Friday, April 30, 2010

"I'm still here," she whispered wearily

Bottom line: L-O-N-G week.

Senior Fitness Games for 3 days. Think Olympics for the Retired....but not athletics of Olympic caliber. Mostly it's fun. Well, unless you were in charge of Shuffleboard and spent half your morning explaining how to "push" the puck with the stick, not smack the living crap out of it. They only broke 2 sticks this year.

Extra work from Sr. Fitness Games. Because the Boss likes what I do with Photo Story, she decided WE would make a presentation for the Awards Banquet. That's Monday night. She brought me "most" of the photos today. She'll be surprised when I "show" her what "we" did....without her help. Why? Because it's just easier and my nerves are stretched a little thin right now.

Why? The Auntie is at it again. But thanks for asking. In the middle of the "Games", I was called to her doctor's appointment. The one I knew about, but was avoiding like the plague so I wouldn't be seen as "interfering". That would be the one her regular doctor set up with a Shrink [Or Psychiatrist for those of you who love medical terms]. I paid, in advance [new policy] for the wheelchair van to take her there. I specifically stayed away, hoping she'd unload on a stranger. No such luck.

After Auntie had been there an HOUR, I was called by the Nursing Home, who apologized profusely for not telling me it was MANDATORY for me to attend. The Receptionist was a kind soul....or perhaps she's just use to dealing with people slightly off their rocker, making me appear almost normal. This was kind of her, considering I looked a little like Gene Wilder given that I'd been outside timing Seniors walking around a track while the wind blew. Turns out the irate woman, built like a toothpick, who crabbed at me about "non-ambulatory patients" needing a support person, wasn't even the doctor. This wasn't a doctor's visit: it was an information intake. The fun part was that SHE wanted me to push Auntie & her wheelchair down the hall and into her office, which was the size of a small closet. Picture, if you will, five foot tall me pushing an extra wide wheelchair, the occupant of which weighs over 250 pounds [113 kilos roughly] and I can't see over her head to know where we're going. And Intake Dictator keeps harping on me to hurry poor Auntie has been sitting in the chair for too long.


Cutting to the chase: Auntie puts on yet another Academy Award winning performance, claiming to no longer be depressed and back to eating. I try to remain invisible, sitting there behind Auntie, but the woman keeps pulling me into the conversation. I don't mind telling the truth but I think there are better ways to increase one's mental health without a relative walking on egg shells while trying to find the PC words for, "She's tired and she just wants to die."

So we go out, set up an appointment with the REAL doctor and I'm once again lectured about the necessity of my presence. "And he probably would like your take on this as well," she says cheerfully as I shudder internally. The receptionist calls for the Wheelchair van and we wait.

And wait.

Not 10 minutes later, Auntie begins her chant of "Help me. Help me God. Why can't I just die?" under her breath. There are 4 men in the room who glance at her, then go back to staring at different points on the wall. Then the oldest one jumps up, runs to a corner of the room and begins an animated conversation with an Invisible Person. The other 3 flee to sit outside, where they can watch from the safety of the floor to ceiling glass front of the building. When the man sits, they return. This happens several times, with the um...animated man giggling louder and louder and the others running out the door faster and faster. I find myself wondering who has the bigger problem: the guy happily giggling with no one or the guys running from him?

The "we'll be there in 5 minutes" van driver adds another 55 minutes to that time. I want his job. They actually charged $52 to transport the end of the damn street! Not even a mile. Then, in the middle of Auntie's pleas for God to come get her, Animated Man goes into high gear and gets so loud and giggly she actually stops for a moment, turns to glare at him and huffs, "What the hell is wrong with that guy? Someone needs to get him some help." Then she returns to her mantra while I try not to burst out laughing for fear I will be the one they come for.

The Receptionist, who has ignored the three ring circus of the Troupe of 4, glances at me and mutters, "Oh no he didn't!" as she reaches to call the van driver. Slamming down the phone she inquires of me the time she originally called; thankfully my reply was the one she wanted, confirming it has been an hour.

Insert Upbeat Ending Here: My article was printed. They only used one photo but didn't cut nearly as much as I imagined. I was thanked. Then encouraged to "be inspired and take more photos too!".

Ah, I put the "free" in "freelance", didn't I?

So, that's been the week so far. Hope yours was more fun. My goal for now is to NOT join Animated Man in the corner when Auntie returns in 2 weeks. Although, to tell you the truth, he had the most joyful laugh I've heard all week.


savannah said...

hot damn, sugar! *giggling with you!* sometimes, i wonder how the hell we can get up in the morning! xoxoxoxo

(hang in there, honey. we'll all make it. i know.)

(ok, god willin' and the crick don't rise!)

steven said...

hope - we have a similarly challenged person in our life - it's astonishing how disconnected the powers that be are from the simple realities of people who want to fly away. then there's the beauty of being able to laugh insanely about it all. good call not to laugh too loudly in the wrong place - they're always looking for business and you don't want to be shunted off to your own little room now do you?!!! hang in there. steven

Brighid said...

Hang tough Bucko and have a beautiful weekend.

Enchanted Oak said...

Oh, Lord. I'm rooting for you in this scenario. My mother used to say, Oh, Lord, take me home! all the time. Now she has forgotten that, along with everything else. Take care of yourself. You need it.

Charlie said...

I may be missing the point of this post, but your job seems perfectly normal to me.

That's a joke **har** Juggling all those seniors is surely hard work, but I have no idea how you suppress your laugh sphincter.

hope said...

savannah, do you suppose it's that Southern Girl gene that keeps us moving? Or the underlying guilt which comes with it and goes hand in hand with "Don't hurt their feelings now"? Thanks for the've got mine too!

steven, I got so tickled at one point, I was ready to look for the hidden camera to see what reality t.v. show I might be on. :) Yeah, if my sense of humor ever deserts me...padded room, here I come. Thanks for the kinds words!

Brighid, just knowing I can vent and y'all will still speak to me...and encourage me enough to keep me going. Thanks!

Enchanted Oak...oh those of you who have trod this path before/still have my sympathy too! Yep, tis better to laugh than cry.

Charlie, most of the time the seniors are a joy...but get a big group of opinionated women together and hang on! One gentleman had an "unusual" name and got put on the "Girl" list. Every time he was about to explain that to a score keeper, I'd walk by and announce, "Mr. O. is a manly man"...he'd crack up and grin from ear to ear.

Jingle said...

Happy May!
Things will go your way,
it takes time, it costs maybe...
keep hoping!
You Deserve The Best!

Jingle said...

some May awards,
Happy Sunday!

Susan at Stony River said...

OMG, Hope, what an adventure -- and sounds like a great memoir chapter if you ask me. We all need a laugh when we're pushing the mega-relatives in our lives.

Good luck at the next appointment!

Titus said...

Oh hope, sympathy and strength to you! And hold on to the humour, it'll get you through.
Although I'd try a bit of maniacal laughter. It might get people to do what you ask quicker!