Friday, August 31, 2012

Where to Begin...

It's been a while since I've posted.  A lot of time has passed and a lot has happened...a mixed bag.  Let it suffice to say that I was premature in thinking the other mother had gone away.  That sense of well being was short lived.  We vacillated between arguing and sullen silences right up until Allan arrived.  This is where it becomes surreal.....Mama was so pissed with me that she was syrupy sweet to Allan.  He is her new BFF......and her new BFF didn't know what was happening!!  Welcome to my world.  It was so strange and strained that after a couple of days Allan left the hotel and stayed here just to take the heat off me.  Allan must have thought he'd gotten an E-ticket for the House of Horrors!!  Anyway, he was very good, patient (a word not often associated with Allan) and caring to my mother, so peace did reign for a while.

It was good to see Allan after two years.  Believe it or not, there are no photos of his visit because he is camera shy and I look like you'll have to take my word for it.  I picked him up on a Friday around 10:30 PM in Savannah.  We sat up and talked until about 2AM, so Saturday was a late morning.  I already had a job for him as I'd bought a new kitty gym at my local, favorite thrift shop.  Once everyone was up and going, we went to pick it up and disposed of the old one, which I hated to see go as it held fond memories of the person who gave it to me.  Even so, the kitties seem pleased with the new one.


Anyway, the week went by quickly and most of our time was just spent catching up, doing what one or the other of us needed done, and having a few nice dinners out.  The low point of the week was having to put my mother's cat, Tuffy (Bitin' Bob), to sleep.  We were all basket cases and I had decided to take him to the vet myself.  At the last minute my mother was in tears asking her BFF Allan to go with me, so he's pressured into going, and now I have to look after the cat and Allan (Allan and I had already agreed that I would take Tuffy to the vet and he would bury him).  Anyway, when the time came I asked Allan to just stay in the waiting room and I would stay with Tuffy.  It was so sad.....he was so frail that he never moved after they gave him a sedative, but I stayed with him, held his head and stoked him until he was gone.  By that time, I was "gone" and so was Allan.  Everyone at the Vet's office was wonderful and understanding.  They thought my mother would want to see him one more time so they wrapped him so that she could see his face. We took him home but couldn't bury him because it was raining.  We all commiserated a while and then Allan and I went to Truffles for an early dinner.  We had a leisurely, enjoyable dinner and on the way home realized that it had stopped raining.  So, we went home and buried Tuffy, with all in attendance......followed by a group hug.  It was a difficult thing to do, but I'm so glad not to see that little kitty becoming sicker by the day.....he was so sick and my mother couldn't part with him until that time.  Anyway, you can imagine that after 30 years this may be the first time that Allan was happy to go back to Saudi!

While Allan was marveling at the goings on here, we came in one day and I had a phone message from my friend Pamela, who was in town for 6 months to help her 91 year old mother relocate.  She was calling from Phoenix......on her way back home to California!!  This is the Pamela with whom I had plans for a trip to Charleston and an Elton John concert. I called her later and she simply had it with her mother.  I'm not sure of the details, but she just couldn't deal with it any more.  So, Charleston is off.......but I told Allan that I was getting so anxious about the machanics of it all that it was almost counterproductive.  I'm also selling the EJ tickets, if I can, because it's just too much work to arrange everything and hope it goes well.  Needless to say, I'm so sorry that Pamela has gone, but I can certainly understand her situation.  I will miss her good company, thoughtful conversation, and encouragement.

Both Pamela and Allan encouraged me to "seek help" so before Allan left I had a list of phone numbers to call.  My first was the Aging and Disability Resource Center of the Lowcountry.....way out in the middle of Yamessee.  It's really a lovely location, but in the middle of nowhere.  Anyway, Karen, whom I had talked with on the phone, invited Claire, Family Caregiver Advocate, to join us.  I arrive early and am waiting to be received and thinking that we've had a couple of good days at home and I can get through this okay.  They then greet me and we go into a meeting room and within 20 seconds I'm in tears!!  Of course, I'm mortified, but they are so nice and gentle that I relax and just let it happen.  I came away from the meeting recognizing that my mother is not as mentally sharp as I like to think.....things are going on.  They recommend a program called Dementia Dialogues, which I've signed up for beginning late September.   They also suggested I talk with her doctor (which I've already done on various occasions) and ask him to make suggestions.  I came away with good ideas and options.

Then, they focused on me....asking about my health (high BP), sleep habits, anxiety, etc.  Their point was that I need to take care of myself if I'm to look after my mother.  Karen said that the first thing I would notice, with prolonged stress, was lack of concentration......and that has happened on a few occasions, but nothing I would consider serious.  And then there was this.....In an effort to spur my mother's interest, I removed some bushes in my front yard.  We are now trying to decide what to put there and I wanted to contact Ronnie at Lowes who helped us with the flower garden in the back yard.  We just showed up at Lowes day-before-yesterday and Ronnie wasn't' working.  So, we went home with the intention of calling before going back.  Today I called.  I spoke with Ronnie and she gave me her work times, lunch, etc.  So, after lunch I go to Lowes (Mama didn't feel like going).  I get there and am told Ronnie is off on Friday!  What?  I just talked to her!  Am I sure I talked with her today? (which really makes me wonder if I LOOK nuts!). Anyway, several people confirm that Ronnie is off today.  I'm driving away and decide to call the same number and find out whom I was talking to.....sure enough, Ronnie is at work, will meet me in the garden department, so I go back!  I ask someone different...No Ronnie!  I'm driving away from Lowes for the second time and realize that the number I looked up in the phone book this morning was Home Depot!!  Now I HAVE to see who this Ronnie is at Home Depot (and I tell her the whole story!)....and this Ronnie is as delightful and helpful as the Ronnie at Lowes.  I know I'm stress, scattered, spaced and several other things, but what are the chances of there being two women named Ronnie working in the garden departments at Lowes and Home Depot?!?  So, I think this major "lack of focus" is the Universe trying to tell me loud and clear to do things differently.  What a day!

I know this is long, but I can't end without commenting on the Republican Convention......can you believe them??  A sea of "white folks", reports of overt racism on the convention floor, cheers at the mention of guns, speeches unfettered by facts, overt self-promotion with no mention of the candidate......and Clint!!  In his rambling, the comment that struck me, and got a huge cheer from the faithful, was "we own this country"!  They want to "take their country back".....back from whom, the majority who voted for the President?  That kind of sums it up for me.....they feel they have more right to things than the rest of us. They are really scary and the fact that they increase their numbers by appealing to fear, religion, racism, any low denominator is despicable.  There must be good, conscientious Republicans, but if they allow that, they are colored with the same brush.  And I love how they can point to things like our credit downgrade, which was caused purely by the House Republicans.  Anyway, don't get me started.  It's like my 80+ year old idols Margaret and Helen say: "The convention is over and I for one got the message loud and clear – a bunch of white people hate President Barack Obama. But we knew that already."