Sunday, March 28, 1999
Walked - 9.5 miles
I went to see my mother today. She has altzheimers and is in a nursing home. Thank goodness for Arizona's Access program, which is their health care system for people who can't pay. My parents have social security, a mobile home on an acre of land, and a few thousand in savings. There is no way they could pay the $3000 - $4000 per month that it costs for my mother's care. Even people with a reasonable amount of savings and retirement are hard pressed to pay the costs of long term care. We are very lucky that my mother's care is paid for and that we could get her into a good nursing home.
My father tried to take care of her but she was one of the very active altzheimer patients and would often stay awake for 24 to 36 hours at a time. She also became violent, which is one of the possible forms that the disease takes. We finally convinced my father that it was dangerous for both of them and we got her in a nursing home. It was just an adult care home at first, but soon they couldn't even handle her. My mother never was one to take anything without a fight. It does make me feel good that she still has spunk.
Since it was a nice Sunday I took my time going and coming. I walked over to a coffee shop that is first of all a bakery and has the most wonderful breads. Their coffee is good but their bread is great. I had a nice orange and currant scone and got a couple rustic rolls to take with me. I relaxed for a while, enjoying the scone and coffee and watching the people.
I then caught the bus and walked over to the nursing home. My mother was watching television, though she was more interested in talking. Sometimes she's very quiet and, often, asleep, but today she was just talking away. Once she got quite angry at something. . I think. She doesn't say words anymore, but I try to answer the tone. She was in quite a good humor and we had a nice visit.
After I left the nursing home I looked up Swan and thought it might be nice to walk up into the foothills as I hadn't been up that way in a while. It was a nice walk but a bit farther than I remembered. Amazing how things seem so close by car. There are some nice houses stuck back in the desert, since this area overlooks Tucson and is nice during the day and beautiful at night. I spent most of my time watching the mountains against the deep blue of the sky. I love that view. I think part of it is the contrast between the stark hills and the color of the sky.
I got some bananas and milk at a supermarket at Sunrise Drive, then walked a mile over to Craycroft and then south again to Glenn where I could catch the bus. There were some great views across the valley. I keep trying to take pictures, but it's so hard to really get it in a photo.
Going down Craycroft was a bit hairy at first as it doesn't have much of a shoulder and no bike lane. I finally saw a dirt path that ran just off the road. It looked like it was used a lot by bikes and horses. I saw a large horse facility half way down. It looked like it was almost in a wash and I wondered if it would flood in a good rain, but it seemed quite prosperous and permanent.
Craycroft crosses the wash where Tanque Verde and Rillito washes come together and there are some very interesting areas that you can see from the bridge. It would be fun to wander around there some time. The walk ended at Ft. Lowell Park which was a nice place to get some cold water and take my shoes off. The park was busy, as always on Sunday, and all kinds of ball games and barbeques were going on. This is also where the old Fort Lowell (duh!) was. This was quite a ways from town when the fort was first built, but has since been surrounded. There are still some old structures and a nice museum.