So my sister arrived from Seattle today, a couple of days early. She is with Mom right now. Yesterday, when I was having my meltdown, my mind was pinballing from one worry to another – how was I going to teach in the morning? who would go with Mom to her appointments? what if the creatanine doesn’t go down? what if the doctor takes her off XL 184 permanently? It came to rest on the biggest one of all: how much time does she have left?

I thought about whether I should take a leave of absence from school. It is so hard to be fully present in both places. Then I thought: how will I decide? Who will help me decide? Mom was going to the bathroom every five minutes. In between trips to the bathroom, out of the blue she said, “Maybe you could make a May basket and put candy in it to give to the grandparents.”

Huh??? Earlier in the afternoon, when we were with the origami paper crane lady, I said, “Hey, maybe I could teach my kids how to do this and we could make paper cranes for Grandparents’ Day on Thursday!”  So, that idea popped into Mom’s head hours later, and she shared it with me, asking “Isn’t it May Day this week?” I said, “No, Mom, May Day is in May, and it’s only March.” It made me sad, so I left the room.

{I think it reminds me of Oma when Mom does stuff like that, how Oma was at the end. Later, Mom said that May Day could be any day – you could make May baskets anytime you want. She laughed when I told her I was sad that she didn’t know it was March.}

It’s just so hard being with her all day, endlessly repeating information, trying to be patient and understanding, walking the fine line between caregiver and prison matron. I took refuge in the bathroom (that seems to be a common activity lately) and saw that Nurse Jane Fuzzy-Wuzzy had sent me a text. I called her and tried to explain, through my sobs, what was going on. She said, “Why don’t I come pick you up and take you to get something to eat?” I didn’t even have to think about it.

Mom ordered room service, glad to have me out of her hair for a while. Nurse Jane Fuzzy-Wuzzy and I went to Goode Company Seafood where I drank a glass of wine and ate fried shrimp and fried oysters. Nothing like a little fried food to get you through a hard day. NJFW listened, consoled, affirmed, suggested, and tried to pay for dinner. She wrote up a little plan for the week on the back of a mailout Mom got for a landscaping service (I was going to call to see about getting someone to come refresh – okay, revive – the plantings on her patio), and I breathed a big sigh of relief.

I went back to the hospital and made it through the rest of the night with only a few more crying jags. I decided earlier (at NJFW’s urging) to take today off and called my principal, Jan, to let her know I needed a sub. {Yes, my rescuers yesterday were named Jan, Jane, and Janet. For real.} S changed her airline ticket so she could come home early, and I felt better, knowing I could put off making some decisions until I had her input (as well as “May Day” Meredith’s!)

I don’t know how people without an extensive support system do this. Fortunately, I never will.

2 thoughts on “Relief

  1. Thank goodness for the women in your life whose names start with J-a-n. You are blessed. (So glad you got a substitute too–you would have missed the boundary episode if you hadn’t!)

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