Monthly Archives: April 2015

Mothers are the mother of all frustration………..or daughters………….

My Mom is going with us on a trip to Europe. My sister took a Viking River cruise last year and my Mom was green around the gills about it. I asked my sister why she didn’t take our mother and she claimed she didn’t know Mom wanted to go. Ha! Who doesn’t want to take a Viking River cruise? I should’ve asked her why she didn’t take me.

prague-226869_1280I think I’m the winner because Mom is pretty fun and she still pays for things! Our 23 year-old daughter will be her ‘companion’ on the trip. Of course, we are paying for that, so  my  husband sees that our 30th anniversary trip turned into a money pit that may wane in the romantic department. And there may be shark infested waters here.

Mom hasn’t traveled abroad since we took her to Italy in 2001, and she needs a real suitcase. We took her to San Antonio two years ago. My husband and I took turns carrying her carpetbag (no really, it is literally a carpetbag with no wheels and no long strap) through the airports. It was like carrying a toddler, while trying to wheel my own luggage.

So I put my foot down. We were not going through Heathrow to Budapest, Vienna, Prague and over to Dublin with a carpetbag. We were going suitcase shopping.

She didn’t really like the colors of the ones at Kohl’s. And I flatly refused to let her get a plain black suitcase that would take us 400 tries as it went around the luggage carousel to decide if it was hers or not.

Then we went our local department store. Much better selection and nicer colors. Oh, yay.

We debated hard sides versus soft sides.  Soft sides win. I don’t really know why. I was just glad the debate was over. Plus they were really ugly. After doing the luggage loop around and around the choices, we narrowed it down to green, a knock of  the Louis Vuitton print and absolutely NOT any animal prints. Okay, we were getting somewhere.

We opened and closed the green and the brown. Pulled the luggage around the store to see if one was lighter than the other. We lifted them and debated the inside zipper areas and colors. Yes, colors. They were the same size suitcase, but the interior silk made one look bigger than the other, or it really was and the size dimensions were all lies. Oh, and what does the matching carry on look like? Is it the right shape? Is there enough room? Can I get into the zippers with ease? Are we buying a matching carry on?

You all know what I was thinking. Don’t pretend you aren’t thinking the same thing, too. You are no better than me. JUST PICK A DAMN SUITCASE!

I went over to her house the next day, where she was putting things into her new suitcases three weeks before we leave.  She was chatting on the phone with her girlfriend from nursing school. They were allegedly discussing whether or not to attend their reunion. But she was laughing and wiping tears from her eyes.

Words and  phrases like,”yes my daughter is 58 too!” ” Oh my God, we just went suitcase shopping yesterday, too!”  were wafting from her bedroom.

“SO impatient……..pain in the you-know-what……………. made me crazy…………….. so glad that’s over……….”


“You just have to Laugh………….”

© 2015 Cathy Sikorski


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

I once was Lost…………..


Apparently this is called a vlog…sort of…..I’m cheating. This is my Story Slam about the day I lost my Nana…………..she didn’t die…………….I actually lost her………… the mall………………….



“You Just  Have to Laugh………..”

©2015 Cathy Sikorski


Real elegance is everywhere, especially in the things that don’t show…Christian Dior

It was going to be a happy day. After months of being in and out of rehab, my brother-in-law was returning home. His current rehab center was about an hour away from me, so I was a bit late in getting there to do all the discharge baloney.

Nonetheless, they called me when I was 10 minutes away from the facility, as his wheelchair transport was already there. The transport driver was ready to go and wanted to leave before I arrived.

“Is he dressed and ready to go?” I asked the discharge nurse.

“Yes, they are just waiting for you to get here and sign the papers.”

“Well, if he’s ready and they can’t wait 10 minutes, he can get going and I’ll be there to gather his things and sign,” I replied.

“If you’re only 10 minutes away,I’ll see if they can wait,” said the nurse.

“Either way is fine with me,” I pleasantly replied…after all, it was a happy day.

I arrived in less than 10 minutes, and went into his room to gather his things.

There was my BIL in his bed, in a hospital gown, just shrugging his shoulders when he saw me.

Right behind me followed the discharge nurse.

“I thought you said they were transporting him home?”

“Well, the transport driver said he heard you were going to be an hour late, so he left.”

“Where would he hear that? Twitter? Facebook? The Huffington Post? I literally just told you I was 10 minutes away!”

“I don’t know,” said the nurse, “but that’s what the front desk said when I told them to send up the driver.”

“Okay,” I responded incredulously and losing my pleasant disposition ever so quickly, “but you told me he was dressed and ready to go. He’s in a hospital gown.”

“Well, that’s dressed,” he said a bit defensively.

Now, granted, this is a rehab facility. Fashion is not the highest order of the day. And if you’re not running around the hallways, or eating in the dining room, a hospital gown may be your couture du jour. However……..

“Ummm…….no….that is NOT dressed for someone who is going home in a wheelchair and right to the dining room at his home, for his meals. I’m pretty sure no one wants a Sharon- Stone-Basic-Instinct  reveal from a hospital gown , while having their salad course. It brings a whole new meaning to ‘dining al fresco.’ You need to get him dressed in his clothes which are in his closet here.”

To which my brother-in-law pipes up: “I’m a bit chilly.”

Ya’ think?

“You just have to Laugh…………”

©2015 Cathy Sikorski