, white, straight, gay, and trans gender. I can count on two fingers the number of times I have crossed a street to avoid encountering another human being, because in most encounters I am well aware that the smile on my face and the love in my heart is obvious enough to disarm all but the most depraved souls...

The Hollywood Prayer Network challenges the church to embrace Hollywood as a mission field.
Instead of discouraging talented young Christians from moving there, HPN exhorts church-goers to support young peoples' passion to communicate their grace-filled vision as they use the giftings God has given them.

I think boycotting Hollywood is a losing strategy. The only way Hollywood will respond to our concerns is by feeling sure that we will buy tickets and support their efforts to make good movies when they do set out to write something noble (like AMAZING GRACE, BOBBY, and others...)

Let's change the subject... You have the idea and I don't want to belabor the point unless someone writes a comment and seeks more information.

My 93 year old aunt lives alone in Oregon with a cat she adopted three years ago. She is my late father's sister. I don't think I have spent even fifteen days with her in my entire life, so we're more like "friendly strangers" than blood relatives.

She has been on kidney dialysis for several months now and her doctor is trying to convince her to go into a nursing home since she lives alone and is weak and wobbly. She refuses. I have been trying to convince her for years to move closer to my sisters and me (in Tacoma, Spanaway and Rochester, WA) so that when she needs help, or if she has to enter a care facility, we can visit her weekly or more often and advocate for her. (Anyone with a loved one in a hospital or other care facility should visit often and keep an eye on the situation and advocate for them. Nurses, caregivers and administrators are often overworked and people without visiting family members usually fare the worst in that kind of situation.) She always balked when I would try to discuss it.

A couple nights ago she called, saying she fell several weeks ago and cracked her head open. The paramedics came and took her to the hospital, where she was x-rayed. Luckily, it didn't look as though she had broken anything -- a miracle in itself, because she weighs 88 pounds and is 5'5" tall.

After the x-ray and the "all's well," she came home. A couple weeks ago she started having back pain to a point where she was hardly able to walk, so she went for another x-ray and a compression fracture was found along her spine. So she called me a few nights ago to tell me that she thinks it might be time to move up here.

Earlier I had said that perhaps she could stay with me. She didn't want to do that, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that staying with me wouldn't be a good option anyway. She tends heavily toward negativity and bad-mouths and gossips about people (living and dead, including relatives I dearly love), generally assuming the worst about everybody. That would get me down very fast! Also, she is so skinny that she feels a need to keep the house thermostat at 95 degrees. I am thirty pounds overweight and I would last about six hours in a 95 degree condo.

My Christian heart wants to try and accommodate her here; my sense of logic is all but screaming, "No!" (Imagine Spock in a white-knuckle panic and you have the picture.) So I have decided that I can't invite her to co-habit with me, but neither can I consign her to a nursing home as her doctor suggests. She can still get around; her mind is still good.

So I am looking into assisted living for her. I worked as an Activity Director in a Tacoma-area assisted living community and am satisfied that most of the people who move into assisted living are delighted they did. And as long as she's close by, I can visit often and advocate for her. Her cat can be with her in assisted living, too.

I'm not sure she can afford assisted living for the amount of time mandated before the state would take over and pay her way (when she runs out of money), and none of her very few remaining relatives have the financial wherewithal to help out much long-term... but if she can't afford to stay in assisted living, her only other option will be to come up here and try to live in an apartment near us so we can check in on her daily. Nursing homes run $6K and up monthly; assisted living runs $2600 and up monthly...

I thought our family was finished with elder care issues until WE become the elders needing care, but with this new wrinkle, it seems we aren't. I know I don't have any legal responsibility to get her cared for, but she has nowhere else to go... and even though I don't know her very well, and even though what little I know about her is not terribly positive (not her fault -- her birth family was hugely dysfunctional), I feel compassion for her and know God loves her, so I feel obligated to find a solution for her that will please and satisfy her (to the degree that a person like her can be pleased and satisfied, which is "limited.")

Please keep her and me in your prayers. I will need to "put on my big girl panties and deal with this..." and I pray for the wisdom to find a solution that will 1) show her I truly care and 2) result in her being happy and content for as long as she lives...

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