Notes from Alexis: Grandma is back home after a heart attack, and everyone seems to find ways to put up with each other, in a rather funny, sad, way.
July 11, 1991
Well, further news from the battlefield. I sincerely meant to call, but then I found that almost impossible, so am writing instead.
Mom came home from the hospital a week ago, and now has settled in on our couch forever. Dad got a bonus, so we went right down and got another recliner. Our idea is that we could take out the couch in her trailer, and put in the old recliner, and then she would have a comfortable place to sit in her trailer.
Meanwhile, we brought in a new one and set it beside the old one, and put the exercycle in my office, where I like it very much. I can quit working when I get tired and tense, and go over and ride for a few minutes.
I made the mistake of telling Mom that the old chair was hers, and we would put it in her trailer when she went home. She refused to sit in it at all because she never plans to go home. She did eventually sit in it a couple of times and the dramatics would have won her an Oscar. It was obviously so horribly uncomfortable, so painful for her, that only a monster would have forced her to suffer in it. It would have been funny if it hadn’t been so sad.
The first week was very hard because she takes medicine at all hours of the day and night. I had to be awake at 10 & midnight to give them to her, and I was so tired I wanted to go to bed at 8pm, so I had to set the alarm. Dad gets up at six every morning and gives her that dose. Since then, thank heavens, she has taken charge of her medicine, and I can go on to bed and get some rest. She sits up most of the night reading and sleeps most of the days, which suits me fine. Speaking of medicine, the first batch cost $208 which almost gave me a heart attack.
But anyway, I am tired of bellyaching. I have always said all she ever wanted to be was a kangaroo in her mother’s pouch, and now she is one. She is happy as a lark. She’s here in the house, waited on hand and foot. Couldn’t be happier. Hence, too, is happier. It has been so funny. He really does take care of her—-follows her to the bathroom and sits outside the door until she comes out, and sleeps all day and night with her. The two of them are good company for each other, and he takes a lot of the guff off of me, I’m sure.
One of the things that has bothered me the most is the oxygen. She qualified to have Medicare pay for oxygen, so they sent out a compressor for the house and a portable tank for the car. The compressor sounds like a refrigerator that runs all the time, only about four times louder. Most of the time I’m out of the room and can’t hear it.But if I sit in the front room and try not to listen to it, I have to turn up the TV three or four notches. You can probably hear our TV a quarter of a mile away.
She also qualified for the visiting nurses, and they have been out two or three times a week. Mostly it is just a farce, but it makes her feel better and it’s free, so I just count it as keeping three awfully nice ladies gainfully employed.
Rehab turned out to be even more ridiculous than I had expected. R. from Rehab scheduled me for a session and she explained about the heart and the medicines, the names of all of them, and what they were for, on and on, and on. Then we got a 15 minute video showing happy people walking and having barbecues after heart attacks. Then she scheduled another session, which was a repeat of the first with a 2nd video, and would you believe a third session! I was fit to be tied.
When Mom came home the nurse set out a schedule of all the medicines and times. I numbered them and put the numbers on the bottles. She takes No. 1 and No. 4 at such and such a time, etc. and that’s all any of us need to know.
We can’t go to a drug store and buy the medicine without a prescription, and you can imagine what we would be told if we called up the docs and said she needs some Lasix or Captopril, so it’s all garbage. But then every time the nurses come out they go through the whole song and dance, minus the videos until Mom made some comment. The nurse was a young gal about your caliber, that is sharp, and she said, “I see you are about maxed out on meds.” Since then, Mom has shown them her paintings, and her rock collection, and everybody’s happy.
I have been able to get back to the computer and the books, but going out to do research has proved difficult, as has shopping. It doesn’t seem a good idea to leave her more than an hour or two until she has been cleared by the docs. So I have been going at night when Dad is here, which is hard for me, because I don’t function too well at night.
The big problem is there isn’t always someone up at the Family History Center at night, during the summer. Mainly because most people have other things to do, and they have a hard time getting librarians lined up. Which would be fine, only I ordered three films BHA (before heart attack) and I need to read them before the time is up, or I will have to pay extra.
If it isn’t one thing it is another, right? Speaking of that how’s the job situation? I do hope your business and the job hunt all works out Ok, as I’m sure it will, but meanwhile back at the ranch. Right!
The reason humans are the dominant animal is because we are so adaptable. I can’t get over how quickly I adjusted, especially once I could get back to the books. I am still tired, but each day I feel a little better. Those books have certainly saved my sanity.
Little J. came out and spent the night and day, and got to see Grandma. We know how worried he has been. We explained about the heart, and this and that, – whatever an 8-year-old can take in, and we think he feels better.
She goes into her wounded quail act whenever she thinks someone is looking, but hops around pretty frisky whenever she thinks no one is watching. Little J. got to see that too, and gave me a look that told worlds. Dad has been listening to me bitch for five years, but hadn’t believed me, but now he sees her more and knows the score.
We have been eating like kings out of the neighbor’s garden because none of them will touch veggies that their Dad grows. I look at that household and I tell you the truth, I would keep the wounded quail, rather than move over there. There is an old saying: “If all the world’s troubles were hung on a tree and we could have our choice, we would end up choosing our own.” So true. I have a lot to be thankful for, and so far I don’t have more than I can handle. If that day comes, perhaps a solution will present itself.
Thanks again for coming down. You were a tonic and just the support I needed. Dad is really good with her, but he doesn’t always say the things that need to be said. Sometimes just getting to talk is vital, and I don’t think men understand that. My, I feel better already, just by dumping the garbage on you. From now on the messages will be, “Same old thing, as long as the situation holds steady. Write when you get some time and energy, and I’ll do the same.