Friday, May 21, 2004

Sometimes I feel Jon within me as I work and deal with things here. I can feel him as strongly as if he were sitting next to you sense a person's density or warmth..... He never was very interested in the yard or the garden, always working on his van or his carvings. Sometimes he'd go out back and play with Wishes his silly chocolate lab. But when he's with me in the garden I tell him what I'm doing, why this plant, what kinds of things you need to do....the way he'd explain what he was doing with a carburetor.....I tell how you could weed from a wheelchair, or while using crutches. I remind him how I drove a stick shift with a broken arm in a sling.

I try to let him inside my arms and hands so he can feel strong hands again, untwisted by contractures. I pay attention to bird songs and the hot sun on my back so while he sits in his wheelchair staring at the ceiling, he might be seeing me watch a blue jay and a cardinal quarrel over some seed. While I weed I tell him some plants just are too aggressive to be allowed in the garden and some plants are just in the wrong place and need to be moved. Recently I realized that I have forgotten to allow in my meditations that the plants feel it when I tear their roots...Jon seems upset when I kill a plant so I have been trying to move them instead. We have a lot of white clumped violets in the walkway so I have to find a good bed for them where they won't get walked on. It's odd but when Jon first came to me and I let him in, I suddenly could feel a trache in my throat, the taste of the plastic filled my mouth and I could hear the hissing air. I decided that if feeling my son's pain was a price for letting him out for a walk in the sun, then I would take the pain any time he wants to come visit.

Jon comes, I think, around the time he's in coma stim, when they put on that loud movie and do random things to his body. I think that all that sensory stimulation is maybe misdirected, at least in his case. I think he needs somehow to be allowed to make some choices, so lately when I think he's in there I ask him what he wants to do. Sometimes I drive somewhere and he gets scared when pickups go by, I can feel him tighten up and I get old memories of accidents I've been in. It's a funny experience because he and I both have had about the same number of accidents and even when they had to cut me out of my car, I only broke a couple of vertebrae and walked out of the hospital about two weeks later. I've always had what they call "fey luck" I have good luck because I need it, whereas poor Jon had bad luck and didn't deserve it.

I hope my poor boy doesn't die before I do, because I may be the only way he can take a walk in the garden. I don't "know" if it's true, but I feel that it is and that makes some things easier for me. I just hope it makes some things, a lot of things, easier for Jon.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Maybe it's the meds, maybe it's the pain that still gets thru..... I just talked to the nurse taking care of Jon today. She told me that his trache had popped out and they had to put it back in. So I asked her why they put it back in and she told me the story about how important it is that they can get him unplugged if some mucus gets in the wrong place. See, I'm talking to a Christian and they don't think like pagans...From my viewpoint nothing is outside the grasp of the Goddess, the Creator. Jon's trache popped out because he wants it out of there! When they suction him, when they shove a tube into his lungs, tearing flesh and sucking up hurts like hell. His hands go up to his throat and his eyes get big and red and he hurts so bad..... but if the fluids don't get out of there they can cause pneumonia so the doctors want a short clear passage to the liquids so they can save him.

What are they saving him for? What is he coming back to? Twisted feet, twisted hands, broken thinking, loss of control, or memory....all this they want him to have until he dies....which will be fairly soon according to the statistics. Ten years tops.

I'm not saying kill him...hell no. But if they take the trache out he will see himself as not being attached to a hissing hose, not half plastic and half flesh. They will show him progress in his condition, something to build on. Without something to build on, what reason does he have to fight? Why should he want to come back to those hands, those feet, that fate? No, if we can't give him something that will make he think there is something waiting for him besides a wheelchair and tubes shoved down his throat...he's not coming back.

Pagans believe that this life is an eyeblink, that we go on and we live forever, because we are part of the Creator, part of the goddess. This life is short and should be sweet. We believe that someone like Jon can make choices on some level and those choices can impact on this life. He wants the trache out....I know because I've seen him move his hands to it, looking sad and upset. I KNOW how my son looks and thinks and feels....I am, after all, the person who helped bring him into this world. I am the person who walked with him at 3 in the morning when he was sick and crying. I'm the guy who taught him jokes and entertained him with puppets and noisey toys. He is a part of me.

I think Jon wants to try to make a go of it and the first thing we can do to make it easier for him is unplug him from that damn tube. He is breathing on his own, he coughs up crap, he swallows on his own.....he only needs help when he fails, and what if that time is the time he has chosen to go? Why should we pull him back if we pull him back only to a broken body, a damaged mind and no future? I would rather set him free to be reborn. He's done his time. But I sure as hell am not about to suggest that he be killed. Quite the opposite. I suggest we show faith in Jon and the Creator and take the trache out and let Jon try to breath and talk and grow stronger. I don't think he's going to get better if they keep shoving that tube down his lungs. If he doesn't see something good on the horizon, he's just going to hunker down, dream a little dream...maybe some spirit walking....but he won't try to recover anything if he thinks it's going to be what it is now.

I'm going to try very hard to get him into a nearby long term place so he will see that we are still trying. He will see that life can change and for the better.

Right now the car is in the shop, my back is waiting for the MRIs to tell someone why I hurt so much so much of the time. I can't go visit Jon and if i do I will have to dose up so much to kill the pain that I am risking everything for the visit. Who will care for Jon if I fall asleep at the wheel driving down to see him?

I want to be well, I want my boy somewhere close. I want the pain to stop.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Sometimes I wake up with an idea that won't go away. Today I woke up thinking about Herakles.

The first Labor of Herakles was the killing of the Lion of Nemea. There is a lot of stuff on the web about the Lion, about it's heritage and size and danger, but not a lot of speculation as to the source of the story. There is one page which says that all the myths are related to geographical elements, like the Goddess in the Moon. A quick look at those pages would make you slowly back away from the author with a fixed sick smile on your face. The man had some very interesting way of looking at patterns in the earth.

One thing that struck me about Nemea was the fact that much of what remains of the place that existed around the time of Herakles is associated with the Games. They seem to have been very important and like the modern Olympics many buildings, hotels and baths were constructed for them. So we have a stadium and tracks and such. Herakles was a massive man, strong and willful and generally considered to be a really nice guy, unlike his Roman counterpart Hercules, who was a violent drunk.

Many blues artists take names from previous or even contemporary artists so that when following their career one often comes into some confusion about which one the story is about. Voodoo queen Marie Levau seems to have lived an extraordinary time unless you understand that her name and legend were taken on by another woman even before she died. So Herakles is immortal in some ways because his legend lives on in the actions and deeds of others.

What the hell am I talking about? If we understand that everything has a source and that source can be both external and internal, we can start to see why a certain thing seems to be "special". Themes, archetypes, icons..... These are immortal in much the way Herakles and Marie Levau. They live on because we continue to give them life. They are living because they change, they take on new substance and discard unused substance. This form of life is acknowleged in the ancient times by bestowing Godhood on what had been a mortal.

Working backwards one can retrace certain steps and determine when or where a god became immortal, and perhaps, who that god was. Modern mythologists are quick to pronounce that Odin and crew were real people in a real migration into northern Europe, clashing with native tribes and then merging with the population. Individually we can see our life changing and evolving but it is difficult to peel the accumulated artifacts of a person and the core person.

Getting back to Herakles. Scraping off the Hercules parts we are left with an incredible strong person who risked his life to do certain things for the benefit of the people. When he killed the Lion of Nemea he was saving a nation really, or at least a good sized town. But who was the Lion? Why do I say "who"? Because the Lion became immortal, as did the various other monsters Herakles dealt with.

Years ago my daughter was watching Casablanca and Peter Lorie was huffing thru his lines, "Rick, Rick! You've got to save me!" and she asked "Why does that guy say his lines like a cartoon?" I asked her what she meant and she explained that he was saying his lines like that mad scientist in the cartoons, and I tried to explain that Peter Lorie was the source of those cartoons, but she found it very hard to see the chronology and insisted that he must have picked up his mannerisms from some early cartoon, because that character was so ubiquitous. And what if, in his youth perhaps, Peter Lorie has seen a play wherein some character who maybe even resembled him, said his lines with that whiney desperate voice? The actual character type might even be from Egyptian times, some now-nameless god or folk character who was the source for Peter Lorie. Now if you have a bug-eyed round headed person give that funny little laugh people are going to "see' him as a mad scientist, an evil doctor and the like. Could not the ancients have had a kind of Peter Lorie who became immortal?

The Lion of Nemea might have been an ancient athlete whose great prowess threatened the local hero, Herakles..... or someone who resembled Herakles. They meet at the games, there is a terrible turnover and Herakles defeats the Lion. Now this would be told again and again, like the Ali-Frasier fight, eventually devolving the Lion of Nemea into an actual lion, and so in the early images of the fight we see the two of them standing and clawing at one another like people, and then later we see them on all fours with the Lion acting much more like a real lion. Even today we have scenes wherein a person, usually a man, announces himself as the "son of a hurricane whose mother was the lightning!" or some such thing. So it was that the Lion of Nemea had a family tree of strange beasts and Herakles had an immortal father. Tiger Woods has a young son who is learning to play a very good game of golf. The son of the Tiger may be a Beast on the links someday.

We often find that our heroes and gods had mortal roots and then we become disappointed in them. Imagine the flurry if we found that Joshua bin Joseph moved to Greece, married to the ex-High Priestess of the Goddess...maybe had children, and died from complications he acquired thru a short period of time in which he was hanging from a cross and stabbed in the chest. Suppose his immortal father and mortal mother were both mortal.

Sometimes our legends, our ideals and our core source as a culture turns out to be mortal and, if extraordinary, still very real, very dead. George Washington did not have hand-carved wooden teeth, never threw a coin across a river, never stood up in a boat, never cut down a cherry tree and then admitted it. John Kennedy never slept with Marilyn Monroe and no one was ever healed by a tent-top preacher. But they should have and in our hearts, if not our minds, they did.

We have a collection of newspaper article titles. Dragons Come to Life. Witches Are Older, Smarter. Rams Crush the Vikings. Each gives us a mental image of immortal-like beings do extraordinary things. If such things were not committed to memory they would be told time after time and maybe someday we would have a story wherein these things happened as described, and if you investigated them you would find newspaper articles which seems to confirm that Witches were waging some kind of a war in the small town of Greenwich NY. Green-witch NY.

Paul Bunyan was or was not a real lumberjack who was strong and did great things and so people talked about him and the stories grew as did he. Or his story was a complete fiction which became confused with a real man or men.

Sometimes people get confused about chronology and myth. They get very "wise" in how things happened and tell stories about the devolution of a god into a folk hero into a concept. And sometimes the stories are designed to explain "why things happen", or to teach a lesson, like Aesop with his fox and the grapes, which could have been a greedy man down the street halting an effort because it was too hard and having his neighbors make fun of him, the foxy fool. Or Aesop saw a fox trying to get at some grapes on a vine. Sometimes, like Marie Levau, a person knowingly takes on immortality by deliberately aligning themselves with a myth, thus CEOs will declare in a resume that they earned a degree or medal which they did not in fact have. But if you embellish a story it is best to be sure you do so in such a way as to be consistent with the core value of the story.

Abraham was willing to slit the throat of his son for his god. Joshua bin Joseph was willing to die on the cross rather than attack his attackers. Nathan Hale announced that he regretted having but one life to lose for his country. Ronald Reagan was a great actor whose greatest role was that of President. Herakles killed the Lion of Nemea The United States of America is a democracy which saved the world in 1945 by vaporizing two cities. Charlie Manson was a mass murderer.

Friday, May 14, 2004

I went on a killing rampage yesterday. I tore and swore and ripped and killed. Dozens of living creatures, made by the Creator, died at my hands. Some I crushed with my foot, some I simply squeezed the life out. I made the choices of who would live and who would die. Many of my victims tried to escape, most just took it. Some had lots of uses and skills, many could cure human ills, but they all died.

Gardening is such a speciesist activity. I moved some strawberries into beds where they could grow and prosper, but the grasses I simply tossed over my shoulder. I know about all the good grasses can do, but so much of the yard has grass that I felt we had enough. The plantains don't often wander into the garden but when they do I let them live, unless they move too close to my allies, the beans, onions and herbs. Any weeds which also have pretty flowers would be moved to a better spot, "forced relocation" is an active part of my garden. Out in front there are a number of very nice edible plants but they are growing in the beds I have reserved for the bulbs, so they had to die too. The Creator is much more reasonable and neutral in her judgment and I know that the roots I leave behind in the soil will be the weeds of next year, or next month.

Usually during the year I simply make a wasteland of the walkways, pouring woodchips and such on the ground where I want to walk. Plantains and strawberries like the woodchips, as do the violets. Plantains are good for chest congestion when brewed at a tea. The chewed leaves can be made into a poultice for insect stings. The ribwort looks a lot like plantain and has many of the same uses, but is especially good for the lungs, hence the name. Valerian started growing in next to the driveway in the ditch and I have been moving them to a better spot in the flower beds. They grow big ragged leaves and tall pint umbrells which smell so sweet... the opposite of the useful roots which smell like old sneakers. The roots are excellent for muscle spasms and pain, like what I get in my back from digging in the garden.

I say all this in part because sometimes it troubles me to kill living things simply because they are in the way, but I see that around the world we also kill other humans because they are in the way. We select certain humans for preservation, relocate others, admire some and slaughter many. Even now the Israeli government is demolishing Palestinian homes near the Egyptian border to make them feel safer. That's what they say anyway, but putting close to 30,000 people into tent cities in the middle of summer will only make things less safe. We invaded Iraq and killed thousands of people, including children with uncles and brothers around the planet vowing revenge for the loss of innocent life. Obviously we know that doing this will make our life less safe, but only for those not protected by Secret Service agents and armored vehicles around our homes. People like my family will be unsafe to fly or travel abroad.

I wonder if the stinging nettles in my empty garden plots yet to be tilled are in fact freedom fighters come to punish me for my insolent disregard for life. If life is sacred and a gift from the Creator, why then are we so eager to end it? Why are we so easily led into rape and torture? Maybe mankind is insane or maybe we have bred this disregard for life and honor into our children and their children. Maybe without the occasional hero like Gandhi or King we would totally forget that the majority of people doing the slaughter claim to worship a god whose ten little rules include the warning "Thou shall not kill." Even if we translate the words as a warning against murder it seems to me the gist of it is that driving a tank over a person is considered a bad thing by that which gave all of us life.

So I try to preserve life when possible, but sometimes when it's spring and I am in a hurry to see my beans and onions and spinach and herbs grow under the sun and within my special place I have set aside for such things....I go on a killing rampage. It does seem odd, though, to celebrate life by planting flowers and food and then telling some harmless worm or beetle that it has no right to live and crushing it's head. Somehow I feel like more than my hands are dirtied by this act. But I move on. They aren't like us, after all. They haven't the same god or lifestyle. So that makes it alright.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

There is a scene in Casablanca where the Chief of Police is told to close Ricks and he announces to the crowd that he is "Shocked! Shocked that there is gambling going on in this establishment!" This came to mind as I watched our Senators, defense Secretary and others announce how shocked they were that our troops were torturing and abusing prisoners. The little smiles one could detect in the corners of their eyes made me even more aware that they knew the TV cameras were on them. They probably sucked at school plays too.

I don't think we tortured people in WW1, although I know we raped and murdered. I don't think intelligence gathering was part of the ground war all that much and we didn't seem to have as many prisoners in camps. WW2 vets have said that they treated their prisoners almost as good as they treated our privates. In the Korean War, which is still being waged, we did in fact torture, abuse, rape and murder...not only prisoners, but civilians. The Viet Nam War, which we lost, we not only raped, murdered, tortured, pillaged and experimented on our prisoners and local civilians, but our own troops. The pattern continues along to Iraq and the other undeclared wars.

I wonder if the change came about with the Holocaust? Maybe all that video of the camps so impacted our psyche that as a nation we became obsessed with torture and abuse. It penetrated our blood, changed our DNA and was passed on to our children. Look at the games our children play now, look at the PS2 and Xbox games. The newer ones where you drive cars over nuns and babies for points. The games where you can rape and torture for points.

There was an article about a sharpshooter in Iraq. He was talking about going out alone at night with infra-red scopes. He shot people who looked like terrorists. One shot, one corpse was the title of the article. He was being portrayed as a hero, a noble, brave man who was risking his life to save America from terrorists. There was no notice that if a man told you that he goes out at night, hides in the dark and kills people who look like they need killing, you would think that he was a psychotic. Why is that sniper not a psychotic? Because he did it on orders? He still acts like a psycho and enjoys killing people in the dark. When he comes home, if he lives long enough, do you think it not possible that he might have acquired a taste for sneaking out at night killing people who look like bad guys to him?

After WW2 we obsessed about death camps so now he own them. We obsessed about tyrants, so now we are led by them. We obsessed about the decline of moral and ethical values so now we reward degenerates and prosecute "do-gooders". We decry phony elections run by party big shots who buy votes....So now we insist on hackable electronic voting machines which leave no paper trail and are manufactured by a company whose CEO says how important it is that we re-elect the Bush Cheney Regime.

Eventually the country will be run on trillion dollar deficits by psychotic idealogues supported by bloodthirsty military machines to insure the continuance of a system of civilian management which benefits a tiny handful of degenerated failed businessmen who dodged the draft and cheated thru school. Somehow I don't think this is sustainable.

I suppose we could get off the couch, march to Washington and demand our country back, but that would be most inconvenient and interfere with watching the latest Fox porn. On the other hand, if we all just stop it, just stop driving gas guzzling cars, stop supporting our troops by sending them into places that they are unprepared for, stop ignoring our children, stop cheating on our wives, our bosses and our employees..... if we started acting more like Jimmy Stewart and less like Arnold the Terminator....maybe we could start showing our faces in the world view again without feeling just a little bit ashamed and afraid.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Gardening is like graffiti. You go out into a world you didn't make and try to leave a mark of some kind, hopefully a nice one, one which portrays something about yourself. I think the people who go out and with cans of spray paint "tagging" box cars and the like are doing much the same thing. I use violets and salvia to make a pattern of color and form and some kid zapping the side of a train is making a swirling image of colors and form also. An element of movement adds to the fun of tagging, but my flower beds are always changing in some ways, so I have some temporal elements to contend with as well. I suppose taggers are hoping someone will see their logo and enjoy it, whereas I have mostly abandoned the idea that any of my friends are going to wander over and see my yard work. Everybody who enjoys flowers and plants is busy working on their own expressions.

I've been dumping woodchips in a rough diagonal line from the side of the drive to the garden gate. Along the line of chips I have been planting mints and daylillies, violets and sunflowers. As you walk up the path you come under a wooden arch that marks the beginning of the plantings. The lilac is small now but someday it may be towering over the archway and providing some shade for the clematis on the other side. I've been planting a lot of blues and purples and shades of pinks, but here and there I add a sudden yellow.

One of the problems has been the havoc it raises with my hands. I cut myself, the fingertips get dried and cracked, and my poor nails, usually bitten and short have developed real length to enable the opening of pocket knives and plastic bags. I have a bottle of oil made from sunflowers and comfrey plants to help heal the cracks in my thumbs, which look like they could use a trip to the ER for some stitches.

A few years ago I had this vision of the yard as a series of flower beds and wandering walkways. I saw my boy walking along using a cane to get to the garden. It was such a sweet vision that I decided to do my part to see it happen. Jon will have to take care of the rest and who knows but that the figure in my sight heading for the garden might not have been me in some unknown future? Jon won't be walking for several years if at all.... They never used splints on his feet, an early concern of mine. They did finally put splints on his hands, but they rarely use them and so someday, should he emerge from his hiding place, they will have to cut and lengthen the tendons in his wrists to enable his hands to open from the claw-like condition they are currently in. The feet have dropped pretty badly and they will need surgery as well. "Dropping" means they are pointed down due to the tendons shrinking from lack of use. He won't be able to even use them to help drag himself from his chair to the bed. They won't support any weight.

If they had followed the schedule for the hand splints Jon would have a chance to paint or even hold a pen for writing before his voice comes back. The splints are custom fitted to his hands, but without using them, the hands continue to shrink and curl and now the splints are very hard to get on him, if you can find them. Sometimes the aides just toss them somewhere, sometimes they get lost in the dirty clothes or separated in the closet or on the floor. Whatever the reason, not using them will cost my son years of therapy and months of pain. The reason they don't get used is that no one there thinks Jon will need hands again.

Jon used to sculpt wood. He would take manzanita wood and carve interesting shapes and then make a box out of the block. Organic curves and lines formed the outside, like tendons or veins and the lids often were spring loaded so you could flip them up and dig out what was inside. Most folks probably stored their pot in these boxes and Jon could trade them for other trinkets and music. Jon was also a chef, making wonderful meals in hamburger joints or 4 star restaurants. He showed me how to use the knives correctly and could turn an average meal into a work of art, rearranging the veggies and adding a sprig of color...."Presentation, dad, it's all about presentation!"

Jon liked to work on old cars, old vans like the 1960 VW van that folded around him and threw him out of the windshield. With twisted hands and folded feet Jon will not be working on cars, or meals, or boxes. His personal presentation is floppy, drooling, cyborg-like with tubes and props and a faint inhuman odor, the kind of presentation that makes little kids afraid and hide behind their mother. People think he's stupid because he drools and can't hold his head up. He feels stupid for the same reason. He looks down and sees those hands which used to be so strong and talented, those feet that hiked in Alaska and paddled in Arizona hot springs.

When I dig my flowerbeds and plant my salvias and daylillies, I think about Jon wheeling or stumbling or walking through my flowers, stopping to look, to smell, to taste. I think about how someday when I am dead perhaps my children, my daughter, my son will point out some configuration or visual pun I left behind. Maybe Jess will hand a root beer mint to a small child and watch their eyes grow round as the flavor hits home. Maybe Jon will wonder as he looks at the blues and pinks if his father was trying to forget his problems, or trying to leave something behind when he worked with cracked fingers and dried hands in the walkways and beds in the back yard.

I was thinking of you and Jess, Jon. I was thinking about Jessie living here someday, maybe even with you in some back room, playing with your carving tools or listening to your music. Maybe Jess has friends who come and eat veggie barbecues at a table I made and maybe her brother sits along with her as they talk about those terrible days before he rose and walked again. Maybe he doesn't recall the dark times when we doubted. Maybe they both are looking ahead to longer days and more yellows and reds in the flowers I left behind. Sometimes the flowers take root and grow more than even I expected, lasting longer and being stronger. Sometimes they shrink and wither and die. We never give up, we continue to plant and we wait in the winter and spring to see what summer has to offer.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Jon hated money, he used to tell me that it caused so much trouble that it wasn't worth having it. I think he'd be freaked out to know that his disability payments have accumulated to the point that he now has over $1800 in the bank.

Our car has a bumper hanging by two bolts on one side. It has over 200,000 miles on it, the seats are torn, the side map pockets have cracked off and there is a short somewhere that keeps blowing the fuses. The rear gate is rusted to the point that you can't lock it and the rear wiper doesn't move except once when you turn on the key. If Jon were in his best before the crash...he would have so much fun fixing the Volvo and that $1800 would be put to good use. Jon liked working on cars in much the same way I like working in my gardens.

I suppose that I could say keeping our car safe and mobile so I can drive the 100 miles to be with him is a thing for which we could use Jon's money, but then, it isn't a direct good thing because he does not own the Volvo. I bring this up because my sweety-pie is driving down to NYC tomorrow in the Volvo and the right front tire has a slow leak we can't seem to find and the fuses that blow kill the lights, the windows, the wipers, the radio and much more. Jon would have tried to fix this car for his step-mother to be safe on her trip. He'd probably go down with her to help collect his sister's stuff from college. But he can't because he's in a coma.

Is it ethical to use his money to repair my car? In the past I've sent him money to repair his van.... I even paid for the windshield that smashed his head. How ironic is that? Regardless, the people at Lake Katrine will only reimburse money spent on Jon when they agree that the expenditures are valid. They'd probably approve if I could explain the logic, but still..... is it ethical for us to use Jon's money while he's in a coma?

When he was first hit his friends started up a collection to help the family during our time of need. His room mate told me he went into one of the hang-outs Jon liked and turned off the juke box and stood on the bar and explain what had happened to Jon and passed the hat. They raised something like $3000 for him and one of the people Jon had been helping out volunteered to take the money and put it in a bank. She had been one of those "fringe" people Jon adopted from time to time. She had a bad rep and had stolen from friends but this was a chance to show her merit.

She took the money and partied for a few weeks until it was gone. She would send me emails saying she couldn't understand why I hadn't gotten her checks. I figured she had stolen the money but I was also kinda busy trying to get Jon to squeeze my hand to worry about it. Now that they got her to confess I think she is doing community service, because she has a young son and I sent the prosecutor a note saying that if she was convicted I felt she should be made to work in a long term care unit so she could come to understand the kind of people she had stolen from. I have no idea if she ever did that service. Nobody bothered to tell me.

Nobody has told me yet if Lake Katrine is going to be closed, or if they do what they will do for Jon. I suspect that all things being equal he may be sent to a hospital in nearby Kingston, still 100 miles away from the family, but close to doctors. We have a very nice hospital here and a long term care unit is actually inside. We applied for a bed and are waiting to see if someone will die or otherwise move on so Jon can come closer to home. If he had money to pay for a private room he could be there now, but he doesn't, he's on Medicare and Medicaid.... the programs the compassionate conservative President wants to modify so it's a pay-as-you-go choice thing.

"Jon, which hospital do you want to go to? Squeeze my hand if you want to go to Kingston. No? Squeeze my hand if you want to go to Saratoga. No? Lay there in a coma if you want to be dumped off your gurney in a local park...... good! Orderlies, take him away...."

Do I sound bitter?

I don't mean to be, but I am so very tired of leaving messages and not getting answers. If I had enough money I could hire a lawyer and try to put legal pressure on someone somewhere to find out what society wants to do with my comatose son, my slightly responsive boy. We tried to hire a lawyer to get guardianship of Jon for me, but the lawyers wanted to do other things and they never returned my phone calls. One seems to have left the state.

$1800 is not enough to save my son.

I bought shorts and shirts for Jon, and some new CD's to listen to, but I am never sure if they play his music or if he simply lays there in his bed staring at the ceiling in the dark. Sometimes that is how I find him: in the dark, staring at the ceiling.

Every two hours someone is supposed to turn him, to check for pressure sores and speak to him.

When I visit him I have to smell his hands for the scent of soured skin, which indicates he has not been washed enough. I check his back for sores and rub his feet with lotions. I have ticklish feet, but Jon seems not to mind. He frowns when I do my inspection, but of course the doctors say this is reflex. They don't say this to my face most of the time because they are rarely if ever there to talk to, but sometimes I read the notes when a pad is left in his room.

Some of his photos have been missing from his bulletin board, the ones of his red van he drove from NY to California with his sister. I had painted yellow flowers on the back with "Peace" and "Love" on the petals. I told him hippie vans had to have flowers on them. His sister painted this on the side: "I am lost. I went out to find me. If I should return before I get back... please tell me to wait." His friend wrote that on a pad on our refrigerator when he was visiting a few months before the accident. Jameson was Jon's best friend, he said. We haven't heard from him since the accident. I don't know if he knows what happened to Jon, but in three years he has not phoned or written Jon.

Do I sound bitter?

The American occupation forces spend tens of billions of dollars each month to occupy Iraq and destroy Iraqi resistance. Even more is spent to defend the oil that flows thru Iraq. We now own the second largest pool of oil in the known world.

They are closing hospital wards because there is not enough money to pay nurses and aides to care for people like my son and the law mandates a certain proportion of nurses to patients. This is to protect the patients.

I am told that American taxes allocated for the War on Terror cannot used to treat Americans in long term care units at home... only prisoners in secret military prisons.

The War on Terror is not not working. There are many time recently when I definately felt Terror in my heart, like whenever I think of what may happen to my son when they close his long term care unit for undisclosed deficiencies.

Soylent Green is people.

Collaterol damage is people.

My son is people.