The first, and most important thing you need to know about Carla's current physical state, is that the 'S' key on her keyboard is out of commission. Now, it was one thing when she lost her ability to walk, and another thing when she lost her ability to croon like so many songbirds, but imagine losing your ability to pluralize! I am typing on said keyboard, and it makes me feel like my mirror motor neurons are firing. Anybody who both reads Daniel Goleman and ALS literature will get a minor chuckle out of that sentence.
In seriousness, Carla isn't doing all that well. She is no longer really capable of eating, and has made the decision not to get a feeding tube either (note that even if you were to convince her otherwise, it is too late, so save your well-crafted arguments for your next pinochle dispute). Additionally, she is rarely able to get out of bed, though she was able to do so for her father's surprise birthday party yesterday. For possibly the last time, at my urging, Carla wailed on a piñata like there was no tomorrow. Not that she didn't have evidence that there was a chance of there being no tomorrow.....Perhaps the most amusing part of her frail attempts to hold the bat between her legs while swiveling the chair left and right, besides the fact that she still did a better job than Kathy Sprague, was that her lovely caretaker Mayra, who was holding the string to which the piñata was fastened, has never heard of the "handicap for the handicapped" unspoken rule in athletic endeavors, and moved the piñata up and down like she would for a healthy person. I, of course, dominated the piñata game, but I won't write about it, not because it isn't enthralling, but because I'm sure that you each have a mental image of me swinging a bat at a piñata that I don't want to ruin, because I probably didn't have quite as sosa-esque a performance as your projection of me had.
While there is no way to know with ALS, Carla is certainly in the last stage of her life. She is not in a great deal of pain, due to the 21 drugs she takes (most of them prescribed...), specifically the methadone, which she says is like having a layer of cellophane between her brain and her consciousness. Which is something that she would never say, she points out, were it not for the bevy of drugs she takes. She additionally planned a surprise party that she forgot she planned, and sang frosty the snowman with no remembrance of doing so. Do not despair, however (well, okay, you can despair a bit, but not about this!) as these effects are solely due to twenty-first century pharmaceuticals, and not Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
The basic bottom line, all Macky charm aside, is that, since she can't eat, how long she lives will be determined by how long she can keep swallowing. She hopes to continue swallowing until at least the summer, but certain medical professionals indicate that such a hope may not necessarily be met. She spends most of her time in bed now, and it is, as you can imagine, a very difficult time for her and those who love her.
Send your thoughts her way, and I'll keep you updated. Just because I'm writing this update, however, does not rule out future blog posts from her. She is working on a blog post currently, but she is doing it by herself, so it takes a long time.
If you're feeling down after reading this, Carla would suggest watching this video to cheer up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqR_SwwByMM