Last Friday, I posted a story about how, even with pancreatic cancer metastasized to a lung and peritoneum, and COPD, my life is still rich but in different ways now to accommodate my health issues.
Wow – did we get reamed for that. By “we” I mean, in addition to me, the TGB readers who commented about how they find ways to enjoy their days despite what might limit them as they grow older.
What happened is that long-time commenter, Cassandra, dropped by. Kaboom!
She made certain we know how awful she thinks we all are because we didn't talk about how terrible life is caring full time for a husband who has Alzheimer's disease. Here is her comment begrudging the rest of us:
”So, you are all enjoying your old age. Absolutely nothing said by anyone here applies to aging dementia patients.
“My Alzheimer's husband has not been able to learn anything for the last six years, and loses more cognitive abilities every week. In addition he has a bad back, is in constant pain, takes pain medications that cause constipation and is gradually losing the ability to walk.
“I have to monitor him 24/7, including his bathroom activities and I can tell you my life is not enjoyable or upbeat.
“So why don't you all stop bragging about how upbeat your aging process is. I have to go now and try to help him walk to the bathroom for the sixth time in five hours and monitor the outcome. So pardon my attitude.”
It's not hard to understand how Cassandra can feel that way. I've been there, having some past experience caring for my mother although only for several months compared to Cassandra's years.
Nevertheless, I feel that our blog has been sullied.
It is a hard and fast rule here that no commenter may attack other commenters or me. Arguing points of view? Fine. Disagreeing with an opinion? No problem. Correcting an assertion? Sure. But do it with respect. Argue or disagree with the issue, not the person(s).
Respect is one of the top values that have kept this blog from falling into nastiness and chaos, as happens at too many websites, and as long as I am here, I will fight to maintain this blog so people are comfortable here.
There is no way to be certain but I think I know how Cassandra was feeling on Friday.
Even with my short tenure as a caregiver, I was sometimes so tired there was nothing to do but weep for a few minutes until my mother needed me again. 24/7 care is hard, exhausting, unrelenting work no matter how much you love the patient.
But even allowing that Friday may have been a particularly bad day for Cassandra, her attack was out of bounds. We don't do that at Time Goes By.
I made it clear in that post that all old people are not capable of taking care of daily needs but on that day, I intended to talk about how good life can be even with limitations. It was obvious that caregiving was not the subject.
Every now and then I post a story that allows all of us to complain for a day – we all need to do that sometimes. Friday, however, was about how, amid the physical difficulties age can rain down on us, there can still be great enjoyment from life, just in different ways.
One of the things I'm pretty good at is working aorund impediments. Another way of saying that is, I have little trouble accepting what is and then jumping ahead to working out how can I make the best of it or find something else to take the place of what's been snatched away.
Others here Friday were writing about similar things.
So no one was “bragging” on Friday about having an upbeat old age. We were just taking some time to talk about where and how we find joy at a time in life when it's not as simple for everyone as when we were young. And, maybe, to remind ourselves to do so.
The problem with nasty or combative comments is that they give new people who stop by permission to behave in that manner. One of the reasons this blog as been a safe place to enjoy a good conversation is that I'm militant about maintaining respect among us.
There is no doubt in my mind that Cassandra was having a really bad day on Friday and that she's not unfamiliar with such days. Even so, on this blog, everyone is required to keep a civil tongue. Respect is a requirement.