(Catch &Release - fish gone by...)
[As DayStream articles overflow and drop off our regular news pages you will find them here to review at your leisure. You may also use the DayStream Index to locate past articles.]
New Z Column:
"DayStream" will be a regular Z column featuring daily updates as we process recent events in the mainstream press. What begins with our morning coffee, like a fresh flowing stream, may not be the same by tomorrow's 'DayStream' or the next time you step into it. Give it an hour and you may not even know you've been here before.
(re: Sacbee, A13)
Well, it sells papers, don't it?:
[editor's note: if this were just about old folks, the last two generations or so, we wouldn't be quite so snarky about it. But, think. This is about newlyweds, people just starting out, and a future that won't likely happen for them for 60 or 80 or more years (hopefully not happen at all.)
What kind of love/romance/marriage reality are we trying to freeze in place for those folks and their world? Do we even have a clue as to what they might want or need up in the 22nd century? Hell, for that matter, what do a couple of kids just starting out know about who they will be in sixty years or so?
With all respect to the author of the "compassionate contract" idea, it takes real z-axis thinking to even guess at what adjustments of reality future generations might thank us for. Your editors at The Z don't think this one even comes close to qualifying - ed.}
The latest in pre-nups for the about-to-get-hitched — and don't you forget it!—
for the dementia affiliated.
Yeah, you read that right. Well, she didn't call it that, exactly. She called it a "compassionate contract", but we know what Rebecca Graulich meant in her special to the Bee editorial page (2/11/15, A13).
Well intended, we're sure. But come-on. To paraphrase a good friend of mine, "it must be frustrating to be in a marriage that doesn't permit you to use a little common sense." Or, let everyone else just get over our American sexual hysteria about practically everything and move on.
If you have a thing about monogamy as a sexually contexted term, then deal with it -- don't have it if that accords with how you view the matter. Otherwise, stop kidding yourself if you think real full-time caregiving is going to leave much time for slipping out for a little nookie now and again (Graulich didn't call it that, either. She called it "romantic relationship without guilt", but you get the idea.
so let's all grow up. You'll know the right thing to do
if the time and opportunity comes along. You don't need the "permission" you think you're being given in the first blushes of wedded bliss to go fool around when your loved one starts forgetting your name; that is, if you can even find respite care that covers hanky-panky. Mine, was all used up just taking care of those "urgent" tasks I should have attended to the month before.
Caregiving is all about doing the right thing. If you don't know what to do with your, uhm, urges— stuff 'em or indulge, guilt it or postpone till "someday", do what comes natural, pretend it's something else, or stop for a cold shower on your way to the medicine cabinent and your loved one's daily dose of Aricept—
There's about a hundred other major 'guilt-raising' issues you'll be dealing with in caring for your loved one. Believe me, sex is going to be way at the bottom of that list. Even if you're caring for a
Happy Valentine's Day —
oh, &forget the sex.
parent, or someone who isn't even remotely a candidate for foolin' around and you have no vows about going out and finding some, sex is still going to be very low on your list of priorities. It's one of the first things that gets scuttled in the dog days of dementia, for caregiver and caree alike.
You got problems with what to do about guilt? Then forget about sex, you really should be examining if you're fit&fiddle for being a caregiver (and I can recommend Barbara Gillogly to help you figure out if you are [also mentioned in Graulich's article, Dr. Gillogly is a well-seasoned, thoroughly gifted gerontologist in town who knows her way around the block on aging and ethics.]
Unquestionably, the subject of sex & aging, sex & dementia, sex & caregiving, sex & respect, sex & dignity, sex & ethics, sex & guilt..., all raise serious questions. But in truth, they are just subsets of the sex&just-about-everything questions that emerge in a society so hysterical and infantilized on the subject of sex that tortured get-arounds like "compassionate contracts" seem almost reasonable as answers. They're not.
If we buy into that recipe, then expect to see followup commentaries in the Bee on compassionate contracts for those "friday-night" refusals, "not-in-the-mood" declarations, "time-of-the-month" quarantines and "forgot-to-take-my-Viagra" resignations. All consequences of somethiing we are not even close to sane enough to talk about intelligently.
On that score, pre-school seems a better option than "pre-nups" for the do's and dont's of human relationships. But I expect we'd screw that up, too, with some kind of "core curriculum" and standardized testing regimen. Yes, I can almost guarantee it.
Write from the z-axis griddle:
Why not rename Valentine's Day "Compassionate Contract Day"? — a national holiday!
The banks stay open, but all dementia caregivers have to keep their panties hitched & their zippers up, and stay home in remembrance of the the vows they once took, way back when. One day only, folks. After that, you're off the hook for the rest of the year— go play!
[ps. for readers outraged by my slant-humor on this subject, 15 years of my own caregiving taught me one very important lesson: above all, keep your sense of humor. So if you're inclined to write the Z angry letters blathering about our "insensitivity", don't bother. We won't be moved. But if you want to know something about the inside of my caregiving experiences, you may use the Z contact form and request a copy of my chapbook, "Stewards of Mortality". I'll be glad to send you one for free. - ed.]
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