Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The "Lull" is Over!

Last Friday, my grandmother's cousins came to visit from Sallisaw, Oklahoma. There were 5 in all - four women and one husband. These are wonderful, sweet people who love my grandmother - her first cousin was their mother, and now that she is gone, they have sort of "adopted" my Mam-ma as their substitute mom. Two years ago, they even drove from Sallisaw (a 4+-hour trip one way) to get Mam-ma for their July 4th weekend, then drove her home. So, when they called a few weeks ago and said they were coming on Friday, Mam-ma was excited. She had me buy a pork roast at the grocery store, and she put it in the crock pot on Friday to cook all day for sandwiches. She made potato salad and cooked green beans. Her friend Ruby made a "coconut" cake for their dessert.

The cousins arrived around 7:00 p.m., and Mam-ma served dinner. Then they all loaded into the car and drove to the local dance hall, where my grandmother is a charter member, for some dancing! The next morning, they drove some 30+ miles to visit an old family home place and the adjoining cemetery. They also went to a farmer's market and who knows where else. That evening, they attended a local Gospel Singing event in our city park, and then they closed the dance hall!!! The cousins had planned to leave Saturday evening, but they were too tired, and at my grandmother's insistence, they all stayed with her. She even let the husband/wife have her bed, and she slept on the couch. To my mother's surprise, she attended church Sunday - both morning and evening, I think. I know she went that night.

So, it was no surprise to me that Monday when I telephoned her, she sounded like a man. Her voice was very hoarse, and no doubt, she was exhausted. She had told my mother as much earlier in the day. However, she told me she and her neighbor had taken their walk that morning about 6:30. Then her Home Health aide came and gave her a bath, and then her housekeeper came. She had watered her beans in the garden and filled the bird bath with water (she claimed "the birds were just a pantin'!), and she had peeled Granny Smith apples and put them in the freezer! Did I mention she will be 96 in November?

Today, I phoned my grandmother around noon to see what she would need tomorrow when we run errands and she gets her hair fixed. She said she was lying around and would call me back. She sounded fairly well. At 2:00 p.m., she phoned me, sounding once again like a man, and she started coughing into the phone and telling me she thought she might have to go to the doctor, "if this doesn't get better." I asked, "are you saying you want to go to the doctor tomorrow?" Well, she didn't know... cough, cough, cough. I asked what her aides had said about her, and she said, "Shelley said I needed to see the doctor!" I asked if she would feel like getting her hair done tomorrow, and she said, "Oh, yes... I've GOT to have that done!" So I told her I would call the doctor and see if I could get an appointment for tomorrow. She was coughing hard as we hung up.

The doctor is closed on Wednesday afternoons, so I didn't reach anyone. I phoned my grandmother, and after about 20 rings, she answered. I told her that there was nobody at the doctor's office this afternoon, and she said, "Well, I don't know if I ought to wait!" I was thinking, "great... she wants to go to the ER... I am NOT going to the ER for this!" I asked, "What are you saying?" She said, "Well, I don't want this to turn into pneumonia. I really think I need to go to the doctor." I had told her I would try again tomorrow morning to get her an appointment. I asked, "So you DO want an appointment tomorrow?" She said, "Well, Shelley said I should go, and your momma said I should go see the doctor." I asked when she had talked to Mom about this, and she said, "Well your momma called this morning, and she said 'You sound terrible,' and I told her 'Well, I FEEL terrible!' and she said, 'well, you need to go to the doctor!'" So I told her I would call the doctor on Thursday morning, and if there were no appointments, we might have to miss the beauty shop to get her in that afternoon. She said that was okay.

I phoned my mom, and she was astounded. She said she had called my grandmother around noon, and she was doing great... that she was feeling better! Mom said, "She has never coughed once while talking to me!" But, she agreed that it is best to take her to the doctor if she wants to go and cut my losses... and make sure there is no pneumonia. She said she did NOT mention a doctor to Mam-ma, and Mam-ma did NOT tell her she was terrible. So, I am left to wonder if this nasty coughing into the phone is for my benefit - and effect - or if she is genuinely having trouble. She told Mom she "got this Sunday night." We have a high mold count right now, so I am wondering if that is the culprit. Mom was pretty sure Mam-ma said she walked with her neighbor this morning!

So we will never know the truth, but it looks like "errand day" will include a doctor visit! I'll let you know how it goes.

Meanwhile, a friend of mine is dealing with the admission of her aunt to a nursing facility in Missouri this past weekend. The woman has been diagnosed with Alzheimers but was "covering well" until recently, when her sister visited for a month, and afterward she told a family member, "Some strange lady came and stayed a whole month in my house - wasn't that brazen of her?" The family realized that this lady could no longer live alone. She didn't go peacefully to the facility - in fact, a seatbelt is all that prevented her from trying to escape the car... she threw open the door but was strapped in and couldn't get free. Alzheimers is a truly ugly disease... and so heartbreaking.

So I guess when I consider what others are dealing with, I can handle a little nonsense from my grandmother who still seems to have most of her faculties on any given day!

Hang in there - keep pedaling!!!

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