Monday, July 31, 2017

Why is King Leonidas and The 300 so Freaking Hot?

Travel, Greece, Tenacity
S.R. Karfelt/The Glitter Globe

It's the Gerard Butler factor isn't it?

Remember him from the movie we all know? I've watched it several times. I don't mind the painted-on abs at all. The Spartans with their harsh realities of war are fascinating to watch while I'm reclined on my cush sofa with a bowl of buttery popcorn. Wow. You mean people led hard lives to TRAIN them for difficult times, and I can't resist putting butter on my popcorn? Also, I think it's time for a new sofa with an electronic recline button because yanking this handle is so hard. 

But the reality of the 300 isn't Gerard Butler Hollywood. It's this...

It's the Battle of Thermopylae. And even that's not really reality. The monument is a centuries later tribute. There's historical reality and then there's real reality which, unless we were there, we don't ever really know in full. 

On a recent bus tour in Greece, we made a brief stop to see this monument to those who saved Athens so long ago. Our tour guide explained why the area right alongside the highway was once called a "pass". Because we all know that the 300 blocked a passage so the Persian invaders couldn't reach Athens (before the Athenians had a chance to escape). 

Now the area looks like a wide open plain more than a passage. Then, though, we were told, the sea was much further inland. It's easy to believe this. Meteora is nearby with its famous formations. Those odd otherworldly formations were formed when Kalambaka was once under sea. 

This small group of men knowingly gave their lives to preserve their way of life and protect others. According to the guide there were more than 300. (Estimates put it at 7,000.) There's even a monument to the scholars or poets who showed up, also willing to sacrifice themselves to the greater good. (History calls them Thespians and Thebans after where they came from.) They weren't even trained fighting men, but they came just the same.

It's a beautiful story in so many ways. A story that stands the test of time. People who will sacrifice themselves for others. Men who likely couldn't fathom a world that holds living rooms with cushy couches and people centuries later still crushing on their story, their sacrifices, and—okay, fine—their CGI abs. 

As a writer sometimes I like to consider stories where you take characters from different times/books and stick them all together. I run through the dialogue in my head. It helps cement characters into the writer mind, and it's a fascinating study of humanity, philosophy, and perspective.

Imagine King Leonidas suddenly appearing in your living room when you're watching the 300. He's not going to look anything like Gerard Butler. For damn straight he won't smell like him. There's very little chance he's going to be impressed with you, your living room, or the movie. In fact, this is the kind of situation that only works out well if it's fiction and written by a someone with a whole lot of grace for the modern world.

Have you ever seen one of those movies where someone from now goes back in time and they're soon running the castle and giving the king modern advice? In reality I doubt we'd make it fifteen minutes. For starters I feel a bit like a martyr if I have to sleep on a hard mattress versus a pillow-top. Making a salad completely from scratch strikes me as a whole lot of work. Likely Leonidas had slaves to do that for him. I wouldn't be comfortable with the whole slave deal. I'd be quietly interviewing them and writing their stories, hoping to instigate a revolution. I'd also be making my own damn salad and resenting the fact that there is no Panera in the past.

Also, that whole Spartan mentality where everyone has to suffer to make them strong would make me want to call Child Protective Services, and that wasn't even a thing. Since my only real life skills are observing humanity and writing stories from the fodder I find there, I can't think of a single thing I could offer the past. Plus I'd whine. Probably a lot. Most likely the slaves themselves would off me. 

Wait. What was the question?

Oh, yes. Why is King Leonidas and the 300 so freaking hot?

That's easy. They represent the best of humanity. Not the whole embrace pain alpha male deal. (Although that has excellent abs.) They remind us it's not about us. It's about the survival of everyone. We have a tendency to forget about that. At least that's this writer's observation of humanity. 

What's yours?

Do you ever wonder why certain stories stand the test of time so well? Why they speak to us? Why do you think that is?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Day Gummy Forgot How to Walk—Dementia, Alzheimer's, and Reality

dementia, Alzheimers, memory loss, memory care
The Glitter Globe/S.R.

Maybe that's not what happened. Maybe Gummy didn't forget how to walk. You never really know with dementia. Maybe the EMT and the Emergency Room doctor are wrong. You tell yourself that sometimes.

It's been a good week. It's been a fun week. My house is in utter chaos, but that is what houses are like if you are gone often, and you love to do things that there really isn't time for, and you love someone with dementia. Real life is messy, isn't it?

My suitcases are unpacked. My bills are paid. That's good enough. So I dragged Gummy out of memory care to play instead of cleaning. That's how I roll. That's why there is a load of laundry in the machine that's now been washed again three times. It's still not in the dryer. Maybe tomorrow.

Memory care at assisted living is having summer concerts every week. Gummy is a sundowner. That means her memory problem is much worse as the day goes on. That means when the aides try to get her to go outside to a concert, Bingo, or any activity, she's definitely going to tell them no later in the day. 

Sundowning makes Gummy notoriously uncooperative.

Not that she ever was or is cooperative.

When you take a good look at this disease, it's often tough to know where the person ends and disease begins. 

Sometimes I can talk her into stuff. I'm as stubborn as Gummy.

When I get to her room I hear her, "Can somebody help me? Please?" She says it ever so politely, lying in her bed at an awkward angle, as though her spine were curled into a C-shape, flat on her back with her head and hips near the edge, and her torso nearer the far side of the bed.

          What's up, Gummy? What do you need?
          I'm stuck.
          Give me your hands.
          Ouch! ow, ow, ow.
She fusses as I attempt to scoot her straight. So I slowly sit her up, nab her slip-on shoes and jam them onto her feet, and get her to stand.
          Can you do it? Are you okay?
          I have a headache and my back hurts.
          Do you hear that music? There's a party outside.
          What? Who's having a party? 
          Everyone else. Wanna go out there? It's beautiful outside. You don't want to stay in here all day. It gets depressing. It's summer out there.

She goes. Not that I'd have taken no for an answer. I've not given up. Gummy vanishes sometimes, but not always. My goal is to get her to talk, or make her laugh, or just spot her inside the chaos of memory loss.

It takes quite some time to get her downstairs and out the door. It's hard to see her moving so slowly. Last year, when I Gummy-napped her, and Juan and I brought her here to the shire with us, only her memory was poor. Her fitness level was fabulous. She'd dart up and down the stairs and grow impatient and bored with the slowness of memory care. She had places to go and things to do and what the heck was she doing there?

Now she fits right in. Now she's one of the slowest. 

But we still take her out. The entire family does. Her original self is still burned into our hearts, and we all know how much she loves to play.

That's why I drag her down to the gazebo where the band plays, and into a chair. She eats a hot dog, swats gnats, and listens to the music. Several people from her memory care unit are there. Some snap their fingers in time to the music. At least one dances his heart out, never missing a step. Memory loss is odd. Dementia/Alzheimer's doesn't seem to affect everyone's dancing or singing. 

They're all different though. They're all affected in unique ways. But they're all still people, and they're all still alive is the important part.

The headache and back pain seem to vanish. Gummy has fun. That kind of music was before her time, she tells me. But she likes watching young girls from a softball team hop onto the dance floor to dance with each other or the seniors. Juan arrives and she responds appropriately. She is enjoying herself. After the music stops we sit there, swatting gnats, occasionally singing a bit of a song, not ready for it to be over. 

Most of the residents go back to their rooms and the band packs up. Juan has an after hours meeting and eventually leaves. I prompt Gummy to stand.

          I can't.
          What do you mean? Do you hurt?
          No. I can't. 
I move chairs around, give her the back of one to hold onto and haul herself up.
          Nope. My legs won't do it.
Going behind her, I simply wrap my arms around her torso and haul her up to stand.

It takes a moment or two, but she takes little shuffling steps across the grass, across the parking lot, through the doorway, and down a hallway. Her legs buckle. I catch her, balance her, and we continue. It takes a long time to make any progress. 

The family member of another resident spots us and comes to help. With assistance we made it to the elevator. Then we face another long hallway. I hold Gummy's arm. When her legs buckle, I lift her and we continue.

          Do you hurt, Gummy?
          No. I feel fine. My legs won't listen.
          Can you smile?
She grimaces at me, sticks her tongue out and laughs. She looks fine. She's still happy. We talk about music, and how Poppy used to like to dance. In fact, her memory seems better than usual. Not entirely mind you. She thinks Poppy is still alive, and wonders where he is. She doesn't know where she is, but she remembers we were just listening to music. She remembers it's summer outside. That's more than she's been able to do in some time.

We get back to her unit and an aide meets us at the door. She doesn't like this. Gummy normally storms up and down the hallway for hours a day, packing to go home. Something is off.

          Gummy needs to go to the hospital.
          Yes. I was thinking the same thing.

Gummy doesn't think so, especially not in an ambulance. That's another oddity. Usually she's not aware of other conversations much. Not anymore. I suspect it's difficult enough to follow a conversation directed at her. When I talk to the staff, her attention seems to drift away. Normally (the new demented normal) she wouldn't follow that she's going to the hospital. She's following. An aide has to point out that ambulance drivers are often good-looking men. 

This fact garners Gummy's cooperation. 

          If you play your cards right, Gummy, maybe you can get some mouth-to-mouth.
          I want to see him first.

She passes the little stroke test that the paramedics give her at the scene. They wheel her out of her room and I gather her shoes and a lightweight jacket, suspecting she'll be coming home tonight. That's the way it's worked the last few times she's had to go to the hospital. One of the paramedics questions me.

          It doesn't seem like a stroke. Does she have sundowners?
          Yes. It's awful.
          Sometimes they forget how to walk.
          Wait. That's a thing?
          Oh, yes.

The ambulance is still parked outside the door as I leave. I peek through the window and see Gummy inside. She's smiling in a way usually reserved for grandchildren. She's such a flirt. Just because people get old or sick doesn't mean they're not interested in the opposite sex. That shit is hardwired into our biology right down to the basest cells. I watch her for a moment, tempted to pull my phone out and snap a photo. It seems inappropriate. Dementia is making it more and more difficult to determine what is appropriate.

If I'd known about forgetting to walk, I might have tried to dissuade the whole ambulance thing. Being unable to walk is a huge thing to me. But I've seen stroke victims. Gummy's having a good time. That's not usually how that problem goes down. I'm now doubtful she's had one.

Gummy sees me watching through the window. She winks.

The woman WINKS at me. 

You can judge me all you want, but I stop at Target as I'd planned and grab a loaf of bread. I've done this hospital run a few times now. Usually I beat the ambulance to the ER. Then I have to wait until she gets a room and gets situated. After Target I go home and get my husband. I wait for his conference calls to end and make myself a piece of toast. I gather Gummy's paperwork, my notebooks and pencils, and then Juan and I go to the hospital together.

Gummy's in a room, lying in bed, bored. 

          How'd you guys know I was here?
          We're your emergency contacts. They called us.
          But how'd you get here so fast? You could have waited until tomorrow morning.
          When your Gummy is in the hospital, you don't wait.
          I'm serious. How'd you get here so fast?

These questions are repeated in a loop for the next three or four hours. Gummy thinks she's in her hometown. She knows we live somewhere else. We don't argue semantics anymore. It just stresses her out. She gets to decide where we are and the whole scenario now. Sometimes we slip up. Reality is ingrained in us. In the end we simply try to follow her lead. It's working much better than trying to drag her into the real world. She doesn't fit there anymore.

After an EKG, CT scan of her head, and blood work, two male nurses show up to see if they can help Gummy walk. Miracle of miracles, she swings her legs off the side of the bed. They put her shoes on her feet as though she's Cinderella and they're the Princes. She's smiling. They help her down and she trots around the hospital between the two of them.

The emergency room doctor tells us she forgot how to walk. It is a thing. It's a precursor to all the other things that dementia and Alzheimer's eventually make their victims forget. Eating. Breathing. We knew this. I guess we thought it'd be different. I guess we never thought she'd be jamming to music, chowing down a hot dog, making naughty jokes, and suddenly not remember how to walk. 

Once more our reality adjusts to match this unreal disease. 

Okay, here's another helping of awful. Get used to the way it tastes.

At least the problem didn't stay. Not today anyway. This is how it always is with Gummy. She might be chatting with no idea who I am to the point that she denies knowing me, and in her next sentence she'll announce something like, "This is my daughter-in-law, have you met her?" She might say it to my daughter, or my husband (her son), or she's even been known to add something inappropriate like, "She's a—slut," to which I like to add, "That's why your son married me. I'm just like his mother."

Gummy gets that jab by the way. It makes her belly laugh.

It's a questionably polite way of reminding her I'm married to her son.

It's also a satisfying way of saying, it takes one to know one.

Gummy walks right out of the hospital. Normal walking, not the little shuffling walk. The ambulance would take her back, but there is no need. We tuck her into the passenger side of Juan's car, and she enjoys her ride back home to memory care in a standard vehicle with a hemi engine and old rock music playing. The kind she likes. At 2:00 a.m.

Leaving memory care in an ambulance, and cruising back there a few hours later in a little sports car ripping through gears is weirdly ironic to me, and I'm a freaking fiction writer. A non-slutty one. Of course that's what I would say. Anyway, have you met my mother-in-law, Gummy? Now she's a—

Just kidding. Gummy is a sweetie, but dementia is a bastard. Sometimes she likes to point out that although she's the one with a memory problem, that I forget things too. I always have, and of course she remembers that. I'd like to point out that although Gummy has the memory problem, she's not the only one who gets to use inappropriate humor. I've always done that too, and when she forgets, I helpfully remind her. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Interstitial Cystitis, Bladder Spasms, and My Charmed Life

Interstitial Cystitis, I.C., Sjogren's Syndrome

It's two o'clock in the morning and I've been racing to the loo about every three to five minutes for the past three hours.

I'm wearing those Therma Care heat wraps. One in front and one against my lower back, but the chills won't stop.

My husband is snoring comfortably in the next room.

Part of me wants to wake him up. "Hey! I'm miserable!" But any human interaction right now would make me more miserable.


Excuse Me.

Back. I went nine minutes that time. Between the breaks I mean.

It's not the non-stop peeing deal in the middle of the night that gets you. It's the pain. Liquid fire.

Did I mention that I'm in the Canadian wilderness? No electricity. No flush toilet. Yep. I'm doing this with a compost toilet. That wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't having a problem that makes the bathroom smell like that scene in Slum Dog Millionaire

It's to be fixed tomorrow. Meanwhile I'm going non-stop tonight and fighting dry heaves from the problematic compost toilet smell.

I do not feel sorry for me.

I just spent the past few weeks at a writer workshop on an idyllic island in Greece. 

I know, right?

Suffer, bitch. (I hear you.)

I am. I promise.

Why is it that when something great comes my way I feel I deserve suffering? Things have to even out, I suppose.


If we count these spasms like labor, they're nine minutes apart. Unlike labor pains all I'll birth from this is a very tired morning. Also, the goal here is to have them further apart, unlike the baby-producing kind.

The heat pads aren't just for the chills. They're to relax the pelvic floor and hopefully help the spasms slow. 


Nine minutes still.

Lucky for me I don't get this very often.

Over the years I've accumulated an arsenal of tricks to prevent bladder spasms. I've had this for years during most of which I had no clue what I had or why.

The symptoms are about identical to a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection). So the first year or two it happened I'd end up at the doctor for testing.


About nine minutes still.

Damn. It hurts.

Anyway, when I went to the doctor it was usually after the spasms had stopped and nothing showed in an exam or urinalysis. Or worse, white blood cells showed and treatment for a UTI was usually broached.

I knew it wasn't a UTI. I'd had enough episodes and enough past experience with UTI's to recognize this as different. That's fortunate for me because UTI treatments can make my bladder spasms (caused by Interstitial Cystitis) worse. Especially if I got rote recommendations like drink cranberry juice. OUCH.

If it's I.C. you have, raising the acidity of your urine will cause more discomfort. More spasms. More pain. Keeping it alkaline is what helps. That can mean eating less acidic foods and more alkaline foods. 

In a pinch some baking soda dissolved into some water really helps Interstitial Cystitis. (1/4 tsp in about 1/4 cup of water.) Yuck. But it usually works.

There's also:

  • Drinking a lot of water.
  • Eating a high-alkaline diet (ask google).
  • Avoiding acidic foods.
  • Figuring out which high-alkaline foods bother you just the same (supposedly lemon is alkaline. So I made lemon tea with lemons tonight. Because I don't have any safe tea here. I used the entire lemon and the rind. About seconds after I drank it my bladder set itself on fire in protest).
  • Get some Prelief. It's like Prevacid, only instead of for heartburn, it's for bladder spasms. It's tough to find because I buy it all. But Amazon. It allows you to get away with eating more acidic foods. Woman cannot live on radishes alone.
  • My doctor recommends Marshmallow Root Tea twice a day. It helps to line the bladder and protect it. I know that makes her sound total California, and there are meds for this, but I don't tolerate meds well and the tea actually seems to work.

  • Find a Urologist who has experience with I.C. if you have it, because I'm no expert. I just happen to have it, so I'm over-sharing in case you do too.

My Urologist calls my I.C. "the junior kind", meaning it's not as bad as the full blown kind. Sufferers of that kind have my undying sympathy because this shit blows.

I have what the doctor also calls "a junior autoimmune" problem. (Sjogren's Syndrome.) Apparently the two go hand in hand sometimes. I've had them both for about ten years now. 


That may have been about twenty minutes!

Woo-hoo! Life is good.

Celebrating that achievement I then fell asleep on the couch for an hour. The couch without mosquito netting. I may need a blood transfusion now. This is the Canadian bush.

My Junior I.C. comes and goes. The bulk of the time I can eat all those acidic foods sufferers shouldn't without any real problems. Until it is a problem. Then it's too late.

A good deal of my spasms happen for no discernible reason and when I've been doing everything right. 

At least this episode didn't kick in during an international flight. Or on a bus in the middle of Greece. Or a ferry. Or a train. 

It's easy to look on the bright side because this problem has plenty of room to grow. It only stops me from doing what I want a few days a year. 

So I'm grateful.

Usually I can feel it coming. I have a prescription for baking soda tablets (Sodium Bicarbonate). It's easier to travel with than a box of suspicious powder. I take them with plenty of water. With Sjogren's Syndrome drinking water is pretty much a part-time job anyway. I take life with plenty of water. After which I pee like it's my other part-time job. 

I'm judging all the bathrooms in the world because I've used many of them. That said, I've yet to meet a single one I wouldn't use in an emergency. My standards could not possibly be lower when it comes to bathrooms. That should be obvious considering the whole Slum Dog Millionaire compost one I've been weeing in all night.

But I've traveled some of the world, hiked the Grand Canyon, and have lived my life in spite of these issues. Because eff issues. You can't wait for shit to be perfect before beating a path to your charmed life.

Mind you this morning I'm cautious. (It's morning now. I fell asleep on the couch again. The mosquitoes ate the last of my blood. I hope they all get bladder spasms now.) I didn't portage out anywhere. My husband did. He's going to boat-hike-raft-drive his way into town. He'll probably go to Tim Horton's for one of those Maple Sugar Frosted Donuts with Crumbled Bacon. I dream about those. No, I've never had one. They're on the acidic foods list. I'm staying in my cabin eating unwashed celery and peeing in the grody compost toilet while waiting for my pelvic floor to get its shit together. 

At this point I can tell when it's wiser to be still. That doesn't stop me from going to the baseball game when I have tickets during a flare.

It's a calculated risk.

If I can sit in the blazing sun (heat helps) with plenty of water and a ladies room nearby, I carry on.

I don't want to let this control my life.

But I do respect it and plan accordingly.

A temperamental bladder is like taking a high-maintenance two-year old in public. You've got to plan and weigh your options. During a full-blown episode, when it feels like I drank napalm and a crazed Toy Fox Terrier is gnawing on my bladder like a squeaky toy he's trying to get the squeaker out of, then I stay put. 

And, no, I don't wear Depends. This isn't a sneeze and tinkle thing. It's liquid nitrogen in the bladder while that organ and its surrounding friends go all epileptic. It's pain, chills, and enduring.

Until it's over. 

When it's over, grab life by the girly nads and enjoy every non-spasming, pain-free moment.

Forget about I.C. Junior.

Just make sure you have your arsenal of anti-spasm and acid-lowering tools nearby, and go find your charmed life. And if you want to tell me about your bladder habits, the grossest bathroom you've peed in, or your charmed life, let's over-share below. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Home Sweet Ho—Ahhhhh! I'm Back from Traveling and Hanging with my Mother-in-Law Again

S.R. Glitter Globe

Sure I spent over a month traveling the world. I still wasn't ready to come home. There's a crippling amount of reality in my daily chaos.

I'd been looking forward to seeing Gummy. She didn't even notice I'd been gone. Five weeks. That was a relief though. Everyone took good care of her, although she fell five times. Once for every week I was gone.

Other than some scrapes and bruises she was just fine. There's no rhyme or reason to the falls, so they're difficult to prevent. Her dementia is progressing, and she's having trouble remembering how to get into or out of the bed, or a car. 

Now I mostly lift her into my Jeep. If I'm in her room with her I center her on her bed. Otherwise she sits right on the edge and slides down the blankets to the floor. It isn't far, but it's obviously to be avoided.

Today she took little baby steps down the hallway with me. I showed up with a bag of new underthings. Some of hers got ruined in memory care laundry. Someone forgot to take their lipstick out of their pocket. It happens. 

As we slowly make progress down the hall she stops and looks at me.

          It's getting worse.
          What's getting worse, Gummy?
She tapped the side of her head.
          Your memory?
She nodded.
          Way worse. 
          The memory medicine isn't working?
          I'm taking you to the doctor this week. We'll talk to him about it. 

For a moment she looks into my eyes, standing in the middle of the hall, her expression lucid. It's times like these that dementia is at its most horrific. She knows. Even now there are times she's fully aware of the crippling loss. I look into her eyes, and it's exactly like I say in the book. It's like standing in deep water holding onto the hand of a drowning person, and unable to do a thing. Slowly, ever so slowly, I'm peeling her hand off of mine. 

I know a day is coming when she won't reach for me anymore, or I won't reach for her. 

Today is not that day. Today I sit in her room and use a sharpie marker to put her name into her new unmentionables. I lifted her into my Jeep and take her for ice-cream in the middle of the day. She likes butter pecan, but she reads the long list of choices. It stresses her out. She can't choose anymore. It's too much.

We sit in the hot summer sun, and Gummy eats a kid-sized cone. It runs down her arm because she can't keep up. She wore sweatpants. Most days she dresses too warm. The aides try to influence her, but she's always cold now. 

After ice-cream we simply sit outside and watch the world go by. We don't talk much like we used to. Every topic is a landmine. I don't know where in time she is. I don't know what percentage of fiction is mixed in with reality.

There's no bringing her back to the real world. All I can hope for is some peace for her, wherever her mind is. So we sit quietly most of the time. 

An elderly gentleman comes and sits beside her. Despite everything, she likes that. Her posture changes. She's getting hunched and tight along with weak. For a moment she sits taller, and the fog lifts from her eyes. He talks to her. He isn't a memory care patient. Gummy responds appropriately to his greeting, "Good afternoon, young lady. How are you?" For that moment it's the best thing that ever happened to her, and I'm doing some serious daughter-in-law cock-blocking without saying a word.

When he leaves he says, "I'll see you later. I'm glad I met you." Gummy briefly glows. Someone else takes his seat beside her. A woman with a Word Search Puzzle book. Gummy lights up even brighter. She's always loved those books. A stack of them used to sit beside her chair at her house, and another in the bathroom. For a moment she looks around her seat for hers.

          You have some of those books upstairs in your room, Gummy.
          I do? Are you sure?
          I'm positive. You have a pile of pens next to them. You always do them in pen.
          That's because I don't circle the word until I know for sure I've got it right. 
          Do you want to go upstairs and I'll find them for you?
          Yes. My mouth is really dry. I saw someone with a Pepsi.

Gummy loves Pepsi. She never asks for a drink. The fact that she even mentioned one means she's extremely thirsty. It takes me a while to get her upstairs. Each step is tiny. Each turn needs supervision. Gummy doesn't remember how to get anywhere. When she first got to memory care it was like walking with an energetic bird dog. I know this because my hubby used to always have a Brittany Spaniel. They dash right, they dash left, they dash between your legs, and run in a circle. All within a three second time span. Gummy doesn't move fast anymore. But she still does the same thing in slow motion.

I herd her with about as much success as I ever did that bird dog.

Upstairs an aide brings her a brand new Word Search Puzzle book as soon as I mention it. But Gummy gets to her room and takes two sips of the Pepsi I give her, and tries to get into bed. I end up hoisting her into the middle so she doesn't fall out. I think I might have torn something really important in my left bicep. I've got to start lifting weights other than Gummy. Within moments her eyes are shut.

It's the best day in ages. As awful as this disease is, and as quickly as it's progressing, she interacted with me and other people appropriately. I climb into my scalding hot Jeep and face the blinding sun with absolute contentment. These days are treasures. They're almost gone. For Gummy this one is gone. She won't remember, but it happened just the same.