Thursday, April 13, 2006

Mom was doing really well for a couple of months or so. Of course, now we’re back to having health issues. She went in to the ER a week ago with severe abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, etc. She called us just after calling the ambulance: “I called the ambulance and am going to the hospital. Bye.” Me: “Why, what’s wrong? Is the ambulance there yet? If not, tell me what’s going on.” They diagnosed her with a kidney infection, gave her antibiotics, a painkiller, and some stomach meds, and sent her home at 4 am, when she called me to come get her. I was relieved she took the ambulance, which kept me from sitting 3-8 hours in the ER with her (our shortest wait has been 2.5-3 hours; the longest somewhere around 10), but it will be yet another bill to tack onto her debt load.

She’s feeling better, but still having stomach/abdominal pains. Her gastroenterologist still can’t explain why she’s having all the pain, diarrhea, and nausea. An endoscopy and colonoscopy have shown nothing. She went for a CT scan last week.

At least she’s doing fairly well emotionally. She seems to be pretty happy considering the pain and discomfort she’s been in.

What’s really worrying me, though, is her mind. I’ve been doing the old ostrich and ignoring the fact that she really would be safer in an adult-care situation. Mostly because I’m afraid if we go ahead and sell her place (which we’d have to do to fund any other living arrangements) she’d hate it and beg to have her place back (which we wouldn’t be able to afford).

Last night we got home to a 5-minute message on the answering machine. A switch in Mom’s bathroom broke and she can’t turn the fart fan off. She left a 5 –minute dissertation describing the problem, and we’re still not exactly sure what “broken” means. Did the switch physically crack and come off, or is it something in the wall/wiring? Who knows.

Hubby called her back and still couldn’t quite understand what was wrong after several minutes of talking to her. We finally came up with the solution of her systematically turning one breaker off at a time to see if she could cut power to the bathroom without turning off any vital (a/c, water heater, fridge) appliances. Luckily, the bathroom, an add-on, is on its own circuit. Somehow, in all the circuit-flipping, she managed to do something to the stove, so now it’s not working, even with all the breakers on. Well, that’s what we think. Hubby is going by after work to see if he can fix the switch and figure out what’s up with the stove.

Their conversation went something like this:

Hubby “Turn off the first breaker and check the fan. OK, it’s not that one. Now turn it back on and turn the next one off. No just one at a time….” “What do you mean the stove is sort of on. It works or it doesn’t. If the burner isn’t getting hot, it’s not working. Don’t burn yourself….” “Is the fridge running? When you open the door, does the light come on? Yes? Then it has power….” “How about the microwave? Yes, if the clock is blinking, it has power.” “Push harder on the big stove breaker. The 220s are harder to move. Yes, you can turn it back on, just push really hard.”

I’m not sure about the bathroom. Apparently, the lights don’t work, and haven’t for a while. I’ve never been able to get a clear answer as to whether it’s just that the fluorescent bulb blew out, or if the problem is in the wiring. Buying and changing a fluorescent bulb is too confusing for her, yet when I offered to buy a new one, she didn’t want me to.

I really wonder how she lives alone and manages not to burn herself down with her candles. She’ll leave the house or go to sleep with them burning. I’ve asked her many times not to light any candles unless she’s wide awake and nearby. I’ve even stopped by to visit when she’s out, noticed a lit candle through the window, and let myself in to blow it out.

She’s also gotten into this thing about not locking her door. Someone could come in while she’s taking a nap, and she’d never even wake up. She sleeps like the freakin’ dead and has gotten very deaf. She lives in a 55+ community, prime pickins for thieves (and the community has had its share of thefts), but I’m being an alarmist if I bring it up.


Update: We went to her house after work. Mom wanted to cook dinner for us, then realized that she couldn’t without a functioning stove. I told her I was going to pick up some fast food and asked if she wanted any. She didn’t and said she’d make baked potatoes in the microwave. Cool. I said I was still going to pick up some food since a baked potato, applesauce, and broccoli wouldn’t cut it.

Hubby calls me as I’m picking up Peanut. Mom started arguing with him about the food, convinced we’re eating just baked potatoes. Finally he puts her on the phone with me. Either she didn’t hear me (quite possible) or she flat-out wasn’t listening once she got the potato idea in her head (also quite possible).

Then she got pissed at Hubby for wanting to turn off the main breaker before fixing the switch. Hubby wanting to safeguard himself from getting electrocuted put too much of a burden on her potato-baking ability.

As we were leaving, we said we’d pick up another switch and fix the other one on Easter. She insisted that Hubby take the old one to make sure he gets the right kind. He repeatedly told her it was just a simple switch and he knows what to get. Even after she seemed to understand that he knew what to buy, she still kept on about it. Oy to the veh!

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