"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." Heartbreaking news for my sister...


Our favorite bird, Birdie, who sang for us each day to give him nuts.
Please listen to this song all the way through!
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Charles Dickens wrote in The Tale of Two Cities:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

This adorable pair of Northern Cardinals visited us several times each day while in Kauai, Hawaii five years ago.  He's sharing the nuts we gave him with his mate, that we leave on the railing each day.  How sweet is this! For that post on April 10, 2015, please click here.
And here we are, dear readers, in the worst of times as most of us are striving to survive with grace and dignity through this frightening pandemic. No one is exempt. No one is free from the fear, from the risk, and from the consequences of a world in lockdown for an indefinite period of time.

My sister Susan's situation is indicative of these stressful and unusual times. She's back at the assisted living facility in much worse shape than she was before she fell. 

He's so cute.  And he sings like nobody knows! See the above video of him belting out a tune for our attention for more nuts.
Not one nursing home, palliative or hospice care facility or rehab center in Nevada would accept her as a patient due to COVID-19. Not one. Subsequently, she was sent back to her assisted living facility which does not provide the type of palliative/hospice care she requires at this time. 

She literally cannot get into her wheelchair to get to the bathroom or attend to any of her personal needs. She can barely feed herself. She's trapped. The assisted living facility has agreed to do what they can to help her, but they have many patients that also require attention, especially when no family members can visit.

But, these types of facilities don't offer the degree of help she requires now and most likely will require for the remainder of her life, which may shorter than we anticipated under these dire circumstances. It breaks our hearts to know how she is struggling to get through each day.

Birdie, contemplating his day.
I call her every morning, which is nighttime in Nevada, USA but I'm having trouble keeping the call from cutting off. Thank God, my sister Julie, niece Kely, and Susan's ex-husband Tom are all also calling her frequently providing considerable emotional support and encouragement.

Based on what is called lacunar infarctions of which she's had many, her memory is fading by the day. Lacunar infarction is described as follows: "Lacunar stroke or lacunar infarct (LACI) is the most common type of ischemic stroke, resulting from the occlusion of small penetrating arteries that provide blood to the brain's deep structures."

No doubt, many of you have experienced a similar diagnosis in your aging parents and family members. On top of this frequently occurring situation in her brain, as mentioned earlier, she has COPD, congestive heart failure and a chronic pain condition. Also, she was injured in the recent fall. Oh, good grief, this is unbearable for her.

This is the male Red Crested Cardinal which also came to visit each day, but he and Birdie didn't get along well.
Susan was a highly intelligent and successful businesswoman for most of her life with an illustrious career. She, too, traveled the world and we often share stories of places we've been and the experiences we've had, especially while on safari in Africa and India. 

To lie in bed for 12 years withering away is unthinkable for any individual, as the quality of life fades away, day after day, as do the memories of a life well-lived. 

She asked me is she should "let go" and do what our mother had done at 81 years old in 2003, stopped eating and drinking, refusing all treatment until 17 days later she drifted away with all of us at her side. What could I say? Fight to live under these dreadful circumstances?
A showdown between Birdie and his competition.
I could only offer my love and support for whatever path she so chooses. Only she can make that decision. Many of us can make such a decision, when and if the time comes and if we hopefully still possess a modicum of mental resources to make such a dire decision.

The sorrow this virus has bestowed upon all of us worldwide has placed so many in the horrifying position of making life and death decisions for ourselves and for those we love.

Thank you to our readers for the love and support you send our way in thoughts, messages, and prayers. We extend the very same to each and every one of you.
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Photo from one year ago today, April 10, 2019:
Mr. Nyala likes it there. It was a delight for Tom to see him again that morning and to be able to take these photos. For more photos, please click here.

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