Helpless

Mom’s ok. On paper.

Her stitches were taken out by a younger than me man who remembered her from when he was in grade school. It was interesting. Last year there was a covered tray with sterile equipment and the person used gloves on both hands. This guy put a glove on the hand using the scissors he’d brought in from a different room and wiped off with a paper towel. He wiped off all his tools with a towel- I’m hoping they were in some sort of sterilization compound. His non gloved hand was on mom’s, feeling the stitches and manipulating her hand so they could be removed. It seemed odd. Her chest X-ray from the other day was clear. (nothing was said about the tumors in there, though) The blood test today was fast, those results will most likely be ok. The radiologist has noted her abdominal tumor is still growing slowly and is creeping up under her ribs on the right side. There is nothing they can do to stop the growth. He wanted to see if she could have some sort of nerve block for the pain she’s in.

He and her pain doctor played phone tag and finally the pain doctor called me! I was floored she talked to me. She told me what I surmised. The first nerve block mom had didn’t last very long in mom and we’d have to fly to Anchorage to have this done again. She doesn’t think mom flying that far would be a good idea. She’s truly wanting the pain to be controlled by the pump. But, mom doesn’t use it as much as she is allowed to. So, she told me I should make sure mom uses it every two hours and then give her the oxycodone (one or two every 4 hours, if needed. She hopes mom doesn’t need it.) 30 min after the bolus. She’s also noticed mom is wandering cognitively and hopes dropping oral pain meds might alleviate that. Oddly, each of the pain doctors we’ve seen have said the pain pump will keep mom alert and not inhibit life skills. The nurses all disagree. The pain doctor, radiologist, and her primary doctor agree the nurses should not drop her from their care roster. Unfortunately, if Medicare doesn’t see a need for them to visit, they won’t pay and it is expensive out of pocket. She gets re-evaluated on Friday. (Torn between a variety of professionals here!)

Listening to her as we drove back home was like watching a pin ball game. Her conversation went all over the place. It happens with and without meds. (I know it dates me to mention pinball machines. They were a lot more fun to play than watch being played. Adding a video of one for those who may not remember these cool machines. I thought maybe I could liken mom’s conversation to the game Pong, too. But, it wasn’t with beer and was played on an Atari!)

Anyway, I feel incredibly helpless as I watch and wait. This is an experience where I am an observer and I cannot do anything to change it. I can help make her comfortable. I doesn’t believe she isn’t tracking well. I know I’m not responsible for what she does. It is like being around a full grown mostly cognizant 5 year old. The tides are pulling and shaping and I can only watch. Thankfully, I can write and share my inability to make mom well enough for me to leave. (Granted, it is still my choice to stay. I guess I should just tell her she doesn’t matter and go. But, I cannot do that.)

It is one thing to flit off like I did on my ‘vacation’ last week when my friend was up. It is another to leave entirely and let my sister try to handle things. Jake called me on Thursday. She either has a torn rotator cuff or bursitis, but she still is doing the advanced swim lessons and hauling around feed for all her critters. She’s also fishing this week (remember that video I shared? Jake fishes from a boat, but it is still a lot of work with the dip net) and has to drive north to pick her daughter up at the airport. She’s stressed cuz I shared mom hadn’t done well this week. I told her I waited to tell her anything til I had more information. She freaked out and then decided I was right, because she was so busy. Then, she said I can always call her to vent. She’s got lots of time to talk while she’s feeding animals or driving. I just laughed and said I would if needed. (NOT!)

 

Talked to Little Bear. He attended his second fire for July. This one wiped out over 100 acres of ready to harvest wheat and was very close to several houses. He was a part of our town’s fire department, but dispatch called in 5 different departments. It was a huge response. I also found out he emptied the boxes his dad’s birthday hammock came in and put the bags of pieces on the floor of his closet. (YIKES!) I hope he can find them all or his dad might be a bit annoyed when he tries to put everything together. He thought it might be fun to drop the various bags around the house for his dad to find, but wasn’t sure how his dad would react to a bag of bolts here, some pipe there, directions taped to the TV…….I’m pretty sure he’d laugh and be annoyed at the same time.

As for me, I wish I could be back for The Craftsman’s birthday. This is the second one I’ve missed. Although, I don’t think I’d be baking cakes this year. It is going to be over 100 degrees F on Friday! I’ll take the car to the mechanic on Friday sometime, I hope. I’m sad I didn’t get to house elf for SSC this week, his lady visited and he’s been not feeling very good. (BAD house elf! Lol) I’ll try to do something when I go to town to do the errands. I have had quite a few people tell me I look great with the sun I’ve gotten. Some even have said I’ve lost weight. I’m pretty sure the latter observation is inaccurate and the former one makes me smile. I wonder if I should get a palate of blush and apply it all over every day if I look so good pinkish brown?

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Shaping

 

One of my followers said to me, ages past, something I’ve only just truly paid attention to. I was told dripping water creates beautiful shapes. I’ve always known this, but never actually grasped how it applies to myself. I’ve been afraid so much of my life. I’m awash in the droplets of fear. I write and am scared to let anyone really know me. I don’t go online and post because I’m afraid to let anyone inside. I escape into being tired because of fear (and exhaustion!).  The butterfly of myself enjoys fluttering around, it is a part of me. It isn’t the whole of me, however. The pieces of me I’ve shared are a smidge of a cavern full of exquisite designs. Few have penetrated those depths, but I don’t need to be afraid of what might be found by ones who care to seek. So many people have given so much to me and all those rays of lights have helped illuminate intricate curves and colors. The raw gashes created by circumstances are softened over time, creating beauty.

It was not the fault of the small child who learned to name a new man ‘dad’ every few years. It was not that 8 year old girl’s responsibility to take care of her younger sister in cars parked at bars (she did it, but she should not have). That elementary school child should not have been left in charge of that sister for so many years from age 5. I learned from those experiences, good or bad. I had to and because of those experiences, I learned fear. Fear of not being good enough. I was scared of consequences (some of those dads were heavy on the punishment side of life!). I was terrified of drunken men (ladies were more silly than scary). Now, over 50, I chose to learn to care for mom. I have chosen to stay with her instead of allowing her dubious hold on finances to slip thru fingers into care facilities. It is enough I know how to clean up the messes left by sewage flooding in the basement. (I’d like to know why and stop them, but a solution appears elusive…) It is easier to deal with one of my own glucose readings after taking the insulin for a high and a meal, eating those few carbs (28), exercising, and discovering another high glucose a few hours later, than be mad. (I can still be mad, but it accomplishes more to just do the math and take more insulin) I am not upset when I ask The Craftsman for help with something and he tells me what needs done, but not how to do it. (I later asked SSC and was given some excellent help!) I’ve had a couple of conversations, recently, where I was relaxed and not worried about how to say what I was saying (ok, I did watch the usage of swear words).  Those fears are rooted in the past and being uprooted for my future.

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There is an old Christian story called ‘Hinds Feet on High Places’ about a character named Much-Afraid. Every time I read the allegory, I saw myself. I never quite reached those high places where I could dance on the rocks. (I am terribly afraid of heights from being stuck at the top of a 12 foot ladder for over an hour. I may not ever lose that fear completely!) I thought I could figuratively dance, but not really. I was Much-Afraid to live, to love, to be. I’m discovering a freedom in forgiving myself for being frightened for over 50 years.

I do not need to be afraid. Let me repeat that again. I do NOT need to be afraid. Those shadows and curves, inside and out, are beautiful. It is more than ok to know I’m angry, I’m sexually hungry, or a person who has discovered not expecting anything is ironically fulfilling expectations. I am more able to look circumstances and respond instead of react. I don’t need to be afraid of those wrinkles on my body or being a butterfly now and then. I am myself and perhaps this is why I’ve been in Alaska so long. Many people have helped bring me to an acceptance of Kris. She’s got a damn long way to go, but wow. What an amazing person she is!

She’s been told this over and over, but, ‘By George, I think she’s got it!’

Birthday Cat Nips!

If a dog jumps into your lap, it is because he is fond of you; but if a cat does the same thing, it is because your lap is warmer. ~Alfred North Whitehead

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The Craftsman is a cat person. He’s one of those sorts who seems to attract them no matter where he goes. He sits down and the empty lap is filled by cat. This particular treasure was his mom’s birthday present in the fall of ’14 (when the photo was taken). Susie was an older rescue cat and is now a thriving inside outside feline. Her favorite pastime is to capture small rodents (mice or bunny) and bring them in the house. She drops them into the bathtub and proceeds to play them to pieces. The Craftsman is generally called to remove whatever might be left when she’s finished. Sometimes, if they are still alive, he gently deposits them in the grasses by the wheat field nearby.

This Friday (yes, the 13th) is The Craftsman’s birthday. I would love to have Little Bear find him a black kitten, but Moses would absolutely object. I purchased the man a hammock, instead. Moses and Maxwell are sure to appreciate this new addition in the yard. Perhaps, even The Craftsman will be allowed to use it.

Twister Tuesday

Twister Tuesday is what I think today should have been called. (and not the fun game with dots on plastic). I’m so tired and achy, I think even my toenails are worn out!

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I couldn’t go back to sleep after getting ready to leave this morning. I tried and almost dropped off when mom walked to the stairs (I was surprised she did that!) to moan/speak a question about our departure time. Since I was awake, I had talked to the nurses again and told them mom hadn’t gone to the hospital. They suggested I call her primary doctor person. So, I did. At the clinic with the pain doctor (she increased the doses again and mom did NOT tell her the meds weren’t doing as much as they hoped.), it was discovered mom had a slight temp. Now, normally this isn’t anything to wonder about. In mom, who is rather ill and has perfect stats, this was odd. They contacted mom’s primary (or said they would) and I made an appointment on the spot for her.

One of the strange things that happened was mom was given a script for the medicine Ambien again. The doctor said she did not like that med, she would not prescribe it, but mom’s body was used to it and taking it away and replacing it might be harsher on her than keeping it. YIKES!!!!!

Since the new appointment was ages away, we went into town and ate lunch and I took a book back to the library for her. Mum didn’t eat much, but no matter. We arrived at the appointment a bit early (in spite of stopping in the busy town for mom’s favorite orange cinnamon bread—I got an apple fritter and will post a pic later!) and eventually mom was seen. Her temp was normal this time, her pee test was ok, she is not dehydrated, and so they ordered bloodwork and an xray. She can do the blood on Thursday before the other two appointments. The xray, her physician wanted that NOW.

At the hospital the corridors were a long and winding way due to construction. (I think the whole borough is under construction!!!) Mom managed, but it was rough going. She finished and SSC came in for testing. SSC looked uncomfortable in a hurting way and mom looked grey. I was worried to bits between them!!!

We finally got home and mom is sleeping. She’s absolutely exhausted, unless you ask her! She says she just a little tired. I know she doesn’t feel good and is tired, she allowed me to touch her several times. Just on her shoulder or her leg, but she almost always brushes me off, so I found this a success. I did overhear her tell someone today, ‘I’m glad I wasn’t by myself.’ As for me, I had an apple fritter and should mow the yard, but am seriously thinking of a nap while I listen for phone calls about mom.

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Crazy Night

It’s been one of those crazy nights. Mom’s not been feeling good, but I’ve been leaving her alone anyway. On Saturday she cut a lot of small pieces of fabric out for a project where you make dresses for little ones in other countries. I went to town to see my friend fly away, stopped to ‘see’ dad one last time before the zoo opens (Dip netting for red salmon. People from all across the state come and trash our beaches and catch fish.). I met a lady who was up from the part of Oregon where I live. She was here for a wedding and raving about the great view of the beach. I suggested she photograph it, cuz on the 10th it would all change! At least she has prime seating for the shenanigans!

Mom appeared about normal and I finally went to sleep. (I’m very glad I got a couple of hours of sleep.) I was concerned about a friend and then thinking a great deal about an unpleasant attitude I harbor. I woke to take a shower and wrote for an hour or two. I heard mom wake and turn off her oxygen at 3, so I opted to not get her up at 4. At 5 she was awake again and turned on her oxygen. About 530 she calls me and says she is sick. I dress and dash upstairs. She was trying to take a glucose and mucked it up, she was almost at 500. I gave her a small shot of insulin to help bring it down. Then, mom said her chest was burning up and she was all sweaty and had to change her clothes and she wanted a pain pill and a nausea pill, but only halves of each. I got her sorted and checked her finger pulse thing, it was 98. Her heartbeat was in the 130’s, but mine wasn’t much lower! She wanted her oxygen, but didn’t want to go to bed. I could not get it into the living room (no places to plug it in and the plastic tubing wasn’t long enough). I called the nurses and they suggested I call 911. Mom, however, decided by that time she was feeling ok. She has a dr appointment at 10 and has decided to wait and see what that doctor might say.

Meanwhile, I am all dressed (except for socks and shoes) and will check on her til we leave or I can finally call the ambulance.

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A wonderful week-

I really need to get in here more often. I am so sorry!!!! I read and read and read and don’t pop in til I finally decide to stay up all night and go online! I’m entertained, enlightened, and it is all enjoyable.

So many wonderful things happened this week. It all started when my friend from my teen years came home. (actually, it started with the kid’s birthday!) But, my friend took the initiative and came to visit me on the 3rd and then we did errands together for mom and we went out to dinner together and we walked on the beach (all different days!). Her brother also came home and we walked on the beach for a bit one night and he was a part of the dinner group. (Actually, he and another friend paid for dinner. I should give him a longer sentence in the paragraph…no…he’ll survive!) I realized I didn’t have any modern photos of us, so I took one. The dressed up photo was the night I graduated from HS. The girl in the rocker was another good friend, C is on one side and I’m in green on the other. In the windblown photo, C has the fun smile and I’m wearing green (again) with the odd smirk on my face. (I notice it is similar to the one I had when my tooth was first looked over…..)

It’s been super warm this week, too. I’ve gotten out in the kayak and sunned and read. I’ve gotten OUT of the kayak and sunned on a towel spread on moss. Reading in the kayak is always fun, I often don’t notice what is going on around me. A couple of times, ducks paddled past and once, I had to move a bit quickly and paddle myself back to a mooring in the weeds when the wind pushed me out into the lake. (YIKES!) On shore was a totally different world. When I closed my eyes I could smell the sharp fresh scent of broken moss stems, berries crushed under my towel (I didn’t mean to do that, they are hard to wash out!), the soft smell of wild roses, and warmth. I could hear birds, paddling ducks, dogs, the wind in the trees, and (oddly) a rooster crowing at 3 pm. I was sad when the sun moved and I was in the shadows of the trees. I need to find a different place to bathe anyway, when I sat up I realized I was in direct line of the neighbor’s full size basement windows. (double yikes!!!)

 

I was glad to have such a good run of days. Mom has been difficult. The nurse came out after an absence of two weeks and was surprised. Mom’s blood pressure was up, her weight was down, she was holding her belly, and she didn’t look good. I told the nurse about the water mom forgot to turn off and that she couldn’t remember what a columbine was, nor how to find the seeds. The nurse wants to talk to mom’s pain doctor. She said the doctor wouldn’t care about the flower, but the water was big. She thinks the doctor needs to remove the Ambien from mom’s meds. (SSC told me about this before, but the doctors didn’t seem to think it was a problem.) Ambien can mess with brains. (Or it could be the wonky glucoses, which will also cause Alzheimer’s.)  I know mom’s is being messed with. She made me mad, I had to remember it wasn’t mom, it is her illness. (at least, part of it is!) When C came to visit me this week, I told mom after she left that we had made dinner plans. Mom made the comment that it didn’t look like C missed many dinners. I was so furious and thankful C was gone and didn’t hear!!!! (And C barely ate any of the shrimp salad she ordered, she is always careful about how much she eats.)  My sister called late Saturday to see if she could come out and visit. She said Pippi was already in Seattle with her big sister. So, I told mom Jake was coming and that the grand was in Seattle. Mom was really upset and wailed, ‘I didn’t get to say goodbye!’ I couldn’t believe it! Jake brought Pippi out for a visit recently and the grand never calls mom. I had Jake fix it, though. My sister had the oldest call  and both girls got talk to their nana. While I was out, I didn’t worry about Mum more than a handful of times. When I got home I did, she’d had a run of low blood sugars. 58 was the lowest. She didn’t look good and I wanted to give her another ensure before bed, but she didn’t want it. She has also spent a lot of time outside this week and even stuck out her tongue when I snapped her photo!

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The mechanic is still gone. This is worrisome, but I reckon he’ll return someday and I can get mom’s car fixed. I tried to pick up mom’s pain meds on Saturday night and discovered the pharmacy now closes at 6pm on Saturday’s. I wanted to get the guys t shirts from this area’s fire department and was only able to get one, and it is probably the wrong size. (it was a large and I think Strider has too much muscle in his upper body to fit it) I had a lovely dinner of Thai food and ice cream, but felt horrible after. I’m going to have to go lightly on ice cream. It really isn’t as good for me as I’d like it to be! (this is the flavor that is better than sex!)

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dinner outside near the lake! 

However, I had to laugh at the response when I sent the second top photo to The Craftsman, he texted, ‘Thanks for the wave.’ So, Kris sends YOU waves from the north! (not princess ones, these are a bit more robust than that)

Random odditites

I’ve been just hanging around the house the last few days. Mostly cuz with the car acting uncertain, I’m not sure about the consequences of driving it.

Mum did manage to get to church this week. She was wiped out after, though. (of course) I can’t seem to make anything she wants to eat. Sunday she ate very little and has lost a couple of pounds. I was glad the doctor told her to take her nausea pills if she feels like she’s going to be sick. If mom thinks the pills make her sleepy, she was told to take the second Ritalin tablet. Hopefully, next week, mom will tell the doctor plainly how much pain she’s in. She hurts so much, I hate to watch her. I sit in the basement and hear her whimpering and whining and hurting and ask if she needs help. She rarely does.

I got out onto the lake a couple of times. It was really nice, almost 70 F! The best thing that happened so far, though, was seeing my friend from my teen years. Hopefully, we’ll have a chance to meet again before she flies back to CA. Perhaps I’ll get to see her older brother, too. I was able to talk to the older kid a couple of times (he just turned 29…I can’t imagine having a child that old! No wonder I’m getting wrinkly!!!) and the younger one once. (Hoping he went to the house fire last night, I’m afraid he might have been playing up in the mountains!)

On Strider’s birthday, I had a chance to watch an airshow. OK, I thought at first it was a plane in distress, but it appeared it was a plane practicing for something. Lots of loops and dives and rolls. I couldn’t imagine being inside it, but it was great to watch from the shore of the lake! On the fourth mom started to think she’d be able to do the parade, but at the last minute, she opted out. I leveled out the pallets on the tires in the lake. They are more of a dock now and will not tip over if something heavier than a mallard sits on them.

I have also been thinking about and doing some exercise. It started before I did the basic engineering feat with the pallets. Mom gave me some tank tops and since they were  larges, I figured they’d be ok. The pink one was way tight and the blue one? I thought I was going to need help to get out of it!!!!! Some things should not be made of spandex and have more than one piece sewn into the clothing! I am positive I used up several calories in extricating myself from that particular top! In the kayak (when I wasn’t reading) I felt my poor tummy muscles getting worked on. I also discovered my breasts are starting to lose their shape and sort of resemble partially empty bags. I was horrified and discovered a site for firming up the girls. Of all the methods, my favorite was the one where you are told to tenderly massage oils into the breast. (I wondered if the directions were for a chicken getting ready for the oven.…)

I’m going to leave you with one of my favorite silly songs. A silly song with a bit of truth in it! Enjoy-

 

Noise Cat Nips

“Every body has their taste in noises as well as other matters; and sounds are quite innoxious, or most distressing, by their sort rather than their quantity.” Jane Austen

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Fireworks are used to celebrate many holidays in the United States. Most cats (and dogs) can’t tolerate the noise and might crave being next to their two person, hide, or even run away. It is best to keep the furkidz inside and safe during these celebrations.

Kila was a cat of a different stripe. I’ll never forget finding him outside during one of the spectacular thunderstorms prevalent in Eastern Oregon. The dog was glued to my left leg, the other two cats were hiding in bedrooms, and Kila was under a tree in the front yard. I had been looking out the door, but it was too much for the furkidz, so I closed it and opened up the curtains in the living room. I noticed a cat and was surprised. In a flash of lightening, I noticed it was OUR house cat only cat and dashed out to rescue him. He must have slipped out while I had the door open and seemed completely at ease strolling acround the yard in the rain in the spectacular noise and light show.

In the photo, he’s looking out the window at flashing lights. Every school year, during homecoming, our small town has a noise parade. Each class has a flat bed or some other sort of conveyance decorated with streamers, balloons, kids, and anything that might make the loudest noise possible. The local firetrucks are also enlisted as the parade winds around the town celebrating youth. It is a rather loud 45 minutes or so. Which is the point!

The other furkidz in the family don’t enjoy this particular fall cacophony, Kila was always fascinated!

What to Do?

I looked at myself in the mirror after my shower. I stared into the dark eyes and wondered what to do. The steam filled the glass obscuring my face and my question remained unanswered.

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Photo by Ivan Obolensky on Pexels.com

I’ve been taking care of mom the last couple of days. (blood tests, shots, fittings…) She’s needed it. The surgery, as usual, went well. Mom charmed everyone and made all those around her feel like mom was the nicest woman. I got a couple of ‘looks’ when I didn’t help her as much as they thought I should. I knew she’d push me away. I’ll let someone who gets paid for it help her. Mom is better with that. She did tell me on Saturday ‘I think I’d better let you take care of me today. I’m not quite up to it yet.’ She’s not sure she’ll feel well enough to attend church. She did come up with an idea, though. She ticked off some names of friends her age who have health issues on her fingers and said, ‘we need a prayer group for healing.’ I told her I’d take her to Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic, she didn’t respond. (I don’t understand this at all. All of her roots are there, plus her relatives. Ok, Aunt Opossum is difficult…but, she wouldn’t have to see her!)

I also learned on Friday mom’s car needs work again. Probably. Sir Wrench can’t look at it til late next week (he’s on vacation). He had hoped the symptoms I was describing were loose lug nuts, but after I took the infernal hub cap things off, the lugs were all tight. (I also couldn’t get the blamed things back on. Mom noticed.) It could be bearings or brakes or… Meanwhile, I was told to ‘be careful.’ I have one trip to the doctor next week (about 50 miles round trip or so) and I hope not much else.

I have not been on WP much to respond or comment. I do read blogs as they come thru my email. I’m incredibly thankful Jack is ok. I worry about Garfield Hugs and hope she didn’t trade Oz for a Zoo. I’m so glad her mom is out of the hospital. My heart is following Rhapsody as she struggles with her mom, too. Even Julie is having mom trials. It must be the season of ‘Mom’.

As I stood in front of the mirror, I wondered if I should force mom (like that will happen! Lol) to get rid of things and move into my house in Oregon. I wondered if my family could manage having mom there? She’d have to get rid of everything (I could probably move both pets, too…shudder!) and we’d need to give up the master bedroom. It’s large enough she could have a sewing machine or whatever she wanted in it. She’s not getting better, she not really getting worse. Just in lots more pain. Would it be better for her in the states? (She did say tonight ‘something moved’ and she has diarrhea. But, she says that is probably cuz of taking more pain meds.)

By mid-July, I’ll have spent 2 years in AK taking care of mom (except for the 2 and half weeks I was in Oregon in October of ’16). I’ve been living out of a suitcase, I’ve been waiting to leave, and it isn’t fair to have all the chores left to one person when he was used to having them shared. I wanted to go back by The Craftsman’s birthday, that won’t happen. Mom has several important appointments that week. One with the radiologist again. If he tells her what I think he will, that the tumor is a bit bigger, but nothing really to be concerned with, I’ll ask about the clinic and see what he says.

I am glad I came up, I’d like to go back. Oddly, in Oregon, I was in a rut of existence. Here, I’m in a rut of a different kind of existence. I made the choice to come north, I need to choose what to do next. Unfortunately, the balls are scattered and I’m not sure which one to play thru.

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