It was that freakin head and friggin KURT got me AGAIN!!
Here I am coming off the sickest sick I've probably ever had and damned Kurt was torturing me with that damned head. Of course, the obligatory note was pinned to the head, "Happy Early Harvest, Nature Boy."
So now I've got the head back and the stress of figuring out how to get it back to him again. Like I need this crap right now (OK, so it was clever and again, he really got me).
So now the wretched beast is looking at me from the top of my dresser, daring me to figure out how to return the thing to him. I wish I'd had the moles instead.
OK, so by this time, I've got the head and I've got Mom just ranting on and on and on about me being on the net because it's Monday and I'm trying to write my column. When the whole thing happened with Alice, I had to promise I wouldn't post any more family pictures on the site, including mine. It sucked (I'm so the exhibitionist), but I wanted to keep the peace. At Christmas, I got my new computer and set up the old computer for Mom, as I told you last night and she looked so cute surfing the net that Kye snapped a pic and I wanted to share it with the gals on the Ranch Message Board, so I uploaded the pic, but didn't link it to anything. As it turned out, it was one of the first posts I did with MS Front Page 2003 and I screwed it up and saved the picture as the INDEX PAGE for the WHOLE SITE, so not only did the gals at the Ranch Board get to see her, anytime anyone tried to access the site, they got Mom surfing the net. OF COURSE, she saw it before I did and the you know what hit the fan and I had it down within about 10 minutes, but I'll never actually LIVE it down. I'm so whipped. I hate that.
Anyway, so Mom has been insisting that I stop writing my column, get off the internet, blah, blah, blah and every time I sit down to the computer, I can almost count down from 10 to the moment she's going to start in. It just sucks.
After conferring with Katrina, who had put her nappy little head together with my friend, Patricia, I decided to take their advice and talk to Mom's doctor. I made an appointment with him on Monday (as in day before yesterady) and had a long talk. Fortunately, the doctor is very open minded and a holistic sort who takes Mom's predictions fairly seriously and doesn't laugh about it, at least not to our faces. Pfft. That's more than enough for me. I went in and told him the whole story and he just took notes, nodded a lot and asked questions here and there.
He told me that judging from her behavior, it sounded as though Mom was not taking her meds and was being lax on the oxygen therapy. He asked how stringent I had been about monitoring her intake of each and I told him that since just before the trip, I hadn't been really aggressive about it at all. She seemed coherent, alert, healthy and I had worked her care pretty much over to her own responsibility with me just checking her out from time to time. I saw her with the oxygen on sometimes. I would ask her at the appropriate times if she took her meds and she always said yes. He said if she wasn't taking her meds and getting the full oxygen therapy he had prescribed, her brain wouldn't get enough oxygen and not only could she have strokes and the congestive heart failure again, but it could cause paranoid dementia and bouts of hysteria. I'd never heard anything like this before. He asked if this was a distinct personality change and I told him it was and he was then sure she hadn't been taking her meds.
On the way home, I came up with a plan. I know my mom is very opposed to Westernized medicine and taking medication, but I know she also knows that we have been struggling to make ends meet considering the co-pay on that same medication, so wasting it would really piss me off. Mom and I lost a ton of dough in the stock market crash and we have enough to live on from our savings and such, but that's about it. The girls chip in to help pay for the meds and such. I went straight home instead of picking up Mom at Kye's first. Found her medicine bottles and it appeared that all of the meds that should be gone were gone. My heart sank because I was really hoping for a good explanation. I checked the dates on her oxygen tanks and was surprised at when they had been delivered. It had been over a month. I know she'd talked to the people since then, but I didn't micromanage and figured she'd been turning in the empties and taking on new ones. Man, I was really slipping. She had one full one and one about half full, both dated before we left. That meant that for at least a month before, she'd been shirking on the oxygen. I knew I put her on it before I went to bed at night and a couple of times during the day, but she must have been taking it off right away. I started doing the unthinkable. I poked around in her room. Pfft. Nothing interesting there. I mean, it's not like I'm going to find adoption papers or a drawer full of vibrators or Nursey porn or anything. Crap. In her Tarot Card box. Under the satin reading cloth, into the false bottom. Rows and rows of pills, neatly placed in little stacks. Hundreds of dollars worth of little pills. I felt like I couldn't breathe. Lord knows how long she's been palming the damned things. I felt like such an idiot. I was duped worse than Kurt had ever duped me. All this time of her ranting at me could have been avoided if she had just taken her meds and sucked from that oxygen pipe. My chance with James could have been different if she'd just eaten those little pills like she was supposed to. She'd made my life a month of living hell because she was too damned stubborn and prideful to take her meds.
I put everything back like I'd found it and went over to get her. Came back and wrote the rest of my column like nothing had happened. Got her on the oxygen and asked her if she'd taken her meds. Oh yes. She'd taken them at Kye's right on time.
I was, for the first time in a long time, really, really angry.
I sat on it until the next day (Tuesday, yesterday). Woke up and downed some OJ, ate some toast and grapes and watched the sun come up. Went in to give her the morning meds and much to her obvious dismay, stood there while she took them. She tried twice to send me out of the room for things, but I told her she had to take her pills first. I felt like a warden or something. After she took the pills, I stuck around long enough to make sure she had really swallowed them and then brought her the tea and almanac she'd asked for. Of course, she didn't give them a second glance. I put her on her oxygen and sat with her for the time she was supposed to have it to make sure she didn't take it off, even murmured something about how the dates on the canisters must be wrong. She wouldn't meet my gaze.
Later that morning, I told her I thought we should go out for a drive. She got really excited because since the resort, she has been Madame Social Butterfly and wants to go out all the time. I get tired of hauling her bones around, plus, with her demeanor, I wasn't excited about being in an enclosed car with her. This time, I was initiating the trip and she was over the moon. I almost felt a little guilty.
We drove around for a while, looking at the spring flowers that are blooming. She asked where I wanted to go and I casually told her we were going to see...
Claire is my mother's best friend from college. Claire is a few months younger than my mother. Claire is a widow whose children are grown and who never, ever visit her. Claire is in a "facility." Claire is cared for by a nursing staff for whom she is just another body to turn. Claire has had a stroke, just like my mother. Claire almost died from congestive heart failure, just like my mother. Claire is in the early stages of Alzheimer's Disease. Mom was pleased at the idea of seeing her friend. She hadn't been to see Claire for several months, since before she herself got so sick last time.
I parked so that we had to walk all the way through the nursing home to get to Claire's room. The nurses at the opposite end of the building, which is actually the psychogeriatrics wing, let me borrow a wheel chair for mom and I wheeled her slowly, making sure she could hear the people in the rooms and have a moment to see their lonely eyes. When we got to Claire's room, she was sleeping. I saw her oxygen was on and going strong. Her TV, unwatched, was on some talk show or another. Her roommate was not around, thank goodness. I hate when she's there because she swears almost nonstop and it's unsettling to watch this little old grandma woman using so many 'k' in her sentences. I saw the roommate had gotten some nice flowers, which were by her bed.
I parked Mom's wheelchair by Aunt Claire's bed and went to get a Dr Pepper from the lounge. When I came back, they were chatting, very animated and cute-like. Part way through, Claire asked Mom when she'd come to live there. Mom reminded her that she lived at home with me. Claire kept calling me "Frank" (my dad) and Mom kept correcting her. That was odd because I don't think I look a lot like my dad. The roommate had an old People mag, so I read that while they talked. Claire asked Mom a few more times when she'd come to live there. Mom started getting a little exasperated reminding her she still lived at home. I saw Mom looking around Claire's bed at the pictures of her grandchildren, babies in the photos but now in their 20's. No recent pictures at all.
I asked Claire, in a kind of joking voice, "So how are the potato skins around here, Aunt Claire?" She laughed and said, "Frank, you know they only feed me jello and oatmeal here."
"That's because you're such a looker, Claire. Only the best."
She laughed again and said, "Frank, you always were such a flirt."
After a little over an hour of visiting, Claire started nodding off during the conversation. Mom would touch her hand and she'd jar awake again, but slip away a few minutes later. I told Mom I thought we should go. I started wheeling Mom out of the room after she kissed Claire's cheek and told her good-bye. Mom was tearing up a bit and I was feeling bad, especially when I knew what I was going to do next.
The roommate came in as we were leaving and was pissed that we were coming through the doorway when she wanted through. She whacked me on the shoulder, told me to move my ass and called me a cocksucker. Great. Berated by a 4'10" frail little sailor.
As we were walking back through the corridor, I stopped at the nurse's desk and asked if they could give us any information on Aunt Claire. They asked if we were relatives and I told them Mom was her sister. We'd been there many time before, but never really talked to anyone. The told us she was doing very well and that her spirits were generally good. I thanked them for taking such good care of her (the staff there really is outstanding) and asked that if a person like Aunt Claire, with a history of congestive heart failure and stroke, were to, I dunno, not take their prescribed medication and oxygen therapy, what would happen? She went on to say a lot of the things that the doctor had already told me and I told her how grateful I was that Aunt Claire was someplace where people could make absolutely sure she was being cared for and was getting the meds and oxygen she needed. The nurse smiled and said that Claire was such a lovely lady, it was a pleasure to take care of her. We knew that was true. Claire is definite a sweetheart. As we were leaving, the nurse walked us to the other door (guess she was bored), took back the wheelchair (or suspicious) and said, "Now if you ever need a place to stay, we'd love to have you." I laughed and said, "Honey, you can take care of me any time." We all smiled and she said, "No, I meant your mother." Mom looked me right in the eye and said, "Thank you. I have all I need." We said good-bye to the nurse and walked to the car. Neither of us spoke on the drive home. At home, I set her up in the parlor with some of her favorite vanilla cocoa and she asked for the photo albums from college. I got them for her, along with her oxygen and her next course of meds. Waited while she took them and she didn't try to get rid of me or palm them. Down da hatch.
I went to my room and tried to nap, but couldn't. Watched the soaps kind of half-heartedly and somewhere in the afternoon, switched from Dr Pepper to Captain Morgan and Coke. A little while later, Mom went into her room and closed the door. I straightened up the house a bit and watched an E True Hollywood Story about Lobster Boy. Gave her the meds again, made sure she was using the oxygen, checking on her and since it looked like it would be a long writing night, I set my alarm for 5 am (I usually just wake up because of our loud assed rooster) to make sure she got meds again.
She was already awake for her morning meds, so I got her some breakfast and went back to bed, setting the alarm again for the next meds because I was wasted tired. Wasted and tired. Something. Got up for good around 1 and started writing this out. Now it's what, like 5:30 and time for meds and oxygen again. As nearly as I can tell, she's had more than 24 hours of all of her meds and oxygen therapy. She's docile and hasn't mentioned the site at all, but has been really quiet and sleeping a lot. I feel like an asshole (cocksucker, as Vera the Roommate labeled me) for making my point to Mom indirectly. I figure we'll talk about it if it comes up or if she starts in about the internet again. For now, I'm just going to try to relax and see where it goes. Knowing that something physiological could be the cause of her behavior was a big load off my mind, but finding out that she was hiding her meds feels like a betrayal. I'm still processing it all and I'm sure she is as well. At least now you know what a jerk I can be to my own mom even. Yeah, I'm beating myself up, but man, I know she would not have taken the info dead on from me. Oh, I did slip back into her room, reclaimed the pills and put them into other bottles. That will save money on next month's meds and I'm betting she sure won't mention to me that they're gone.
So when all of you were asking what was up with Mom and how she was doing, that's how she's doing. I'm sure we'll come out of this just fine. We both need to do some thinking and I need to do some drinking and peace will reign throughout the land once again.
So say I.
I guess that's why I've not been around much on the boards or e-mailing as much as usual lately. Just be patient and ol' Sage will be back to himself again. I need time and healing and well...
another talk with the Captain.
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