Friday, July 19, 2013

Accentuate the Positive

...Eliminate the negative..... that's where I'm going to try to go today.  I've got Jiminy Cricket on my shoulder, zip-a-dee-doo-da'ing away.  Yes, I'm mixing everything up but that's what's going on and the only way to make sense of it is to look on the bright side.  After all, the sun came up and G'ma and I were here to see it, even if she is sleeping on someone else's sheets.

With everything swirling around me, I'm bemused by the fact that the pod-castle has misplaced G'ma's sheets. I don't want them "circulating around the house," as one caregiver described it.  I want them in her closet or on her bed.  I don't think that's an unreasonable request, and neither did any of the worker bees to whom I mentioned it.  Still, the pretty pink and white flowery ones - not ours - remain tucked in neatly beneath her comforter.

I want Big Cuter's Marimekko cars and trucks sheets folded on the shelf and Little Cuter's flannel sheep on the bed... the bed without side rails..... the bed with the alarm that works most of the time... the bed that holds my mom.

When I go there, I feel the maudlin cloud creeping over my spine.  I don't like it, not one bit. Thus, the first paragraph of this post, which I just re-read to turn my frown upside down.  It may sound silly, but it works. When I'm smiling, I'm able to function.  When I'm slumped into myself, chin on my chest, the corners of my mouth reaching for my shoulders, my brain turns off.  I can feel the switch.  It even has words: I'm Done. I hear it and, with some help from a wonderful therapist, I remind myself that I can wallow or I can move and that moving feels better.

I worry about the sheets because the larger issues are too much for me.  So much of what discombobulated me about the follow-up appointment was irrelevant.  The appointment was made, the surgeon thought she was healing beautifully, gait training is in her future, and all is right with the world.  The doctor was aware of the events surrounding the scheduling of this appointment, and he assured me that he would follow up. He was almost as upset as I was, which gives me hope for the future of medicine.

He understood that attitude is nine-tenths of the battle, and the only one over which we have any control. Growing bone was something G'ma's body had to do for itself. Doing the work to keep her safe requires communication and information and, perhaps a change in systems.

Maggie from Georgia wondered why we didn't make the appointment when G'ma was in the hospital.  It's such a simple idea. It solves problems before they arise.  During rounds, the resident tells me that G'ma needs a follow-up appointment. Right then, I call the office so the resident can chart that we have an appointment scheduled six weeks after discharge.  I put it on the calendar on my handy-dandy-smart-phone. The resident tells me that G'ma is to be non-weight-bearing until she sees the surgeon again.

All problems solved before anyone knew they were problems.

Then, there are those pesky sheets.  If I focus on the laundry perhaps I won't worry that the Life Enhancement Counselor had G'ma walk down the hallway even though the PT had changed the orders. There were no consequences, and she was at no medical risk after doing it (I asked the surgeon) but shouldn't everyone be on the same page?  I have to go to sleep at night, and I can't do it if I'm worried about my mother's safety.

And really, I don't.  Accidents happen.  She fell in New Jersey; she was younger, then, and gave herself a black eye instead of a broken leg. I know that.  I'm not angry with the pod-castle because she fell on their watch.... not that anger would do me any good, anyway.  I'm angry because they don't seem to realize that the little things can make you just as nutty as the bigger, scarier, ones.

I want those sheets.


  1. This is so hard. You are caring for her very well. She should have her sheets. You should know that she had her sheets. Little things do matter. Bless her and bless you for being her stalwart guardian, and for being a very, very good daughter.

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Nancy. Everyone should be glad to know that the sheets did end up back in her closet!

  2. Hi Ashleigh! You have a really inspiring site! I'm glad to have stumbled upon it! I was wondering if you feature guest postings. Thanks and have a great day!

    1. I don't usually feature guests....... but I could be convinced....


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