Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Problems with the space/time continuum

Marty and I have a running joke about Gilbert's ability to find the crease in the space/time continuum, which is the only way we can explain his ability to suddenly materialize after we have searched the entire apartment. Now other things seem to be disappearing into this black hole as well.

When we got home on Sunday evening, I unpacked the small bag I had used instead of carrying my big purse, in which I had been carrying essentials like my medicines, the scooter key, sunglasses, and similar items. I had decided, instead of taking my big wallet, to put some paper money, my driver's license, and my credit card in a change purse, and that went into the small bag. I distinctly remember unpacking it, and I think I remember putting it into the small basket that sits on my bedside table, which holds all my daily essentials. The bottles of morphine and ativan were there the next morning, but the change purse wasn't, and Monday turned into a rather frantic day of looking for it. Laurel was here, and she and Marty did a lot of searching. Complicating matters was that my house cleaners were here, and they sometimes put things in weird places (I didn't realize it was missing until after they were gone), but I know them well enough to know that when they find something they think is important they will bring it to me.

My reaction was out of proportion, as I became really distraught and just couldn't calm down. Laurel had stripped the bed and put everything into the washing machine, and she even checked through the sheets and stuff just in case it had gotten bundled up and put through the wash, but it wasn't there. By the time we went to sleep last night I had accepted the fact that it was lost, but I was still really upset. I am the kind of person who very rarely loses things, so when I do it becomes a really big deal.

I had a lot of strange, dark, apocalyptic dreams, of which I remember only fragments, but which somehow seemed to be a way of working through my emotions, because when I woke up I was calm. I remember that when my daughter's house burned down about ten years ago, and she had a really hard time for awhile dealing with losing most of her possessions, after awhile she realized "it's just stuff." No one was hurt, the children (who were four and two at the time) never saw the fire (which she was sure would have been emotionally devastating for them), and, amazingly, a few things survived the fire that truly were irreplaceable (including videos of the kids and their hand-knitted by Grandma baby sweaters). So this morning I was able to say, "It's just stuff," and, of course in this case just a few small things. I've already cancelled my credit card (which, several people have assured me, means that it will now miraculously reappear), and I've been told that I can get a replacement driver's license on line (which is much better than having to deal with a trip to the Registry).

Then, a couple of hours ago, I couldn't find my Palm Pilot, and all the frantic feelings came flooding back. In this case, we knew we had seen it since we got back, and after a short period of searching it turned up in a pile of newspapers, and I was able to calm down right away, but it really does feel like there is an opening in the space/time continuum that things are falling into (a complicating factor in this case is that my computer, on which I back up all my Palm Pilot data, is in the shop, so I couldn't access the information that way). While it was missing I called Laurel (who was here briefly this morning), who hadn't seen it, and who was quite relieved when I called her back to report that it had turned up.

Lauren arrived for her usual Monday morning visit at nine, finding me gasping for breath after a short trip to the bathroom, and when she took my blood pressure and oxygen readings they were definitely not normal--my usually low blood pressure was way up, and my oxygen level, which is usually 97 or higher, was about 90, scarily low. After a few minutes, I asked Lauren to trace the oxygen hose back to the tank, and she discovered that the nasal cannula wasn't attached to anything! I'd come awake at about six, taken off the bi-pap mask, put on the cannula, but I guess fell back to sleep before hooking it up to the oxygen supply, which of course explained why I was so extremely short of breath and getting these weird readings. After a short while back on my oxygen things got back to my baseline readings, which was reassuring.

We also talked about incontinence and my decision to start using Depends, and she explained that when my body was really struggling to breathe it prioritized things, and that breathing was definitely first, so there wasn't enough energy for other things, like holding my bladder sphincter closed. I'm trying to feel psychologically comfortable with this, but since peeing all over myself is definitely humiliating, and since no one can see that I'm wearing a diaper, it definitely is the lesser evil.

I'm also getting myself organized to start sending out the invitations to the event. Caren, my volunteer, did some work last week on getting me set up on e-vite.com, and this morning Julie, who has used it a lot, gave me a brief tutorial and answered some questions I had. Marty is working on getting the invitation into a format that will be easy to transfer into e-vite, and I have a pretty good idea of at least the first round of invitees. I'm going to ask people who receive the invitation to spread it to others in their immediate networks, and I'm including a sentence on how important it is for people to RSVP so I can get an idea of the numbers to give to the caterer. Whether you receive an individual invitation or not, all my readers are invited (either in person or to send in something by e-mail or video); I'll post a copy of the invitation here as soon as it is finalized.

I called the caterer this afternoon, and they don't need a precise headcount until seventy-two hours beforehand, which is reassuring, and they are sending me a sample menu so I can get some idea of costs (at this point I have no idea). It's an afternoon event, so people I hope won't be expecting a meal, but I want enough food so that it won't look skimpy. I've been to a number of Boston University events, and their food is wonderful.

Also this morning, Marty took Gilbert to the vet, as she thought it wise to check him out as well as Oliver, to see if there was anything she could find that was contributing to the hostilities between them (which seem to have calmed down considerably). She thought that the general commotion in the house (in which we used to have so few people coming in and out, and now have so many) could be a factor, and she also found some potentially serious health problems, including a heart murmur (she is doing some blood work to see if she can find a cause), and some dental problems. Like Oliver, he was really easy to examine and she found him very lovable.

Katrina, the hospice social worker, was here this afternoon, and she suggested I try the Boys and Girls Club right here in Arlington as a place to swim. They keep their pool at 83 degrees, and said that I could use a lane during the adult lap swim hours, which are every afternoon, so I think it's something we'll be checking out soon.

After three days of beautiful weather, we're back to dreariness and thunderstorms. Marty and I want to do as many enjoyable outdoor summer things as we can, so we need the weather to cooperate!

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