Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday Call

Today is Monday, so I made my once-a-week call to Mom and Dad. Dad was out walking in the driveway, enoying the sunshine before our next cold front tomorrow. Mom was making a big pot of chili.

They are having a guest tomorrow for dinner, a plant manager Dad worked with in Tulsa. Mom said Dad can't really place the guy, which should make for interesting dinner conversation. I asked her if the man knew about Dad's general condition. She assumed he would know Dad's approximate age and figured that was enough. I hope this is a legitimate, well-intentioned person, ya know?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tattle Report

I was visiting with a friend of mine at church today. She laughingly told me about an encounter she had with Mom and Dad this past week. On Wednesday night, she was walking out to the parking lot after church and saw the folks both over at the driver's side of the car. Dad was mashing with his foot on the floorboard and Mom was looking generally confused.

Melinda: Hey there. What are you doing?

Mom: Trying to figure out the dimmers.

Melinda: The lights? (switches lights off)

Mom: No, the dimmers.

Melinda: The brights? (flicks brights off)

Mom: Yes! What did you just do?

So Melinda showed Mom and Dad how to turn the brights on and off on their car. That they have driven for how many years now?


Karis and I were driving along together last week. I was telling her about some ideas to get us out to a little farm. One thought was to live in a travel trailer for a bit while we renovate a farm house. I was extolling the benefits of having a travel trailer to use as guest house, man cave, sleep over room, extra room if ever needed to accomodate Grandma and Grandpa, etc. I really appreciated the conversation that followed.

Karis: Well, don't tell Grandma that it could be for her.

Gwen: Uh, okay.

Karis: I could give you some advice about Grandma. I'm not trying to sound like I know her better than you or anything, but Grandma and I are a lot alike.

Gwen: Okay.

Karis: When Grandma says something like she doesn't call because she's afraid you will come, don't be like, "Of course I will come!"

Gwen: (looks quizzical)

Karis: I read your blog. Anyway, say something like, "Okay, I won't come if you don't need me to. I just want you to call and let me know."

Oh. Just those few thoughtful words made me realize that I'm turning everything into a fight. I'm so confident that I'm right and Mom is wrong. So here I am, at loggerheads with Mom, and only making her more sure I will do what she doesn't want. Not exactly engendering trust or conveying honor. I'm so glad I have a relationship-wise daughter to help me see a better way. Thanks for the advice, Karis. Please let me know if you have any more!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

And Why I Don't Call Mom

(more than once a week, I mean)

Tuesday I called Mom to see how they were doing. I was hoping they were out enjoying the sunshine. I got the "why-are-you-calling-we-don't-need-to-be-checked-on" tone.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Why Mom Doesn't Call

While Mom was in the hospital, many friends visited. So many that instead of saying "Hello" when they walked in, Mom said "I swanee!" Two of her friends on separate visits had heart-to-heart talks with Mom about her refusing help and even contact with us. One old, dear friend even told her she should confess to me. So the next time I was alone with her, she did.

Mom: Gerrie said I should confess to you about not calling you.

Gwen: Okay.

Mom: You know why I don't call, don't you?

Gwen: No, tell me.

Mom: I'm afraid if I call, you might come.

Gwen: Well, of course I will come! You're my mom!

Mom: That's why I didn't call. I was afraid you would be the first person I would see in the emergency room. I'm even concerned about when I die, that it will be a good time for Dave's schedule.

Gwen: Mom! You die whenever it is time. Dave will work around it.

Oh my. This is wrong. So wrong.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dad Solo

Dad on his own is not a good thing. When he called Dave Wednesday morning, Dad told Dave he was planning to go up to the hospital in a bit. (Dave picked him up.) Later that day, I asked Dad how he was planning to get to the hospital.

Dad: I was gonna walk. Heh, heh, heh. No, I was going to drive.

Gwen: I thought you weren't supposed to drive.

Dad: No, the only person who thinks that is Mom.

Gwen: Didn't the doctor tell you not to drive?

Dad: No.

Gwen: I remember Dr. Wright saying you shouldn't drive.

Dad: Oh, that was just temporary.

Gwen: For how long?

Dad: For a month or so.

Gwen: Did he tell you it was okay to drive again?

Dad: Hem, Haw

Gwen: I think you should talk to the doctor before you start driving again.

Dad: Humph.

I was also troubled (but not surprised, I guess, since I asked) to learn that Dad had not eaten any breakfast or taken his morning medicine. I spent the night with Dad both nights Mom was in the hospital (not counting the night we didn't know she was there, but that is a whole other post). After the first night, I wanted to be at the hospital early so as not to miss the doctor. I went before Dad got up and left him a note on the coffee pot to call me and take his medicine. He did both, but Mom was very concerned (asked twice) about him being home alone.

Dad really does not do well on his own. I think we (siblings and spouses) need to be united in the event Mom can no longer care for Dad. My thinking is that Dad could choose to live with one of us or live in a care facility or have a full-time paid caregiver. In my opinion, Dad living alone or with part-time care is just not an option.

Doctor Follow Ups

Mom and Dad allowed me to drive them and accompany them to Mom's follow-ups today! In fact, at the cardiologist when I was unable to get through the girl at the front, Mom sent a nurse out to find me so I would be in on the appointment. How 'bout that?

All reports are good. A little adjusting of medication to control blood pressure, waiting for blood results to check hemaglobin levels, but all is good.

Oh, and Dad got his ears cleaned out. :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Reader's Digest Condensed Version

Wednesday morning I took the girls to school, and Nate and I went out to the educational therapy building we fondly call The Vistatorium. As I was visiting with Nate's educational therapist/my boss, I got a call from Dave. He had just heard from Dad that Mom had gone to the hospital in the night with abdominal pain.

What??? In the night? When? How? Abdominal pain? And Dad at home by himself? What???

When we arrived at the hospital, we discovered that Mom had arrived (by ambulance) in the ER around midnight with regular, severe pain below her sternum. Happily, she was fast-tracked, maybe because of fear of heart problems? A CAT scan revealed a blockage in Mom's small bowel. She was admitted to the hospital, NPO, and the blockage cleared up on its own. Yea!

Mom was released from the hospital Friday. She and Dad are so happy to be at home together again.


I just got home tonight for the first time since Wednesday morning. Mom was in the hospital with intestinal blockage. I'll write more later, but I wanted to share my two favorite quotes from my time with Mom and Dad.

Mom: Isn't it funny how quick things happen?

And Dad with the Family Motto...

Dad: Everything is fine.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Texting + Grandma = LOL

Mom has mentioned a few times that Meg texts her every day. We couldn't figure out what was going on because Meg has not in fact been texting Grandma every day. Then Meg remembered that she set Grandma's banner on her cell phone to read: Meg Loves You! So we guess every time Grandma opens her phone and sees the banner, she thinks Meg has texted her a love note.

Funny and sweet!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wednesday Wonderment

When we pulled up to church tonight, we noticed Grandma and Grandpa's car in the parking lot. In the handicapped spot. With a hang tag on the mirror. Who knew? Yea, Mom!

I didn't see them, but as I was gathering people to leave, I saw Mom's favorite staff member packing up a Hebrews sign. I asked him if Mom had come for his class and he said they both did! That's huge! Yea, Mom and Dad!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hello Ev

Evangeline called a couple of weeks ago, asking Mom and Dad if they would like to donate to the American Heart Association for her upcoming Jump Rope for Heart. Today she received a quintessential Grandma letter in the mail.

Hello Ev

Did you wonder? Will Grma ever mail a check for the heart [drawing of a heart instead of the word] association? Yeah -- I did it! If I had written everytime I thought of it -- you would have too many letters. Be thankful.

Have you jumped the rope? Where? Outside or indoors?

Ev do you text?

Love you,