A Wedding and A Shower

We went to a Brazilian wedding. Estella has been working for us for years and she even helped out my mother with cleaning and found her a helper in Alene. She has 2 grown girls (who are gorgeous) and finally found Mr. Right. She was kind enough to invite not only Sam and I to the festivities, but my mother as well.

So yesterday, Sam and I are having a lazy morning, mentally getting ready for the event because we know it’s going to be harrowing with my mother. Around 11 were just about to get in the shower and the power goes. So, no shower, no clean hair, no primping, nothing. Here we are trying to get clean with bottles of Poland Spring water. We throw on our clothes and off we go to GMAs. Its about 35 min to get to her, and of course, she’s not ready. She only had ancient stockings that really didn’t fit her and every time she did anything I had to pull them up on either side if her like she was a toddler. Amazingly, we got to the church early. We’re sitting there and all these women walk in. Gowns, pro make-up and hair, gorgeous. And then there’s me. Water bottle girl. I just kept thinking Thank God no-one cares about us, all eyes on the Bride.

Wedding was lovely, the best part was how happy the couple looked. Now we have about an hour drive to reception and we decide to go to Dunkin Donuts for a coffee for the trip. I have GMA write out a card for the wedding present and she asks me to read it when she’s done. She never disappoints. The first line was how she’s 89. Then how badly her back hurt her. ON THE WEDDING CARD. Once a narcissist…The good news was at the reception, the music was so loud no one could hear her comments, not even me.

One of the first dances was the one where they weed out who’s married the longest. It turns out to be US. The photographers taking all kinds of pictures etc and we’re dying. Of all the times to have pics taken…

Today I took a shower and Im sure everyones thrilled. The hair is clean, so is everything else and I can only hope no-one realized the state I was in last night.

Torturers

We went to Atlanta to visit one of my oldest friends this past weekend. Had a wonderful time just relaxing and catching up with the family. We went to the pool, some great restaurants and just chilled. Everything good until I took a bite of a chocolate square and my temporary crown came flying off. Because I cannot go one minute without something happening. Off we go to Eileens dentist and they were great getting me in and fixing me.

Eileen and I also saw my college roommate Vicki. I have not seen her in ages and didn’t even realize she lived in GA. It was strange, because although we probably haven’t seen each other in ten years, we went right back to the way we were. I feel like the bonds you make when you’re young remain, no matter how much time has passed. I was so happy to see her.

Then I come home to the news that my knee surgery was cancelled. Why, you may ask…Let me tell you. I had a bunch of pre-op tests, blood tests, etc. According to these my A1C is 8.1. Doctor wants it to be 7.5. Your A1C number is a scale that diabetics use to see what their blood sugar has been over the last 3 months. A normal number for a diabetic is under 7. The problem has been that in the last three months I’ve had: Covid, the Gallbladder Debacle (3 surgeries total), a UTI, the tooth episode, plus some random weird cold. My body reacts to everything so numbers have been through the roof. Im surprised it wasn’t worse. However, they explained that if the number is high, I chance infection and its not pretty. SOOOO, I have to reschedule operation to god knows when. Im really annoyed because I had this section of time all planned out, but best laid plans..

Today I had the final tooth put in and my head is throbbing. You have to wonder what the hell someones thinking when they decide “Ill be a dentist!” I love my dentist but they’re all a bunch of sadists and no-one can tell me otherwise.

V0012038 A sadistic tooth-drawer using a cord to extract a tooth from Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org A sadistic tooth-drawer using a cord to extract a tooth from an agonized patient. Etching by J. Collier, 1773. 1773 By: John CollierPublished: Publish’d as the Act directs June 1773 Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Im Back

It’s been an age, but now Im back. Health has been meh. In March I had pain which felt like kidney stones. Went to hospital, and no, they were gall stones. Any kind of stone, come to me, because I probably have them. So, we arrive at hospital on a Sunday and it was dead empty. They got me in pretty quickly, but because it was the afternoon they couldn’t schedule procedure for 2 DAYS! I was thankful I was filled with drugs. Which I kept asking for. Every 3 hours.

I have the operation and everything ok. I go home for a week and then am curled up in a ball and screaming in pillow because evidently a gall stone decided to hop into a bile duct, resulting in a “gangerous” situation. We get to the hospital, which is packed this time and I’m practically screaming in the waiting room. I get in, and the next day, the nurse comes in and I say I need drugs. She says “Lets wait until after the test.” The test ends up being 2 hours long and I’m dying. Finally they swing me over to surgery where I get more drugs and in I go. They end up putting in a stent to help clear the area. Then home a week, then back in to remove stent. All together – 3 hospital visits, 1.5 months of pain and $200k in bills, thank god for insurance.

Meanwhile, through all this, I’m planning Sam’s 60th birthday party. Even though the original plan was to have it be a surprise, it got out. He had a great time, though, and was very touched and grateful to all our friends and family that came to make his day special.

In other news, both the boys have moved. Phillip found a great apt. right on Arthur Ave in the Bronx, about a block away from the restaurant he works at. Forth floor walk up, so I’m going up and down exactly once per visit. Miles changed apartments in Chicago. Meg, his girlfriend, also moved to Chicago so everything is good out there.

Next up, we’re going to Atlanta for a long weekend. Which I cant wait for because I’m getting a knee replacement at the end of the month, so trying to get as much packed in before as possible. Plus had PET scan this past Saturday to see if cancer has spread to lung/liver because there were spots showing up on latest CAT scan. It’s never ending. The good news is there’s “Disco Night” at Phillips restaurant this week so I’ll just boogie down, and stay calm for now.

On the Move 2

Ok. She was able to move in for 1 week. The Dr at Assisted living took a look at her and agreed with her that she shouldn’t have this much pain. But this was after a week of complaints etc. It just worked out that the dr visits and her arrival didn’t coincide so it took a bit longer.

Anyway this Tues he saw her and wanted a CAT scan done. Off to the hospital she goes. It takes so long that they decide to keep her over night and send her BACK TO REHAB on Wed. Turns out she has fractures on both sides of her sacrum, so there actually was cause. Now she has to go back to rehab until this heals (could be a while), but also paying for Assisted living.

Meanwhile I talk to her and she says “Deborah Ann, Im so lonely.”

She’s been there 1 day.

“I’ve BEEN UNDER THE KNIFE for 12 HOURS, where have you been?”

She had a CAT scan.

Really, its just getting better and better.

Also no one can see her because they are having Covid lock down again. Which, in a way, inst horrible from my point of view.

The good new is her apt. is coming along. Almost empty and we’ll probably put it up for sale after Labor Day. Ive signed all papers for both Nursing and Assisted so thats all done. I’ll have a story and a half for my poor old therapist tomorrow.

She’s on the move

This last week was a whirlwind. Back and forth. Back and forth. Between my house, GMAs house, assisted living place. On Thursday the movers came, took all the furniture for the new place and boxes etc. Sam and Phillip were there for reinforcements and off we went. By the end of the day the new apartment was completely unpacked, including clothes hung, dressers filled, pictures hung etc. The guys helped with breaking down boxes, getting rid of garbage etc. By the end of the day, her new place looked very much like her old place, which should be comforting for her.

Then came more Walmart/Home Goods/Target trips. Next I donated the car to the Veterans of America, so she can’t threaten to drive. Saturday we dropped off stuff and brought her over to see the room. She was very happy but confused. We met a couple of residents and they were great. Very friendly and said they’d help her settle in. The good news is everyone there is lovely.

Next on the agenda is getting her apartment here ready for sale. My friend Mary helped me Friday, and I made 5 trips to Goodwill with stuff. Millions of things she never touched in the 11 years she was there, even though when we moved her from her house she NEEDED the baking stuff, cooking stuff etc. I’ll still need to make God only knows how many more trips but its looking ok.

Today was the big move-in day. I waited for the phone guy to hook up her line for 7 hrs, if you can believe such a thing. She’s in, but confused. I told her I’m not coming back till Thurs. and she looked at me like I was crazy, so I told her I’ve been there every day for 2 weeks and I need to do stuff at home, mostly for her. Im swinging on the end of the rope.

Before/After

Alternate Reality

It’s Monday but let me share what happened Friday. I spent the day over there cleaning and packing. I finally get home and about 3pm GMA calls and says;

“Deborah Ann, You must come here immediately! We are going out to eat and I need my purse!”

Someone explain where she’s going, from the nursing home? Has Le Cirque opened for the geriatric set without me knowing? I said “Sorry, spent the day cleaning, Im not coming over” So that passed by.

Fast forward 2 hours, Sam and I planning on going to a neighborhood get together. She calls twice. Whispering urgently in the phone:

“Deborah Ann, You must come here immediately! Theres a man in my room!” I don’t want something to happen!” OY. We all know if something was going to happen, she would be the number one target (insert eye roll)

We call the nurses station and OF COURSE THERES NO MAN. Nurse laughs and says “Its her roommate (a lady) who she thinks is “weird”. What a wacko.

Saturday comes and I totally plotz. I cant move. I cant think, etc. If I get through this week, it’ll be a miracle. Made Walmart and Home Goods run today. Tomorrow is getting TV and wall stuff hung in new place. Meanwhile when I saw her today, she wanted to make sure she had her crystal in the new place. For all the dinner parties she’ll be hosting. Jesus help me.

She’s on the Move

Lots of news. Two weeks ago GMA slid off her bed and apparently bruised her coccyx. I hadn’t heard from her by 10:30am on that day and tried to call, twice, with no answer which is weird. So off I go to see if everything ok and she’s laying on the floor and cant get up. She’d been laying there for about 1 hr and I had to have Sam come and pick her up and get her sorted.

Was she wearing the pendent for the people to come if she falls? No, don’t be ridiculous. Clearly this move is coming not a moment too soon. She seems like her back bothered her for the following days but was acting normally, albeit with constant complaining. Prior to this she went to see Newtown Assisted Living and decided that was the place for her. She got reacquainted with many people she used to know and everyone was very kind. She really was open to the idea. So we were on the right track.

Two days after the fall, we had an appointment to get her assessment for care at Newtown. Even after fall, it was deemed she was only a level 1 which is great because every step higher is an extra 900$ per month and we are trying to make her money last as long as possible. She even got to see 6 visiting 4 week old corgi puppies (which I was desperate to bring home because they’re delicious). We leave there, everything great.

The plan was to move her the next Thursday but unfortunately, due to everyone moving hither and yon, movers are hard to get. Got a date of August 5. Meanwhile, Gma and her friends go to an outdoor concert last Sunday and I think she walked way too much because this Monday I go over and she cant walk, or move and in a lot of pain. Here we go again, calling the ambulance (which turned out to be genius move number 1). At the hospital the Xray etc and nothing broken or fractured so good news there. Meanwhile, I’m going up and down hallways, talking to anyone who will listen, that she CANT GO HOME, SHES NOT SAFE. Not difficult to plead my case, due to the reason we’re there. I said she has to go to Newtown rehab (which is connected to Assisted Living she’s going to) so when her apartment is done next week, she can just wheel over to the other side of the building and thats it. (genius move number 2).

Every guardian angel was on deck, because the plan is going great. She’s in there and I’ve spent every day picking out correct apartment, dealing with bills, figuring out her paperwork (which puts you in her headspace and its a scary place to be) that has writing all over it, around the edges and on the back. A birds eye view into the mind of a lunatic.

Yesterday her helper Alene came to help me and she is gold. We got through so much, tossed a ton, recycled, cleaned. Today we’re going to start to pack up for the move. I have not seen GMA since Wed. but I’m so stressed I just cant until all of this is over. I cant sleep, my jaw is tight and Im an emotional wreck. I cant wait to this portion of the program to be over.

It is what it fucking is

Hi, Im back. I know it’s been a while. I’ve been going through some stuff and I really couldn’t summon the will to write about it. But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and I’m ready to lay it all out there. A lot has happened in the last few months, so I’ll just go step by step.

First great news is we are all fully vaccinated. Its a wonderful feeling knowing that the family is protected. Its been such a tough year, for everyone. There’s finally an end in sight. Its been terrific starting to get together with friends and family again. It’s almost beginning to feel normal. So normal in fact that Ive already taken 2 vacations in June.

The first was a week visiting Figure 8 Island in NC. Sam and I met up with one of my oldest friends, Jane. She came with her partner Kevin, her daughter Jordanna and her husband Kelvin plus their children Maya (6) and Wyatt (1.5). It was relaxing but as you get older you forget the schedules of kids (5am wake-ups!), and all that energy. But we also got to get the snuggles and hugs and the reading of books together. I feel like we really reconnected and I got to know the kids better. Its hard because we don’t live near each other to begin with but it was really great to spend (and I HATE this phrase) quality time with everyone. The island was gorgeous and there was hardly anyone there so it was a good first try at vacations.

Two weeks later I took off for a Girls Week in the Red Neck Riviera, Myrtle Beach. I flew down and my sister-in-law Jen, her mom Jeanne, her daughter Taylor and her daughter Rose (1.5) plus Jen’s sons girlfriend Mary and her daughter Alayna (6) all drove from Pittsburgh. Again, it was wonderful to reconnect. I don’t think we ever have spent that much time together. It was great just hanging out, talking and being with the kids.

I haven’t been to Myrtle beach for about 30 years and its amazing the people you can see. We stayed at a hotel/condo/resort and had a “Penthouse” apartment which really only meant it had 3 bedrooms. However, whenever someone was was in the elevator with us and we pushed the PH button, there inevitably would be a “OOOOO, the PENTHOUSE”, we even got the question “Is it all gold and white marble up there?” Yes. Yes it is. Do you remember where you are? Oy. Was so grateful to my SIL for all the schlepping she did. She was a trooper as she got up at the crack of dawn to set up chairs etc. Which was excellent because the week before I had to go to the hospital.

I felt an ache in my left arm and after a few days Sam and I decided to get it checked out. After 7 hours in the ER, they found nothing. They were very thorough but had to follow up with cardiologist and still nothing. So I really couldn’t use my little dino arms as much as usual.

Now we get to the reason for the immense funk I’ve been in. GMA has really been kicking up. She has decided she no longer needs her pills and that I am the one who wants her to take them. She’s been to the dr multiple times to “discuss” her meds. Which have never changed. Because she’s crazy. She’s driving me there with her. Finally, through the work with my therapist, I got up the nerve to look into Assisted Living. It’s actually the best option for her. She’s lonely and she cant take care of herself properly, even with the helper. We went to see one place yesterday and she’s on the fence about the whole thing. But it’s happening. I feel like a great weight is beginning to lift.

Meanwhile, at one of the places I met a terrific woman named Cindy who showed me around. It turns out she’s a fellow cancer survivor and she wrote a book about her experiences. What a story. I read it all in one day. Her strength is inspiring. She’s amazing and if your interest is piqued, you can find her book here:

So now you’re up to date. Long road ahead but I think I see an end. Thanks to everyone thats been putting up with me through this. Its a lot, and I’m glad I have you with me.

Sláinte

Hola!!! Everything back to normal here. Phillip is over Covid, thank God. We picked up Milesy from the airport after his 7 week sojourn in New Orleans, the lucky duck. He had a great time and is now here until May, when we drive him to his new spot in Chicago.

The big news is Sammy and I both got our first vaccine. Im so happy that, hopefully, things will kind of get back to normal. I cant wait to see friends and family and not be so afraid. Im really excited because my sister-in-law has planned a girls trip in June and I get to see my nieces baby and my nephews little girl and I cant wait. Its going to be so much fun! Almost worth waiting a year for. We are getting our second vaccine April 3rd so we’ll be all set.

Saw the breast surgeon last week and she confirmed that NO MORE CANCER, for now. Obviously anyone can get it at any time, and mine can come back, but for now everything good and Im going with that. Its one more piece of good news. Im still tired in the afternoons, though nowhere near where I was. She said its probably because of the meds Im still taking (and continuing for 10 years). So Im just continuing to have naps etc and giving myself a break.

Also started seeing a therapist about GMA. After first session I think I’ll be going for the rest of my life. Lots of things to get through and its not going to be pretty. Hopefully I’ll develop techniques to deal with her. Wish me luck. Speaking of which, tomorrow is St. Patricks Day and though it’s another year without parades and bars, we still have corned beef, soda bread, The Quiet Man and the family together to enjoy it. Sláinte!

Negative, Part Deux

GMA is driving me fucking insane. Her retention is low, yet she BELIEVES she’s completely competent. She is wondering why Im taking charge of the money, why I take the credit card etc, like Im robbing her. Im very close to the end of my rope. I could go on and on but I don’t feel like it because I’ll be back in the breach again in the morning.

Next, Phillip has gotten Covid. He had a friend over last weekend and he turned out to have it. So Phillip is banished to the basement. Miles has had to postpone his trip to New Orleans, so he can be sure he’s ok to go. Sam and I just got tested and we’re negative. As of now. I also got my first mammogram since the diagnosis and that came back clear. So, some good news.