Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sandwich with a Pickle on the Side – Part 1

Where have I been? You may have noticed the scarcity of posts in recent months. I apologize for that. I've missed you. The problem is that since April, my GenSandwich plate has been overflowing. (Warning: this will be a long four-part post… That’s life these days. But these posts will lay the foundation for a lot of posts I want to write but that need a bit of context. This is the context.)

You know that I go to Mom's once a month to manage her medical appointments and keep an eye on her. Plus daily calls that seem to be more time-consuming… That eats a big chunk out of my month. As you long-distance care-givers know, a three-day trip consumes five to six days, when you add in packing and unpacking, preparation, and travel. And mind shift. Have you noticed that when you do your parent care responsibilities your mind is less able (unable?) to do other things? I seem to have a complete mind shift at Mom’s where I can't do much more than check email and handle her daily needs. So real life gets behind. Way behind.

In April Mom turned 90. We planned a big party for her. I think it was the first party anyone had every thrown for her. It was wonderful. The day before the party I had arranged to take my sister to a couple of specialty appointments. She had been dealing with horrible sores on her lower body and couldn't get a diagnosis, so I thought I could add a few appointments to my already-full plate. But that morning she awakened very light-headed and afraid. She didn't feel safe, so we took her to the ER. She was admitted to the hospital later that evening (yes, the ER consumed 8 hours of a busy day before a big party) and I returned to Mom's to a houseful of out-of-town guests I had not-so-wisely invited to dinner. The next day was devoted to the party, which was lovely. And tiring. Sis remained in the hospital for about a week, and then was discharged to the nursing home.

I stayed in touch with her every day and went back a month later to take her to some medical appointments, including the ones we had missed a month earlier. We juggled her appointments and Mom's. After one of my sister's appointments, we noticed that her arm was severely swollen. Off to the ER. I had an appointment with Mom that afternoon, so my hubby stayed with Sis. As I was dropping Mom off after her appointment, Hubby called to say that Sis had a blood clot in her PICC line and the local hospital couldn't handle it. (What??) She was being sent to a larger medical center about 30 minutes away. (I think the local hospital already realized they had nothing more to offer her, so used this opportunity to do a little patient dumping). Her hubby met us and we took off for the ER at the next hospital, where six hours later, she was admitted after a sweet little nurse came and pulled out the PICC line. Yep, that’s all it took. (To be continued tomorrow…)

Photo Courtesy of Flickr/Deedoucette

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