Friday, February 27, 2009

Hoping to see the light.........

I'm sitting here with a knot in my stomach.

It's going to be here for another 9 hours.

At 4:30 in the morning, I placed my a creamsicle orange and white ambulance and sent them 700 miles south to a nursing facility near my house.

My dad was discharged from the hospital on Tuesday and within 24 hours of being in a skilled nursing facility.....he was taken to the emergency room because he pulled his feeding tube out and later was found on the floor less than an hour after he returned to his room.

Scared and angry....and fearing the facility ....not the consequences of his stroke would kill him.....I called the social worker at a nursing home we eventually wanted to settle my parents in and pleaded with him.....find a way to get my parents down now.

Hours later.....there was a plan..... I grabbed my purse, my cellphone, my keys and my dog and drove back to Chicago.

I went to the each of my parent's facilities and signed papers and told my parents about the arrangement---an ambulance ride, a good facility near my home....and they could be together again.... share the same room. After 60 years of marriage.....I felt this was important and vital to their care and well-being.

They seemed dad laughed when I told him he was headed down south....and my mom....well... she just wanted to be near my dad.

When the ambulance pulled away in the dark and rain.....I cried as I waved goodbye.....I cried because I hoped they would have a safe journey and because I have pulled them away from the city they were born in....the house they lived in....and the few friends they still have.

But even camped out here at their house, I found I couldn't manage the situation. I didn't know the area, the facilities, the reputations.....I didn't have connections....and Chicago is so big....I felt like I was a broker in an impersonal elderly meat market.....where there are thousands of little old folks like my parents.....needing help....needing care.....with scattered families.....and small sad stories.

I pulled them away but I also pulled them into something....a community.....which holds me and my family...our connections....and a solid university system manage their health care.

My hub and son will meet them when they arrive .....I'll stay up here for a few days.....and begin to settle their house and estate.

I'll bring their TV and some small furniture down....and in a couple more weeks I'll haul down their favorite easy chairs....the pictures which hung on their bedroom walls .. the god-awful mechanical singing birds my mother seems to dad's radio.

It is the beginning of a feeble attempt to stabilize their lives and mine............I feel an odd kinship to people who have gone through an earthquake.....oh the longing for the ground to be stable and for everything to stop shaking.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

the rollercoaster

I want out.

I want to get off the fucking roller coaster.

Up and down........there is no level ground.

Things change by the hour.

  • I hold my father's hand and tell him I cooked up the turkey bacon in his refrigerator and have a massive heartburn....he laughs.....his blue blue eyes sparkling.....

  • I get a phone call hours later that my father pulled out his IV, the tube into his bladder and the feeding tube they just placed in his stomach in the operating room.

  • I 'm overjoyed to receive checks from the bank....yipeee I can pay my parent's bills.

  • I talk to a bank representative and discover my parents may not have filed their income tax for the last two years.

  • I leave Chicago Monday for a short stay at dad has restraints on to protect the newly placed tubes.... I know they can't transfer him to a rehab unit in a nursing home until he is free of restraints for 24 hours....

  • The hospital discharge coordinator calls me unexpectedly Tuesday and states he's ready for discharge.....I fuss and fight but am assured he has been fine without restraints....a couple of hours ago...the rehab unit calls....they're transferring him back to the hospital tonight.....he pulled out all his tubes.

  • I find my mother's beloved diamond rings.

  • I discover dad has carpeted the crawl space and there are at least 500 boxes stored under the house.

  • I've installed broadband at my parent's house so I can now access the Internet.

  • I discover I don't have the right link and authorization code and can't open my work email.

  • I find social security checks scattered around the house and deposit them.

  • I discover my parent's investment in stocks has totally tanked and a major part of their assets are gone.

  • We find an excellent care facility that would accept mom and dad and allow them to stay in the same room.

  • I realize there's no way I can work full time and resign from my job.

Up and down....back and forth.....

for every advance.....a retreat......


Monday, February 16, 2009


Everything is hard right now.

Picking glass shards out of the carpet where the fireman broke into the house.

Seeing my dad for the first time ....his mouth drawn sharply down to the side... his right arm limp...his blue blue eyes recessed and tired.

I thought my heart would shatter when I went to his bedside in the ICU for the first time ...he grabbed my hand with his good hand and tugged and tugged at it....till he brought it to his lips and kissed me.

I was sure I would die right then and there from the pain of it all.

Telling a stranger not to resuscitate your father is hard....this clean new young doctor stands there with his clipboard and his check list and I tell him what my father told me only three weeks ago ....don't do this don't do that....okay do this but not that.

My mother is hard. Cursing us when she was admitted to the hospital ....shouting to the people in the corridors that her daughter and son-in-law are here to steal her house and take her money.

Visiting mom in respite care in a "memory unit" is even harder....she sits upright in a chair with her jaunty white angora tam on her freshly combed gray hair ....clutching her black purse and tote bag filled with her belongings...waiting for a taxi which has not been called.

It's hard to be the last minute train wreck team....the people who talk to people and everyone arrives at the same horrible and dad (if he lives) need to be transferred to care facilities near me....the house packed up and sold.

It's hard to touch their things....I can't do it yet....I can't touch their belongings and make do I know if the cheap plastic angel has thousands of memories attached to it whereas the expensive Austrian crystal flowers are meaningless?

Finding things is hard too....the letter which says their secondary insurance for health care is terminated because the premiums weren't's beautiful watch in a brown paper sack hidden among some old Christmas cards in a shoe box.

And it's hard to be home....less than 8 hours till morning....when I will put a few things in the car....including my dog Ozzie....and go up there to live for a couple weeks? a couple months?

The only thing which has been sitting with dad.

He squeezes my hand when he's awake....hard Morse code....and I squeeze back .....hard soft to match....he looks at me....I smile and nod....he can't speak....I don't say much....we just sit and hold hands in a very quiet hospital room....and for those moments.....

I am deeply deeply grateful.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

So it's here....

The train wreck is here.

My father had a massive stroke this morning.

My mother in her dementia would not let the paramedics in.....they broke through a window.

I'm headed for a flight to Chicago....cellphone, laptop, credit cards, checks, notebooks, legal papers.

The calvalry with its strange armory.

I cannot imagine looking at my good kind father....they tell me he is aphasic.

I have begged the hospital to admit my mother and finally get her dementia evaluated since she is a danger to herself alone and my plane won't arrive till late. your life can turn so suddenly.

All that live, love, connect, play enjoy crap.....well at this moment...I think how very very true.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Rid yourself of Heartbreak with a Lysol Douche

A friend sent me old ad for Lysol.

The amount of commentary is so staggering.....I decided to just type the orginal ad below and allow you to enjoy your own thoughts.

Day after heartbreaking day I was held in an unyielding web...a web spun by my husband’s indifference. I couldn’t reach him any more! Was the fault mine?

Well...thinking you know about feminine hygiene, yet trusting to now-and-then care, can make all the difference in married happiness, as my doctor pointed out. He said never to run such careless risks....prescribed “Lysol” brand disinfectant for douching—always.

Oh, the joy of finding Tom’s love and close companionship once more! Believe me, I follow to the letter my doctor’s advice on feminine hygiene....always use “Lysol” for douching. I wouldn’t be satisfied now with salt, soda or other homemade solutions! Not with “Lysol,” a proved germ-killer that cleanses so gently yet so thoroughly. It’s easy to use, too, and economical. The very best part is-“Lysol” really works!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Another reason why I can't buy a new 3g Iphone

I promised myself months ago I wouldn't buy a new upgraded iPhone because of the applications.

They scare me.

It's not that I'm afraid to use them.....I'm afraid I'll use them all the time.

This fear found a home in me when I was at a board meeting.

My colleague, sitting next to me, pulled out her iPhone and starting waving it around under the table we were sitting sounded exactly like the light sabers used in Star Wars.

I asked her to stop swishing her phone around.... because I knew I would grab it and and wave it at the pontificating board member across the room in a futile effort to severe his head from his torso.

Right then I vowed ...."No upgraded phone for Gina."

It's made life easier.... as people tell me about their cool applications...I mentally go "lah lah lah" and ignore the input.

Today...more fuel for my resolution.

Although I would never have the talent to play this application ....knowing it exists is just another reason my current old iPhone must last into the next century.

Please note: he is blowing into his phone..and simply pressing the touch screen.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Finally some Fun!

Damn.....all I've been doing is working and worrying....

but tonight....I've got a party to go to....

a fundraiser....but it doesn't's's with people I know....and they better have drinks and I heard they had music. Hub isn't going and he doesnt' dance so I'll grab whomever...just going swing my little know what word goes

On the way home to get dressed up....heard this rap song....and now can't get it out of my head.....but's a great song to get dressed where are those spike high heels?

Whatever You Like - TI

Monday, February 02, 2009

I found a Magic Weenie..............

I found a Magic Weenie.

It was in a bookcase I was rearranging.


We got this from the Oscar Meyer Weenier truck which passed through our small California town when the kids were other words....a long long time ago.

I dusted the weenie off.....and blew into it........
Ozzie, my male dog, immediately ran up to me.
"What? " My husband shouted a second later.
. seems to attract males.
So I blew it again....forcefully.
The dog squeaked and wagged his tail.
My husband growled from the other room, "Do you need something ?"
I'm not sure what to use it for.....perhaps I could blow into it when none of the guys are home and all their socks would emerge from all the nooks and corners of our house and line up in a row.
Hmmmm.....perhaps I could blow it while driving to work......would men in their cars all line up next to me and create a special Gina motorcade?
Hmmmm.....what if I blew it at work....would it sift the genders like a all gathered round me........women left somewhere else in the store?
What if I climbed the little mountain near my house....and stood on top and blew it so the winds would carry the sounds far far away.
Would every man I've known feel an irresistible urge to come down south and find me?
I placed it inside a little box on my desk until I can figure out what to do with it.