105 Ways to Give a Book

Chaos Updated

A What Happens on Wednesdays, Stays on Wednesdays edition to continue last week's post.

We spent five days learning the elevator. This is frustrating nature of what a stroke can do. My mom can call Medicare and discuss her benefits, but can't remember which button to push in a hotel elevator. She stays calm while bolted to a machine that beams radiation into her brain, but gets flustered when asked if she wants the combo meal at the downstairs cafe.

My week with her was supposed to establish routines so she could manage a daily schedule, but it wasn't enough to overcome the cognitive deficits that the stroke caused two years ago. She is fine at home with her own schedules, activities, routes, and interactions. However, in a completely different environment, in a highly charged, stressful situation, incorporating new things is extremely difficult. Even things as simple as the elevator.

My brother is there this week, while I work a full time schedule to make up for my time off last week. I am grateful for the arrangement given that I didn't have any sick leave to use at my new job, but I'm also exhausted. Not from work itself, but from being the point person for all of this at the same time. Mom already had a fall on Monday that involved the hotel managers, the doctors at Johns Hopkins, and a dentist today. She can't be on her own - not because of the treatment itself, but because her anxiety and the stroke are working against her.

Now we're looking at a home health aide for the transportation to radiation therapy, and I'm saying room lockdown for her when someone else isn't there. She's going to love that phrasing, though her recent fall might make it an easier sell. It's also possible that I'll miss my week in New York while the rest of my family goes to get Erin to her Broadway program. Given that it's my one week of actual vacation that isn't also an obligation to someone else, in a city I love, helping my daughter with our mutual passion for music and theatre... I'm finding that plan hard to take.

Also my daughters are in a summer arts program that requires transportation every day that often conflicts with the work schedule I didn't know I was going to have at the time they signed up for the school. And Erin has rehearsals for her musical most weeknights, which is another drive. Oh, and just to clinch it, my hamster is dying - really slowly, a little weaker each day. Which is a little bit how I feel now.

All right, that was pure venting. Sorry. But it felt good to get it out. If I could, I'd toast now to "things getting better," for the sentiment and also so I could drink to it. Repeatedly.

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Anonymous said...

If I were there I'd pour you a tall, stiff one and drink until things really DID get better. But right now, all I can say is that they will because they must. My thoughts are with you--hang on! You are a great daughter, and any mom would be lucky to have you.

laurasalas said...

Pam, glad you vented! My sister (50 years old) had a stroke in Feb. She lives in Fla and is still in the rehab center. I've visited and called, but I'm not there for the daily stuff. I so admire what you're doing--remember to take care of yourself. Hope you get to make your trip! Hugs, Laura (met you at ALA in DC a few years ago and I think at KidLitCon in Mpls, too--you might not remember!)

Jen Robinson said...

Ah, Pam, I so wish I could have a drink with you. Perhaps at KidLitCon ... ? It will be here before you know it.

Kristin said...

Thinking of you - hope things get better soon.

Ruth McNally Barshaw said...

This is temporary. You're doing the right thing. Someday your life will be more calm and less chaotic and it won't seem like an improvement, at first. I'm sorry your Mom had a stroke, and I'm sorry it falls to you to be brave and strong. It's good to vent. It's also good to remember you're doing a kind and generous service to your mom, and your family is learning good things from watching you. Best wishes.

tanita✿davis said...

Pam, while I am quite sure that this sounds like a throwaway comment that isn't ...meaningful, I think of you often, and I believe that you are brave. Despite what it feels like, you're ...doing this, which means putting one foot before the other and just going. Regardless. Whatever you think, I believe you manage to do it with wit and grace.