Pneumonia Falls — it’s the dystopian anti-vacation destination my mom has been visiting for the past several days. First she spiked a fever, then she got weak and dizzy, then she fell. Nothing broken, so I guess that means her osteoporosis medicine is working.
After a series of tests, it was determined she had a mild case of pneumonia. Antibiotics have taken down the fever and cleared up congestion. But neither her strength nor balance has returned. She’s fallen two more times and is now under injunction not to walk anywhere without the accompaniment of an aide.
Yesterday she told me she has to stop and rest on her way to the dining room and asked me to bring her wheelchair the next time I come. This feels like a big step down to me, as she’s been adamantly anti-wheelchair up until now. But she’s looked a lot closer to the edge of death than this in the past and then bounced back.
I guess we’ll go on the way life has to go on anyway. One day and then another day and then another until eventually there isn’t one more.
I’ve probably made this observation before on my blog, but indulge me, please. As my kids reach their young adult years, I find firsts are changing to lasts. Today is our last first day of school. My 17-year-old begins his senior year today, and I do believe he’s as nervous as he was on the first day of kindergarten. Maybe more.
This is the year he not only has to think about getting through his classes, but he also has to make big life decisions. He’s been trying to research colleges on-line and ends up stressed out about narrowing possibilities and knowing what he’s supposed to do. He’s pretty sure he wants to go into computer programming, but also holds out music technology as a on the short list of majors.
As is common with kids who have sensory integration issues, his grades are not-so-great, but his test scores are stellar. I’m eating crow about having railed against standardized tests in the past, because now I see those scores as his key. I hope they open doors the grades have closed. He’s never had a problem with learning the material in any of his classes, but depending on the teacher, has experienced varying degrees of difficulty with understanding assignments and keeping track of due dates.
He’s come a long way in learning to cope and navigate the world, though. I remember taking him to kindergarten round-up, the spring before he started school. Kindergarteners-to-be were invited to visit their future classroom for part of the day to get a feel for it so it wouldn’t be so intimidating when they started in the fall as students. I think it may have been for the parents’ benefit, as well. I clearly recall standing outside the building with him as he screamed “You’re not getting me through those doors!”
He was overwhelmed with the numbers of big kids and adults milling around. So we explored the outside of the school for a while until he was able to go in. He was fascinated by the classroom fish tank and promptly got into an argument with a girl about fish facts. It ended with her saying, “These are our fish, buster. I think I know about them.” So that was our beginning with his school career.
Though I’m concerned about the big picture things, as my son is, this is the least stressful beginning of the year for me. And the difference is him as a 17-year-old vs. him at any previous age. He’s so darned prepared. He remembered to do all of his laundry yesterday. He sat down last night with a map of the school and marked where all of his classrooms are. He made sure he had school supplies. And he’s planning a homework schedule with talk of bringing up his grades. Wow. I’ve had so many worries about him over the years, but they’re dissipating as I see the wonderful, capable person he’s becoming. I do believe he will make his way in the world.
Fruit flies have a gestation period of ten minutes and give birth to eighty babies at a time. I didn’t look this up anywhere; it’s my own inference based strictly on observations made in my own kitchen. We try keeping a lid on our compost container, but it appears the little creatures not only possess incredible breeding capacity, but also are able to pass through impermeable Tupperware.
I’ve found a couple of strategies to put a dent in the fruit fly population. One is performing a magic ritual in which you clap your hands twenty times. Then you purify yourself with soap and water. The other is one weird trick from the Internet that actually seems to work, more or less. I left a shallow bowl out on the counter, filled with apple cider vinegar mixed with a drop of honey and a drop of dish soap. Several hours later, more than a dozen tiny corpses floated in the liquid. I was so excited, I called my husband in to take a look.
He couldn’t help noting the fruit flies gathered on the rim of the bowl, safely out of harm’s way, gazing upon their fallen comrades. Then it struck me. “We’re just winnowing out the slowest and weakest, aren’t we?” I asked him. “The ones left to reproduce are too smart and strong to get caught. We’re not eradicating the population. We’re breeding superfiles!” He couldn’t even respond, merely left the room, shaking his head.