brief snapshots in time. memories and thoughts. disorganized and random.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

holding on by a thread

I can't stand to see her this way. She's in pain. But she puts on a brave face when anyone other than my mom or I are there.

After my dad went home last night, she started crying. Telling my mom and I that we liked to see her suffer.

Of course, it's the pain talking. After the meds started to take effect, she apologized. But my mom is having a tough time with it.

I feel guilty. Guilty for leaving my mom there to deal with everything. Guilty for leaving my grandma there. Guilty for trying to hold my own life together.

Not that I'm doing a great job of that, either.

Friends' calls go unanswered, unreturned. Work piles up. The boy feels neglected. At least TheDog is getting a walk here and there, because that's the only thing keeping me somewhat sane right now.

Monday, March 26, 2007

just more important

We pulled up in her driveway, and the smile was still there. My brothers, dad and aunt were all there to meet us, and help get her out of the RV and into the house.

She lit up when my smooth-talking brother walked to the back of the RV and told her he was going to dance with her. His charm definitely works on my grandma.

I asked everyone to help me unload the RV. One of my brother's said he couldn't he had work to do. I wanted to yell and scream.

Instead, I nicely and quietly explained that I have work to do, also. But I took days off to drive our grandma back, because somethings are just more important. Then I walked out to the RV.

Everyone quickly joined me and helped me unpack things. We got her settled, and most everyone left. My parents and I were still there, but had moved into the kitchen as she slept.

She woke up in a panic. She didn't know what she was supposed to do. How could she get to the bathroom or eat? She couldn't do this on her own.

I assured her someone would always be there with her. My mom, or dad, or aunt or me. Someone. She relaxed a little as I brought in her favorite sandwich and soup that my dad had picked up for her.

She gave her dog a few pets before I kissed her goodnight, and headed back to my life.

It's hard to concentrate on work and friends and the boy, when I know she's slipping away by the day too far away to quickly stop by.

I'm heading back down tomorrow to see her, once my friend has checked in to her conference hotel. And hopefully my friends and the boy understand that spending time with her right now is more important to me.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

almost home

We finally got on the road late Tuesday afternoon. Things went pretty uneventfully until it got late. Then I was exhausted and my mom took over the driving.

I tried to sleep, but I knew how tired I was so every little bump woke me up anxious that my mom had fallen asleep at the wheel.

That was never the case, but after an hour or so, we decided it was ridiculous to try and fight sleep. We had more than enough beds in the back. So we stopped for the night.

My mom slept soundly, but I quietly got up every hour or so to check on my grandma. She slept peacefully through the night.

Somewhere in the middle of New Mexico my mom came up to the front of the RV with tears in her eyes. A lump caught in my throat. But I had to ask.

My grandma had just told my mom she didn't know if she would make it home. It was taking too long.

Not if I had anything to say about it. I said a prayer and stepped down harder on the accelerator.

Despite the crazy crosswinds, we made it through New Mexico and up and over the pass. My mom was called back to the back again. My grandma had asked for some good Colorado water.

In the rearview mirror, I could see my grandma sitting up a little and smiling. She had seen the old wooden Welcome to Colorful Colorado sign.

I smiled, too. I used to love seeing that sign every time I drove home from college. It meant I was almost home.

It meant the same for my grandma.

Monday, March 19, 2007

the best laid plans

I ended up bailing on my one-way ticket. With everything going on, I even forgot to call and cancel, I'm hoping I can still apply it towards the cost of another ticket, but that's not what is important right now.

I left my college friends up at the condo to ski, and hurried down the mountain. Instead of flying, I stopped at my sister's house and picked up a thirty-some foot behemoth that her husband had picked up Saturday.

I had a mission. Drive just short of a thousand miles, sleep, then my mom, my grandma's dog and I would pick my grandma up from the hospital. And start our journey back to Colorado.

I got down here alright. Although I have a new appreciation for truck and bus drivers. But our return trip is on hold right now.

My grandma's in the post-op recovery room right now. She had to have a little surgical procedure before they would discharge her.

We're now hoping to start driving back tomorrow morning. That's if it all goes as planned.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

it can get worse

I'm beginning to dread when my cell phone rings. Only friends and family have the number, so I usually get excited when the phone rings. But lately it's all been bad news.

My mom called while I was still at work. She asked if I had gotten my plane ticket to come down this weekend yet. I said no. She said that was good, that I shouldn't.

My breathe caught. Why not? She couldn't be...

She interrupted my thought. Told me that my grandma had had enough of hospitals. Of the nursing home. She was ready to come home to die.

Tears streamed down my face. But I tried to hold it together for my mom.

My mom explained that my grandma wants to come home, to Colorado. She wants to be near her family. That my mom needs me to help her drive her back.

So my ticket needs to be one-way. Not roundtrip as I'd planned.

I'm worried. Really worried. How are my mom and I supposed to take care of her in an RV on a road trip. What if the trip back makes her worse. Or worse than worse.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

is great good enough?

I took TheDog for a walk tonight. To take advantage of the earlier-than-usual daylight savings time. To try to make up for neglecting her over the past two months.

Our relaxing walk gave me perhaps too much time to think. The first time in a long time when there wasn't a cell phone interrupting my thoughts. Or some work issue I had to work out.

Enough thinking time that the thing that's been lurking in the depths started to surface. I know things aren't great. But I don't know why.

There's a lack of compassion for what I'm going through with my grandma. There's a constant feeling of guilt being laid upon me because of long work hours. And there's not really anyone I can talk to about it.

Everyone thinks he's great. My parents, brothers, sister, friends, even my boss. And he is. But I'm not sure we're great. And I'm not sure how to figure it out or what to do about it. Or if I should.

Monday, March 12, 2007

worse not better

I got a call last night, well, actually today at one in the morning. As calls at that hour that aren't of the drunken nature usually go, this one was not good news.

It was my sister. My grandma was back in the ER. Her arm was swollen. Really Swollen. The arm where they'd put her PICC line.

The assisted living place thought it was just an infection from the PICC line. But once they got her to the ER, they determined it was a blood clot.

And on top of the clot, she has pneumonia. She was really not good. And she was horrible to the nurses, the doctors and my mom again. Another huge dip in the rollercoaster that my grandma's been on since she fell.

When I talked to my sister again later this morning, she couldn't stop crying. My mom was asleep, since she'd been at the ER until six in the morning. I needed to talk to her. I needed to know if my grandma was really that bad, or if my sister was just being overly dramatic, as she can sometimes be.

I still haven't been able to talk to my mom, at least without her being in my grandma's room, without my sister there. As soon as I do, I'll find out if she needs me to come down again. If she's needs a hand in dealing with everything after my sister comes back home tonight.

I already cleared it with my boss. This time, he's being rather understanding.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

a place to go

We got my grandma moved into an assisted living type facility yesterday. One that will take her with her PICC line, IV and all. That was no small feat.

Most places won't take a patient that has a need for an IV line. Many won't take someone that only needs limited physical rehabilitation. It was as if there were no place for her.

It was very frustrating for all of us, my mom particularly. Until she found out that this place has nurses on staff that can deal with the IV. Can deal with limited rehab.

My sister flew down Friday, and helped my mom to get our grandma situated in the new place. I haven't talked to my mom since they moved her but my sister thinks things are looking up.

Here's hoping.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

someday, somebody

Standing next to S, singing Vincent of Jersey again after nearly a decade and a half, I smiled. Really, truly smiled for the first time in weeks. She drove back from the mountains to go to the show with me after the boy bailed.

She knows me well. She could tell from a simple e-mail that I needed to go to the show. There's something about BHTM's music that always makes me feel better. And she knows it possibly better than anyone.

When we were in college we ended up on stage at our local hangout with another friend belting out someday, somebody's gonna love me. One of my favorite memories of college.

My friends truly are amazing. When pieces of my sanity start to crumble away, they are there to pick up the crumbs and help me get it together.

It started with dinner last week with J. She listened as I rambled on about my job, my grandma's situation, and the boy. Then there were various calls and e-mails and lunch conversations. Other friends insisting on drinks and dinner and lunch in the next few weeks.

By the time I was snuggled up with TheDog after the show last night, I knew I'd be alright.

I have my own rock. It's made up of my friends and family and, of course, TheDog. And regardless of what else is going on, I know some combination of them is always there for me when I need them most.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

another year

He turns a year older today. He has been home alone for a few weeks taking care of my parents' ailing dog. Quietly holding down the fort while my mom's gone taking care of my grandma.

In college he used to call me on my birthday and sing Happy Birthday to me. I called him today and sang to him. I think it may be a good thing he doesn't hear so well anymore.

He's not feeling well, so we've postponed his birthday dinner. He wants to wait until my mom gets back. My sister and I are trying to set up something much sooner. He doesn't like things to be about him, so we'll see if he cooperates.

Happy Birthday, Dad. I love you so very much!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

salty rock

I feel like I'm losing it. My last shred of sanity is slipping away. I can't even hold a coherent conversation.

My poor friends. A few have made the mistake of asking how things are going, and I just start babbling. And babbling. All kinds of things spill out.

But I can't say what I want to say. How do I tell someone in e-mail that I'm scared that my grandma may not want to get better. And I'm even more scared of what that will do to my mom.

My mom, who called me her rock yesterday as she dropped me at the airport. After I left her curbside, I slipped inside the airport but didn't check in immediately. I had to wait until the sobbing subsided.

How can I be anyone's rock?

My friend who's taken the new job stopped by my office today. She asked if I was alright. I said yes. She called me on my red and swollen eyes.

I told her I've basically been crying for two weeks. Just about anything can set me off. So I try not to talk about things in front of people.

At least when I cry over my keyboard no one can see. If it weren't for the red eyes and the salty residue on my space bar, I might be able to hide my crumbling sanity.

Monday, March 05, 2007

tears keep coming

And the news keeps getting worse. I know a lot of people will think I'm selfish. How can I think of myself when my grandma is in the hospital. Will be for a while.

Sometimes it just gets to the point that you can't deal with the little things at all because of all the big things.

I got a call on my way to the airport. One of my best friends at work is leaving, going to a competitor. To join the other that left.

After I hung up I couldn't help loosing it. My mom asked what was wrong. I told her but felt terrible. Here she is, taking care of her mom who is not doing well. Just slightly better. And there I was crying because of work.

But it wasn't just work. It was everything. It all just hit me. The brief moment when I thought my grandma was gone earlier today. The boy being too selfish to want to hang out with me this week. My parents' dog. So many other things. My friend leaving was just the final straw.

So here I sit again in the airport crying, begging for strangers to stare at me. And I just don't give a damn.

doctor's orders

I had some work to do, so I dropped my mom off a the hospital and stopped by a Charbucks to use theWiFi. I did my work and grabbed some coffee for my mom, then headed back to the hospital.

I started to walk into my grandma's room and stopped dead in my tracks. The room was empty. Not only that, but the bed was stripped clean of sheets. My heart caught. I spun around to the nurses station, panic written on my face.

The nurse said I just missed them. Where did they go? Is everything alright? Yes, she just went to have a "pick" put in.

I breathed. Finally. Even though I had no idea what that was or why she might need it. At least they were doing something. Hopefully something that might help.

She's better. Well, that's relative. She's definitely better than last weekend. But there are still ups and downs.

At least this weekend she was eating and insisting she had to get home to see her dog. I think her improvement has had a lot to do with her visitors. To some degree it's been that all five of us grandkids and both her daughters have visited, my mom every day. But mostly I think it's been her four-legged visitor.

Every time we bring her dog up, her face lights up. Her dog is scared senseless in the hospital, but the brightening in my grandma's mood is worth a little nervousness in the dog, and dirty looks from some of the nurses. Besides, the doggie visits are doctor's orders.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

looking forward

It was just a fifteen minute phone call, but it reminded me of why we're friends. Despite the weirdness that once existed between us. He gets me, I get him. And we make each other laugh.

Tonight I desparately needed a laugh. And he definitely delivered. And got me looking forward to something again. We got each other excited with our planning and scheming.

I can't wait until our trip. It will be relaxing. It will be fun. It will be somewhere other than here. But mostly it will be with my good friend.