Mother update: she was in tears, telling me how much I’d hurt her, how much she hated it, begging (shudder) to go back to her apartment. Awful. I held her hand, was calm, made no promises. Because I suspect she will be home for a while until a place is found for her, but I’ll make sure the State gets involved with helping her. I had bought a new quilt and sham for her bed to replace the regular one, switched out the co-ax cable to I could move the tv to her roommate’s side, hooked everything up to a power trip, moved stuff around. When I left she was cheerier but I expect she’ll be weeping again today. Not giving in, not tempted, but god, this is holy hell. And it brings back so much shit from my childhood. Yuck! But I came home and floated in the pool and listened to an audio book, while Richie made salmon on the grill.
So, it’s a new week, new plans. For me, I’m going to really watch my food carefully. I’ll talk more about that tomorrow. But NettieD is my friend. I’m going to see my mother when I can and not feel guilty. (Ditto with my BFF). And I’m going to enjoy the hell out of rehearsals this week.
Oh, er, maybe I ought to write too. Jesus!
Okay, what’s on your agenda? Fighting the good fight with weight? Getting more exercise? Slapping your sister-in-law? Going over Niagara Falls in a barrel? Which reminds me — I feel the need to do something glorious. I think we should all do one thing glorious this week.
Daily mother update: Yesterday went better than I expected. I met her in tears, all shaking and ready to scream. I took her for a walk to the pretty parlor where we sat in pleasant surroundings and she calmed down. Told her she wasn’t going to have to stay there but I was adamant about not feeling she was safe at home. No backing down. Then we went for another walk and saw their outdoor area, which was also lovely. Walked her back to her room, making sure she was thoroughly exhausted (wicked girl that I am). Then I rearranged her half of the room, moved her bed 90 degrees (I asked permission), brought an extra table in, set up her fan. She was feeling much more positive and the area did look a lot more spacious. I reminded her this place was temporary, and she calmed down. So I went off to the quilt show feeling better.
The show was great but it just about did in my knees. I bought a bunch of Kaffe Fassett material (because I used to do only Asian fabrics and traditional colors). Couldn’t make it much more than an hour, even sitting down three times, but then again, I’d been bustling for days carrying stuff for my mother. And a great fat quarter of dog fabric (I would have bought more but it was all they had. Note Milton in the middle.)
Off to Costco, home, and then to the first rehearsal where I’m a low alto! Which is a shock, because I’m a soprano. I seem to have a wide range (and my lower notes are stronger). Right now we’re learning Latin church music, but it’s going to be so much fun.
And it does sound like we’ll have more free time than it seems, thank god.
So yes, I’m off to see her again. I’m taking her a power strip to run all her goodies and a coax cable so I can move there roommate’s tv to her side of the room. Plus a different cover for her bed. All this will help.
And then I’ll come back and jump in the pool (and leap right out with a shriek over how cold it is) and then Richie and I will have grilled salmon and sit on the deck and be peaceful.
Things are looking up.
Yesterday was exhausting. Emotionally as well as physically. I blew off the quilt show and just came home. I really didn’t think I’d mind taking her over to the rehab place, but it was depressing. Pushed all sorts of buttons for me, brought back awful childhood memories.
Hmmm. A hummingbird just buzzed by to the pot of lavender in front of me, and it felt like a message not to think of awful childhood memories. So I won’t.
She already sent a message home that she doesn’t need to be in that place, but I’m just going to tell her there’s no place closer at this point, and she needs to suck it up (in the nicest possible way). I’ll tell her to work hard on her rehab and I’ll see if I can get her a new roommate. But she has to put on her big girl panties (in the nicest possible way). And then, no matter how tired I am, I’ll go to the quilt show. And when I come home I’ll go to the first musical run-through for the nuns.
Okay, on to other things. Exercise is going to be tricky, unless have have a hot summer (a mixed blessing if I’m wearing a nun’s habit). If it’s hot I can go to Aunt Alice’s or Uncle Bill’s beach and do water walking there (our white elephant and the bane of my existence is being rented all summer). And I can figure out some water exercises for our relatively shallow pool (42″). I don’t think it’s deep enough to take enough weight off my poor knees for walking, but there are other things I can do. And I imagine I’ll be more active with the show than I usually am so that will help. I’ll also be too busy to keep heading toward the damned goldfish.
Not quite sure how I’ll manage the knees. I know I can handle being on-stage, but standing around can be difficult. Maybe I’ll see if there’s one of those little camp stools I can cart around with me to take a load off. And I can use my cane. My main problems are walking long distances (hence the motor scooters at WDW and RWA) and standing for long periods. I’m determined to manage it. Fortunately I’m a Nun with Character, not an ingenue, so limping or a cane would still work. Hell, I could Glee it and do it from a wheel chair. (Is that the first time Glee was used as a verb? Probably not.)
Anyway, it’s a beautiful morning, the birds are swooping, the air is clear, the sky is intensely blue, and my loins are girded. (Maybe that’s why I have trouble walking. I always have to gird my damned loins!)
So a lot of thoughts are going through my mind, lots of things to do today.
Most important, Alex is coming over!!! It’s been almost four weeks since I’ve seen him. I don’t know why, and I suppose I’m going to have to take the bull by the horns and talk to Erin about it, about whether she’s wanting to pull away, but maybe I’ll let it pass for today. So much going on.
In the meantime, I have to find the Power of Attorney papers and all Ma’s financial info and start filling out forms. The Medicaid form — she doesn’t have money for assisted living or a nursing home. Applications for the assisted living place and the nursing home. Which is going to be massive.
You guys helped me gird my loins yesterday. (Sounds like doing something to steak). She said when she comes home she’s going to have to go out with me a lot more, and go down to the day programs at the nursing home. That’s more driving, more things I have to do. The idea makes me want to scream.
And I haven’t even talked with the doctor and social worker about my mother’s mental health issues. About the various mental hospital confines. About the massive number of shock treatments she went through. Which is behind all this.
I’m past the point where I think anyone will blame me, and I’ve had nothing but support from my niece and my cousin (the only two relatives left who might have a say in things). So we’ll see.
So great joy (Alex) and a big-ass hassle (financial forms) and more time in the car (the hospital is 20 miles away). And being strong, and sticking with the knowledge that she really should not come home again.
Crap crap crap.
Deep breath. One thing at a time. Bird by bird.
First thing: ask for an extension on my deadline.
Second thing: start filling out forms.
I can do all this.
In the meantime, God bless Nora Ephron and all she meant for all of us, women in particular. A woman of wit and grace.
Ah, may you live in interesting times. I was in church Sunday morning, rehearsing with the choir, when Richie appeared (and trust me, it takes an act of God to get Richie to set foot inside a church). My mother was freaking out. Off I went, to sit with her while she calmed down. Went home for a bit, came back and sat, started to fall asleep. Went home for a nap, only to wake up with Ma in hysterics again. Went back (I’m approximately two minutes away) and took her to the hospital. She was so weak I had to lift her off the toilet and into the wheel chair, lift her into the car and then out again. And she was 150 pounds.
So they took her right in at the ER and once more couldn’t find anything wrong, but this time they admitted her. And at this point we’re all in agreement (me and the hospital) that she can’t come home until she’s in better condition. So they’re looking into getting her into one of the two extended care places of choice (the assisted living one town over or the nursing home just down the hill from me) for a couple of weeks of rehab with the hopes (their hopes) of getting her back into her apartment.
I’m ambivalent. Because there aren’t a lot of good outcomes ahead. If she goes back to the apartment we’ll either be going through this again or I’ll walk in to find her dead one morning, which won’t be fun. I think she needs the help and the socialization that a different living situation can provide, and I figure there will be three possibilities.
1. She’ll hate it so much she’ll get better and get out
2. She’ll hate it so much she’ll decline and fade away. At 98 it’s hard to come back from things.
3. She’ll be happy there.
If number one is the answer I see a lot more work for me, and I don’t know if I can do it. I was already just about at my limit.
But we shall see. It will work out as it’s meant to work out.
So yesterday I was on the phone with the assisted living place, the health center, the social worker, the Agency on the Aging, my niece, my cousin, the hospital, and it seems others as well.
Then I went off to get my eyes checked because I can’t read, and for the first time the eye doctor (whom I’ve seen for 20 years) had to lift up my sagging eyelids to do one of the checks. Sigh.
Then I drove across a twisty mountain road to the hospital to see my mother, who wasn’t in good shape.
So who knows what will happen. I’m stressed beyond measure — when I was talking to my niece on the phone I noticed how tight my voice sounded. I’m not so much upset about my mother (though I could be in denial about that) but overwhelmed by the stress.
My mother and I have had a long and difficult relationship. She’s had mental health issues most of her adult life, resulting in uncontrollable rages at everyone around her. I think these panic attacks may be the geriatric version of those rages (just as her legendary temper tantrums as a child were the juvenile equivalent). But who knows? All her tests come back normal, except for her blood pressure.
So, to quote the Chinese curse, “may you live in interesting times.”
However, one must snatch small victories where one can. I got to the hospital at three, having had two breakfast bars and a bowl of cherries for breakfast. When I left McDonald’s was there, gleaming in the sun, and I gave myself permission for a hamburger (I’ve been dying for a hamburger). But I still didn’t go. Not even to get a DC as a pick-me-up. I waited until I got home and had a piece of Anadama Bread to tide me over till dinner (curried chicken on brown rice — bless Richie).
So today I see what answers we can come up with for my mother’s immediate future. And see if I can find some sort of life for myself mixed in with all that.
Maidens of St. Trinians, gird your armor on …