Monday, February 13, 2006

Snookered Again

I was planning to see Mom for just an hour and a half today, but when I arrived she had four emergencies to tell me about. It turned into three and a half hours.
Her early morning caregiver, Jona, leaves at 2 pm, and her afternoon caregiver doesn't arrive until 5 pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
My plan was to arrive at 2:30, take her to pick up her opal ring, and leave her in the common room at 4 pm waiting for dinner.
But she was awake and agitated when I walked into the room.
"Oh Anne, I didn't sleep all night. The phone kept ringing and someone was talking. I won't sleep in that bed another night. I'll have to go to a motel or sleep at your house."
I mumbled a few inquiries and wondered if the ringing was the Posey alarm. I had taken the whole bed apart yesterday to reposition the alarm and keep it from going off when she just shifts her weight in the bed.
"And that new plate is terribly painful. I can't wear it. I told the girl I will not have it."
Wow--all those trips to the dentist, and now four days after getting the new plate, it hurts her jaw?
"But you didn't have any trouble eating the Kentucky Fried Chicken with it yesterday," I argued. "Here, show me your mouth. Let's put the new plate in and see where it hurts."
She screamed when I tried to do this. "No, I'm not going to have that in my mouth!"
"I see you got your hair done," I countered.
"I nearly fell out of the chair at the beauty shop, and she had to yell at that girl and tell her to get out of her chair and help me."
"Well, that's good that she helped you. What are you watching on television?"
"Love potions are really true. The man who owns this whole place had a love potion. He wants to screw me all the time, and there's nothing I can do but accept it."
By this time my can-do attitude had dissolved nearly into tears. The Posey alarm was not working right, the lower partial plate was not fitting, some scene had taken place in the residence beauty shop, and she was having Valentine's Day hallucinations.
I had come to make a brief visit, but now I had to start problem solving. The first problem was to figure out whether any of these stories had any basis in reality.
I went to ask the staff if any notes had been written up last night on her not sleeping or a problem with her Posey alarm. No problems had been recorded or reported to the day staff. Maybe it was all in her head--but I resolved to come back at 11 pm and check in with the night staff. I hadn't made a night visit lately.
There were two options with the partial lower plate: put it in a drawer and forget it, or make another dentist appointment. I really really didn't want to go see him again. She has swallowed a tooth, lost a lower plate, and sat in the dental chair with bm in her Depend. Just walking in the door is embarrassing.
But the alternative was letting $1750 go down the drain. I called his office.
"Oh, come right over," Xuje invited. "He can take a look at it this afternoon."
I accepted and took Mom to the bathroom eliminate any surprises in that department.
Dr. Feder was cheerful and kind. I thought Mom might refuse to let him put the plate in, as she had done with me, but she cooperated.
"Mmmm--Ah! Mm-da-eeeeeh-aaaaaahh," she said, making a running nonverbal commentary as he poked around. It was the kind of sounds you might hear from someone walking a tightrope--not quite what you might hear from someone riding a rollercoaster.
"Mom, shh! Don't talk! Just be quiet while he works on you," I pleaded.
"Oh, it's all right," he said. "I don't mind her singing."
He claimed to have found one edge to be a little sharper than the other and went to grind it down. When he came back and popped it in her mouth, she didn't complain.
"Oh, thank you!" I exclaimed, completely amazed.
"No problem--come back any time," he said with a smile.
"We'll try not to," I said grimly.
"No, really," he insisted. "It's always a pleasure to see you, Evelyn."
Somehow we got out of there. I swear I will never enter that door again for six months.
Next stop: picking up the opal ring, which we had left yesterday to be soldered onto a gold band to keep it from slipping around into her palm.
Maybe the only thing more embarrassing than daily crisis-related trips to the dentist's office is arriving at Whitehall Jewellers and having all four sales clerks extend a warm greeting like next-door neighbors.
We've bought two or three rings there, plus Christmas gifts; had a ring sized larger when her hand was swollen and sized down when the hand recovered; bought a gold band to hold the opal in place, and now had the opal and band welded together.
"Hi! Good to see you! What a nice outfit you have her in today," they began.
But it turned out the ring, promised for 3 pm, was not ready. I had not called to check on it before bringing Mom to the mall.
"He's had a high volume of work with Valentine's Day," they reported. "But he'll get to it right now. Could you come back in forty-five minutes or an hour?"
Gee, why not? So Mom got a little spin around the mall, finding an ice cream shop and getting a butter pecan cone, of course.
With half an hour still to kill, I decided to head up the street to the Borders bookstore. I deserved a treat too.
Somehow we dawdled until after 5 pm, got the ring, and arrived back at Ocean View. I handed her over to her 5 pm to 11 pm caregiver, explaining about the alleged noise at night.
Now all I have to do is go back at 11:30 or so and figure out why she had a wild story about last night.

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