Thursday, June 08, 2006

Fashion Queen at the Doctor's

Hooray! Mom got through two months without seeing a doctor or making a trip to the emergency room--for the first time in years.
Her doctor visit today was just a check-up, optimistically scheduled two months ago in the hope that she could last that long without any intervening trips. And she made it.
All her meds seem to be adjusted just right, from Coumadin to keep her blood thin and prevent blood clots to Exelon and Remeron, to keep her mood stabilized.
However, the doctor she's been seeing for a year and a half is now on medical leave until January for a pregnancy, so we had to see another doctor from the same practice.
I figured this doctor, who is at a different location, would have Mom's chart and all her information.
Wrong. The most recent visit available by computer was last January, so the doctor had no idea what current issues she was supposed to be checking on.
After reviewing Mom's vitals taken today, she was basically leaving the agenda up to me:
"What concerns do you have?'
I was unprepared. Except for information about Mom's visit to the orthotics specialist and his concerns about the contractures of her feet (both equino and varus), I didn't have much to say. I didn't bring the notes from our last doctor visit.
"Since last November, Dr. Charette has had her meds pretty well calibrated... her health is fairly stabilized."
I mentioned Lewy Body, the broken hip two years ago, and the angioedema of the tongue and throat a year ago this month. Forgot to mention the pacemaker put in last September.
Mom tried to tell a dramatic story about a delivery in which one more baby was found amid the afterbirth.
Actually, the whole visit was kind of pointless, except that we met Dr. Rosen.
John tried to get me to cancel the appointment because I realized just yesterday that I'm not really up to pushing the wheelchair from Ocean View to the doctor's office and back. I didn't want to cancel, so he kindly ended up pushing the wheelchair over and returning in an hour for us.
Afterward seeing Dr. Rosen, she and I went to the lab to have her blood drawn and check her prothrombin time.
"Whoa, here's the fashion queen!" the phlebotomist greeted her.
And yes, her outfit today was a bit dramatic, as usual: a long-sleeved white shell with a pink seersucker sleeveless blouse over it (why, I'm not sure), pink slacks, her best pearls, a matching pearl bracelet, and her pressed-orchid see-through handbag made from real flowers, all in pink. With of course, her rabbit-fur trimmed sweater around her shoulders, rose lipstick, and a touch of pink make-up on her cheekbones.
"What a tight sweater!" the lady continued. "Is your daughter trying to get you a doctor for a husband?"
Afterward: "Bye, Miss Evelyn! See you next month."
I thought I was pushing around the star of Hello, Dolly!

Sunrise, Sunset

John and I went to visit another assisted living that is building and acquiring new residences in the Los Angeles area. I like to keep aware of other housing options for Mom.
As we walked in the door to the elegant lobby, languid piano and saxophone from some jazz music of the 1940s floated in the air.
"Music playing... coffee flowing... Club Sunset!" commented John.
"Sun-rise, John! Sun-rise!" I corrected him.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Something So Trivial

I'm trying to recruit one of my kids to help me get my mother to the P.E.O. meeting on Friday, the first one since May 5, the last one until October. I can't get Mom in and out of the car because I'm only two weeks past my hysterectomy--no heavy lifting.
One daughter has to work at 11:30 am on Friday, the other at 11 am. They are both college students home for the summer.
They usually get up at 10 am, having been up until 1 or 2 am, so one of them has to adjust her lifestyle for Grandma unless I give up and locate some taxi that can take a wheelchair.
"Why does Grandma have to go to P.E.O.?" asks Marie.
"She enjoys it," I argue. "She doesn't have that many things in her life, and she gets bored. I can pay you because otherwise I'm going to have to pay either a caregiver or a taxi driver."
"You don't have to pay me," moans Marie. "I can do it."
"Really? That would be great. But I will pay you, really."
"I don't want to fight about something so trivial!" she shouts.
A P.E.O. meeting trivial?
This meeting is the almost biggest event in my life for the whole month of June. I've been calculating how to get there, how to get Mom there, in spite of the ban on me doing any lifting. It's been on my calendar for two months.
And don't get me started on how much it means to Mom. She is bored. She hasn't left her building since May 18 except for one ride around the block in her wheelchair.
One way or another, we will get there.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Election Day Again

"I'm surprised they didn't recruit your mother to work at the polls," John said as we walked back to the car after voting at 8:30 am.
The poll workers were a bit confused. They weren't sure how to handle the two of us: me registered Green as well as dropping off Mom's absentee ballot and my husband registered Independent and voting in the Democratic primary.
"What is your mother's address? Not this precinct?"
"Look, it says I can drop off this absentee ballot at any precinct," I argued. "It doesn't have to be her precinct."
"Yeah? Well, okay, drop it right in here. Now, what is your name and address? Sign your name here."
"But the page is upside down... I'll sign but it will be upside down on the page."
"That's okay... that's the way it was printed."
"Shall I just go to any booth?"
"Well, are you going to vote Democratic?"
"No, I'm voting Green."
I stepped up to a random booth, slipped the ballot in the slot of the device, and voted all the nonpartisan offices before I realized I could not vote Green in this booth. There were no pages for the Green candidates. It was a Democratic booth.
So I inked the "nonpartisan voters voting democratic" slot and selected from the Democratic candidates, which in the primary was probably more useful than just voting Green.
~ ~ ~
Mom and I had completed her absentee ballot on Sunday. This time she was not getting the thrill of dropping her own ballot in the box at the polling place; because of my recent surgery, I could not push her wheelchair there.
She's a registered Republican, and I discovered that helping her vote in a primary is harder than in a general election, where she votes the straight Republican ticket.
In the primary, she (that is, I) had to choose between various Republican candidates.
For example, in the race for California state Controller, her choices were between the guy who is endorsed by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the guy who in his candidate statement promises "I will support efforts to secure our border against terrorists, criminals, and illegal immigration. That will save billions of dollars spent on the jailing of illegal immigrants who are rapists, burlars, murderers, and other convicted criminals."
Tough choice--she's neither especially anti-immigrant nor especially concerned about protecting her financial resources from school expenditures and other social programs. And both candidates are appalling to me!
Conclusion: maybe it's time to stop trying to help her vote in elections.
I could just pretend no election is happening and leave her one more step removed from her earlier life.