Sometimes Denial is a Good Thing

My mother-in-law’s twin sister passed away peacefully last night. We knew it was coming since the massive stroke she had 5 days ago. I told myself well “she will be in a better place; she’s not suffering anymore, yada, yada. Well you know what? It’s not OK; it sucks big hairy donkey balls.

For while I had 3 mothers – a mother and twin mother-in-laws. How lucky can a person be? So I was in denial thinking it would be better when she passed, but it’s not. I guess the denial helped me deal with the waiting. You can’t hide from grief. You can tell yourself all the things you hear people about the loss of a loved one but it doesn’t help. Nothing helps. Grief is just something you have to pass through and come out the other side. Like birth or death, it’s not something you can avoid or talk your way out of it.

It kind of helps a tiny bit to think of her in funny moments. Like the times she would sit there in the kitchen with her sister in the morning, drinking coffee wearing a mu mu and a hairnet or curlers. It’s funny to think of her favorite thing to say when someone annoyed her. She would bark “why don’t you just go shit in your hat.” I don’t wear hats, but I still think that’s funny.

At our wedding I was so used to her and my mother-in-law looking exactly alike that I forgot to inform my family that she had an identical twin. My aunt came up to me and asked “why does your mother-in-law keep changing her dress?” Now that’s funny.

So we all have to walk this road and deal with our grief as best we can. It’s a process and it just takes time.

When You Can Only Endure

Sometimes I find myself stuck in a situation where the only way out is through. The only thing I can actively do is endure and live through it.

My mother-in-laws twin sister is dying. She had a massive stroke a few days ago. At the moment I’m in the agony of indecision. Aunt Betty is in a hospital 5 hours away from here. She is not alone. Her son and husband are with her. My agony is that I feel very strongly the need to go there to say good-bye to her. Her sister (my mother-in-law) does not want to go. She says she doesn’t want to remember her this way.

She also says that if Betty regains consciousness and sees her there she will know something is really wrong. Well yea! Excuse me, but she is dying and I’d be willing to be cash money that she knows it.

So I’m torn. If I insist on going and do in fact go by myself to see her am I being selfish? Am I leaving my husband here alone to deal with his mother if she does die while I am gone to visit her sister?

I don’t know what to do. I know what I want to do, what I feel I need to do. The only thing I’m doing at the moment is sitting around wanting to rip my hair out. I’m so frustrated. So for now I endure.

Ebola – Living in Dallas

Well since I do live in Dallas I feel obligated to weigh in on the subject. What is my opinion? “It’s scary as hell, I don’t like it, and I think we should be a bit panicked.”

One of the reasons I think we need to be concerned is that I had the misfortune to visit, about six months ago, the very same emergency room that the Ebola patient who died, Michael Duncan, went to and was initially turned away. My perception of that emergency room was that it was an inner city house of horrors. It was a disaster waiting to happen. And disaster has in fact happened.

What I am going to do is chronical step by step my experience there. I want to preface this by saying that I am a white female with more than adequate insurance so I cannot claim that I was discriminated against in any way. I received “standard” medical care for that hospital.

Here is what happened. I had severe abdominal pain, fever, vomiting and diarrhea. My husband took me in to the reception desk and left to park the car. I gave the nurse my ID and insurance card so she began typing away. She asked no questions about my condition. While I was waiting I became so weak that I slid to the floor. After about 5 minutes later the nurse leaned over the desk, saw me, and asked me if I needed a wheel chair. I said yes, but I did not receive one and remained on the floor.

By the time my husband returned I had been assisted into an intake cubical where I was asked my complaint, and vitals were taken. I then returned to the waiting room and remained there for about hour and half. The waiting was full of people in all states of distress, holding dish pans and buckets they obviously brought from home to vomit in. Eventually a nurse approached me with a wheel chair and a urine specimen cup. She then wheeled me into a rest room off the common waiting room and left me there.

Despite the fact that I was unable to stand on my own, I was expected to somehow pee in this cup and return to the nurse’s station. The restroom was filthy, covered with wadded up paper, urine, feces and vomit. There was no soap in the dispenser and no towels to dry my hands. Somehow I managed to collect the urine. However the wheel chair was an odd type that had no wheel grips on the side so there was no way for me to move it on my own, so now I am trapped in the bathroom from hell. I had to CALL MY HUSBAND on my phone to come find me and release me from the bathroom. He did and I returned to the waiting room and remained there for another 2 hours.

Another nurse approached me and I managed to totter over to a nurse set up at what looked like a card table in the filthy waiting room to have my blood taken. That accomplished I went back to lay down partially on a chair with my legs on the magazine table and drifted in and out of consciousness for another hour or so. Eventually I was taken back to a treatment room. They wheeled me past several completely empty bays of rooms. Whole segments of the emergency room center stood empty.

I spoke to a doctor for about 10 seconds and then received IV fluids and antibiotics. While in this I was shivering from fever and it was also cold in the room. I asked for a blanket and was told that there were no blankets available???? Couldn’t they have taken one off of the at least 25 empty beds I saw on the way to the treatment room.

After being there for about 6 hours total, I was sent home with no diagnosis and the advice to drink fluids, rest and contact my primary care physician on Monday. Monday was 2 days away.

So this is my story of the state of emergency medical care at the hospital Michael Duncan was turned away from and eventually died in. Were mistakes made? Hell yes. Are some serious enquiries and changes in procedures and care of patients needed? Again…hell yes.

Selective Dumb-Assery

Miss Scarlet, I don’t know nuthin’ bout birthin’ no babies. Housemaid from Gone With the Wind

Why do otherwise normal, intelligent, rational people throw their hands up in the air and claim they don’t know anything about their health or the lack thereof, and what medications they are taking? (Myself included)

Miss mother-in-law, husband and I have been on a nightmare merry go round of health issues this entire year. Frankly, I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. I used to take ownership of my health, but somewhere along the way I let that fall by the wayside and now I’m paying a huge price for this lapse of responsibility.

If you go to the doctor they are going to give you a pill or lots of pills. That is just the way of their people. Maybe I should use reverse psychology and go to my doctor and state that I am absolutely and unequivocally NOT going to take meds for thyroid, come hell or high water. Then she would right me a script for thyroid meds so fast the paper would catch on fire. On that note I should also ask her to triple my cholesterol meds so she will tell me to stop taking them altogether.

Mother-in-law has become obsessed with her blood sugar and tests her herself 87 times a day. This is counterproductive because people’s blood sugar varies throughout the day. This is normal. I think she’s probably suffering from blood loss from all the fingers pricks.  Because of her complaining her doc doubled her diabetes meds and now she’s going around swooning from low blood sugar and getting sick from all the meds. Duh! It got so bad that Mr. Husband took her back to the doctor and he cut back on her meds. She’s feeling a bit better now. Imagine that.

I asked her one day what medications she’s taking and she said “Oh, I don’t know, I take so many of them” and then changed the subject. How’s that for passing the buck? Mr. Husband always seems to get sick when his mother gets sick. My theory is that it is stress related. When she’s freaking out about her health she gets hysterical, needy and bossy. That’s enough to make me want to run down the street screaming and ripping my hair out.

I’m going to figure my own health issues out if it’s the last thing I do!

The More I Go to Doctors the Worse I Feel!

If had known I was going to live this long…I would have taken better care of myself. Author Unknown

Going to the doctor is a lesson in frustration at best these days. And you can’t even go to one doctor anymore. You have to pick yourself apart like Frankenstein’s assistant and go to 87 different doctors. My current list is: eyes, stomach, endocrine system (diabetes), neck, foot, allergist, skin, boobs, and ears. It’s positively gruesome! Going to the doctor is a full time job. How do people who are not retired fit this all into their schedule?

Did I retire just so I have the time to take care of my body parts? Sometimes I wonder…This is just downright ridiculous. Another thing that really REALLY chaps my grits is that when I do drag myself to one of to these doctors, they don’t even freaking listen to me.

Recently I went to the doctor because I suspect that I have post-menopausal sluggish thyroid, a common problem with women my age. My symptoms point to this pretty clearly. Tired all the damned time, extremely dry skin (I could slather myself with lard and it wouldn’t help), very low “normal” body temperature (97 on a good day,) feeling cold even on a day when it’s 100 degrees, and extremely high cholesterol. I have to run a fever to get up to a normal body temp.

I explained to the doctor that cholesterol meds make me feel like I’ve been dragged behind a truck after being run over by said truck several times. And I listed the above symptoms. He hummed and hawed, said “I see” and wrote me a prescription. I foolishly assumed that it would be something to help the thyroid situation. But NOOoOOoo.

I got to the car before looking at the paper work. Not only did he not give me anything for the thyroid symptoms, he wrote me a prescription for DOUBLE the amount the cholesterol meds that I had just explained was reducing my quality of life to that of a garden slug on a bad day. I was so outraged that I wanted to storm back in the office and declare that he was so stupid that he couldn’t poor water out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel of the boot. Instead I decided to fire him. He doesn’t know this and I don’t care.

So back to square one. I’m going to go back to how I used to take care of myself. Attempt to figure out attempt to treat myself and find a doctor or some sort of alternative health practitioner that listens to the patient, and not the numbers on a test recommended by drug companies.

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