Friday, July 2, 2010


The pod castle called last night. At 9:35pm, to be precise.  When the phone rings that late I just know it's got to be bad news.  This time it wasn't.  At least I don't think it was.  I'll tell you, and then you can decide for yourself.

Two facts you need to know:
  • It's taken many months to convince G'ma that she should leave the door to her apartment open.  She's unlikely to seek out company on her own.  With the door open, other residents and staff can drop in to share her chocolate kisses and watch Law'n without feeling that they are intruding.  Being surrounded by the activities of daily living was part of the pod castle's allure; the open door helps her stay connected.
  • Bob lives next door to G'ma.  He's wheel-chair bound and not very connected to the world around him.  He also has a tendency to call for help, loudly, persistently, plaintively, randomly, several times a day.  Perhaps he's maneuvered his wheelchair into the doorway of his apartment and there he sits, not stuck but not going anywhere either, just crying for help.  Or he's in front of his television, yelling for help.  Or the door is closed and he's with a caregiver and we don't know what he's doing except repeating, over and over,  "HELP".  He doesn't seem to need help, at least from our perspective, but there he is, hollering away, his own personal universe intersecting with ours at ever increasing levels of intensity.
So, back to the story.  The phone rings and a timid voice tells me that they thought that I should be notified so she's calling.  I interrupted to be sure that G'ma was ok, and then I let the tale unfold.  It seems that Bob had, once again, been calling for help.  Despite the caregivers' best efforts to placate him he couldn't stop yelling. My mom, hearing his request while sitting next door on her couch and knowing her own limitations, dialed 9-1-1.

Feel free to laugh.  I did. 

Unable adequately to describe her location or the situation or who knows what all she was asked, she put her cordless landline phone on the seat of her walker and went out into the hall.  There, she found the staff and Bob.  She strolled up to them and presented the handset to the nearest caregiver, saying "Maybe you can tell them what they want to know."

Since the pod-castle is around the corner from the fire station, the EMT's and the fire trucks arrived before the call could be canceled.  "We had a lot of visitors here tonight," the story teller continued.  "They took your mom and interviewed her....." and I began to laugh again.
Was anyone with her?  Can you imagine what she must have told them?  Was she nervous/anxious/upset?  "No, no and no/no/no; everyone here, we are all laughing."

I was laughing, too, for a while.  I love the notion of my mom being the caretaker, solving a problem, remembering what to do in an emergency.  I was peeved that the noise was intruding into her space, but I was glad that there was a bit of excitement in her life.Yes, the EMT's didn't need to waste their time and energy, but I was assured that they would rather be called unnecessarily than not called when needed.  And it was only 4/10ths of a mile away, and they had no other calls.  As long as no one was angry with her, I was in no-harm-no-foul territory.

But then, of course, I began to think. She really isn't oriented to place, is she?  If she were, she'd have remembered to push the call button she wears around her neck.  That necklace brings the staff running; it's what should have occurred to her first.  And what is going on with the pod castle?  Screaming neighbors makes my goal of No Unhappy Days somewhat unrealistic.  Should I move her to another apartment?  Why should we have to be inconvenienced?  Am I an awful person for being annoyed at Bob, this poor, demented soul?  Who knows ... G'ma might end up the same way..... what if others are aggravated with her?  And, once again, the reminders that she's not the woman I used to know are there, banging into my heart with sharp, pointy edges.

So, what should I think?  Is it a funny story?  A sad story?  An uplifting story (you know.... aging woman hears cry for help and saves neighbor from psychic terror.... a variation on 5 year old calls 9-1-1 and rescues injured parent)?

I'm leaning towards funny - at least that's where G'ma went when I told her what she'd done.  No, of course she didn't remember doing it.  Remember what we're dealing with here, people*.  She's proud of herself that she did what she "was supposed to do when someone needs help" and then, in typical G'ma fashion, she asked if the responders were annoyed by the false alarm.

And there, dear reader, is the answer I'm going with.  My mom is still in there, worrying about others and trying not to be a bother.  It's all good.

ps.  I told G'ma that I was writing this post, and she said she's fine with the story getting out.  "If it makes people laugh, why not?"  This is why I love her.

*type "G'ma" in the white box in the top left corner of the blog and click enter or click here for more on just what we are dealing with

1 comment:

  1. Well, I'm smiling but I'm not laughing...cause I've been there, done that! How sweet your Mom worrying she had caused a ruckus for nothing!


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