Category Archives: alzheimers

Tales of dealing iwth my dad’s adventure with Altzheimers & dementia

A public forum: Medical aid in dying

This is a topic that impacts all of us. We’re all going to face death, sooner or later. First through a loved one’s passing. Then facing our own mortality. Don’t we have the right to take control of this all important part of our lives?

Learn more, courtesy of Compassion and Choices Hawaii.

Medical Aid in Dying

Hawaii’s Journey
Tuesday, January 31, 2017 5:30 – 7 p.m.

Hawaii State Capitol Auditorium


Medical aid in dying gives mentally capable, terminally ill adults the option to request a doctor’s prescription for medication they can take in their final days to end their dying process painlessly and peacefully, ending unbearable pain and suffering. Eighty percent of Hawaii voters want medical aid in dying as an end of life option (Anthology Research, December 2016).

• Hear from local doctors, patients and surviving family members about why an aid in dying option is so desperately needed in the Aloha State.
• Learn about the Oregon experience, where aid in dying has been legally practiced for 18 years.
• Find out how Compassion & Choices Hawaii is working to authorize the practice in Hawaii, via both legislation and the courts—and how you can help.

For more Information:

Hawaii Supreme Court hears case involving 2012 ballot problems

The Hawaii Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week in a case that stems from problems with the delivery and handling of ballots in the 2012 General Election by the state Office of Elections.

The case touches on both election law, and the rule-making requirements of Hawaii’s Administrative Procedures Act.

Law blogger Robert Thomas observed that it isn’t clear which set of issues triggered the Supreme Court’s decision to review the case.

Maui attorney Lance Collins filed suit against the state Office of Elections on behalf of the Green Party of Hawaii and several individuals as a result of the 2012 election problems. The plaintiffs argue that the Office of Elections should be required to adopt rules to cover the kinds of situations experienced in 2012.

The plaintiffs lost in proceedings in the Second Circuit Court, and that court ruling was upheld by the Intermediate Court of Appeals.

The Supreme Court was then asked to overturn those prior rulings. Its decision is pending.

Here’s a description of the election problems from the ICA decision:

This case arose out of the 2012 General Election. It is undisputed that mistakes were made. There was a shortage of paper ballots in English at a number of precincts across the State. In addition, when reserve ballots were sent out to the
polling places, there was a mix up of the ballots sent to two locations; this resulted in 57 voters casting votes on incorrect ballots. It appears, however, that: all voters in line at the close of voting received the opportunity to vote; if English language paper ballots were not immediately available at a particular polling place, voters could vote at an electronic voting machine or on an alternative language paper ballot; every voter who signed a precinct book cast a ballot; every voter who voted on the wrong paper ballot had his or her vote counted in every race in which he or she was entitled to vote; and, none of
the races that could have been impacted by the ballot mix-up were close enough to have been affected. Nevertheless, as widely acknowledged, Appellees’ execution of the 2012 General Election fell short of the electorate’s reasonable expectations.

It was in response to those problems that the Green Party plaintiffs filed suit, seeking to force the Office of Elections to formally adopt rules to govern its procedures.

Here’s a description of the issues from the Judiciary website:

This case involves an action by the Green Party of Hawaii and seven registered voters who voted in the 2012 General Election (Petitioners) seeking a declaratory judgment pursuant to HRS § 91-7 (2012) that certain methodologies and procedures used by Scott Nago, Chief Election Officer, and the State of Hawai`i (collectively “Respondents”) in the 2012 election are invalid under the Hawai?i Administrative Procedure Act (HAPA). Specifically, Petitioners contend that Respondents violated rule-making requirements for failing to adopt administrative rules pursuant to HAPA regarding the methodology and procedures used to determine the number of ballots to be delivered to the precincts, request additional ballots when a precinct runs out of paper ballots, and address the situation where a voter votes on a ballot that includes some races in which the voter is not entitled to vote.

I haven’t had time to listen to the recording of the Supreme Court session, which is available here.

Other background:

Decision of the Intermediate Court of Appeals

Plaintiff’s pplication to the Supreme Court

State’s response in opposition

Green Party reply to the state

“Bloom County” is back!

I happened to be in the car with NPR on the radio for an item from “Fresh Air” on the return of “Bloom County” after 25 years (“‘Bloom County’ And Opus The Penguin Return After A 25-Year Hiatus“). This time around, it appears on Facebook, bypassing the newspaper world altogether.

The broadcast piece includes a fabulous interview with “Bloom County” creator, Berkeley Breathed.

He tells of being attacked by the professional “editorial cartoonists,” who tried to get his 1987 Pulitzer prize revoked. After all, “Bloom County” appeared on the comic pages, not the editorial pages.

He also tells of the trials of being syndicated, which he describes as having 1,200 editors, one at each of the newspapers that carried the comic strip.

BREATHED: It’s relevant because I’m doing the same comic strip now without any editing whatsoever. And I would say that in 1985, I had 1,200 editors, each of them having a different agenda, each of them having a different audience, every single one of them feeling that they had the right to edit and to – I wouldn’t say censor – but manipulate the material. You know, the editor of The Salt Lake City Tribune had a different agenda than the editor of the Boston Herald. And they would be perfectly happy and editing and rewriting each strip as they felt necessary, which left some very funny strips out there. There needs to be a book of the various versions of my comic – of each comic – the more controversial ones as it appeared in papers around the country.

And, finally, he comments on the new relationship with readers in the new digital world.

The digital world has allowed me a connection with my reader that I’d never had before. I wrote every single cartoon strip in isolation in a dining room in an Iowa City farmhouse. I didn’t meet the people who read my material. The fan letters were mostly answered by professional people that’d done them for a living. And I didn’t have any daily connection with their response to my work. So the cartooning was just an abstraction. It was an income. It was making me famous. It was allowing me to go and do other things that I’d wanted to do. But I didn’t have a relationship with my audience. And every artist should have it.

You can listen to the “Fresh Air” piece or read the transcript, and of course go to Facebook for the renewed strip.

Dealing with an overnight visit from my father

My father made a rare appearance sometime early this morning.

We were sitting in the living room of my parents’ house in Kahala, my father in the chair that had been his regular spot. I had no sense of how we got there or what else was going on, but it somehow seemed relatively normal. Although he died more than two years ago, at this moment he looked pretty good.

He was wearing a pair of clean but well-worn shorts and a t-shirt, reading glasses in place. I didn’t notice if he was wearing shoes or slippers.

He had some papers in his hand, a once strong hand which had become increasingly unsteady over the past decade, so the papers shook as he gestured towards me with them.

“I saw this in the newspaper,” he said, angling the papers so that I could see a small item he had carefully clipped.

“The airport has some new insurance requirements for venders,” he said, nodding towards the clipping. “Maybe you know somebody to handle that for me?”

I was mentally sorting through the insurance people I’ve dealt with when I caught myself. Too much wrong here. He obviously had some idea about going back into business. Before he retired from his restaurant equipment and supply business at age 85, he had talked about holding on to a couple of the best product lines that he could continue to represent. He was always a good salesman, and might have made it work. Instead, he just went fishing. Perhaps this was the reemergence of that prior plan.

I turned and moved a chair over to face him. I remember it was a low, wood and canvas captain’s chair. I don’t recall there being one like this in the house before, but there it was. I sat down, looked into my father’s face.

“This isn’t a good idea,” I said, trying to figure out how to say what needed to be said. “For one thing, you’ve got Alzheimer’s, and you couldn’t keep track of things well enough to be in business again.”

As I spoke, I remember trying to find a way to avoid saying the most obvious thing: “And you’re dead, so it’s just not going to work.”

I found a gentler tack, harkening back to those times in the nursing home when we would make up excuses whenever he would get agitated and obsessed with where he parked the car or what he had done with his wallet.

“Meda took the car home to keep it safe, so you don’t have to worry,” we would say. Or I would tell him that I was paying all the bills, so he could just relax and enjoy the hotel service (in his mind, the nursing home was a hotel, or sometimes he thought it was the old Commercial Club in downtown Honolulu).

I tried something similar. “The problem is that we’ve already closed down your bank accounts, so it would be pretty hard to set up new ones and go back to work.”

And you’re dead, I said in my mind, but in my dream I held my tongue, trying hard not to offend.

But my dream couldn’t contain the complexity of the scene and it abruptly ended. He was gone and I was partly awake, still in bed, several cats casting low shadows as they prowled the room in hopes breakfast might be coming soon.

I later realized this dream was likely triggered by the closing of my dad’s remaining bank account, the one which holds the savings which managed to outlast his two years in a nursing home. After his death, it had been set aside in trust for my mother’s care, if needed. With her passing, I’m in the process of closing the account and moving on. I thought this was pretty routine, purely a straightforward process, but obviously there’s more emotion hidden behind the scenes than I expected to be dealing with.

Fair warning.