Open Salon

Excerpts from my blog on Open Salon


Excerpt from Open Salon
November 2013

. . . Which brings us to cheesecake. I really don’t like it. I take that back. I liked my Nana’s cheesecake–my Dad’s mother. She made it from scratch with cottage cheese and a crumbly graham cracker crust. Dad loved it as a special birthday treat, and eventually Mom learned how to make it for his birthday, but I don’t think she liked it.

It’s all Mom talks about lately. How she had some delicious cheesecake with dinner or how they won’t give her any cheesecake. Things change. Even people sometimes. Having a brain disease will do that to you too. Mom also loves potato chips now. She used to hate them. Go figure. Sweet and salty. It’s all good. I don’t ask questions anymore. I try to accept and live in the moment with her, with a mix of salty and sweet, bittersweet too.

Free Falling
Excerpt from Open Salon
June 2012

In the wheelchair
pushing forward from the hips
seeking that thing
that fell to the ground
in the day room
after breakfast.
Was it a last bit of muffin
or a hidden gem
no one else could see
but she knows is there
She reaches, straining
nobody notices
they never do
she leans forward, harder
wishing it with all her might
that feeling of flight
forward motion,
ever forward
she is going somewhere
despite her shrunken legs
which fail her
She will fly
and not shield her eyes
why would she
shield her eyes?

Law & Order: Alzheimer’s Unit
Excerpt from Open Salon
February 2012

An article in The New York Times yesterday entitled “Life, With Dementia” by Pam Belluck, discussed the underreported phenomenon of dementia in the prison population.

According to Ms. Belluck, “In 2010, 9,560 people 55 and older were sentenced, more than twice as many in 1995. In that same period, inmates 55 and older almost quadrupled, to nearly 125,000, a Human Rights Watch report found.”

Dementia makes a person paranoid or confused, which is only exacerbated in a place of confinement, like prison. Some attack staff members or other inmates or provoke fights when they meander into someone else’s cell.

“The dementia population is going to grow tremendously,” said Ronald H. Aday, sociologist and author of Aging Prisoners: Crisis in American Corrections. “How are we going to take care of them?”