Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Two Things I'll Never Understand

First up, pot fillers.  To begin with, they aren't cheap.  From my (really) quick research, the price of the faucet itself can range from a couple hundred dollars for a stationary fixture up to a thousand bucks for the fancy, flexible ones.  Add the plumber's costs and well, my family could have eaten out quite a few times for the same price.  But forget the financial aspect.  What exactly is the benefit?  Sure, I can drag my empty pasta pot over to the stove and fill 'er up right there at ground zero.  Seems like a good idea.  Until the pasta's done and I'm left with a big ol' heavy container full of boiling-hot water.  Where's the receptacle in which to dump this?  Oh yeah, it's across the room.  Underneath my other faucet.

But on a more serious note, I just don't understand why seemingly sane people tell their business to total strangers on the world-wide-web.  Sure, we all get involved in these online-communities and think we're talking only to friends. Really close friends.  But we tell these "friends" things we wouldn't tell many of the real people in our real lives.  Somehow we have this sense of security and privacy in our cyber-neighborhoods, as if these thousands of strangers will keep our secrets.  We want to believe these people really care about us, and at the same time we have a sense of distance and anonymity that makes it easy to spill our deepest thoughts, fears, and family dysfunctions.  From what I've read, true friendships do sometimes develop through these internet connections.  But posting an intimate story to friends on a messageboard is the equivalent of writing a personal email to someone, then hitting the "send to all" button.

I've learned from experience that the things we divulge in our own little internet communities (the ones we think our families and friends will never see) might be seen by our loved ones when we least expect it.  For example, I belong to a crafting messageboard that I visit for inspiration and camaraderie.  Yes, I have an avatar photo of myself, but due to its size and other factors, I doubt it could be used as an identifying tool in a police investigation.  And I have no real personal information listed in my profile.  But somehow my sister found me on that site and sent me a "gotcha" message.  I have no reason to fear her reading anything I might have posted, but I dare say there are others who would have a lot of 'splainin' to do if they were "found" by family and friends.

What I do understand is our need to be noticed and appreciated, and sometimes even to feel a "virtual" hug.  This world in which we live can be big and cold. And lonely. So yes, I have posted about happy things I wanted to share with someone. I've posted about misfortunes and disappointments when I needed some kind, supportive words.  And I occasionally post a project I've completed (this one is rare because I rarely complete a project) in hopes of receiving a little validation for a job well-done.  But before I type the first word, I try to ask myself how I would feel if my husband/child/sister/friend/pastor were to read my post.  Sure, sometimes I post something that wouldn't pass muster with someone, but my primary concern is that no one in my life would ever be hurt by reading something I've written.  Or embarrassed.  No matter how angry I might be at that person.  Because the reality is that as easy as it is to type our thoughts and hit "submit", those comments are probably just a few clicks away from discovery by someone we know.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

This message will self-destruct

I need to get this out before the next hormonal fluctuation.

I received flowers from my son-in-law today.  He had heard about my broken leg and subsequent surgery. He's currently serving in Iraq, so I am especially touched that he would take the time to make an old lady smile.  And smile I did.

His wife, my youngest daughter, would make the 450-mile drive here to take care of me while I recover if I asked her. She's a sweetheart, too.  They belong together.

My oldest daughter has offered to come clean my house (which is no small feat considering the neglect it has received at my hand).  And because she doesn't have a car, it would require her to take several buses from over thirty miles away to get here.  She's thoughtful like that.

Yes, I have great kids.  Not because I was a great mother.  They just grew that way.  In spite of me.

Finally (and this is the most difficult to admit), I must comment on my wonderful husband.  He not only has to take on all my daily tasks, but he has to get me everything that I need throughout the day and night, drive me to my appointments, and pick up any medication I need.  He never complains.  And because I can't climb the stairs to sleep in our bedroom, he stays on the family room sofa with me at night just in case I need anything.

Just a couple of days ago, when this whole ordeal started to make me crazy, I found myself taking it out on him.  (Well, he had done his usual "man stuff" that would make any woman homicidal, but he's also been very good to me lately.)  I ranted and raved and managed to throw quite a few things from my perch here on my sofa/throne.  (Remember, I am menopausal. Some of this was inevitable, injured or not.)  Yet he still took good care of me all day and night.  And never complained.

I've said it before, but it needs repeating.  God sent this man to me.  I'll never understand why.  I certainly didn't deserve him (just as I didn't earn the great children I have.)  But I'm thankful for him every day.  Or at least until the next time he pisses me off.

Which is why this message will self-destruct in






Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Elective (?) Surgery

Looks like I'll be getting some ankle hardware.  (No, not an ankle monitor.  Hardware to stabilize my broken ankle.  But if my moods don't stabilize soon, the monitor could be next.)

I'm not looking forward to this.  I'm terrified of surgery.  And if I'm going to be rendered unconscious, let it be at my own hand, not an anesthesiologist's.  The very idea of having my leg ripped open and metal screwed into my bones isn't my idea of starting the summer off right.  My plan was to play a weekly game of tennis and soak up some sun on a pool float.  For some reason, the orthopedic surgeon thinks he has a better idea.

After the doctor explained why he wanted to impede my future passage through airport security, my husband asked if the metal plate he was planning to attach to my ankle would be permanent.  I thought the answer was obvious. I mean, they're screwing metal into my bone!  But much to my shock and horror, the doctor said that it all comes down to personal preference.  After at least six months, if it begins to bother the patient, there is the potential to remove the metal plate.  Are you kidding me???  I'm going to spend six to eight weeks recovering, get back to my routine, then wake up one day and say to myself, Hmmm, I'm all healed up and walking again. Now what?  I know!  I think I'll have my leg split open, screws stripped from my bones,  and start this recovery process all over again! 

If I find myself with an overwhelming urge to be anesthetized and have my soft tissue opened up, I think next time I'll just opt for a facelift.

Friday, April 9, 2010

My Family Loves Me (or so they say)

My family says they love me.  (Well, except the eleven year old girl.  Oil and water.)

After breaking my leg Monday night, it was nice to sit back and let someone take care of me for a change.  Heck, it was just nice to have some attention other than, "Hey, when are you doing laundry/going to the store/cooking dinner/fixing my Ipod?"  Sure, it doesn't feel natural to sit on my ever-expanding backside and ask someone to bring me my food and drink, but I could get used to it.

But being unable to move from the sofa has left me too much time spare time to think about what actually transpired on the night I fell down the stairs.  And just when I was starting to feel loved.

I honestly don't remember "the fall" or even the moments right before.  My  memory starts here:

I'm lying face-down on the ground in too much pain to move, calling out to my seven-year-old granddaughter (the only other person in the house) to bring me the phone.  She asks if I'm okay.  (Any mother will tell you that you can't admit to your children that you aren't okay.)  "Yes", I say, "I'm okay.  Now dial 9-1-1."

I hear the coyotes howling in the background.  Wait, that's me.  Scary.  So I howl some more.  Then I think about the fact the my husband isn't home with me.  This seems to happen during many of the difficult times in my life.  That brings on an earth-shaking sobbing session.  Pity parties are my specialty.

The seven-year-old seems to be coming in and out of the room quite regularly to check on me.  "Are you sure you're okay, Nana?"  "Yes, honey, I'm fine.  Just waiting on the paramedics."  In hindsight, I realize she was running back and forth between me and her computer game.

When the paramedics arrive, they promptly ask if they can call anyone for me.  I give them my husband's cell number.  No answer.  They leave him a message.  Secretly I'm thinking, "Finally, when he gets this message he'll understand why I'm always on his case to take his cell phone with him!"  He claims he never got the message.  The fact that he didn't actually answer the call when it came in brings up a whole hornets' nest of questions, but we'll save that for another rant. Oh, the stories I could tell.

I carry my cell phone with me everywhere.  Even to church.  I put it in silent mode just in case.  I don't understand anyone with kids (or even a spouse they claim to love) who doesn't keep their phone with them and turned on any time they're away from said kids/spouse.  But that's just how I roll.

I'm not sure how long I was in the ER before my husband showed up.  But later, when I was talking to the kids about what had happened after I was taken away in the ambulance, they both recounted the story exactly the same:  They waited here with my neighbor until my husband returned, probably an hour after the drama started.  I'm not sure if he even asked where I was, or if they just volunteered that an ambulance had taken me to the hospital (no, this isn't a common occurrence--it was actually my first ambulance ride), but according to both of them in their own, separate accountings, he sighed and asked (without sounding terribly concerned or upset), "So what happened?" 

If it had been reversed, I would have been in a total panic.  But again, that's just how I roll.

Sometime on Tuesday, I asked my husband if he was given any discharge information.  I had a vague recollection of what had been said by the medical professionals before I left, and I knew they had handed him some papers.  He responded that no, they really hadn't given him anything.  Okay, let's try this another way.  I asked if he would get me the information from the pharmacy on the possible side-effects of my pain meds (reminding him that this information is always provided.) Well okay, he said, at which point he started perusing the pamphlet himself.  No, nothing really, he said, as he mumbled a few unrecognizable symptoms (only unrecognizable because they were mispronounced.)  "Thank you!", I said, none too nicely, "If you don't mind, I'll read that myself."  And sure enough, there were all the symptoms I'd been experiencing, along with some (probably important) detailed instructions for how and when to take my prescribed medications.

Again on Wednesday, wanting to know what was considered "normal" for someone in my condition (and feeling as if the pressure inside my leg was about to propel my cast across the room in small pieces), I asked my husband if he had been given any discharge instructions from the hospital. "Not really," he again said.  It wasn't until after I talked to my daughter (the nurse) later in the evening, and fearful that my leg really might explode, that I once again asked about discharge instructions.  I went into a whole spiel about how they never release you without some sort of information, no matter how insignificant (you know, lawsuits and all).  And finally, with enough prodding I get him to locate the care instructions that would have informed me that the increasing pressure and tightness I was feeling underneath my cast was reason enough get prompt medical attention (in addition to a few other tidbits that would have been nice to know).  Yes, this is how my husband rolls.

I like to believe that each person in my family loves me, even if it is sometimes a little "unique".  For the past several months, my previously sweet, loving eleven-year-old granddaughter has refused to even say goodbye to me as she leaves for school.  But since Monday, she has told me several times a day that she loves me, to which I respond, "I love you, too", and she replies, "I love you more!"  (Aaaah, sweet memories of simpler times.)  She even tells me she hopes my leg gets better (and sounds sincere).  And when she called from a friend's house last night to say when she would be home, she asked my husband to tell me that she loves me and hopes my leg is feeling better.

For that, I'd go through it all over again.

My view for a while

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Well, I've Done it Now!

I'm writing this in a desperate attempt to avoid another panic attack by keeping my mind occupied. 

I won't go into the sad details of yesterday that led up to this, but it all culminated in me falling down the stairs and breaking my leg in three places.  I remember being unable to stand (yes, I'm now the old lady who's fallen and can't get up).  My seven-year-old granddaughter was the only one home with me at the time, and she's almost as fearful of everything as I am.  I'm sure she is now scarred for life.  She dialed 9-1-1 for me, then checked on me several times as I lay howling on the floor.  I'm not sure if I was in that much physical pain, but the self-pity alone was enough to keep me crying until the paramedics arrived. 

My older granddaughter was with her friends outside when the ambulance pulled into the driveway, so they all came to see what had happened.  Luckily, her friend's mother was able to stay with the girls until my husband got home, then kindly offered to watch them so my husband could meet me at the hospital.  Unfortunately, she now knows how dirty my house is, and that I had a meltdown before I fell.

I was on pain medication all day, but it's making me loopy. (Well, loopier than normal I suppose.)  I'm prone to panic attacks these days, so I decided I don't need to exacerbate the problem with pills.  So for now, I'll tolerate the pain as best I can, and pray God will get me through the night.  Tomorrow I'll see the orthopaedist.  Maybe he'll fix me all up.  Or at least prescribe something that won't mess with my mind.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Remarkably Unmemorable

I've long been accused of having multiple personalities, but there's evidence that they each bring a unique face with them.  Sometimes I feel invisible, other times I think I'm just non-descript.

I've lived on this small street for almost 20 years.  My neighbor was already here.  Shortly after my family moved in I met him at a neighborhood block party, and we have seen each other off and on since then.  He only knows who I am because he remembers my husband.  If we (as a couple) see this neighbor, he always addresses my husband by name, then turns to me and says, "I don't think we've met", or "Nice to meet you".  What???

I've "met" one of my husband's business associates several times now (you know, as in "Nice to meet you.")  At least twice, it was in my own home.  Huh?

These men must think my husband likes to remarry often.  I thought that as men get older, and presumably more successful, the tendency is to marry younger, more attractive women.  I guess they all assume that my husband is in dire financial straits because he keeps marrying down.

At the rehearsal dinner for my daughter's wedding, I met the groom's grandfather.  We sat at the same table and had a very nice, lengthy conversation.  It was an outdoor event and it started during daylight.  The next day at the (daytime, outdoor) wedding, as I was being escorted down the aisle, this man asks, "Who is that woman?"  (Same lighting, same conditions--different me?)

For several weeks after the wedding, I wondered what it was that made me so forgettable.  Then my daughter sent me a digital copy of all the wedding photos.  As I looked through them all (admittedly excited to see how I looked, since I don't get all dolled-up very often), I realized there was no picture of me being escorted to my seat.  Did the photographer not recognize me, not realize who I was?  We had spent several hours before the actual ceremony taking all the formal photos, and then there were those "candid" shots that were taken with my daughter as she was getting dressed.  Between then and the ceremony, just where the hell did I go???

Maybe the photographer did snap my picture as I walked down the aisle.  Perhaps what I feared the most has finally happened:  I've disappeared completely.

Fading Fast