Sunday, May 31, 2009

Farewell, May. It's been real. And fun. But not real fun.

This past week has been a roller coaster and NOT the fun kind. My dad has been back at Sunrise (the assisted living center) since his release from the hospital about two weeks ago.
HowEVER. . . since coming back I've received countless phone calls to come calm him down for various reasons, and we've experienced one overnight hospital stay for observation, which left me crawling numbly into bed at 2 a.m. with a presentation to give at work just hours later.

With the advice of the Sunrise staff, we've worked out a schedule with another private aide who fills in the gaps when our wonderful J can't be there due to his other caregiving assignment. So, someone will be with him one-on-one from morning until bedtime for at least the next seven days or until he adjusts to his most recent medication change. An expensive proposition, but I have to say I've enjoyed the last couple of days with no nightly phone calls!

Things were starting to simmer down on that front when Olivia woke up Friday morning with a 103-degree fever. Hubs took her in to Dr. Will and he diagnosed her with the flu---the real deal. He gave her a nasal-swab test and it was positive immediately. Poor, sweet girl. She was so pitiful looking--her poison ivy still hasn't completely cleared up in some spots and now this. I'm guessing May 2009 won't go down as her best month ever.

She's taking an anti-viral prescription which seems to be working; she's been able to keep her fever down all day for the first time since Friday. She's currently up in her room watching Bedtime Stories on the portable DVD player, cackling away. I never thought I'd say this but thank God for Adam Sandler. Hubs got her a new Nintendo DS game today but we're saving it for tomorrow since she has to be out of school for at least a couple of days next week.

Here's hoping for a bright, shiny June!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Thank you, pushy-sweet flower lady

There's a fairly large farmer's market on the corner near the hospital. I've visited many times, pre- or post-visit. I don't always buy something, but my favorite booth is one occupied by a Korean family selling some of the most beautiful flowers I've ever seen, especially the peonies. You just don't see peonies everday, and since their blooming period is so short I feel obligated to pay homage. Which is to say, I bury my face in them whenever I walk by- - -no one seems to mind. I can't resist. They pull at me with their moth-wing fluffiness, their light, yet heady scent of summer to come.

The other day I was doing my usual sniff and smile routine when the flower lady noticed the big plastic Carolinas Medical Center cup in my hand. "You sick? I hope not, right?" she asked--half sympathetic, half cautionary. "No," I assured her. "Just visiting my dad today." With that, she plucked one of the biggest blooms from her $10 bundles and thrust it at me: "You take! For your mama, OK?"

"No, I couldn't--it's actually my dad. . .you see, my mom is um," (meanwhile the lady looks puzzled and slightly wounded, a look I remember my grandmother giving me if I refused a fourth piece of fried chicken). "OH, THANK YOU!!" I finally blurted, grasping the stem. "Your flowers are so special," I told her.
"Special like mama, right?" she said.
"Yes, exactly." I replied. And this peony sure is.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Feelin' Thrifty

Today I had to go to a totally bogus diversity training seminar. Wait, did I say that? What I meant, clearly, was that while I am grateful (SO grateful) to have my wonderful job, I didn't much appreciate having to drive across town to attend an all-day training on something that frankly, is simple common sense to most working adults these days. At least in my business, which is human services. I mean, if you're remotely Archie Bunker material then a life of civil servitude isn't exactly your can of suds, right?
Yesterday I was griping about how I was going to have to drive even farther than usual to visit my dad in the hospital after this seminar let out when my co-worker told me there's a cool bread bakery outlet near the training site. She said when she had to go for her training she went over there at lunch and got a lot of stuff to stock the freezer for when summer begins and her kids begin to eat the cabinets, walls and general framework of her lovely home. I sensed that Co-worker was trying to distract me from my griping,which initially peeved me because I was really on a roll, but hey--it worked! I latched onto this idea and checked it out.

Here's my haul: 2 huge bags of mini bagels, one plain and one cinnamon.
2 boxes knock-off goldfish crackers (I think they're whales)
1 loaf raisin bread
1 angel food bar cake (for all the strawberries we have lately)
2 loaves whole grain bread
1 box whole grain English muffins

My total: $11.72. Not bad for all the breakfasts, pizza bagels, desserts, snacks and endless sandwiches that will spring forth from this bounty.

Oh, and the hospital visit? Today = teensy bit better.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Abuse Of Blog As Therapy. . .

In an effort, yet again, to record an all-time low so that I can look back next year when things will be undoubtably BETTER:

My dad is in the hospital. The assisted-living staff and I decided to admit him a few days ago so they can get his meds regulated and hopefully find a sedative that works best for him. His agitation grows worse in the evenings, which is typical of folks with Alzheimer's, so his Dr. is working to find something that will help my dad, who is a quintessential "sundowner."

I pray every waking moment that I am doing the right thing for him. I never imagined that I would one day have the responsibility of making his choices, at least not before my 40th birthday. It's hard to concentrate on work, kids, and general everyday life when your mind is repeating the same, perpetual mantra: "Please, Lord. Please. . .please. . .please. . ."

I feel overwhelmed with this reponsibility. I wish he could come back to me for just an hour, or just a few minutes so we could really talk and he could tell me what would work best for him. What does one do when the one they used to turn to for advice is no longer able to give it?

And it is a huge, all-encompassing thing, this responsiblity. I have a responsibility to him, certainly, but also to his mother, my Granny, who's been gone five years now. Over a half-century ago she used to hold him in her arms and rock him and protect him. She kept him from toddling out too far in the fields, when everyone was outside working. She tried to keep him in the shade to protect his fair skin and was so proud when anyone admired his reddish-blond ringlets. Would she approve of the "care plan" that we've come up with? And what about my mother, who was often in and out of the hospital and hated it, knowing that my dad could care for her far better at home. Yes, there are many graves spinning in Beaufort County right now.

OK, enough with the dramatics. Now, goodbye forever! Just kidding.

I'm visiting Dad again tomorrow after work. Here's hoping for a significant improvement by then (here that, up there)? Hubs is taking the kiddos to Wendy's so I know they'll only miss me a little.

Other random notes:

Poison ivy rash update! Because I know you couldn't wait. I called my doc today and begged for more Prednisone because my prescription from last week ran out today and the vile creeping death will not die. It has crept over from my left side across my stomach, and the patch that started it all, the one on my left arm, looks like someone spilled battery acid on it. Yes, it's as awesome as you can imagine.

What's even worse is that my poor Livvi has it too. We even kept her home from school two days last week because the poor child looked like an escapee from the leper colony. But her doc upped her prescription when the rash persisted after a few days and it has almost completely cleared up, which is what I told MY doc when I so subly hinted for the same treatment. So, she had mercy on me and did just that. So now I'm so pumped full of 'roids that I could probably lift my mini van. And eat my house. But I DO NOT ITCH for the first time in a week which is a little bit blissful actually.

The State of Nate: Doing fine, had a great albeit wet field trip to Patterson's strawberry farm today and he brought home a sweet-smelling, ruby-red pint of 'em for us. Can't wait for breakfast. His kindergaren musical is Thursday and I'm putting together a Goodwill-supplied "sad clown" costume for him. It will probably be sad on many levels- - -wish me luck.

The State of Liv: Gobbling up everything in sight, including my leftover collard greens at dinner tonight. She's my Partner in Prednisone, and we're out to devour the world! After dinner she had so much energy I asked her to put it to use and pack her lunch for tomorrow. She did, and she also packed Nate's and mine too! I can't wait to try my Scooby Doo yogurt tube.

The State of Casa de Pellin: We've achieved a new layer of filth. The dust bunnies and the crumbs are taking over. Hubs says he'll channel the kid energy tomorrow, with a little help from a bribe trip to the dollar store. Whatever works.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Because It's Mother's Day, and that means ME. . .

. . . I started my day opening gifts from hubs and kids, some were sweetly homemade and some decidedly not, like the bottle of '06 Franciscan Cabernet. Mmmmm. I decided it would be bad form to crack it open before 9 a.m.

. . .I sat in church and breathed in the smell of polished wood, peonies, and love.

. . .I spent the afternoon planting two blueberry bushes, a gift to me from me. Now I'm giving them their privacy so they can go forth and cross-pollinate.

. . .I made a huge pot of collard greens for dinner, just the way I like them: shamelessly overcooked into silky, smoky goodness with the help of a hunk of salty bacon.

. . .I decided to adopt Ms. O'Hara's school of thought: That other worry will have to wait til tomorrow.

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms, and those of you are missing your mom, or who got to have fun with your mom today, or for those of you who just have a mother's heart. :o)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

It Sucked, Then I Cried

The above title is the actual name of a book I saw today at Books A Million. It summed up my day so beautifully, I almost cried. Again. Because my day did indeed totally suck.
Allow me to explain:
6 a.m.--I woke up to find that the teeny, minor poison ivy rash on my left arm had migrated all the way up my side spreading up to my left. . .bra area. I realized that slathering on the calomine wasn't going to work if I actually planned on wearing clothes to work. I made plans to call the Dr. as soon as her office opened.

7:45--Said goodbye to kids and headed out the door, grabbed a high fiber breakfast bar on the way out because yes, that's another purty issue. Realized after a few bites that it tasted like ass. The coffee was good, though.

8:30---Arrived at work and make appt. with my Dr., stood up to stretch and promptly rolled my left ankle, which instantly ballooned to the size and color of a ripe plum. I wish I had footage of me careening backwards, flopping in my desk chair and rolling out of my cubicle, though. Had to be a hoot.

9 a.m.---I actually had a good work groove going and I suddenly remembered that hubs and friends have been sweetly suggesting that if I happen to find myself in front of a Dr., I should maybe, you know, ask for a little "mother's helper" pill to you know, HELP me. I pondered this while elevating my bare left foot on the corner of my desk. I'm glad I went in for a pedicure last weekend.

1 p.m. (or, The Icing On The Crap Cake) --I'm sitting in the Dr.'s office and in the middle of her examination of my ankle and my rash, my cell phone rings. I apologize for having to answer, because it was the number from my dad's assisted living facility. It was the alzheimer's unit manager, and it wasn't good. My dad's behavior has been a little out of control the past few days and today was no exception. I tell her that I'll be right over after the appt. so we can, as she put it, "put our heads together about his future care plan." A few minutes after I get off the phone, my doc reaches for her prescription pad and introduces me to my new friend, Lexapro.

I wanted to record today's events because a year from now,I hope to look back and see that things have greatly improved. I may even laugh a little, things are so much better. Right? Right?

There were some good things too, otherwise I would've gone back to bed at lunch.
For one thing, we unintentionally celebrated Cinco de Mayo here at Casa de Pellin. I had been planning taco night anyway. Also, hubs got some excellent Pacifico beer to go with them. I like him. Also, Uncle Dew from Ohio called to say hi and when we passed the phone to Nate he sang a hilarious song on request. Something about "24 robbers at my door. . ."--I guess you had to be there. Trust me. Hilarious. Liv was also happy and we're all happy to be around Happy Liv.

But mostly? I am happy that May 5, 2009 will be history in about 45 minutes. G'night.