09 October 2022

It's a slow exhausting slog, this recovery from pneumonia. This time, the impact of the immune suppression shot (a pen injection every two weeks on a Friday evening) is textbook obvious. It sets me one step back to the two steps I made toward getting better every time. Talk about the stuff of a rock and hard place etc.

My father is on the slow path of his systems shutting down. Kidney failure, beginning pneumonia, water in his lungs, imminent congestive heart failure. The way an old body will cease to work. He is comfortable and bored, the carers put him in his wheelchair and on good days, he is angry enough to shout for someone to push him around but mostly, he is just drowsily looking into the far distance. He is now confusing me with my sister-in-law and strange as it may sound, this feel liberating. The few times, I managed to talk to him on the phone, he was, Sabine? Sabine who? Out of sight, out of mind.

I am not allowed to visit while on antibiotics and I am debating whether I should in any case, finding excuses  listing my reasons why it makes sense to avoid the 4+ hour trip (each way). At least I am already the black sheep of the family, so this will not come as a shock to my siblings. I fully disappoint, as expected.

Other than that, there's a war to the east of us, coming closer, or so it seems. We have been following the BBC's Ukrainecast podcast, a mixture of explanation and personal testimony (also available on spotify, apple and many other platforms).

For dictators, freedom, an open society, the individual pursuit of happiness of people must never be successful. That is why Putin started this war, because dictators fear freedom. And that is why he must not win this war, because that would mean that dictators can attack freedom successfully again and again.

Human rights and democracy are an indispensable core of international relations, not luxury issues. They are not secondary or subordinate, they apply not only sometimes, not only when it costs nothing, when it burdens no one, but always. 

Totally unrelated musical interlude:


  1. Visiting your father will not improve his condition but may very well cause you a relapse. I gather he won't know or care if you go or don't go in any case. If your siblings cannot or will not understand the cost to you then that's their problem. The only determining factor is how you feel. Would seeing him one last time make you feel better?

    As for Ukraine, it is hard for me to understand how some Americans are supporting Putin in this war, urging Ukraine to just give up and give itself over, complaining about the aid and equipment the US is sending. If Putin succeeds, he will not stop at Ukraine. It will simply embolden him and he will attack the next neighbor and the next. We waited until Hitler had swept over Europe before recognising the danger. Better to spend the money and equipment to stop Putin now in Ukraine than try to stop him later.

  2. I did not get to be at my mother's side when she was taking her last breaths. My siblings held the phone to her ear and Roger and I told her how much we loved her and how much she will be missed everyday. We've read that the last sense to go is hearing. So, it might be the safest thing to do is just have one of your siblings hold the phone to your dad's ear so you can say your good byes.
    I worry about our world these days. Putin and Trump truly scare me. They envision a planet that will be ruthless, careless, and deadly for most of us. They both need to shut up and go away. How will that happen? I have no idea, but I hope someone strong and powerful does. Midterm elections here in the USA are coming and they are as important as ever.

  3. I'm sorry you're still not feeling well. Auto-immune diseases are horrible, an inside job as it were. My daughter has started to distrust both her body and her mind due to the MS. I guess it eventually it happens to us all but auto-immune diseases force these issues at a younger age.

    I'm the black sheep of the family too:) I realized this past year that my siblings are pretty messed up too. It helps. Sending hugs.

  4. Fun music, a lift to my spirits. Sorry you're dealing with your own medical issues as well as father's failing health. Do what your heart says. I agree about our world where democratic and free nations are tottering at the grasp of autocracies.

  5. You've been in my thoughts in the context of all you mentioned in your post. Thank you for the link to Ukrainecast and for the delightful unrelated music which reminds me that there is a fullness in the context we all share. Sending love always.

  6. I'm sorry for your father. When my mother was actively dying I wished she wasn't in her right mind. Who knows what is best?

  7. I think that what Ellen said about seeing your father is very wise.
    I am scared to death about what Putin decides to do next. HOW have we let these madmen be in charge?

  8. What does it mean to be the black sheep of the family? It is all a matter of perspective, I have decided lately. No one truth is absolute. Stay home, dear Sabine. Your healing comes first, especially if your father will not know you have visited moments after you've left. This is a hard time.

  9. I am sorry your father is going through this. I lost my father from congestive heart failure and cancer a few years back. It is terrible to watch.

  10. We may disappoint others and be true to ourselves and that is a victory.

    As for Ukraine, Putin is insane with power and there is little more frightening than that.