Wednesday, February 22, 2012

In case of emergency

I used to feel a bit of a twinge of discomfort when I listed an emergency contact on a form. It felt as if I couldn't really be a grownup if I still listed my mother. On Monday it hit me. I don't have an emergency contact anymore. It's something I've thought about as a likely occurrence sometime in my future. Say in another twenty years or so. But not now. I can figure out some practical solution easily enough. But the thought sure was sobering.

Monday, February 20, 2012


I had a different post in mind to write next. But tonight's visit put that post out of my mind. I'd been told that Mom had been able to sit up in a wheelchair for short periods of time, but I'd never seen it. Until tonight.

It was horrible.

She was sitting at the end of the hall, near the elevator. I've often seen patients in that spot. It gives them a change of scenery when they aren't up to going much further. It's close to the nurse's station, so the patient can see a lot of different people coming and going, but still be near help if needed.

I can't bring myself to write down any sort of description that comes to mind. They're all too... I don't know... is "dehumanizing" too strong a word? Maybe. Enough to say, I didn't see my mom there. More than ever, tonight I feel like my mom is gone. There's just this suffering shell of a person left.

Friday, February 3, 2012


My first job was at a fast food restaurant, where I spent most of my time serving and cleaning in the dining area. So I was constantly on my feet for several hours most evenings. I didn't have shoes that were acceptable to the management, so I had to buy a new pair. New shoes and constantly on your feet are not a good combination, especially with the sort of shoes I could afford. I quickly learned not to sit down during breaks, no matter how tired I was. Taking the pressure off my raw heels just made it worse to stand up again.

It's been somewhat the same with visiting my mom lately. Shortly after my last post, I went away for a conference. I wasn't sure until a week or so before that whether I would even attend. I'd already warned my committee chair, the guest speaker I had been making arrangements with, and my hotel roommate that I might not come. But eventually I decided to go. Mom seemed as well settled into the subacute facility as I could expect, and she seemed to understand me when I told her I would be away for four days. Even though conferences aren't restful, I looked forward to having a bit of a break from Mom and the whole situation. And it was nice to have that break. To take the pressure off for a short while.

I had planned on visiting Mom the evening after I got back home. I got back in plenty of time to do so, but I found I just wasn't able to face putting the pressure back on. I visited her the next evening instead, after work. It wasn't a fun visit. Mom didn't seem to have improved at all in the five days I'd been away. And she did a lot of screaming. I felt like the endurance I had built up over the weeks was gone. I was depressed and tired and just not able to deal with Mom. I ended up staying away for another four days.

This Monday I visited, and again on Wednesday. I'll go again tonight. Mom's been more asleep than awake while I've been with her this week. So I've yet to really test my endurance, my ability to take the pressure again. I hope tonight's visit goes well. But I hope even more that I can find that endurance again.