Wednesday, April 16, 2008

We're All in the Same Boat - and I Think It's Leaking!

My cousin and I have been trying to get together for a one-hour lunch for about 3 weeks now. Something always comes up. We had rescheduled again for yesterday morning at 11:00 - her lunch break from teaching kindergarten at the local elementary school. I was having coffee and catching up on my morning writing assignments when the phone range. It was the local health department, relaying a message that my grandmother was having an "episode" and the aide was concerned and thought I should call her doctor.

To make a very long story short, she had what the doctor called a "vagal response" while using the bathroom, meaning she got weak, sweaty, short of breath, and felt faint. It subsided as soon as she got back into bed. His ultimate prescription was for her to take FiberCon twice a day. She had a terrible time understanding how a laxative was going to help with diarrhea, but I was finally able to talk to a nurse and get an explanation we both understood. Apparently this is a "bulk fiber" that will absorb excess liquid and hopefully correct her situation.

Determined not to miss my lunch date, I threw on clothes and hurried to the store to try and find the prescribed fiber. I couldn't find FiberCon in a form my grandmother could handle - she doesn't do well with tablets, but I consulted with the on-duty pharmacists and selected a suitable substitute. With the bulk laxative purchased, and my grandmother settled, I told her I had a lunch appointment with my cousin and that I had to leave - I could return later, but for now, I had to go. Her response was a very snippy, "Go on... don't keep Natalie waiting!" The good news is that she seems better today and the bulk fiber must be working... her attitude was better and she seems to genuinely be improving.

Meanwhile, my cousin, who is 33 years young, has her own little "Deli" going. She is the mother to 4½-year-old Olivia. She has a great aunt who is 86 or 87 and very much like a grandmother figure to her. This aunt, whom the family calls Eazey, loves to walk around her yard, but for a variety of reasons, she doesn't get outdoors much any more without accompaniment. Natalie and Olivia go every Wednesday afternoon after school to see Eazey.

Recently, Natalie and Olivia were visiting Eazey one Wednesday, and they were walking in the yard, looking at flowers. Eazey lives adjacent to the local Wal-Mart parking lot, so Natalie said, "I'm going to run over and get a rotisserie chicken for dinner. You two stay in the yard and I will be right back." When she returned, Olivia immediately said, "Eazey fell!" Eazey tried to downplay the event, but did say she tripped over a tree branch that had fallen in the yard. She acted very irritated and embarrassed, and she insisted she was not hurt. When Natalie and Olivia got into the car to go home, Natalie said, "Olivia, what happened?" Olivia replied, "Well, Eazey tripped over a tree branch and fell, and I said, 'do you want me to call the police?' and she said, 'No! And don't you tell your mother, either!'"

How many of us have been there? How many times do you suppose those in our care have fallen or had a mishap and told others "not to tell"! I told Natalie that she was "smack dab in the middle of the Deli" and "welcome to the club!" Needless to say, we had plenty to discuss over lunch, and the hour flew much too quickly!

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