OWL SONNET

I try to see the bright side of things, and one nice thing about having an elderly mother-in-law to care for is that, even at age seventy, I still get treated like a young whippersnapper. Of course, this also means that like Rodney Dangerfield, “I get no respect”, and it can be a bit wearing at times.

I tell her not to walk her dog up to a dangerous curve on a nearby country road, especially when it is narrowed by snowbanks after a storm, but later look up the road and see traffic stopped up at the curve, and even a front-end-loader stopped in a driveway beside the road with its scoop full of snow, as an elderly woman slowly crosses the road right on the curve with her alarmed little dog (who knows better) in tow. Her eyesight is bad, and this causes her to scrunch up her forehead and look cross even when she isn’t cross, and this apparently made people afraid to blare horns at her. In any case, she has proven no young whippersnapper is going to tell her where she can walk her dog.

Multiply this by twenty times and life starts to get draining. By fifty and she is almost as exasperating as the government, which seems to want to take a system that worked and utterly screw it up.

Lately life has left me feeling drained. It didn’t help matters that they stole an hour of sleep from us last Sunday, with the nonsense of Daylight Savings Time. Then we got hit by a major snowstorm. My wife and I were so worn out that a very nice Saint Patrick’s Day dinner we had on Saturday was in some ways just more work.

We sat down on Sunday and tried to plan a vacation, but even that made us tired. A sense of absurdity kicked in. When even vacations make you tired, perhaps you are nearing a sort of world-weariness some state is spiritually advantageous. I forget how the quote actually goes, but it is something like, “When even opulence makes you weary, your heart is making space for the Lord to walk in.”

When my wife and I got home after dark something happened worthy of a sonnet. Maybe it wasn’t a “sign” but I’m certain a Viking would call it an “omen.”

We're a couple old fools who have flunked a test.
Though we both make our bed we seldom get rest.
We try to treat all like they are a guest
Yet stumble and fall while doing our best.

We drove home in darkness. Silent was night
And our drive looked the same, lit by our light
But into its beams flew a shadowy sight:
An owl, with wide wings braking its flight.
It lit just above us, wisely looked down,
And melted away my face's sad frown.
Why should we interest this soul of the air?
What had we done? And why should it care?

I have no answer, but cannot refute
That souls from above us do give a hoot. 

CORONA VIRUS –Elder Abuse–

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1a/HippocraticOath.jpg/424px-HippocraticOath.jpg
HIPPOCRATIC OATH

It is going to be hard to speak these ugly words, however there are some doctors to whom the Hippocratic Oath is the mere mumbling of a meaningless ritual, empty words muttered by rote. At the risk of offending good doctors, I grimly remind all that there are bad doctors, and furthermore that there are also bad customers. Some seek doctors not to heal an elder or child or emotional relative or spouse, but rather to have them drugged, or even removed.

With such ugly truth in mind, I suggest people do some ugly math.

First, how much does it cost to keep a frail elder alive for a year in a state-run institution, especially when that elder is on a state pension? It easily comes to $100,000 a year, if not more.

Second, how much money could be saved if 5000 elders happened to die? Multiplying $100,000 by 5000 gives you a half billion dollars.

Third, why would a governor send infected people into the very eldercare facilities that should have been protected? This mistake was not made once, by a single bumbling official, but in several states, as if the infecting of eldercare facilities was a secret, damnable policy.

Lastly, why were underfunded facilities offered extra money for putting elders onto respirators, often against their will, though respirators can often be the kiss of death and do more harm than good?

We are seeing ugly events occur right before our eyes, and need to take hard looks and ask hard questions.

You are in everyone, Oh my Great God,
Even in the most foul and corrupted.
Yet they are the ones who think I am odd
When I cry out the starving need to be fed.
Yet they starve the worst, although they’re fat.
They wallow in blubber, although they stuff
More food in their maws. They never think that
They need different food. They prance and fluff
Like parodies of honest dignity.
Children playing at being kings and queens
Are more noble than the corrupt I see.
Must I be kind to a fool who demeans
Your Holy Name? Although they are starving
It’s hard to be kind, when they’re the ones carving.