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Thoughts Of Suicide

Confession: March 24th was going to be the end for me. Months with no car, pain, painful treatments, meds screwed up, isolated, low on cash...

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Confessions of a March Madness Monster

Walk by my house during the next two weeks and the sounds you'll hear coming from inside will make you wonder if someone's being murdered or if someone's having sex. This is the time of year that furniture gets thrown around, holes get put in walls and people who come to my home "just to watch the tournament" start to realize that I'm a monster.
Normally, I'm a mild-mannered, professional nurse in intensive care dedicated to the health and well-being of all. I use the skills I learned in college and through life experience to make life better for my patients. But for two weeks, I go from nurse to nut all because of March Madness. When my shift is over--the monster appears.
It all began long ago when a date took me to Rupp Arena the night Kentucky played Duke. It's an unfortunate thing when a young girl's first "taste" of the NCAA tournament turns out to be the greatest college game ever played. I dropped the guy, became addicted to men's college basketball and a hopeless junkie.
My 'drug' gives me an undying love and blind devotion to certain teams but a fierce hatred for the men in stripes who 'purposely' make calls against those teams. I ridicule and verbally assassinate young men whose only crime was choosing the wrong team to play for in college while explaining away any infraction one of "my" players is accused of committing.
Cursing the ref? Technical foul? Oh no--MY player was merely trying to engage you in a short debate about the merits of criticizing and penalizing his youthful enthusiasm. (I know...it's bad.)
I do everything I can to help my teams--from my living room.
I hold my breath, OUR foul shot is made.
I scream at just the right moment--THEY miss theirs!
If the game is going "the other way" I change the channel for a second--you know, to break the opposing team's "momentum." Can't let them go on a run!
Then when my living room couch seems to be losing its power to effect the game, I call upon the big gun--St. Anthony. He is the patron saint of lost objects and sometimes, he is the only hope. I have put in emergency prayers to him  a couple of times like:
"Please, St. Anthony, if you're not too busy---could you make something happen so 'we' win this game?"
Does it work? Ask Butler about that "last shot" against Duke. Ask North Carolina about "time-out" against Michigan. Ask Grant about "that pass" to Christian against Kentucky!
It's quite a burden to know that I have the power to influence every game my teams play in the NCAA tournament but I have come to accept it. I also accept something else. For two weeks out of the year--I'm a monster!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Father & Daughter--Love at First Sight!

At 8:34a.m. this morning, I met the love of my son's life and the newest light of mine:

Zaya Renee!
(I'm gonna call her "Ziggy")

                                            She's little and loud--definitely a family trait!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Family Feud: The Nursing Home Problem

"What do we do about Mother?" No, that's not the question. In my family it's "What are YOU gonna do about YOUR mother?" In other words, I'm on my own.
My family has always been the type that said, "Call us if you need us---we won't do anything to help, we'll just wait 'til everything is over and then tell you what all you did wrong." Does that sound familiar to anybody out in "Bloggerland"?
Now that the nursing part of Mom's nursing home stay is settled, the business part is raising it's head. Though Mom has been "approved" to stay at the facility until July 2, 2014, her insurance had not, meaning the care and residence will now have to come out-of-pocket. Just a couple hours ago, I got a call from the administrator to "let me know" I owed $318.00. "It's been generously pro-rated" the woman said, "so we'll have to have that money today or your mother will be 'released' on the 16th." Apparently, Mom isn't physically eligible for 'skilled care' anymore BUT her mental condition prevents her from living in the apartment she'd had for years. Unfortunately, if they 'have to keep her' they'll need that $318 by Sunday. "By the way," the administrator said, "we aren't in the office after 5p.m. today and won't be until Monday morning the 17th so when will you arrive today?"
I guess I should be honored that the woman thought I had an extra three hundred plus to just give to her at the drop of a hat but the lady also called the next in line, Mom's sister Lily. Aunt Lily then called me to let me know that she "couldn't take the stress and strain of your mother's situation." I guess the administrator called asking for money, too.  Then Aunt Lily's second son called to let me know that "Mom can't be bothered with things like this."
What are "things like this"?
The nursing home wants me to sign over Mom's social security check to them "just in case your mother has to stay here the rest of her life."  Okay, I have no problem with that. What I didn't know was that Mom's apartment requires tenants to pay two month's rent if they are placed in a long-term care facility. Still not exactly sure why.
My problem is if Mom's released after 07/02/14, where is she going to go? Should I just let the apartment go and 'decide' that Mom will be in a nursing home the rest of her life? I was told that "Mom's case" would be re-evaluated after July 2--possibly released. They just can't tell.
I'm just facing what millions of people are facing but it seems to have happened all at once and my family is mounting a rapid retreat.
I'm screwed either way. "They" will be mad if I leave Mom in the nursing home--where she'll be well cared for (because they'll have her $708 a month SSI check) OR if I spend the money to maintain her apartment so she'll have somewhere to come home to. The FEAR is that one of them will be asked to take Mom into their home. But there's no danger of any of them "stepping up" they feel that's my job...and they want to be there to comment on the lousy job they think I'm doing.
I guess I hoped that I could go to people in my family to 'discuss' Mom's alternatives but in my heart I knew better. You can see it in their faces the defensiveness they feel--like they'll be asked for something or other like money. Tightly clutching their pocketbooks and readily passing judgment is all my family does. They are even more insulted if you DON'T ask for money. Why? Because they can't complained that you asked!
The way I feel about it--they can kiss my butt! Even though biology is the only connection between my mother and I, I'll take care of it. I'll stop thinking that 'family' is the group of people that love you know matter what. Mine never has--what made me think they ever would? I guess I always 'hoped' they would but to paraphrase a line from Morgan Freeman's character from The Shawshank Redemption--"HOPE is a dangerous thing."
But reflecting on the situation I'm in reminds me of another line, "If there is a problem YO, I'll solve it..." I'll succeed all by myself!
Thanks for letting me gripe!
Keep me in your prayers.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Mom's In a Home

Mom had been diagnosed with the onset of dementia. Up until then, her diagnosis was described as "strategic helplessness." When around others, she seemed confused/disoriented yet she could function quite well alone at home in her assisted-living apartment complex.
On February 27, Mom was found unconscious and unresponsive on the floor of her apartment. She was taken to a local hospital where it was determined that she had experienced a heart attack which led to her fall which lead to a head injury resulting in a 'brain bleed.' In addition to these conditions, she was in acute renal failure. These injuries were why she had to be transferred to a hospital with a trauma unit. Now out of the trauma hospital, she is in a nursing home for rehabilitation.
I didn't realize that nursing homes were also rehab centers in many cases. Like a lot of people, I used to think of nursing homes as 'dumps' for old folks. There are far more stories of urine smells and poor patient care in these facilities that make news than ones about the dedicated people who work at the majority of them.. Her condition requires post-hospital physical and mental rehab, this center's specialty.
By reading a few of my previous posts, you'll find that I am really nothing more than 'Alice's' biological child. She gave me to her mother to raise so my love and loyalties will forever be with "Mamaw Trula," the lady I consider my mother. Just between you and me, I don't want to be any more involved in 'Alice's' care/condition than absolutely necessary but since I hold the 'title' of daughter, I'm supposed to "be there" for her.
Pearl Jam's "Daughter" has been playing in my head for the past couple of weeks. I have a hard time articulating my feelings sometimes and that song is very comforting to me right now. I've thought of it every time a hospital supervisor or unit nurse asked:
 "Are you her daughter?"
When I have to admit to them that I am, Eddie Vedder sings "Don't call me 'Daughter.'..not fair to..." in my mind. Then I feel better.
I always feared that one day I would be expected to take care of Alice. I am not evolved enough to forgive and forget the fact that she left me because I was quote, "too much of a burden to raise," unquote. I pretend that I have forgotten putting her in jail for assault and all her "I wish abortion had been legal when I was carrying you" remarks...but I haven't. Things like that tend to stay with a person...
especially a daughter...
especially this one.
Now the situation is here.
I must confess that there is a strange feeling of satisfaction here. Alice couldn't be bothered caring for me my entire life but expects me to care for her in my home because NOW she's my 'mother' and I'm her 'daughter.' She wouldn't care for me back then and I can't care for her now. Her condition requires a medical facility. What do I think?
Revenge is too strong a word to describe it.
Maybe it's karma.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Images from the Ukraine

While I sit in my warm, comfortable home awaiting tomorrow's Oscar presentation, I see images on the national news of people in the Ukraine awaiting freedom and independence. That's quite a contrast, huh? Rationally, I know I have nothing to do with that part of the world and know even less about it but news programs bring so much information into our American homes that it can make one think about how we might feel in those circumstances.
History tells us that though separated from the rest of the country, Crimea is the peninsula former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gave to his native land in 1954. But when the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, Crimea ended up in independent Ukraine. Current news report that Crimea now wants to be with Russia.
From the news, the Ukraine is just trying to be free and independent. As an American, I'm supposed to know all about that and encourage it all over the world. Images on my television show "boots on the ground" in Crimea strategically "unidentifiable." Apparently, it is a pro-Russian population awaiting Putin to take over this peninsula. 60% of the 2 million there consider themselves Russian.
The Ukraine, by contrast, appears to want to rule themselves and get on with life after ousting their former leader.
My news programs say that Putin wants Crimea and the Ukraine.
A line from the classic song 'Me and Bobbie McGhee says, "Freedom's just another word for 'nothin' left to lose.'" Watching the situation in the Ukraine play out makes me think as an American, "freedom's just another word...we take for granted."
I have never had two countries battling for the ground on which I walk. While I have sent plenty of my relatives to various branches of the armed services to fight for the rights of people in other countries, there has never been any soldiers in my neighborhood--unless in a "Welcome Home" parade. So when I see the citizens of that part of the world marching, carrying banners and at times with bloody faces it makes me grateful for where I live and embarrassed that I take the freedom it provides me for granted.
My news says that Russia's Putin has claimed Crimea and is looking to invade the Ukraine. He had a reported 90 minute telephone conversation with my president in which Mr. Obama strongly advised Putin against an invasion. This made me think, 'what must it be like to be discussed as a possession'--for lack of a better word. It made me wonder about the millions of people who will belong to this or that country or government solely at the discretion of a single world leader. No matter how viciously our American Republicans, Democrats, Independents, etc., fight amongst themselves claiming we "need to take our country back," we'll never have anything as remotely intense as the situation in the Ukraine.
I wrote this post as a "shout out" to those who are listed as from Russia and the Ukraine in the 'audience' category on my blog. We see you.