Sunday, October 27, 2013

Never a Dull Moment!

Within two hours of my last post (Sunday, October 13), I received a call from Belfair Gardens saying that my mother was not doing well......rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, etc.  They felt she needed to go to the ER, so I said go ahead and call 911 and I would get there ASAP.  I threw on some clothes and got there just as they were taking her down the hall on the way to the ambulance.  I spoke to her and am not even sure she knew it was me or even heard me (hearing aids were out).  so, I went to the ER and they did everything to quickly get things under control. They decided to keep her for the night.  However, as seems to always be the case, we didn't actually get a room and get settled for the night until 2AM.  Surviving the hospital is not for the weak!  My mother seemed to get a few hours sleep, but I got up at 6AM to come home briefly to feed the cats and give Gabby his insulin.  As soon as that was done, I went less than two hours.  When I arrived, my mother had just finished breakfast and almost seemed like nothing had happened!  Even so, we were there until around 6PM.....the doctor wouldn't release her until blood work had been done again. So, we waited, waited, waited!!

The waiting was broken when Bev, a friend from synogague days, and her therapy dog, Alfee, stopped by for a visit.  He is beautiful and fluffy....difficult not to love.  He got lots of attention and we all loved it.  The hospital chaplain stopped in....and I knew him from synagogue days also, so we had a nice chat.  Finally, at the end of the day as we were about to be set free, Shelly from Belfair Gardens came by to check on "Mama Caboose", as she calls Mama for always bringing up the rear.  That was totally unexpected and so  thoughtful....she is a real gem, and you can tell that Mama likes her.  When I got Mama back at BG, they had held dinner for her and she was chowing down as I left.  I came home, took care of the cats and collapsed!  The last photo is of her enjoying the ice cream social the next day, almost as though nothing had happened.

The doctor scheduled an appointment for her to have a stress test on the following Thursday.  Anything like that is almost always a full-day event.  In this case, I went over and did her hair beforehand.  The test itself took several hours and we headed for food immediately thereafter.  It was another day of getting home just in time to take care of necessities before crashing.  Again, around 8:30 the phone rang.  It was the doctor saying they had found a major blockage and she needed a stent TOMORROW!  So, I called Belfair Gardens and alerted them, saying that I would pick her up around, she didn't have time to fret over it (I did all that!).  We were there by 8:30 and the procedure went well, so well that she was released around 6:30 that evening.  I got her settled in BG, with assurances that they would check her often.  When I went by the next morning, she was up, dressed, having breakfast and demanding more coffee!!  I, on the other hand, was exhausted!!

 The next day (Saturday), I had planned to go to the Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival (Eileen, you will remember that!) with my friend Chris and her friend,  who was visiting from Minnesota.....but, I was so tired that I cancelled.  I had no energy left.  Later that week, I did join her and her friend for Thai food.  It was a nice evening and I was pleased to meet Sue....such a nice lady and the conversation was great.

I've also had lunch with one of my neighbors, whom I enjoyed getting to know....and I think we'll do it again.

As you can see from the photos, the government shutdown motivated the democrats to show up to Drinking Liberally.  This is awell over twice the size of our group of "regulars" and it was a good evening.  I hope we can maintain this momentum.  

You must know that with the government shutdown, I was on a tear!  I emailed Congressman Sanford EVERY day (except weekends and the day I actually stopped in his office in Beaufort!).  He voted against re-opening government, so I still owe him one last note....which I need to do soon, while my iron is still hot!

i also contacted our Lt. Governor, who is in charge of services for the elderly in South Carolina...pertaining my mother's situation.  My mother would qualify for Medicaid, but in SC that will only apply to skilled nursing care.  Since my mother sometimes seems to have more stamina than I, she doesn't need that yet.....which means I'm paying for most of it.....and seeing my future becoming more dismal by the minute.  I actually received a phone message and a letter from him. So, I also want to reply to him.....and question that when there are people like my mother, why have we refused the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare (free  money for states for three years, then only 90%).  This letter will require more finesse than the one to Sanford, where I will just level with him.....So, you can see that my "To Do" list is not short or easy.

In the meantime, my house was such a mess that I almost had to move out!  This past week, my plan has been to suspend my walks and to make very short visits to see my mother.  By the time I walk, shower, dress, visit my mother, have lunch....half of the day is gone.  I never seem to have a block of time to get anything done.  That plan worked for three days and I got a lot done. Thursday and Friday were totally disrupted, but at least the house is more liveable.  I've gone through and donated to the library lots of recipe books.  I've reorganize the two bedrooms to allow for guests and kitties.  I've reorganized the laundry room....slowly, but surely, I'm going through things and culling crap.  The garage awaits, and that will be the major project.  It's happening slowly but surely......and it feels good.

AND, if that isn't enough....I've become an organizer!!  All who know me know that I'm not even a "joiner", to say nothing of an "organizer".  I kind of follow the Groucho Marx (or WC Fields, or someone before my time ......thank God, there is someone before my time!!) theory that I would not like to join a group that would have me as a member!  But, it was my bright idea to put together a contact list of those families at Belfair Gardens who are there on a regular basis and might like to contact others.  As it turns out, that was a great idea and everyone loves it!!  We have 30+ people on our spreadsheet AND we have gotten together 3 times......and I have people calling me like I'm some kind of organizer!!  One positive is that it has made it easy for me (and others) to get to know one another, and I think those of us who are there on a regular basis feel that we can call upon each other if needed.  So, I have either done something very good.....or created a monster.  Time will tell.

If all of that sounds disjointed, unpredictable, and totally overwhelming.......then you have a full grasp of the situation!!  I just get up in the morning and put one foot in front of the other.  I am posting this, without review.  I will do that tomorrow (or even later!).... but know that I'm hanging in there, doing my best, and thinking of all those who care enough to follow this.  I LOVE YOU!  Thank you so much!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Up and Running Again

It seems like forever since I last posted and I feel very far behind, in the blog and almost everything else!  So, I'll do my best to catch you up as I have made an effort to stay the point now of feeling the need to stay home and get some things done.  I've done the usual things with friends and my Living Liberally group.  I also saw "The Butler", which I thought was very good as it brought back lots of historical events of my time.

On Labor Day weekend, we had a very nice surprise.  Jim, Anthony and Justin, whom I'd just visited in DC, sent a lovely bouquet of flowers.  When I saw the delivery person at the door, I was sure they had the wrong address!  The flowers were lovely and thoroughly enjoyed by me, the cats and my mother.  What a sweet thing for them to do for us!

The following week Bill and Betty came for the afternoon.  They make a special effort to come by on their way to visit their son in Florida.  It is out of their way and I do appreciate their making the effort.  Mama was feeling well and we all went out to lunch at Jim N Nick's.  It was lots of fun and we all enjoyed it.

A group of Tibetan Buddhist Monks were in Savannah and creating a sand mandala during that week.  I didn't know anything about it until a friend posted four photos on Facebook (which I've included here with one of mine).

I was definitely interested in seeing their work so I went down on Thursday afternoon.  The bottom right photo shows how far along they were at that time.  Then on Sunday, my friend Chris and I went to see the completed mandala and closing ceremony, which was great.  As we walked in, there was this very low hum.  It took us a minute to realize that the monks were chanting.  They completed the mandala around 4PM and there was about an hour before the closing ceremony began, during which they dismantle it, share some of the sand with those in attendance, and then take it to the river and disperse it around the world.  It was not a disappointment.  I'm posted my album (which you can see HERE) as well as this YouTube time-lapse film, which shows it being done, explains some of the symbolism and includes their chanting and the closing ceremony.  The mandala in the film is a wealth mandala while the one done here was a healing mandala.  After seeing that the film was taken in a cold climate, I can imagine that the monks probably enjoyed being here!

The weather was perfect and it was an enjoyable day.  After the closing ceremony, Chris and I went to a new vegetarian restaurant in Savannah.  The food was very good and I think we'll be back again, whenever in Savannah.  So, it was a perfect end to a perfect day.

Early in October my mother and I had a get-together with Alice, the lady who occasionally sat for Mama when she was with me.  I don't think Mama remembered her, but Alice is so sweet she enjoyed being with her even so.  We went to IHOP and everyone enjoyed a good breakfast.

With the government on shutdown I think Jim, being on furlough,  was in crisis; so, I got a call asking if they could come down for a few days since they were already in NC.  How could I say "no" when they had so graciously let me visit when I needed to get away.  I don't think anyone ever really minds, you just want everything to be as good as possible.  Well, I had three hours notice and did what I could in that time......freshened the bedclothes, tidied up as much as I could, ran to the grocery store, and had a pot of soup on when they arrived.  I didn't have time to fret over the visit and that was good.  They arrived late Monday afternoon and once they were settled, we went to visit Mama and then to Truffles for dinner.  The next day was cool and overcast, and I had a 2:30 meeting that I needed to make.  So we went to Palmetto Bluff for a look around.  Then we came back.....I went to my meeting and they did some shopping, looking around, etc.  Once again, we visited Mama, taking Deva, their little teacup Chihuahua. Mama immediately fell in love with her, as did everyone else there who saw her.  She went back for several visits and brought a smile to everyone she met.  On their third day, which was sunnier and warmer, we spent the day in Beaufort.  We did the carriage ride, which I always enjoyWe then did lots of walking around town, ending up at the Chocolate Tree.  Need I say more!?!  It was good to see them and we couldn't have enjoyed it more if I'd had a week to prepare!
In the midst of all this, the government has closed and I've been calling, emailing and writing my representatives and the Speaker of the House.  I know they all love me!!  You will laugh at this...I emailed my esteemed Congressman, Mark Sanford (he of Appalachian Trail fame!).  The next day I called his office.  I told the staffer my name and location, and he said, "Oh, yes.  We received your email yesterday!"  I almost laughed out loud.....but it did tell me that they are paying attention to the feedback.  He was a nice young man and we had about a 15 minute conversation.  Then, when I asked what their healthcare plan was (since we know the ACA is as bad as it gets) he couldn't tell me what the GOP's plan was or what Sanford supported. That was not a surprise to me as they DO NOT want healthcare.  It was at that time that he said the phones were ringing, yada, yada.......and I told him that whenever the discussion (with Republicans) got down to facts and details, it was abruptly brought to an end.  Anyway, I've taken it as my civic duty to let them know my thoughts each day.  I do think they are dealing with a whole lot of "what goes around, comes around" kind of stuff, and it couldn't be happening to a more deserving group.

So, you can see that grass hasn't grown under my feet and, as I said earlier, I feel like I need some down time at homeI'm trying to walk as often as possible.  Between that, showering and dressing before visiting my mother, a large chunk of the day is taken.  I've begun getting rid of things and trying to get the house more organized, but there is just so much to do.  I can only do it in small increments, but I guess that is better then not doing it at all.

I hope this finds you doing well.  Please drop me a note and let me know what you've been doing.