Her Sense of Humor
Exploring the Sant Ocean Hall

Roller Coaster

The emotional roller coaster continues to operate at high speed.

Wednesday was bad. I met with the social worker at the nursing home and signed the DNR orders for Mom. Did you know that there are two main types of Do Not Resusitate orders? The first, DNR-A, specifies maximum effort to prevent cardiac arrest, but no CPR should arrest occur. The second, DNR-B, specifies minimal effort to prevent cardiac arrest, and no CPR should arrest occur.

I chose B. I also specified comfort care, no antibiotics, no intravenous nutrition, no respiratory intervention. I felt like a one-woman death panel.

Thursday was awful, although it actually started Wednesday night when we found out, quite by chance, that our checking account was overdrawn by $2400. Yes, twenty-four hundred dollars. It turns out that a check I had deposited several days ago bounced! So on Thursday I had to deal with that, and I couldn't deal with until after a 90-minute meeting first thing in the morning.

I was, to put it mildly, a little stressed. It evidently showed, because at least four people asked me if I was all right. The last person to ask if I was all right was in the meeting, just as it was getting started. When she asked, I said, "No!" and promptly starting tearing up, so I left the conference room and found my way to a relatively private nook and pulled myself together. I went back in and made it through the rest of the meeting, then called the business that had written the rubber check.

They were shocked -- shocked! -- to find that the check had bounced and promised to take care of it right away. I started feeling a little bit better.

And then my older sister called to tell me that it looked like Mom was fading fast. So I grabbed everything, called Joe, and beat feet out to the nursing home. When we got there Mom was actually awake. She even talked, although it was more like repeating what we said. She ate a few bites of soup. Mostly, though, she slept.

I took Friday off -- I really didn't want to chance a repeat of the Thursday tear-fest. We got out to the nursing home shortly after lunch. Amazingly, Mom seemed more with it. She talked more (though it wasn't really conversation). She smiled. She called me a dumbass and said I didn't know my ass from a hole in the ground. (Gee, thanks Ma!) She had quite a few visitors. She ate a whole bowl of soup and drank some milk.

The bank account situation got resolved too, so that was a huge load off my mind.

In the evening a bunch of us went over to the assisted living home and moved out more of Mom's furniture. Joe and I took the sofa. We ate a late dinner, all together, and talked a lot. It always feels so much better when we all talk. We get each other; we can say what we're really feeling and it's okay. Somehow we always manage to laugh.

Saturday Joe and I went to the Capitals Convention and had a ball. I put all my worries on hold and just had fun. I got some great autographs, went to a couple of interesting panels, and ran into some old pals. In the middle of this, my older sister called to report that Mom was really much better! She had been out of bed, in the wheelchair, talking coherently, and ate some lunch in the dining room. A miracle!

Today we went to the Caps game, a preseason tussle with the Rangers. The game was great -- the Caps won 4-3. Then Joe took me on my own private tour of the new Sant Ocean Hall at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. (He's working in the hall as a docent.) Then we checked out the dinosaurs and the gems and minerals (Hello, Hope Diamond!).

Tired but happy, we got on the subway. Halfway home, my younger sister called. Mom may have been great yesterday, but today she took a real turn for the worse. She spiked a fever, she was terribly lethargic, and she didn't eat or drink. Off we went to the nursing home. She was sleeping, but it was a deep, deep sleep. We couldn't wake her. After standing around for awhile, we all agreed to head home.

So we have fun. We keep life going. And we wait.