Chaos Attraction

Failure To Communicate

2005-08-22, 4:44 p.m.

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Sunday was a long day. I was in five different towns, two trains, and seven buildings during the course of the day.

So, naturally, I lost my cell phone on this day, on a day where I couldn't possibly be able to run back to five cities and call all of those places. I think it fell out of my purse on the train, the one place where I would not have obviously seen it fall out. And as I learned a year or two or three ago when I lost my laptop charger on Amtrak, there's no way in hell you can get something lost on a moving public vehicle back. You can't even call a station to check.

(The ironic thing that day is that I also lost a necklace I was wearing, but it fell down into my boobs again. When I told Mom this, she said... oh hell, you know what she said! And no, it didn't turn up there.)

Also naturally, by the time I figured this out (i.e. when I got home), it was too late to call Sprint to turn off the phone. By the time I could this morning, someone's made a few calls. Luckily, it was only about 39 cents' worth of calls, and one of them was oddly enough, to Mom's house. But luckily, I am still somehow a member of the Equipment Replacement Program, so I can get the phone replaced for free.

Sure, it's freaking inconvenient given the Dad situation, but if I HAD to lose an electronic gadget, I'd rather it be the phone than any of the other ones I travel around with 24-7. Besides, my phone, while cute, is like 4 years old or so.

Anyway... the reason why I was in so many towns was because Mom wanted me to go with her to the place they're sticking Dad in next before going to the hospital, which meant that I had to arrive at a different station and then leave to go back home at another. (Something Amtrak canNOT deal with, even if you buy separate tickets and reservations, apparently. The machine kept insisting I was going to and leaving from Martinez no matter what I did. Grr.)

The new place ("nursing home") is another hospital, but a long-term stay hospital that holds around 60ish people or so. It's supposed to be more of a "rehab" hospital (best in California) for people with severe problems and is supposed to be best at getting people off of needing a trach and ventilator, if it can be done at all in your condition. Kind of a cross between a nursing home and a hospital- "one step below the ICU," even though they have an ICU in there. Though this is a place where you MUST WEAR A NAME TAG AT ALL TIMES, and I hate that kind of shit. (I can't help but wonder, why the security worries? I don't think it's exactly a great terrorist target or anything. Hell, they don't even make me identify myself at the official hospital ICU.)

Luckily for us, the director of nursing was there on a Sunday, and she came down to talk to Mom and give us a brief tour of the joint. She was a nice person- a bit perkier than I was expecting given what Dad's situation is like. But she said several things that outright shocked us, like saying that we shouldn't expect him to show improvement for at least 3-5 days after he's transferred.

Mom and I were all like, "IMPROVEMENT? Are you kidding? He hasn't improved in any way, shape, or form for years, and he hasn't gotten any better in the last month at the hospital either." You'll note that he's STILL got the pneumonia. (Mom insisted on showing me pictures from Pam's visit, and it hurt to see how "well" Dad looked then compared to how he does now. Or at least, he could still wear clothes and breathe and go to a restaurant. Only a few months ago.) With what he's got, the LAST thing we expected anyone to mention EVER was improvement.

And yet, while she couldn't guarantee that he'd ever get off the ventilator/get rid of the trach, they bring in a whole team of people to evaluate him and see what they can do to get him into a state where he can be brought home again. Mom wants that, though the idea of him being even worse off and just having Mom and a HHCW to take care of him alone scares the crap out of me.

The lady was very nice about the whole thing, said Mom wasn't FORCED to send him here if she didn't want to and could get any nurses she didn't want taking care of Dad assigned elsewhere, and in short, this seems to be the best possible place for him given the situation. So that was pretty reassuring to Mom. It also helped that the director lady is a hugger, and she's a sucker for that.

I find it funny today that yesterday, EVERYONE (the nursing director at hospital #2, the nurse at hospital #1) told us that (a) it was highly unlikely they'd move Dad out on a Monday, (b) they couldn't do it without asking Mom's permission first, and (c) they'd give her 24 hours notice.

So today, guess what's happening?

Anyhoo, Mom's in a big ol' panic and I can't really get anything out of her other than panicky noises over e-mail. Which is annoying because I can't order a new phone (which should be done ASAP given the family medical emergencies) until I get it confirmed from her that whoever called her house didn't leave a message saying, "Hey, I found your kid's phone!" I HIGHLY doubt this has happened because I think she would have called me up at around midnight if she had, but given the hassle that would occur if I ordered a phone and THEN the old one turned up, it's better to wait and get it 100% confirmed.

Back to discussing yesterday, the requisite hospital visit was kind of sucky. I couldn't think of a thing to say to Dad, and got all freaked out/grossed out when Mom wanted me to touch him. I've managed to suck it up the last few visits, but today somehow I couldn't manage it. So she well...not quite yelled at me about it, but something like that, about how I have to get over it because it makes Dad feel better when I can pretend he's normal and hug and kiss him. And as usual, I said I can't pretend that he's normal any more and touching him makes me completely unable to pretend, and she was all, "Well, what if you were in his shoes?" and of course I felt even shittier about myself than usual. And then she griped at me not to feel shitty about myself. And then I said, "How am I not supposed to think I'm an asshole when clearly, I am acting like an asshole because I can't suck it up and pretend?"

Yeah, she didn't really have an answer to that one beyond, "Well, just shape up and HUG HIM! Then you won't feel so bad!"

Right. And I'm so good at doing stuff I absolutely don't want to do these days.

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