Tuesday, June 3, 2014

It's Tuesday, therefore I must be speaking to Mom's Doctors

Getting old isn't for sissies.  Being the child of an aging parent who is responsible for their medical care isn't for sissies either.  I know I've said it before, but NOTHING prepares you for being the child of an aging and ill parent.  And so it goes.

It's Tuesday.  Usually, I spent an hour or two getting caught up with stuff around the house and then work from home.  I knew that was probably out the window today as Daughter 2 is having her last day of school  It is a half day.  That means I have to pick her up in car line.  The only good side of this is I don't have to deal with car line until September.  We are now entering the time of year where I am the subject of a three month long psychological experiment where we see how long it takes for me to lose my mind because I never have a minute alone in the house.  Dear Hubby has his office in the basement and works from home a few days a week.  Kids are now old enough that they don't want to do day camp.  By the end of July, I want to hurt someone.  But, I digress.

So, I should have known that today was going to be challenging.  It started with a call from Mom about a health problem last night.  It's not really a problem, it's a side effect of the cancer she is dealing with and she just refuses to accept that this side effect isn't going to go away.  So yesterday, she went to see the nurses at the lovely continuing care community to see if they could "fix" the problem.  (There is no fix, but again, Mom doesn't remember that is the case.)

About 8:20 am, along with my second cup of coffee as I'm figuring out the game plan for the day, I get the phone call from the Lovely Nurse.  Mom was up there yesterday.  She was confused.  (Again, that is a constant state.)  She could not describe her symptoms.  (Again, normal for her.)  But, they think she might have a urinary tract infection so they took a urine sample and called her primary care physician.  The same Doc I have a call into about the side effect of the cancer and whether there is anything to be done about it.

Lovely Nurse think mom needs an antibiotic.  She is going to ask the Doc for one, but my gut says this doc, who is new to mom because Beloved Doctor is now a hospitalist has only seen mom once and doesn't really get the whole picture yet, is going to want to see her.

So, I'm opening the pool -- when are we going to get the call about the appointment and when will we get an appointment?  Today, when I'm supposed to pick up Daughter 2 at school, take her to lunch to celebrate the last day and go to the bookstore (her favorite place IN THE WORLD)?  Or tomorrow, when I have to be at work?

I'm a wee bit frustrated today and just needed to get this off my chest.  No looking for sympathy.  Just needed to vent.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Never Ask: "What's the Worst That Can Happen/"

I'm glad that I've decided to start doing this again.  It's a better venue for stories that are a bit too long to post on Facebook.

As most of you know, I own The Beast -- a 2004 Ford Expedition with a honkin' big V-8 engine and capacity for 8 full size people plus luggage.  I get gallons to the mile, not mile per gallon, but I LOVE MY TRUCK!  

This is the back of The Beast loaded for the trip to RSCM in August, where it hauled two adults, five kids and luggage from Philadelphia to Newport and back.  During the course of the last 10 years, the Beast has served me well.  Transported kids, dogs, furniture, etc.  I really haven't had to do much to it, other than routine maintenance.  Until yesterday.

As I was driving Mom to radiation, a flashing message comes across the message center -- CHECK CHARGING SYSTEM.  I have no idea what this means.  The car seems to be running fine.  I continue to the hospital with Mom and do the 21st Century thing when I get there -- I google it.  What I find out is something is wrong with my electrical system.  Ok.  Drive Mom home and head to teach my knitting class in Haverford.

More strange flashing lights.  The radio goes on and off by itself.  The anti-lock brake light flashes.  The dome lights come on and off.  I am not touching any of this.  At this point, the car is still driving fine and I'm wondering if I need a priest for an exorcism or a mechanic.

On the way back home from knitting class, the entire dashboard goes dark. DARK! Speedometer doesn't work.  No gas gauge.  No radio, no heat, no lights.  Now, I'm really starting to think I need a priest.  Get home and call the mechanic who says -- "Don't think I can fit you in tomorrow, maybe Monday."

Well, it's Thursday.  So that means I need to pick up Daughter 2 and a friend and school and drive 20 minutes over to church for Chorister practice.  BTW, I'm also coordinating dinner for 70 that happens between Choristers and Adult Choir rehearsal.  So, I get the in the car and head to car line.  I figure, what's the worst that can happen.  Shouldn't have thought that.  I paid for it.

Those of you who have children know car line.  At Daughter 2's school it is run with military precision.  You do not mess up the flow of car line.  So I pull up into one of the two lines and the car promptly DIES blocking one of the two lanes.  Yep, I am now that mother.  The one blocking car line and screwing things up.

I call AAA.  I endure threats, dirty looks, curses and daggers.  But, there were many who as I directed traffic around the Beast, rolled down windows and asked -- can I help?  Do your kids need a ride?  Do you need a jump?  So for each idiot, there was at least one nice person.

Truck gets towed to mechanic.  Fortunately, Hubby was able to come get kids and then get me at the mechanic and take us over to church for rehearsal.

Mechanic just called.  It's the alternator.  Could be worse.  Car will be ready this afternoon.
No exorcism necessary.  Just a check for the mechanic.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

From the Middle of the Sandwich

I'm prompted to start writing again thanks to a friend who muses about my Facebook posts -- most of which these days involve being in the middle of the sandwich generation.  So, here's a quick update and I'll try to be better about blogging.

Three years ago, I learned that God did not mean for me to work full time.  My mother's health was in decline and my girls needed me a bit more.  Therefore, I am practicing law part time and being a full time sandwich.

Here's what 2013 brought for me:

  • May - Mom has a stroke same week Daughter 1 graduates from 8th grade.
  • June - We convince Mom she needs to move from the Jersey Shore to the Philly area, since living by yourself after you've had a stroke which causes the doctors to say you can't drive isn't a good idea.  
  • July - Pack up Mom's house
  • August - Move Mom into a lovely Philadelphia area continuing care community in her own beautiful one bedroom apartment (which for the first month, is referred to as The Prison).
  • September - Daughter 1 starts high school.  Daughter 2 starts 5th grade.  Back to school craziness.
  • October - During weekend that Dear Sister is having baby shower for Wonderful Niece, Dearest Brother-in-Law has a major heart attack, necessitating triple bypass and valve replacement.
  • November - Mom has a stroke on hubby's birthday and spends a week in the hospital.  Doctor's release her to rehab and she wants to know why we put her in this New Prison!
  • December - Mom has a couple of TIAs.
  • January - Philadelphia gets snow, snow and more snow.
  • February - Mom spends 10 of 28 days in the hospital and gets a new diagnosis - cancer.  A week after the cancer diagnosis - we had two strokes (including a nasty fall.)

So, anytime I can string two weeks together without having to visit the ER or be at the hospital with mom, are good times for me.

In the meantime, this winter has worn me down so I broke down and ordered seeds from Burpee. Below is my soon to be lovely lettuce blend.  Let's hope I don't kill them.