Donna Clair

Southwest Contemporary Artist

How I Came to New Mexico and learned about Art and Life



WORD PAINTINGS # 130 (How I Came to New Mexico and learned about Art and Life) – A CAUTIONARY TALE!

Sometimes when we least expect it, Life Happens!!

a fall last September (I slid rather ungracefully to my bedroom floor) – was
unable to raise myself up.  The EMTs arrived and were concerned that my
oxygen levels were very low.  They put me in an ambulance and whisked
me to the Emergency Room at Holy Cross Hospital. What happened next was Terrifying!!!!
The ER doctor asked what happened and I pointed to my right knee and
said “I leg lifted 400 lbs…..” – with that she left the room and
didn’t hear me add “25 years ago and my right knee gives way now and I
fell this morning.”  

got on the phone with my son-in-law a retired brain surgeon. He and
I hadn’t had any contact for long time, so he didn’t have a clue to my
state of mind or physical condition. Together they, along with one of my
helpers, decided that I needed to be transferred to the Psych Ward for
evaluation.  The “brain” surgeon diagnosed me with delusions of
grandeur!  Through some miracle, they reached my daughter Sarah in
Germany – 3AM and she’s in bed with Covid.  Finally she convinces the
girl at the desk that she had seen me only ten days before and besides –
she had my Power of Attorney!!! 

am I sharing this story?  Certainly not for entertainment! This is a
cautionary tale to anyone of a certain age who hasn’t done the work of
making end of life choices. I know, I know – but if I had been sent for
evaluation, my rise in blood pressure from the fear would have caused
them to medicate me.  Once I was medicated I was just an 83 year old
woman with delusions of grandeur.  I would have no more choices about
All my belongings – my easels, paints, brushes, precious
things would be scattered to the winds. (Remember that scene in Zorba the
Greek when the woman dies in the village her neighbors take all her
things in minutes and empty her little house to the bones?) I would have been sent
to some old people’s orphanage and left there just staring at the gray
walls just waiting for someone – anyone – to visit!!!  Do your
homework!!! Don’t wait for a medical crisis!!!

to Sarah, I had a stay of execution.  I had no injuries and was
released from the hospital that evening….along with a new and very
noisy companion in the form of a respirator and a very long hose that
follows me all over the house 24/7.  It is an awkward ballet daily to
avoid the loops and tangles, but am still able to get to the easel every
day.  Still making plans for new work. As long as there is
breath in my body I plan to keep moving – albeit just a little bit
slower now!  (Read Amy B. Scher’s amazing book This is How I Save My Life.)

I finally realized that the smoke from the horrific Hermit’s Peak Fire
compromised my oxygen levels and it was hard for me to catch my breath.
Also experienced a “fogginess” – couldn’t concentrate.  If you are of a
certain age and lived through those unbearable days of heavy smoke
anywhere near this fire – check with your doctor.  Have them check your
oxygen capacity! My PA says that they have noticed more oldsters with
some breathing difficulties. Finally take the time to appoint “your
person in the world” – Trust them with your the Power of Attorney…put
your End of Life Choices in writing.

Now I am going to have a cup of coffee and head back to my easel to paint another day! 

Best regards, Donna

– a few months before I fell, I purchased a Thrive Medical Alert system
through Amazon. At first I hated wearing that medallion every day – but
I was able to get the help I needed by just pressing  button!  When one
gets to the ripe old age of 83 the word for the day is ADAPT!!!