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That Silver Lining? It’s Real


I’m like everybody else. I go about my business day after day, and eventually I begin to take things for granted. It’s not a conscious lapse, but it happens. Sometimes it takes some effort to remember to appreciate the little things in life. Sometimes, it requires a disaster.

That’s how it went down last week.

On the hottest day of a nearly unprecedented, week-long heatwave, when the mercury rose to 107 degrees, the air conditioning at my house went kaput. If this affected only me, it might be categorized as an inconvenience and nothing more. But with temperatures inside the house hovering around 95 in the evening, I decided it was too hot for Mom. Older people generally can’t tolerate heat as well as the rest of us, and I didn’t want to risk her health. So I packed up Mom and Mitzi the wonder dog and decamped to a hotel until the air conditioning could be repaired.

It turned out to be easier said than done.

Without giving you a blow-by-blow account, let me just say the next several days were a comedy of errors. We had to change rooms at the first hotel three times to get one with working AC (how ironic), and the general experience was so unpleasant that we subsequently moved to a different hotel the next day.

This level of disruption is hard on Mom. She enjoys her routine and her home environment because familiarity is easier to process. It seems dementia demands an enormous amount of mental energy for everyday thought processes, so adding in an element like a new environment can cause a bit of overload. Mom handled things well, but she was frighteningly drained by the end of each day.

Within a few days, our AC was fixed. We headed home with a new appreciation for refrigerated air and our boring everyday existence.

The interesting thing is, though, that this little disaster sharpened my appreciation for a lot of other, non-AC related things I’d been taking for granted. This morning I took my coffee outdoors, onto my back terrace, and got in touch with my gratitude for the wide, blue sky and the finches singing their hearts out in the neighbor’s pine tree. I strolled about and spoke lovingly to my plants, which weathered a level of heat and beating sun that would have seen lesser species turned to ash. But these hardy specimens continue create great ambiance for relaxing outside and also provide nectar to the many hummingbirds that frequent them to dine.

And I got back in touch with an appreciation of the many friends who called or messaged to offer empathy for the situation or tangible assistance. It’s difficult to admit I can be guilty of taking my friends for granted, but I do think it happens to all of us from time to time.

The unusual heatwave has broken, and the temperature now hovers in the mid-90s, which is typical for Albuquerque in late June. It was very unpleasant to lose my air conditioning temporarily, but the experience conferred very tangible, positive benefits. Apparently that silver lining really does exist.

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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. August 26, 2017 at 5:03 am | Posted by Ravindra Abhyankar

    Could read interesting information about activities for elders


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