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      Thursday, January 10, 2008

tales from the parkside
03:50 PM - 01/10/2008

The topic: The latest


After my visit with my mother yesterday, I started to realize she may never live by herself again.  When I got there she was being taken to physical therapy. I watched a little television while they were gone, not doing much.  They wheeled her back into the room and told her she had to sit up, that it was part of the therapy.  I was told I could walk her around if I liked.  I took her outside to the parking lot.  It was a nice day, still a little cool.  She liked the feeling of the sun on her face. 

I brought her back in and she wanted to get in bed.  I told her the therapist said “no”.  She got a little petulant, but stayed put.  She started complaining of stomach pains and leg pains.  She spit up some bile, then said her legs really hurt.  And the pains in her stomach were getting really bad. She wanted to lay down.  I spoke with a nurse and she told mom it would be good for her to sit.  Within a half hour, mom threw up her breakfast.  After that was gone, the pains in her legs got really bad. She told me she needed to pee and I called for a nurse.  They were helping someone else and mom had to wait.  By the time they were there to take her in, she couldn’t stand at all.  She had no strength in her legs.  None. Nada. Zero. Zilch.

We got her to the toilet and with some difficulty, got her undressed.  She sat down on the toilet and couldn’t adjust herself on the seat. And she couldn’t go.  Finally another nurse came in and mom was allowed back to bed.  Her lunch arrived, she took a couple of bites, then puked that up.  I figured there wasn’t much I could do at this point, so I kissed her goodbye and left.

On the way home, I stopped and picked up Lonee’s remains.  When I got home, there was a message wanting to talk about releasing mom.  I called them back and was told that the insurance would only pay through Sunday.


Not good news at all.  She was on her way to a meeting and would call back later. 

I called Brian and told him I wanted him home to take the call.  Then I started looking for mom’s cats.  Found Miss, but couldn’t find Bobby.  Anywhere.  Miss was outside, she’d figured out the catdoor.  And if she figured it out, chances were good that so had he.  And even though I couldn’t believe it, he’d gotten out of the yard.  I called Brian again and he came home and helped look for Bob.  He looked everywhere I’d looked, checked the barrier on the fence and could find nothing. 

Damn.  I lost mom’s cat. One of her dearest possessions and I lost him. I kept hearing a dog bark in one of the yards behind us, I just knew he was over there.  We got all of the cats in and I left a bowl of food outside.  I checked outside sporadically to see if the motion sensor had been triggered.  It hadn’t.  I went outside with a flashlight, hoping to see the nighttime reflection of cat eyes.  My hopes were dashed.  We went to bed around nine and I woke up at 12:30.  Went back outside, still no sign of him. Came back in and walked through the house with the flashlight.  Went into the garage and flashed it around and who do you think I saw?  Yep, Bobby.  Whew, what a relief that was.

Brian stayed home today, we’d been planning on going to Disneyland today, staying the night and coming home tomorrow. Fortunately, the hotel let us change the date on our reservations instead of penalyzing us for the late cancellation.  He went with me to the facility.

We had a long talk with mom’s doctor.  I saw him on his way out.  I stopped him and reminded him who my mom was and intro’d him to Brian.

He said he was on the way to a meeting, but he’d talk with us. Brian told him of our concerns, with mom due to be released on Sunday. He went through the litany of tests they’d run on her and they couldn’t find anything (besides the malnourishment) wrong with her. No cancer, no pancreatitis, overall, no measurable organ damage. I shook my head and told him had bad she’d been the day before. He said “she’s looking great this morning, would you like to see her? She’s in physical therapy right now.”




This couldn’t be the same woman I left yesterday, the one who had no strength in her legs, who was puking up her breakfast and lunch, who couldn’t sit right on the toilet because she couldn’t move her legs. It just couldn’t be the same one. (Funny, this morning I asked God if He could hit her really hard with His miracle stick….)

She was sitting in a wheelchair bouncing a gigantic ball to a therapist on the other side. She was present. And accounted for. Mind and body. The doctor asked her if she could stand up. Yeah, no problem. And she stood right up, not using her hands to push herself up at all.  Then he did a little foot stomping in place. Left, right, left, right, almost like a little dance. He asked her to do that. She did. She said “there! ya happy?"



And that’s why they said she’d be okay to go home Sunday.

I went back into the lobby with the doctor, just shaking my head. I wanted to know who that woman was I sat with yesterday. She most likely had been a little sick, that’s why she threw up. They hadn’t heard about the fact that she couldn’t stand up or sit on the toilet or anything like that. The doctors stressed that it’s possible her memory will never be good. (It never really was, mom has always had selective hearing, which leads to seletive remembering. Ever since I was a kid, if it didn’t pertain to her, she didn’t remember it. Very often.) But her current memory loss might be due to the alcohol addiction. (I can hear mom “but it’s just beer, not alcohol”.)

And you know how I said my mom plays me? Remember her legs going out and being so painful that she couldn’t stand up or get herself on the toilet? The nurse who was there when her legs went out told me this morning, when I left, mom got up and walked to the bathroom. Sat on the pot, did everything by herself without any help. 

And on the list of why she should live with us, this is on the why she shouldn’t side.

Now, Brian and I don’t think she’s good enough to be on her own just yet, not strong enough, so we’re going to see about having her stay a week or so longer, in the same situation she is now, getting fed and physical therapy. She actually was better today than I’ve seen her in months. And as long as she can get around, I really don’t see an immediate problem with her living by herself. But right now, it’s too soon to make that call.

The place she’s at is $205 a day, for the treatment she’s getting. She’s never been on a cruise or treated her to anything special, she’s just been socking away the money. Time to start spending it if it makes her well.

As long as she doesn’t start drinking again. But this time, I’ll me a lot more visible in her life. And mom, that’s not a threat, that’s a promise.

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lisaviolet is sixty something, married with no kids, takes care of lots of cats, likes taking photographs, loves Southern California weather and spends altogether too much time avoiding her responsibilities.

In her spare time, she makes pretty things to sell in her store.

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