Keep Breathing

Erica K

Erica K
New Jersey, USA
September 26
I have a new blog: Grew up in Jackson Heights, New York, but now live in Jersey. Married and the proud owner (servant?) of 4 cats, including a little blind guy named Quincy. Jobs have included: English teacher in U.S. and abroad, cabaret performer and member of a NYC sketch comedy troupe; now a legal secretary and freelance writer. Other jobs: canvasser for NYPIRG/cannery worker in Naknek, Alaska (a fisherman told me it was "the ugliest part of Alaska")/dog kennel cleaner/member of the swine and poultry crew on a California farm. "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." Samuel Beckett


Erica K's Links

New list
MAY 22, 2011 11:23PM

Why Can't We Be Friends

In Chinese Astrology, I am a Metal Ox.  This is the Year of the Rabbit, the Metal Rabbit.  It started off turbulently, and I'm wondering what more to expect.  My husband Lorin has been a kung fu practitioner for the past 10 years and we have been to Chinese New YearRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 18, 2011 12:32AM

Alzheimer's Isn't Just for the Old

The last time I rallied for a cause was in 2003, marching with fellow New Yorkers against the impending Iraq War.  Before that I’d done nothing of significance in the political arena since the 80s, when I was a vibrant 20-something full of hopes and dreams, not to say I haven’tRead full post »

MAY 14, 2011 6:49PM

Have You Met Miss Jones?

“Have you met Miss Jones
Someone said as we shook hands
She was just Miss Jones to me.”

                        Rodgers & Hart

She was sitting at my mother’s bedsRead full post »

MAY 13, 2011 7:07PM

The Jewelry Box

This morning my husband Lorin and I went to mom’s apartment to retrieve clothes, her clock radio and other personal items to bring to Park Gardens Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.  She was transported there yesterday from Jacobi Hospital.  Medicaid finally came through for us. Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 10, 2011 5:15PM

Breaking Bad Makes Me Feel Good

My husband and I started watching AMC’s Breaking Bad in 2009, so we missed the first season and had to order it on Netflix.  I was immediately hooked, rather, obsessed with the show.  The main character, Walter White, is an anti-hero, recently diagnosed with incurable, stage three lun/… Read full post »

MAY 9, 2011 3:18PM


If Thursday night’s visit at Jacobi Hospital conjured Edgar Allan Poe, yesterday’s was modern day Frank Capra, with a twist.  It was Party Central on 5 South, Room number 6.  Balloons, bouquets of flowers in baskets, water pitchers and vases covered almost every surface.  O/… Read full post »

MAY 6, 2011 3:31PM

It's All I Have to Bring Today

I immediately regretted my decision when I saw her.  She is in room number 6, 5th Floor South, Building 1, with four other women in varying stages of decline.  This is Medicaid in the flesh, how we treat our elderly, our poor.

Mom had a netted smock wrapped aroundRead full post »

MAY 4, 2011 12:33PM

Fight the Powers That Be

May 3, 11:30 a.m. 

I’m having palpitations.  I took half a Klonopin at my desk to calm down.  Dr. T from Jacobi Hospital called to say that mom refuses to be transferred to a nursing home, and since she has been declared “competent” to make her own decisions, they cann… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 1, 2011 5:46PM

We Have All Been Here Before

“If I had ever been here before I would probably know just what to do
Don’t you?
 . . . And I feel
Like I've been here before,
feel like I’ve been here before.”
            David Crosby

Another call this morning fromRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 27, 2011 9:10PM

The Guitar Lesson

“But Jesus called for the children and said,
‘Let the children come to me;
do not try to stop them;
for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.’ ”
Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 26, 2011 12:21AM

The Wheelchair

Sunday, April 24

I hate my mother.  It’s Easter Sunday evening and I should be loving Jesus and hopping down the bunny trail or returning from it.  It’s hard not to hate your abuser even if that abuser is your parent, sick or not.

Mom has had trouble raisingRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 21, 2011 12:16PM

The Whispering Wall

After support group last night, some of us went to Zocalo, a Mexican restaurant in the Grand Central Station concourse, for margaritas.  To protect the innocent, I will refer to the ladies as "S", "L", "D","A" and "E." 


There is always a victory to celebrate, large or small.  S/… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 17, 2011 5:50PM

Gimme Shelter

“We belong together, we’re happy together,
and life is a song.
When we are together, we know
we are where we belong.”

                        Oscar Hammerstein & JRead full post »

APRIL 16, 2011 11:49AM

The Big M

It’s been 80+ days since my last period, these are my sins . . .  .  As a lapsed Catholic, I feel this may yet be another punishment inflicted upon us womenfolk by the Lord.  I go to St. Agnes Church once a week during lunch and light a candle toRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 12, 2011 8:52PM

The Fair Hearing

Welcome to the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), 16th Floor, 14 Boerum Place, Brooklyn, New York.

Signs that greet you:

“No Fumar
Por Favor
Audencias en Progreso

Quiet Please!
No Cell Phones Permitted
Surveillance by Closed Circuit TV in Use”

Welcome to paleRead full post »

APRIL 10, 2011 5:52PM

The Blue Planet

Mom greeted me this afternoon naked from the waist down.  Better me than the male nurse or the maintenance man. This is another first. At least she was wearing her blousy leopard top which covered up a bit.  

Mom wets the bed every day now, but today was the worst I’veRead full post »

APRIL 8, 2011 5:50PM

Dirty Needful Thing

“Money, it’s a crime
Share it fairly but don’t take a slice of my pie.”

                        Pink Floyd

I received a check and a note from my aunt today.&nbsRead full post »

APRIL 6, 2011 11:26AM


“If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same . . .”

                        “If” by Rudyard Kipling

When I saw mom SunRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 2, 2011 10:15AM

You'll Never Walk Alone

“When you walk through the storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark.”

                        Rodgers & Hammerstein, Carousel

On Tuesday evening… Read full post »

MARCH 30, 2011 12:22PM

A Caregiver's Rant

A relative vacationing in Florida left me a voicemail last night saying, “I heard about your mom’s decline, Erica.  I’m so sorry.  I’m not sure what I can do from here . . .” . 


My brother does nothing because he has “problems” of his ow… Read full post »

MARCH 27, 2011 6:50PM

Who Was Dirty Harry?

On Thursday, mom called me twice at the office to ask who the British actor in the movie was and I said, “Anthony Hopkins.”

“Anthony Hopkins, of course.  Thank you, dear,” she said, and hung up.

She called about ten minutes later and said, “Quick, tell me the nameRead full post »

MARCH 26, 2011 12:08PM

The Radio

“He says, ‘Son can you play me a memory
I'm not really sure how it goes
But it's sad and it's sweet and I knew it complete
When I wore a younger man's clothes.’ ”
                  &nbsRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 22, 2011 5:43PM

The Edge

“We’re all put to the test, but it never comes in the form or at the point we would prefer, does it?”

– David Mamet, The Edge

This morning at 6:00 a.m I found mom sitting on the floor of the bathroom unable to get up.  I askedRead full post »

MARCH 17, 2011 11:47AM

Irish Wake

Mom apologized yesterday for what she said to me about her cat Mouse.  She said, “I realize there is nothing you could have done.”  Did she think I could resurrect the dead?  I asked if she still wanted to see the body and she said yes.  I warned her that she/… Read full post »

MARCH 15, 2011 4:48PM

I Am a Cat Killer

Two of our cats died last month:  our kitten had a heart attack (the vet said he must have had an undiagnosed heart condition) and our thirteen- year-old Tisch had been ill for two years and had to be put down.  Then Karl got an eye injury but he didn’t die. Read full post »