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I am 62 years old and have lived in the Atlanta area since 1971. I am Catholic and my faith is important to me, yet as I age the mystery continues to deepen, so I read broadly and try to keep things somewhat open ended. I work with the aged and the dying. I was in the Navy for four years and I guess I am life of center when it comes to politics, but not too far left. Actually, I am kind of a political moron.I am the third of 11 children; ten still alive, one died in in 1958, three days after birth.
Number of posts: 65
Email address: email
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Posts by Mark Dohle:
The Dying Process
It is my experience in working with the elderly and dying that the common human experience of waiting is intensified as their life nears its end. A feeling of being trapped can be the beginning of this process. Being confined to a wheelchair or bed can force one to simply ‘be.’ Often the desire to read or to watch TV is gone, yet there is something pulling them. They seem surrounded by silence. By that I don’t mean a lack of noise, I mean that something seems to be working on them. From what they express to me, they are reliving their lives. Which, of course, is not always a pleasant experience.
In working with the elderly, there are many rewards that come with the job. One of perks is the humorous exchanges that can take place at unexpected times. I not sure anyone could stay in the care giving profession if they did not have a sense of humor and were unable to laugh, not only at themselves, but also with those that they take care of. It certainly helps with the stress which can be extreme at times.
Luke is 100 years old and still gets around on his own. He needs little care and uses his rollator to zoom around the facility here. In fact I have to tell him at times to slow down. He just laughs at me and says; “Mark you worry too much, I don’t plan on falling.” So we have the same conversation about that. I always ask him when he is going to plan his fall, so that I can stop worrying about it until then. He looks me up and down, laughs and speeds off for who knows where. I always smile at these little talks, but I still worry, it goes with the job. In the last year his health has become more fragile, so I think my worry is warranted, but happy he doesn’t, one worrier is enough in any relationship.
There are many personal frustrations that I have to deal with on a regular basis. One such aggravation is my inability to comprehend politics. This in turn leads me to make simplistic, black and white judgments’ on those who participate in this cryptic way of life.
The main problem for me, I believe, are the labels constantly being thrown at me. I know there are dyed in the wool liberals and conservatives; what I am not sure of is if they are the majority. The simple fact that independent voters are growing in number would point out that most are moderates. It is interesting to note that Rush Limbaugh has a strong dislike for those who do not consider themselves too far left, or right, in the political arena. Perhaps it is the moderates who think for themselves and Rush and other pundits on the political scene don’t like that.
It is true that growing up in a big family can be rough. I had 5 brothers and 4 sisters, so there was a lot going on in our household. The boys fought a lot, the sisters liked to watch. There were chores that were also squabbled over, so what would take a mere 30 minutes to finish, was often stretched for more than an hour or even longer. My parents would often be tired and grouchy, which is understandable, but they were never abusive towards us. There was a few times when dad lost it and started spanking a little more than he should have, but mom would always say, “That is enough Bob” and he would stop. They were actually very patient with us and loving most of the time.
There are also lots of fond memories and many of them revolve around our TV set.
Memories of the past are usually nostalgic. Ordinary moments made perfect with out traces of pain, suffering, or regret. When I allow myself to make one of these reflective journeys to my youthful past, most will fall under this category. Not all however. I have to go quite a ways back to remember one of my fondest experiences that took place with my family. It is in Panama, Canal Zone and I was 14 years old. I guess that would be 1963, when I was a freshman in high school …
Panama had the most beautiful full moons. I would often go for long walks by myself so that I could enjoy the beauty of the night. Some nights were so bright, that there were times that I could actually read from a book if I wanted to. It was also on full moons during three months of the year that sea turtles would crawl onto the beach to lay their eggs. So once or twice a year some of us would go out and see if we could catch one. There would usually be six of us that went.
Those who speak the truth, who unmask and show their listeners what is underneath, are often hated, reviled, hounded and killed. Martin Luther King, for instance, is still hated by many because he stripped away the mask of segregation and demanded that dignity be restored to his people…. in order to do this he often quoted from both the Old and New Testaments of the bible. He would not be silenced and the fear and rage he engendered was great; for to ask a culture to look at its collective undersides is dangerous business.
The truth he brought us to was not an unknown truth, it was just put aside. Evil becoming ordinary and so the worst kind of prejudice was made the law and achieved respectability…. well, it did for those who benefited from this social evil. For anyone who belonged to the majority class, the stronger element in our society (white, in this instance), a conversion of some kind would have to be endured, if participation in this kind of unjust system was participated in, when the call for change was responded to.
I would suppose that as time moves forward, we seem to learn more and more about who we are and the ‘why’ of how we often do things. In the past the vast majority of mankind needed to spend so much time to fight for simple survival that not much energy was left over to deal with some of the deeper issues of our race.
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey isn’t the first nationally acclaimed wordsmith to make her home in Decatur, Ga. Between 1892 and 1916, Charles W. Hubner (1835-1929), the “Poet Laureate of the South,” lived at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Gordon Street in the city’s southwest quadrant. After a couple of decades in Atlanta, Hubner had a home built in the fashionable East End subdivision, one of the Atlanta Suburban Land Company’s residential ventures in unincorporated DeKalb County along the streetcar line linking Decatur and Atlanta. The Baltimore, Md., native served as a Confederate telegraph officer in the Civil War. After the war, H Read on →
I still remember attending a logic class when the university reopened a week following the assassination of President Kennedy. The angry graduate student instructor that I had been assigned to was part of a team that tried to clarify to a bunch of undergrads what the wild eyed and mostly incomprehensible professor had lectured about earlier in the week. As we gathered for the first time, still more than a bit dazed by what had happened in Dallas and without any idea how the act would ultimately change all our lives, he glared out at us and asked, “Now do y Read on →
If state Democrats want to win big elections like the one they lost Tuesday on the coast, they’re going to have to get busy and retake control of the state Senate. Why? Because the outcome of Tuesday’s election was practically determined two years before the special contest between GOP former Gov. Mark Sanford and challenger Elizabeth Colbert Busch. Why? Because constitutionally-required redistricting to even population changes after the 2010 census made it tough for any Democrat to win. In the First Congressional District, for example, voting age blacks comprised just 18.2 percent of voters. Huh, you might wonder? On the coast where African Americans comprise 30 percent of Charl Read on →
When music publisher John Stark first heard Scott Joplin play his piano, he knew that ragtime was the music of hope for a new America. But Joplin would never be content with popularity and fame. Joplin committed himself to racial justice in the early 1900’s. He was inspired by Booker T. Washington and the Dahomeyan defeat in West Africa. But due to this earnest pursuit, he was ignored by the masses for writing the music of Civil Rights fifty years before America was ready to listen. King of Rags, by Professor Eric Bronson, is a historical fiction account of the quest for r Read on →