Update, 18 Friday 2010: Barbara Hutchsinson, Executive Director of the CHO, was kind enough to leave me a comment yesterday - saying that the tree is safe and sound and that the airport has no intention of cutting her down. In fact, they have the Van Yahres Tree Company making annual visit to fertilize, prune, check lightning protection, remove ivy, etc. Such good news! I'll have to share it with my Father's neighbors, who weren't aware of this.
~ one of Virginia's oldest and largest white oaks (Quercus alba)~
I made it back to Charleston late yesterday evening - after stopping in Richmond to have breakfast with my Mom's sister, and after visiting a bit with a former neighbor. Oddly, surprisingly - the highway has become a peaceful place for me (I finished listening to the book The Help - which I must say is the best reading of a book that I've ever listened to) - a road that connects my two dysfunctional worlds. The truth is, it was nice to get back to my own craziness: life in an old Airstream with the Pointer Sisters, Handsome Stanley, and the lovely Haiku (who, by the way, was happy to see me). Life as a scientist without a paycheck.
On the way out of my Father's home in Earlysville, Virginia - I've started photographing a wonderful white oak. Here are some of my previous images of this tree:
I stopped again yesterday - and walked up the small hill in front of the tree to capture the image above.
Unfortunately I was told recently that this tree is doomed - that it and the old church nearby will be taken down so that the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport can expand it's runway.
There should be laws again this kind of thing.
There should be laws against offshore oil drilling.
I'm pretty tired. Got back in last night, only to read through the grant that was due today - I'm Co-PI on this one, so not the lead PI, so I wasn't responsible for the final submission, but still needed to provide input. So a bit before midnight I sent off my edits, and then received another draft today that I went through - and then it was officially submitted a bit after 3 pm....two hours before the deadline.
But first thing this morning, after sleeping in a bit, I retrieved the Pointer Sisters and Stanley from the Paw Plaza Hotel. They're here tonight, sleeping, happy to be back in their dysfunctional little world too.
I like my dogs.
My Father on Aricept is interesting.
There's good, and there is bad.
The good is that he is euphoric. His memory is better - and I can't tell if it's his short term memory or long term memory that is better - it appears that they both are. The biggest change is in his energy level - words I was told were 'hyper', 'wired' - all are fitting, and I don't want to say this - but it appears manic. Interestingly, along with this changes, his gait has improved to almost normal - prior to Aricept he was walking with a shuffle (think Muhammed Ali). We went for several walks, and I haven't seen him walk with such normal strides in years.
All of this said - it's also as if his memory is better, but his comprehension, his judgement - his perceptions - haven't kept pace. So in a way it is an even more difficult time for my brother and I, because he is more confident, and he keeps telling people that he 'was sick a few months ago because he had fallen and hurt his back' - completely oblivious to the cognitive changes swirling around. He now wants to save money to buy a new Volvo (he hasn't driven since last November). He wants to get an electrical line connected to the garden shed in the backyard, so that it can be wired for lights in case he needs to go outside and get something after dark (he's never gone out there after dark that I know of - and he's never wanted to before).
I'll contact his neurologist tomorrow, to let him know the changes that we are observing. The good changes, the more difficult ones. The challenge for us is to, while celebrating the positive changes, find a way to manage the mania.
The Airstream seems peaceful, even with a grant due, even with three dogs and a three-legged cat inside.
Now I start working on a grant related to the mess the Gulf is in. One day, I imagine, I hope - I will be able to take a vacation.