Tag Archives: funny

Happy 99th Birthday, Marie!

Today would have been my mother-in-law, Maire’s 99th birthday.  In honor of all our great and hilarious times spent together, here is my tribute to a great party gal!

Please click on the link to see my StorySlam tribute to Marie!

 

 

 

Winner, winner, Jack Daniels for dinner? If only…………..

The beauty of sharing a sense of humor with the one you are caregiving for is beyond measure.

My brother-in-law has been in and out of rehab and the hospital for 8 months now. It has been a rocky road……and not sweet, like the ice cream. But he has turned a miraculous corner and although, still in rehab for a few more weeks, I have confidence that he will finally be returning home and will be relatively healthy for a good long time.

Since he has come so far, he is finally taking an interest in his daily life and activities that eluded him while desperately trying to get healthy. And he’s funny again. He is entertaining his healthcare workers, and any one else who walks in the door, which, of course, I love.

On my trek to see him yesterday, I took my Mom and husband as we were then going to have dinner with a friend who lives close by the rehab center. It takes us an hour to get there, so we decided to take advantage of being in our friend’s neck of the woods.

A half hour before we left, there appeared some calls and one message on my cell phone from the rehab center. The nurse stated that my BIL had a few lab work issues, but if I didn’t get back to her today, we could discuss it tomorrow. As I was on my way down there to see him, I thought: Okay, no big deal. I did return her call, but she was gone for the day.

When we arrived at his room, his bed was stripped and  his wheelchair was empty. That is always a panic button for any caregiver. Where the hell is my brother-in-law????? At the nurses’ station, the nurse tells me that they sent him to the ER because his hemaglobin was so low, he might need a transfusion.

“You couldn’t leave a message that he’s at the hospital, that I just passed on the way here, so I could stop there first?”

No answer.

Off we go to the ER and they usher us into his room. There he is joking with the nurses, and, feeling relieved that he seems okay, I say, “well, yet another hospital we get to check out. Whoopee!”

This is how I know he’s ever so much better overall: “Well at least, it’s  not a Friday night!” he says.

Classically, for the last 8 months, we have gone to the hospital without fail on a Friday night. I told him my husband was getting jealous of our date nights.

jack-daniels-551052_1280Then he turns to the nurse and asks, “can I have a Jack Daniels with that Percoset?”

Then he goes into a litany:

“So now I’m going to miss my dinner. I told them at rehab, “hey, what about dinner?”. Then I come here and I’m asking them, “where’s my dinner?” But no, no dinner. And you know they’re going to screw around, and no food or drink until they decide what to do with me. And then they are going to  tell me I’m fine, because I feel fine, but then what about my dinner?”

onion-rings-274123_1280See, all of this is a sure sign that all is well in brother-in-law land. If his focus is dinner, dinner, dinner…………….he’s in great shape. You caregivers know what i mean.

In the spirit of kind caregiving and true sympathy to his plight, I say:

“Well, okay, now that we see you’re okay, we’re going to take our friend out to dinner! See you  later!”

He bursts out laughing. Yay…………

“You Just have to Laugh………..”

© Cathy Sikorski

Is your Plug Male or Female……..

Today’s tale is a bit vulgar….but I find honesty to be the best policy.

As my faithful readers know, I, with no training or inherent skills, have become a wheelchair repair expert over the last few years. I was able to get a different BIL (code for brother-in-law) to transport the humungous wheelchair to the rehab center, so disabled BIL would be able to get out of bed every day. By the way, there is no service, or transport that will take an empty wheelchair…well….anywhere….you have to find your own way to get it there.

One day, I’m walking down the hall of the rehab center and the physical therapist is manually pushing the electric behemoth with my BIL in the chair.

“What’s up?” I ask her.

“Oh my God, I’m so glad you’re here. No one can figure out how to get this operational.”

Because it had been a month since my BIL was even in the chair, and memory issues are a part of his disease, he was of no help either. In 2 minutes, I had everyone  operational and instructed for the forseeable future.

Then we went home.

I stayed with my BIL for about 6 hours that day. As happy as he was to be back in his apartment, he was feeling insecure and squeamish and not ready to be alone. I arrived home in time for an 8:00 PM conference call.

At 9:00 PM my phone rang.

“Hello, Cathy, this is the caregiver.”

“Hey, what’s up? Is he okay?”

“Oh, he’s fine, no problems. But we can’t plug in his wheelchair. It seems like a piece of the plug is missing that connects to the battery. So we can’t charge the chair.”

UGH. He needs that chair. He needs to be out of bed and as upright and mobile as possible to have a life where he goes to meals, talks to friends, plays SODUKU on his computer.

“Okay, I’ll come in the morning and look at it.” I must’ve been very tired. I’m still not a wheelchair repair person, what was I going to do?

Before I left the house, I called the wheelchair repair people, who told me the only thing they can do is order an entire new charger which would take 3 weeks.  When I asked what he’s supposed to do in the meantime, wheelchair repair guy thought for a minute or two (really??? no one has ever asked you THAT before?) And told me he could look around and see if they had a loaner charger, but that would take a day or two.

As I set my hair on fire in protest (only in my mind) I went over to my BIL’s apt. examined the plug and set off for the rehab center. I checked his room, as they had just cleaned it, we called down to housekeeping, I went to the nurses’ station, therapy rooms, front desk and had the social worker call the ambulance transport to look for it. No dice.

I went to my book club and my French Class. Mai oui…..I do some things for my self!

Then I returned to his apartment, there was the charger plugged in. But as my engineer BIL told me, truthfully, it was smoke and mirrors. It wasn’t charging at all. I showed the plug to him and hoped he had some brilliant insight. Nope. So I said to him:

“Well, you know what Nana would say?” She had a fine adage for problems when something would just not fit into a hole.

“Yep,” he nodded, “put a little hair around it.”  Yep, that’s what she always said.

Luckily BIL is a fiscal conservative and only used 3% of his power that day.

We then had the brilliant idea to call some local durable medical equipment providers and one dear soul sent me to Interstate Battery. As I was leaving with high hopes and the battery, my BIL said:

“I don’t know how to tell you this, but as an old man would say, I think you’re pissing up a rope!”

So with those axioms under my belt and a big huge 24 Volt battery in my arms like a newborn. I went to a big, ol’ manly grease monkey, full-of-testosterone battery warehouse.

And this is where the Good Samaritan works when he is not out on the road rescuing.

Keith worked for thirty or forty minutes to rig this battery charger so I could use it. The first thing he asked me is if it’s a male or female plug. I considered my Nana’s advice, but that didn’t lead me to any conclusion. I suppose I should have been able to deduct the answer, but I panicked and just looked as cute as I could. In that environment, I was a shoe-in.

By the way, there was never a missing part. It had been so abused over time by pulling it out by the cord that it basically pulled the charging plugs too far down into the casing.

Keith told me he has a few friends in wheelchairs and he sees this all the time, where they can’t get timely repairs and no one seems to care. He told me to just ‘Pay it Forward.’ I told him I try to do that, and he said, “well then, now it’s coming back to you!”

Sometimes…..”You just have to SMILE….and laughing never hurts, either.”

© Cathy Sikorski 2015

Techno and Testing………..

As I sit in the waiting room for my husband to have his colonoscopy, I am reminded of all the times I’ve been to various hospitals and doctors’ offices for tests of one kind or another as a caregiver.  Sometimes, I think we test like our patients are the next subjects in a high school science experiment.

When my mother-in-law was 86 years old, I took her to her cardiologist for a semi-annual check-up. By that time, she had a pacemaker and was required to have it tested in the office to make sure it was working properly. In the interim, they had sent her home with a machine that she was to use monthly to check the battery and operation of the pacemaker over the telephone. This was hilarious.

Marie had to take out this little box, put two wrist bands on herself, call a phone number, place the phone in an electronic phone cradle at just the right moment,  while holding some gizmo over the pacemaker on her chest, and wait for the buzz to tell her all was well. It sounds simple. But the set-up, the conversation with the technician and the ultimate getting the phone in the cradle at just the right time was a comedy of errors. Phone check-ups had to be by appointment only. I tried to get there on the exact date every month to help her, but some dates were just not possible for me. So after training my mother-in-law, this darling 86 year-old woman who lived alone and had not the slightest relationship with technology, did the best she could. I prayed she could do it, or in the alternative prayed that the pacemaker just worked until the next month.

At this bi-annual visit with her cardiologist, the good news was, her pacemaker was working just fine. Dr. Smarty Pants, however, had no trouble telling us that every month they weren’t getting the best reading, and we would need to do better. You know what I wanted to retort. But instead, I  said, “Okay.”

Marie took it personally and tried to explain how hard she worked to get it right, but by that time we were dismissed on that topic to discuss further things.

Dr. Smarty Pants was concerned that Marie’s chest X-ray showed a slight spot on her lungs. The X-ray had been taken as a standard procedure due to her heart condition and pacemaker. This spot, however seemed new and the doctor was concerned.

“It could be nothing, or it could be a sign of further pathology,” he said to us.

“Well,” I said, “exactly what would you like to do?”

“I think we should do some more tests,” he declared. “I would like to do a CAT scan, or perhaps even an MRI, and then based on those results, we may have to do a biopsy of the lung area to see what we are dealing with. And then, based on that information, well, actually, as soon as we have the results of the CAT Scan or MRI, I would probably send you to a lung specialist as this is not a cardiology issue in any event.”

“So let me get this straight. As her cardiologist, you want to send this 86 year-old woman for a CAT Scan, and MRI, a possible lung biopsy and then off to another specialist, as this isn’t really your bailiwick anyway? Do I understand that correctly?”

“Yes.”

Now my mother-in-law is just sitting there in her paper gown, probably freezing, as it is cold in there and I haven’t even taken my coat off, watching this banter .

“Let me ask you this doctor,” I said pretending I was just seeking information, but wanting to put my hands around his throat while he strangled out an answer if he were lucky enough to survive.

“Tell me a bit more about this spot on the X-ray. Is it big, is it new, what do you suspect it could be?”

“Well, it’s tiny, and we haven’t seen it before. Honestly. Sometimes it could just be a spot or speck of dust on the machine and not pathological at all. But we don’t know that for sure.”

“Okay,” I say incredulous but still pretending to be seeking only information and not the death penalty….for him…..”Let’s just say you find the worst case scenario after all those tests, the biopsies and whatever else you do….then what? My mother-in-law is 86 years old. She has a really nice quality of life. She has heart problems, diabetes, and high blood pressure. What exactly would you do or suggest under those circumstances?”

“Well, truthfully, I probably would just make her comfortable, she’s not really a candidate for surgery or even intensive therapies.”

“Um…hmm.. that’s what I was thinking, Doctor.” Of course, what I was really thinking was: “You’re an idiot.”

“Based on that, Doctor, I think she’s already pretty comfortable so we will pass on further testing and let nature take its course.”

My mother-in-law lived 11 more years, with nary a cough.

“You just have to Laugh…….”

©Cathy Sikorski 2015

I like coffee because it gives me the illusion that I might be awake… Lewis Black

My friend needed a companion to take her for eye surgery in the city.  It necessitated an overnight stay at the Sheraton because she had to return early the next day for a post-surgical check.

I slept on her very comfortable sofa the night before as we had a 4:00 AM alarm. As is the custom, no one really slept the night before, in spite of a few glasses of wine, for fear that we would miss our window of opportunity to get into the city by 6:00 AM.

The surgical waiting area was a beehive of activity. They took my friend back to ‘get ready’ 2 hours later. This was the Ford factory of eye surgery. Without coffee.

Yes. I said without coffee.

This place had at least 25 people waiting when we arrived before 6:00 AM. These numbers kept multiplying like rabbits every five minutes. Half of us were not having surgery, didn’t need to be fasting, and there wasn’t even a waft of coffee in this hospital.

Since none of the patients could eat or drink since midnight, I didn’t want to start a lack-of-food-fight, so I waited until my patient went back to the mysterious green room of surgery and politely asked,

“Um… is there some place I can get coffee?”

Which probably sounded like: “Um…s’ere smplc ickan goot COFFEE?” as I was stuffing a power bar in my mouth that I found in the bottom of my purse and waited two hours to eat so as not to offend my friend. I was done worrying about these other starving people.

“Coffee?” said the attendant.

“Oh yeah, go back down through the maze and walk about 5 miles through the next two buildings to the cafeteria. She really, truly said “5 miles.”  I don’t know if she wanted to save all the coffee for herself, but 5 miles would not daunt me.

As I turned the 13th corner and saw the Starbucks sign greeting all who entered the cafeteria, it was just like in the movies. Angels were singing, everyone around was smiling, a welcoming white light beckoned all to the green mermaid.

As it turned out, I waited another 3 hours for my friend to be finished, so that one Venti barely covered the trek.

We were both exhausted by the time we checked into the Sheraton. We decadently ordered room service of  Greek omelets and fruit salad which were only $7.95 each. We didn’t have high hopes for cheap room service but we were too pooped to venture out. My power bar had long worn off and my surgical companion was starving by now. Surprisingly, our meals were pretty magnificent. Yay, Sheraton Hotels!

And then we slept like the dead.

The ordeal was more draining than we realized. Since room service was so cheap we sprung for a movie…not cheap…and watched Birdman. Yowsa! That film had us talking for hours, so much so that we just went back to sleep early.

My friend slept well, but me, not so much. Again, I was worried that we would miss our appointment, even though we were 2 minutes away. The weather people were calling for possible snow, and I wanted to get her home safe and sound, with attendant groceries in case she would be snowed in for a few days.

I guess I was tired. I’m sure I was distracted. I am absolutely certain coffee deprivation was to blame.

I was so pleased with our ability to get packed and check out and be on our way. The weather system wasn’t going to happen at least until the afternoon and we were rocking our schedule. We hopped into my car in the parking garage. The place was almost empty of cars, which was the opposite of when we had parked the afternoon before.

I got my eye-patched friend situated in the car, threw my bags in, got out my parking pass, and promptly backed out so close to the cement column that the crushing sound of my side view mirror against my door reminded me of the trash compactors of old. I could only pull forward to stop the insanity. There dangled my mirror, limp, lifeless, devoid of plastic protection, crushed.

Wounded  because of coffee
Wounded because of coffee

At the hospital, my friend asked for extra surgical tape to help her driver  fashion a splint for my crushed mirror. I devised a solution that angled the mirror into the driver’s side window so it wouldn’t bang against the door. We drove home in 28 degree weather on the expressway with our hats and gloves on, and the window open.

The high tech side view mirror flashed a big yellow blinker right in my face every time I wanted to turn left or merge. I was blinded by the flash as well as  by the fact that I didn’t realize how highly trained I was to use that mirror to merge. It was scary, dangerous driving.

My friend sat next to me with her big, huge surgical sunglasses on, trying to help so that we didn’t have yet another accident and said:

“Wow, this is the blind leading the blind.”

“You just have to Laugh….”

©2015 Cathy Sikorski

Ugh….Comcast….or common sense?

“I’m pretty sure I have a brain injury.”

You wouldn’t think this would send me and my friend into gales of laughter because she does have a brain injury. And she is a walking miracle. So whenever anything goes awry, this is her go-to phrase. Five years ago, she fell down a flight of stairs to a concrete floor and her injuries were life-threatening. After the initial trauma with extensive treatment and still later, after she was further misdiagnosed and needed emergency brain surgery to place 40 platinum coils in her brain to stop bleeding, she recovered.

Although disabled, and under constant threat of possible seizure, she lives on her own. She has successfully navigated these treacherous waters and her band of supporters are actually the beneficiaries of her hard work, as she has reclaimed her independence as much as possible.

But every once in a while………..

Her cable and internet died for no discernible reason. She called Comcast, put up with their shenanigans for hours on the phone, and then emailed me the written confirmation of their repair plan. Not only were they going to charge her $50 to come out, but they were not going to come out for a week.

I told her this was unacceptable (okay I said bullshit). She called Comcast again the next day, wasted a few more hours of her precious time and was assured that someone would be at her apartment at no charge the next day.

“You’re not going to believe what I did,” she said to me.

“Oh, you didn’t forget Comcast was coming, or miss them or fall asleep, did you?” I asked.

“Nope, you’re just not gonna’ believe it…….”

This really nice repair guy shows up. He’s young and handsome and very charming.

“Uh ma’am,” Mr. Handsome Repair says, “you’re green light isn’t on. The TV is not on.”

“I noticed that when they were trying to send the signal to repair it from afar, but it didn’t respond to the signal, so I didn’t know what to do,” my friend said in a bit of confusion.

“Okay, no worries, let me see what I can do.”

He goes around the back of the 50 inch TV, he shuffles among the wires and all the components, and he too appears flummoxed. She knows this because he just keeps muttering, “hm……………..hm……………………hm.”

He stands up and looks around her teeny, tiny apartment. His eyes light up. He looks at my dear friend, with a bit of pity, no doubt, walks over to the door, as if to leave and reaches up to the door jamb.

“Are you going to get something out of your truck?” She was afraid he was just going to go without explanation.

“No, ma’am.” And with that, he flips the light switch next to her front door and everything churns and sputters to life.

“All your components are plugged into the plug that is operated by this switch. So you might never use it, but someone flipped the switch on you and cut off the power to everything. That was your problem.”

She likes to sheepishly say in these kinds of cases……”Sooowwweeee.”

I assured her, this is not a brain injury this is an old lady affliction.  Our ego, our common sense, our thinking outside the box appears to degrade with our eyesight, gravity ridden faces, and loss of car keys. Not only did she navigate Comcast twice without losing her mind, but she got a chance to spend time with Mr. Handsome Repair Guy.

After a certain age that’s a win-win.

“You just have to Laugh…..”

One should always be drunk. That’s all that matters… Charles Baudelaire

Saturday was my birthday. I wanted wine and song. My daughter called from Ireland to wish me a grand year, and suggested I check the internet machine for our local beloved troubadour to see where he was playing. Miraculously, he was playing at a WINERY from 2:00 to 5:00 in the afternoon. In twenty minutes, my husband and I were at a wine tasting bar listening to great music. Serendipity rocks.

For 10 bucks we could taste all 17 wines on the menu. A designated driver was named (not me) and I, the birthday girl went for it.  Now, Pennsylvania wines are usually quite awful, especially if you love wine. So we were pleasantly surprised when we enjoyed the flavor of some of these wines. The vintner was very proud. The chatter continued on in a  lively and humorous fashion. We were all having fun. It turns out that my husband and the vitner graduated from the same high school in the same year. They actually know each other, but the intervening 2 score years (nice way of preserving their dignity) changed their remembrance of one another.

Okay, so I’m tipsy, singing, meeting new people, drinking some not half-bad wine, and my phone jangles. Well, it’s my birthday, so people have been contacting me all day. I pick it up with a big ass wine smile and say:

“Hello!”

“Hello, is this Cathy?”

“Yep, it sure is…who is this?”

“This is the cardiologist from the hospital. I want to discuss your brother-in-law’s condition.”

Uh-oh.

Can I tell you, that it was the most lucid and coherent conversation I have ever had with a physician.

I answered all his questions, gave him a supremely detailed medical history, discussed current medication, the possibility of new medication, the long term effects of those new meds, and what the physician would require in the future in terms of follow up and testing. All while standing outside in a snowbank because of the music and raucous crowd in the winery.

I asked every freaking question that came to mind, I questioned the doctor’s  thought process concerning my brother-in-law’s medical history and future. I was rocking that conversation like I just graduated from medical school.

Clearly, I need to drink  more wine.

“You just have to Laugh……..”

©2015 Cathy Sikorski

“You really don’t have to be young to find a friend in a teddy bear.” -Rachel Newman

I have become sort of immune to authority figures in the world of medicine and insurance. My friends would tell you my immunity started long before caregiving. My older brother, Chip would say I made my self the authority figure right around 5th grade when I would tell my Mom what Chip wanted for lunch. My baby brother Bill would say, “Cathy doesn’t have any problems with authority, as long as she is the authority.”

Okay, fine.

I’m bossy and pushy when I need to be.

But sometimes I am surprised by the far-reaching influence of my bossiness.

I was grilling the nurse in the hospital about the details of my brother-in-law’s discharge. What day were they thinking? What kind of meds would he need when they sent him home? Did they know I had a 24 hour notice rule, so that I could set up his at-home caregivers? Would they call the insurance company to confirm the need for ambulance transport since my brother-in-law was non-ambulatory?  Would the case manager call me so that I could give her the time of day that transport would work best for the caregivers as well as his meal time at his facility?

My brother-in-law was so used to this diatribe, that every once in a while he would chime in with a: “Yeah, when can I get out of here!” emphatic remark. He liked looking bossy, too.

His hospital roommate, a kind and gentle Teddy Bear of man, whose family had quietly visited with him just a few hours earlier and had now left, was patiently listening to all of this. We had exchanged greetings earlier. He was very soft spoken. Even his young grandchildren were very quiet and respectful. He didn’t have his television blaring, like my brother-in-law usually does.  He didn’t pull his curtain shut or ask for privacy. He didn’t call his own nurse for any assistance during this time. But he was clearly awake, aware and watching all this broo-ha-ha.  He seemed to be taking it in with great interest, but just stayed calm and quiet.

After I had hashed out all the details that I needed to make the exit from the hospital as smooth as possible for my brother-in-law, I noticed that his roommate called the nurse over to the side of his bed. She very graciously went over and asked if she could help. Before he could say another word, she cautioned him that she was not his nurse, but if she could help she would.

He looked at us, and then looked up at her with pleading eyes and said ever so softly: “I, too, was wondering when I could get out of here and go home.” Then he looked at me, and I swear there was a twinkle in his eye  that was a dash of courage, but still a Teddy Bear, asking for his own reprieve. I’m pretty sure he winked back when I gave him the thumbs up!

“You just have to Laugh…………”

©2015 Cathy Sikorski

 

I always tell the truth. Even when I lie……Al Pacino

There is a Medicare rule that requires your Part D (which is prescriptions only) provider to now call you before they send out your medications.

Many of these Part D providers also require, or at least push for you, the patient, to purchase your medications through the mail. The insurance provider wants you to have your doctor order these medications directly from them and then the magical pharmacy in the sky sends the medications to your home.

This process has its ups and downs. On the up side, your medications are delivered directly to your door. For many a senior, ill person, or caregiver, this is a blessing. Nothing is more delightful than not having to go to the pharmacy a million times a month for meds that run out at random intervals.

However, often our elder parents, aunts, and friends are frustrated by their inability to have that paper prescription in their hot little hands, take it to Phil, the Pharmacist, and go home knowing they have the correct meds as confirmed by Phil, and they don’t have to wait days or weeks to see the meds they need.

Now that Medicare has added this ‘protective’ provision that your insurance company must call you on the phone and confirm that you or your doctor ordered this medication, that you actually want the medication and that you wish it to be sent to you in a 90 day supply, another fun-filled element has been added to the mix.

So for me, it goes like this.

My brother-in-law struggles a bit with the phone, pays no attention to his meds anyway, and has for 5 years, relinquished any responsibility for anything. So, I leave a message at my brother-in-law’s doctor’s office requesting they order the medication.

I get 2 or 3 emails from the Part D insurance company confirming that a mysterious prescription has been ordered. They can’t put the name of the drug in the email, so I have to go to the Part D website to see if the correct drug has been ordered. My brother-in-law takes 40 pills a day. So I have to wade through the list to make sure all is correct.

Then Part D Insurance Company calls you on the phone. I never know when this call is coming. If I  miss the call, I put the process behind until I can respond. Now, for all of you who may need acting lessons in the future, I was a theater major in college for a bit, and I will be giving lessons. Now.

When the caller asks you if you are your brother-in-law, drop your voice three octaves and mumble a reply that sounds something like, “Yus.” You’re only talking to a machine, never a real person. Every other question, as his Power of Attorney, I have answered a million times, so I have the answers. But remember mumbling and voice alteration are your friends.

You will be pleased with the results when they conclude the call telling you your drugs are on the way! Just in case you don’t remember this conversation, they send you yet another 2 or 3 emails to confirm that the mysterious drugs, whose names shall not be mentioned in an email, will be delivered shortly.

You’re welcome, and remember all my caregiving thespians….

“You just have to Laugh…..” but don’t do it while mumbling and dropping your voice a few octaves.

©2014 Cathy Sikorski

A Caregiver Confesses…………

Not every day in a caregiver’s life is worthy of a pat on the back. Last week the visiting nurse called me with her weekiy update:

“Hi Cathy, all is well with your brother-in-law,but I’m calling today as his advocate.”

Uh-oh. What does that mean? Immediately, my hackles go up. I don’t actually know what hackles are, if I have them or when they go up and down. But I do know that some red flag is waving behind my eyeballs, and I have become defensive before she even says her next sentence. And here’s why. I am his advocate. Not you. First, I am a professional advocate. Second, I am the one who goes to bat for him almost on a  daily basis. And third, if you are telling me you are advocating for him to me….that must mean you are about to tell me what I’m doing wrong.

“Okay,” I say calmly, “what’s up?”

“Since you’ve put him back on bed rest, he is frustrated and really angry. He doesn’t want to be in bed most of the day. He needs to be in his wheelchair and out and about with his friends. He needs to go to the dining room for every meal and have that independence.”

And here’s where I’m not so happy with myself….but this is only the first part of my confession.

“Let me tell you something (not a good way to start an open-minded conversation). He  just returned home from 10 months in and out of the hospital with 6 of those months straight in a nursing home.In just four days after being home, he began to have bed sores again and problems with open wounds. I feel pretty certain that he does not want to go back to either of those places and so since I know that bed rest was the only solution, I instituted that. Within 10 days of you seeing him, those wounds have significantly healed and he is almost able to return to his normal routine.”

“Well,” she replied, “I’m sure that’s what he needs.”

“I am not trying to make his life harder. Quite the contrary. But I will be sure and let him know that you have advocated for him.”

“Okay, thanks and Happy Thanksgiving!” she said as she got off the phone at breakneck speed.

The Thanksgiving remark sort of slapped me back to reality as well. I was feeling less grateful for her help and more needy of explaining my part in this Passion Play.

And then I misbehaved.

I went over to my brother-in-law’s apartment to discuss his advocate. I waited until the next day, so I could explain to him that I’m not a monster, I’m not insensitive to the fact that lying in bed most of the day is boring, not fun and makes for a long day. I only have his best interests at heart, and I don’t want him to end up back in any place but his home, where he is as happy as he can be.

When I arrived, he was watching TV in his chair.

“Hey,” I said, “your nurse tells me your mad at me.”

“Yeah,” he said, “I don’t want to be in bed so much. ”

And this is where all my sensitivity training, my caregiver’s heart and I’m pretty sure my 26 years as a Mom comes in to soothe and explain how all my hard work for him is truly in his own best interests, that I love him and want him to be healthy and safe and happy and that sometimes that road is a little bumpy.

“Get over it, ” I said.

I thought he would just have to laugh…..and guess what…he actually did………

©Cathy Sikorski