Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Keeping My Head Above the Murky Water

Sometimes life drags you down, despite all the wits you muster.

There was a December long ago when Husband and I weren't doing well, three Chardonnays had pneumonia, one Chardonnay had to be hospitalized, Li'l Martini had just started kindergarten and was too young to spend a whole day visiting at a hospital, our girl cat Audrey was dying — and, oh yeah, Christmas. I have always referred to this as the worst time in my life.

Last week gave me a rival!

Here's why I haven't been posting:
  • Mom is here, recovering from heart surgery. The surgery went great, but recovery is a long hard slog, and it's not all a straight upward line of achievement. There are days she is sore and constipated and discouraged, and nothing much seems to be happening. And the daily hour-plus visits . . . Wow, did I not anticipate how much TIME it would all take.
  • Please be clear: I love my mother like crazy, I will do whatever she needs, I do not begrudge her anything, including my time. But this is my reality: I must shave one or two hours off my already packed days, every single day. The one day I didn't visit her since September 2, she cried.
  • And why didn't I visit her? Regular readers know that my arthritic knees are crap. On Friday the 9th, at night, I was sitting on my bed and straightened out my right leg — and SCREAMED. 
  • I had to lead a church retreat on Saturday morning, which I did from a chair, hobbling along with a walking stick from the Dollar Store. 
  • On Sunday I went to Urgent Care. The doctor's best guess (after an X-ray) is that I broke off a piece of cartilage and it lodged between the bones. (I saw the X-ray, it is truly bone on bone in there. Hideous.) I am now on crutches.
  • I have an appointment to consult with a surgeon on October 25. I begged them to let me know if there are any openings before then. I'd like to be having surgery on October 25! (so I can be healed for Christmas for sure and maybe for Thanksgiving)
  • So, I didn't see Mom on Saturday, after my church retreat, when I was in a ton of pain and could do little but lie on the couch with ice, an Ace bandage, and a bottle of Motrin. But the next day, after I'd seen the doctor, who told me that the best thing I could do for my knee was to stay off  it, and what I really wanted my mother to say was, "Honey, don't worry about me! Stay off your knee! I am fine!", and instead she said, "Oh . . . okay . . ." in a voice heavy with sadness, I knew what I had to do. And when I got there, her roommate confirmed that Mom indeed cried when she hung up the phone. 
  • I love my mother. I will do this. I do not want a medal. I am just naming it.
  • On the Thursday before I bunged my knee, my girl cat Annabel, who is deeply bonded to Li'l Martini, threw up massively, two hours after eating. Unusual. She then didn't eat dinner, nor breakfast the following day, and she seemed unwell. I called the vet Friday morning. Turns out: oh, she was a sick sick kitty. Packed with many days worth of poo, an overfull bladder that was about to explode, sick sick sick. They sedated her and emptied her out (ew) and said, "She'll feel so much better now, she'll probably eat a huge dinner!"
  • No.
  • Nor did she eat breakfast.
  • Nor did she eat a lunch snack, or a treat, or dinner the next night (when, remember, I was hobbling on a walking stick and trying not to scream).
  • Darling Husband went to the vet for me and got an appetite stimulant, and that seemed to do the trick, but this little girl needed round-the-clock care and monitoring for several days, and it was touch and go. Annabel is an older girl, and I was preparing for the worst — but God bless her, she finally rallied and is now back to 99% of her former self.
  • (Somewhere in there I also gave her a bath, because getting her poo system back to normal took time as well,  and she didn't always make it to the litter box. Ah, the things we do for our incontinent babies.)
  • And there's an ongoing motif of sadness over all my days, because I desperately miss my daughter, my buddy, whom I hear from almost never. People always ask, "How is Mimosa?" (which, of course they do; I do the same re: their college kids), and it stresses me out because I don’t know! And I think: Should I know? Do other kids call their parents more often? Am I doing something wrong? And of course there was an explosion in NYC the other night, just a few blocks from her dorm— argggh!! Worry worry, stress stress. Though mostly I try to put it all out of my mind, because what can I do? But I miss her very much, it is a constant ache.
  • (I think she is doing well. Her first phone calls were very upbeat, even as she confessed to feeling lonely and scared sometimes. But she loves her classes, she loves the city, she loves being on her own. Yesterday, though, she was getting sick, her first college cold, and she felt crappy and couldn't talk long.)
  • And I have TONS of work. I just turned down Coldwater Creek, one of my favorite clients! But there is no way. I have five jobs this week, and another new client wants me to edit a big math book in October. It's great to be in demand (and I have no explanation for why so much, right now), but there is never any down time between this, the Mom visits, the cat care, getting the church year up and running . . . I successfully chased off a head cold last week, but I am pushing myself so hard, I feel like it's only a matter of days before I'm felled by diphtheria or something.
So, I'm not blogging. And of my four health goals, I know I am not sleeping enough (no time to sleep!) and I haven't started lifting weights (though I really want to do this, and also ride my bike and do my knee PT — I want to be as strong and fit as possible before surgery). However, I am surprisingly adept at eating less — I never have second helpings any more — and I have been eating a lot of real food. When Mom was here, we cooked fabulous meals, and then my youngest brother Mateo was here with his wife Sunny Yellow, and we had a fabulous meal (so fun!!! Good Neighbor Anne and Nurse Kathy came over, and we talked and laughed and drank wine for hours), so I've had a fridge full of good leftovers, and I every day I heat up something and then have an apple or a carrot.


I've actually lost about five pounds, though I am so busy right now, I haven't remembered to weigh myself. Crazytown.

This too shall pass.

I am very lucky to have a mother that I love and adore. She will recover, and almost every day there is progress to celebrate.

I am very grateful that my cat is so much better. When you love animals, you make a commitment — but it's always hard to know what is too much (too much money, too much intervention), and I am especially thankful that we didn't get to that point.

I am lucky to have well-paying work that I love and am good at.

I am so appreciative of the wonderful men in my house, who really stepped up this week. After teaching my Sunday night OWL class (last one!), I decided to go out to dinner and let someone cook food for me and bring it to me, which I haven't done in ages, and it felt so lovely. And then Husband texted me to say that he had finished all the laundry and was running the dishwasher and making the bed with new sheets, and Li'l Martini had done his vacuuming and brought down all the dirty dishes from his room (which, yes, filled the dishwasher), and it made me so so so happy to know that I was coming home to a sparkly clean house where no chores awaited me!!!

Anyway. That is what is going on.

I am hoping to have time today to write a lovely long e-mail to my dear friend J whose birthday is today — but just in case I don't (today includes two editing jobs, a follow-up vet visit, administering kitty Valium before said vet visit, a Mom visit, a local election, and Open House at Li'l Martini's school), I'm saying here:

Happy Birthday, J, my darling beloved friend of so many decades!!!!!
I hope your day is wonderful and you are treated like a queen.

As we all should be!

I shall now don my crown and head back to the salt mines. Where there's salt, maybe there's a margarita, that's my motto.


  1. I am exhausted just reading about it. Living it? Help. Take care.

    1. I may be asking you to contribute your wife, once Mum and I get to Chico. Stay tuned . . .

  2. Sheesh, is all I can say! You are being heroic enough for twelve people, and heroism isn't generally fun... Sending all sorts of admiration to you for the love and care you show your family and friends, even when your strength is stretched to the breaking point. I'm also sending lots of love and Maudvibes to you and your mom for healing and improvement via all means possible. Many hugs from your SDF