Life in progress


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Day 2

Day 2 is much like Day 1, Day 1 being yesterday, the day of ice.

Except Day 2 doesn’t involve ice falling from the sky. Now, ice is on the ground. Still keeping Alex from going to school.

Alex, who is at the moment gleefully jumping up and down in unison with the contestants on “The Price is Right.” Screaming as if he was just called up onto the stage.

We took down the Christmas tree yesterday. It didn’t help. Cross superstition off the list of causes for this year’s luck.

In other news, my mother has been diagnosed with hypo delirium. She may recover. Good news, though: her lungs are better. So the pneumonia is gone.

Yet, I am stuck at home. Unable to visit the hospital. Unable to escape the screams, joyful as they are.


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As the pneu turns, aka what I’ve been doing today

Yes, I know. Pneu means tire in French and this has nothing to do with tires. It does have to do with pneumonia.

Start from the beginning shall we? Actually, I don’t remember that far back, so starting at yesterday will have to do.

Yesterday afternoon I picked my mother up from the hospital, from a three day stay. The first thing she asked for was a cigarette. I asked her if maybe she thought it would be better to wait a day or two to smoke since she still had pneumonia. Her answer: “I’ve already waited two days!” I then said that maybe waiting another two will mean she can get better and not have to go back to the hospital where she can’t smoke at all.

So she had a cigarette before she even made it to her room in the retirement home. I went off to get her meds from the pharmacy, and when I came back, she wanted another one. I tried again to reason with her, but no. So I sat outside with her in the -20C-with-the-wind cold while she hacked and wheezed through another cigarette.

At 5:15 this morning I got a call from the home. She was having trouble breathing and did I think she should go back to the hospital. I asked the nurse to keep an eye on her and she agreed.

At 4:00 this afternoon I got another call. They were putting her back in an ambulance. I arrived in the emergency room a little while later, and as I stood at her bedside, holding her hand, she asked me why she was back in the hospital. I explained to her that she had pneumonia and smoking had put her back in there. “I told you yesterday,” I said, “that if you smoked you’d wind up back in here,” to which she smiled and replied, “You’re a wonderful daughter.” I couldn’t roll my eyes hard enough.

She seems to be worse now than she was when she went in on the 23rd, to me at least. But they’re not sure they’ll keep her, so I might be going back to pick her up in the dead of night.

I have my doubts.

And that pretty much sums up my day. Nay, my weekend: I have my doubts.


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Balance – #JusJoJan 2019 Jot #25

It’s a hard thing to find, balance. I spend far too much time sitting on my butt, writing, editing, and canoodling on social media. Even the balance between time spent writing and promoting is a difficult one. But what I need more than anything is exercise.

So it’s nice when there are natural consequences that lead me to doing what I should be doing. Like today, for instance, I walked to the hospital to visit my mother. (I was able to go because Alex finally went to school! Yay!) It was a choice between a fifteen minute walk and fifteen minutes of shoveling my car out of the driveway. Yeah, the shoveling might have been better exercise, but I still had to walk fifteen minutes to get home as well. AND I saved $4.50 for parking.

My mother is doing a bit better, by the way. She looked better, though her breathing is still laboured. The doctor asked me if she’d ever been diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), to which I replied no. But it’s not at all far-fetched that she has it, since she’s been smoking since she was 14 years old. Her 89th birthday is in three weeks. So once I get her home, it’s going to be a matter of explaining to her that if she doesn’t quit, she’s going to die. She won’t understand, and if she does understand, she won’t remember the conversation 45 seconds after we have it.

With dementia, it seems, there is no balance.

On a personal level, I put a lot of faith in balance. I’m a Taoist at heart. The yin yang symbol is all about balance. An equal amount of black and white/feminine and masculine.

Each is contained within the other.

I miss Tai Chi. Which is something that would help my mother. If I had time to get her out of the retirement home.

Most of my lack-of-balance issues come from being the one responsible for everyone else. Being a single mother and an only child in the sandwich generation ain’t easy.

Then there’s the balance between sobriety and drunkenness.

I think I need more wine tonight.


“Balance” is the prompt word for today, brought to us by JP. Thanks, JP! Click here to find her JusJoJan post for today. And say hi while you’re there!

 

It’s never too late to participate in Just Jot it January! Click the following link to find out how, and see all the other participants’ links in the comment section. It’s fun! https://lindaghill.com/2019/01/25/jusjojan-2019-daily-prompt-jan-25th/


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Now it’s my mother

My mum has been admitted to hospital with pneumonia. They took her by ambulance last night since I wasn’t able to leave the house to pick her up–not because it was that urgent.

But anyway, funny story.

I just got off the phone with one of the nurses in the emergency department. Apparently my mother is concerned that she doesn’t have her teeth. She must have taken them out before she was transported, so the nurse asked me if I could go get them and bring them in.

My response: That has to be one of the most interesting things I’ve even been asked to do.

And we laughed, and laughed.


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Curiosity – #JusJoJan 2019 Jot #22

Well, for a birthday, it’s been one unexpected thing after another. Let me tell you about it.

It started out with the school buses not running, but I knew that ahead of time. Because Alex was starting to go stir crazy yesterday, and because he had an appointment with a speech and language pathologist at lunch time at the school, I’d decided to drive him in anyway. So I began my day by shoveling my car out of the driveway. Turned out I didn’t need to do it first thing, because my best friend, John, came to my rescue and took Alex to school.

I still needed to be there for the appointment, however, so I had a shower–my birthday present to me–and drove to the school where I met the speech pathologist. Lo and behold, she’s fluent in sign language. Wonderful! What a lovely surprise that was!

After that, I came home and tried to get as caught up on my social media and all the kind birthday wishes, as well as try to promote my book sale. Then I had to drive back to the school to get Alex, because no buses.

I got home and we had pizza for dinner–no cooking!–and I got back to my laptop for some more catching up. Then my mother called to say she spent the day in bed, she was very sweaty, and the nurse had been talking about sending her to the hospital today. But my mum had no idea why. So I put in a call to the nurse at the retirement home. Apparently–wait for it–a few of the residents have had pneumonia, and my mother hasn’t been doing so well. They’ll keep an eye on her tonight, and if they have to send her by ambulance, they will. I explained I can’t get away–I have Alex to look after.

Just as I was putting Alex to bed, I got a call from his brother. His bus didn’t show up. So off I went to drive him to work for 11pm.

Meanwhile, we’re expecting freezing rain tomorrow, so probably no buses. And I doubt I’ll want to drive either. There’s about six inches of snow on my street, and if that freezes over, it’s going to be an ice rink out there.

What does all this have to do with curiosity?

I’m not the slightest bit curious about how my day tomorrow is going to go.

I’m happy and content to spend the rest of my birthday oblivious to what might await me.

Just livin’ in the moment.

Thank you so much to everyone for their wonderful birthday wishes today! They really helped me get through what was an otherwise trying day. And it’s entirely possible that they kept it from being worse! ❤


“Curiosity” is the prompt word for today, brought to us by Pamela. Thanks, Pamela! Click here to find her signature daily quip post for today. And say hi while you’re there!

 

It’s never too late to participate in Just Jot it January! Click the following link to find out how, and see all the other participants’ links in the comment section. It’s fun! https://lindaghill.com/2019/01/22/jusjojan-2019-daily-prompt-jan-22nd/


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Elder Abuse

Abuse of the elderly–seems like the definition of that would be easy. Don’t abuse them physically or verbally, don’t take advantage of them, and have patience for their failing memories. Simple, right? Apparently not.

Going back a few months, you might remember my mention of my mother not being well. She lives in a retirement home just up the street from where I live, apart from the six weeks she spent in the hospital from last June until August. She fell and broke her neck. I’m not exaggerating–she actually fractured the vertebrae at the top of her spine. It didn’t for a minute stop her from walking, but I was cautioned that if she turned her head a certain way, she might finish herself off. Since she couldn’t be trusted to keep her neck brace on, she was confined to a hospital bed.

Since then, she’s been told that when she goes out for a cigarette (because she can’t smoke inside, naturally), she has to take good care to keep her walker with her and watch where she’s going. Fast forward to last week.

She fell, yet again, this time breaking her ribs. Will she stop smoking and stay inside? Of course not. She’s been smoking since she was fourteen years old. Seventy-four years ago.

I started off by giving her cigarettes to the nursing staff, in hopes that she’d have someone to go out with. This, of course, was far beyond my better judgement to take them away altogether because of the risk of pneumonia with broken ribs. That worked for a while, until she started to complain to both myself and the staff that we were treating her like a twelve-year-old.

So, she got them back. And guess what? She’s fallen two more times, hitting her head both times.

So I’m stuck. She can’t remember from one minute to the next that going outside is a life-or-death situation. When I explain it to her, she says all right, she’ll wait for a nurse to go out with her. Less than two minutes later she’s asking why there are no cigarettes in her room. What do I do? What is the worse abuse? Denying her what is arguably the one pleasure she has in life to save her life, or letting her kill herself because she doesn’t remember?

Abuse of the elderly. It feels inevitable.


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The Cycles of Mother’s Day

I have memories as a child of preparing breakfast, with my father’s help, to bring to my mother in bed on Mother’s Day. I knew as well as he did that it would be no surprise, but we pretended, he and I. I remember a few odd gifts I gave her over the years, but the one that stands out the most was a garbage bag full of well-fermented horse shit I brought home in my car from the ranch where I worked. Her roses loved it and yet she still rolls her eyes over it.

As a new mother myself, my very first Mother’s Day was a revelation. Being pampered by my son’s father was a dream come true. Those beginning years were special indeed – breakfast in bed was mine, although sometimes those breakfasts were inedible having been made with love by my young children. I grinned and did my best to eat them without gagging anyway.

Today I find the cycle has changed once again. I made the coffee last night so Alex, my youngest, could come downstairs ahead of me and push the button to start the coffeemaker. I’m in the not-so-unique position of being single, having my three sons at home, and soon I will be picking my own mother up to spend the day caring for her, though she’d never concede to the idea that it’s the other way around. She wants me to depend on her and I’m okay with that. It’s like a dance, graceful in its complexity with me agreeing to almost anything and her… I’m not sure if she still understands that I’m doing it or not, but the grand act of denial, if that’s what she does, is Oscar-worthy. And of course there are my own children. To an extent my eldest is taking care of me, helping me not to pull my hair out both with his physical aid in babysitting and housework and his awesome sense of humour.

So it goes. The child becomes the mother, the caregiver; the giver of life as she comes closer to the end of her own, becomes dependent once again.

I love being a mother, but in the end it can be likened to a bag of horse shit. For the amount of work it takes, the load of stress that accompanies it, and the headache-inducing number of eyerolls, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.