Sunday, July 27, 2008

When life is crazy, the only sane response.

Is to cut off your hair. I went to The Hair God today for a trim, and got there a few minutes early, and picked up a magazine, a hair magazine. Earlier in the day I turned on the TV and happened to catch an episode of Law and Order, and admired Mariska Hargitay’s short, loose, shaggy haircut. It's very hot here, and my hair is thick and though it was above my shoulders, it had started to annoy me, so I've been having the urge to go shorter. And four hours later, I open a magazine and it falls open to a picture of her, with an even shorter ‘do. And I took it as a Sign. Detective Olivia Benson told me to cut my hair. I'm sane, really! I swear!

So I showed Hair God the magazine, and Hair God cut off my hair. It turned out a little shorter than I’d intended, but my hair grows like kudzu so in ten days it will be exactly what I wanted, and will at least last a month or six weeks before it needs attention. My life is in a very deep rut, I need a change, and my hair was a nice start. I have had enough haircuts in my day to recognize the perfectly balanced cut that will grow out wonderfully when I get it, and The Hair God never fails.

Today R and I will pick up a U-Haul and make the trek to my mother's house to get Stuff.

Let me tell you about the adventure with U-Haul. There are like, six or so U-Haul locations near my mother’s house, so I made the reservation to pick up a 5x10 ft. trailer in my mother's town for a one-way rental, dropping off in my town, and got a confirmation, and it said that I would be contacted with the pickup information for my “guaranteed” reservation, I stupidly thought that this meant I had a trailer arranged. Perhaps it was the words "guaranteed" and "reservation" that fooled me.

U-Haul’s definition of a guarantee is somewhat different these days. Apparently trailers are in such hot demand, they can’t guarantee them at all! (I'm guessing this might be related to our astronomical number of home foreclosures.) Apparently that guaranteed reservation is really just a reservation to beg for a trailer. So the U-Haul Girl called me Saturday morning to report that there was no trailer of any size available. Which led to a brief discussion of the meaning of the words "guarantee," and "reservation," but that didn't make a trailer magically appear.

But, she was a nice girl and very determined, and we cooked up an alternative – we will pick up the trailer here, drive it there, and return it here, I will be charged only the local rate for this, rather than the higher one-way rate, and I called the local site and talked to someone to confirm, and she swears that there really is a trailer for me. So I called R and told him about the change of plans, and we were back on.

I visited my mother after my haircut, she looks like hell and is confused and very tired, I stayed less than an hour, she was tilting over in her chair about to fall asleep. So I suggested a nap and she did not argue. She doesn’t look good to me, and I am very frustrated – I just want her to be in the appropriate residential care situation, and nobody can say what that will be. Weeks go by and there are still no answers. Frustration is extreme. Expense is even more extreme. I am about to write checks to both the nursing home and the ALF for the month of August, because nursing home staff swears she is doing much better and will be able to be discharged to the ALF. So I am moving forward with moving furniture and making plans accordingly. After the very positive phone conference with staff on Tuesday, I felt pretty confident that she was on the mend. Then Friday they called to say that she is having some gastrointestinal bleeding and they are taking her to a GI doctor this coming Tuesday.

I'm like, now they suspect GI bleeding? WTF? Since Christmas my mother has been diagnosed with lupus, then an ulcer, then C-diff, and I forget what else - basically, an army of doctors has run a battery of tests, and other than identifying and treating the C-diff, they can't find anything wrong, and she is doing somewhat better, but is far from her old self. Nobody can tell me what's going on, what level of care she will need, or how close to her old self she will ever be again.

I actually do squeeze in a little time for crocheting. The wool cardigan I was knitting has been sidelined due to the fact that it is 90+ degrees every day. I'll get back to it eventually.

Otherwise, I've been tracking what I eat via SparkPeople and trying to offset the 60+ hours a week I spend working and commuting with as much physical activity as I can stand. I have been rewarded with slow but steady progress on the scale, and am now at my lowest weight in at least 3 years. Onward and...downward!


crgilvr said...

The GI bleed could be related to the ulcer and there's obviously something going on with her immune system due to the c-diff and the lupus. A rheumatologist or endocrinologist might be in order....

The other thing you might consider is trying to find a board-certified specialist in geriatric medicine. Sometimes the specialists get a little over-focused where the geriatricians look more at the system that is contributing to 'failure to thrive.' They can also help better coordinate care if you get a good one! And the *Really* good ones will have a pharmacologist on staff or on consult to look at all her meds and see if they might be interacting! Polypharmacy is a HUGE problem in the elderly!

Catherine said...

Further tests have indicated she does not have lupus. The ulcer, if she even has one, isn't bothering her at all. Her primary is a family practice dr. with a focus in geriatrics - not sure if she's board certified in geriatric med, but this is all she does.

She's not on any meds that can cause this, that was the first thing I asked them to look at - she's on very minimal meds, in fact. We've been through all this over and over, and the answers just keep changing.

ChelleC said...

Oh honey, prayers go out to you. That assisted living/nursing home roller coaster is a nightmare, we're still on it with my MIL. You think you get tons of calls when you're kids are little and you're working, but NOOOOO. Nothing is as upseting as constantly caring for a parent who is failing like this. The nursing home/AL does the ADLs, but you are stuck with all the running, the juggling, the decisions, the financial management etc. My hubby is his mother's guardian and so unfortunately, we're familiar with this scenario. Big hugs.

Amy in StL said...

Apparently the same thing goes for car rentals. We rented a car online and when we went to pick it up were told that the lady who had it hadn't turned it in. They also said, there were no other cars in that class available in the whole St. Louis Metro Area. Apparently a reservation doesn't mean anything.

Catherine said...

It's so bizarre! We had to go 20 minutes east of my house to pick up a trailer, adding 40 minutes to each end of this adventure, which was already brutal. And U-Haul was like, "Oh, sorry, that's just how it is!" I've used U-Haul a number of times and always had a good experience, this time it was a clusterfuck. I am thinking they may be overbooked with all the people getting out of their houses in a hurry. But that doesn't explain a rental car company acting the same way!