Sunday, August 31, 2008


Yesterday I started preparing for our trip to Monterey. I had a couple of loads of laundry to do, so I figured I'd get those out of the way first. Lately I've really had to keep up with the laundry since a bunch of our clothes have been missing. I started thinking about packing and went out to the garage to find an empty bin to pack nonperishable food in. Those plastic bins that say they hold 73 quarts are a great size for packing in.

So I'm going through all the bins in the garage, looking for the one that'll be easiest to empty, when I come across a bin of clothes. Not neatly folded, let's store these until we need them, clothes. No, I'm talking about haphazardly, gotta get these out of here, tossed in clothes. So I take the bin in and add the clothes to my laundry. Now I haver the bin I need, but I'm curious. So I go out and look around some more. After the third bin that I found like that I decided to quit looking. I did laundry all day long, and still had 2 loads left to deal with today. And when I say that I did laundry all day, I mean that as soon as the machines were done I was rotating laundry. Thank God we have large capacity machines, otherwise I'd never get done.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A trip to remember

One week from today my mom is having gastric bypass surgery. I'm so excited for her. She's been trying for a long time to get this surgery, and it's finally happening. The only thing is, it's happening in Monterey. And it's happening on Donny's birthday. In an effort to get him to look at the bright side I pointed out that this way he gets his birthday in Monterey.

The whole family is going down on the first. That night we're having a picnic on the beach to celebrate. (Of course, mom can only have clear liquids that day, so no picnic food for her.) I'm taking sandwich fixings and pasta salad, and maybe some fruit. A friend of ours who's going to be in the area that week is joining us for the picnic. It should be a nice little party.

The next day we have to be up bright and early since mom's scheduled to go into surgery at 7:30 a.m. We haven't been told what time to arrive, but I would guess somewhere between 5:30 and 6:30. (This is why we're not waiting to that day to drive over.) After mom comes out of surgery and we know that all went well I'm leaving the hospital to take Donny to celebrate his birthday. My dad will stay there until sometime in the evening, and then he's coming home.

Donny and I are staying in Monterey until my mom is discharged from the hospital. I told my mom that there was no way that I was going to have her laying in the hospital without any family near by to help her. I can't handle that.

The biggest problem in all of this is paying for a trip to Monterey. Even with finding a p;lace to stay that only $50 a night we're still looking at about $200 for a room. Which is why I'll be packing an ice chest with food. We simply can't afford to eat out, so we're doing this the redneck way. Not only am I bringing food, but there's dishes to consider. And Donny's bringing the toaster oven so that we can cook. Which means we need to take dishes for cooking. And don't forget the potholders. And dishsoap, a week without it is an awful thought.

And all of this is why packing feels like we're moving. I may feel like a redneck, but there's absolutely no way that my mom is getting left in a hospital with no family there for her. Not on my watch.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


It's starting to settle down now, but things have been crazy here this last week. To tell the story properly I'm going to have to go a little further back, but please allow me to share the drama with you.

Early in July a some friends of ours were finalizing the purchase of their home. It was supposed to be finalized mid-May, but one problem after another held things up. They were due to sign final papers on a Monday, so the Friday before they were given the keys so that they could start painting. Technically they shouldn't have been in the house, but it had taken so long that everyone decided to look the other way and let them get going.

A friend of my mom, who happened to have nothing to do, volunteered to help with the painting. He didn't know the friends who were moving, but he wanted something to do. On Sunday morning he was on top of a ladder doing a very high wall when it went out from under him. This of course translated to a nice long ride to the ER in an ambulance. My mom went with him since she was the one who knew him.

That Sunday afternoon I talked to my mom and it was decided that I would go sit at the hospital witth her. Mostly I was worried that my mom wasn't taking care of herself, so I went to make sure that she was okay. Because the fall had happened fairly earlky in the morning it ended up being that neither mom nor Bob had eaten anything all day. I arrived around dinner time and brought them tuna sandwiches. I stayed until Bob was settled in a room and my mom was ready to leave.

When all was said and done, Bob ended up having surgery on his knee, and will need a follow up surgery in a couple of months. Because of Bob's living situation he wasn't able to go home from the hospital. (Upstairs apartment, a tall bed that requires a running leap for an average height adult to get into, nobody there to care for him, knee immobilizer, etc.) Because Bob is from England there was no family for him to go to. This is why Bob ended up staying with us.

From the time that Bob arrived in our home Donny was jealous of him. I actually had several arguments with Donny about the jealousy. I saw no harm in the fact that Bob seemed to enjoy talking to me, and I didn't see what Donny was talking about when he said that Bob was interested in me. (Just to make things clear, it's not like I'm a supermodel who normally has men falling at her feet. In fact, I'm not even a regular model.) Bob would come sit with me and talk, but that seemed normal to me.

Then things started getting wierd. Bob started talking a lot about wanting a relationship, and how good he would be to a woman. He also started telling me how much he wants more kids, even though I had previously heard him say that he doesn't want more children. He seemed to be trying to manufacture ways to be alone with me. There was one night that he seemed to be trying to maneuver things so that he and I would wind up going to dinner, just the 2 of us. There was the time that Donny was telling me about something that had happened to him that day, and he got rather loud in the process. Bob came out to the garage where we were to tell Donny not to yell at me. (Nevermind the fact that Donny wasn't yelling at me, or that it's not Bob's place to get in the middle of how Donny and I handle our relationship.) And then there were the times that he'd pull me aside to tell me how badly Donny's treating me and how I deserve so much more. (That may be true, but it was just awkward coming from him.) It finally got bad enough that I asked my mom to help me work things so that I wouldn't be alone with Bob anymore.

Interspersed with all this drama that involved me was more drama between Bob and Donny that I wasn't a part of. A few weeks back Donny got a couple of boxes of patches to help him quit smoking. The only problem was that once he got them he decided that he wasn't ready to quit. Bob was aware that Donny had gotten the patches, and took it upon himself to consistently bug Donny about using them. His way of doing so was to ask Donny about in a tone of voice that left you with no doubt that he knew the answer to the question and was only asking to rub it in. It was just strange. He also took to making snide comments about Donny's personal hygeine. (When Donny's not doing well he gets bad about it, but nobody wants to hear the snide comments, especially in their own home.)

Things just got progressively worse, until it hit the point that Donny and I were staying in our room or in the garage all the time. Separating Donny from Bob was all I could do to keep the problems from getting worse. By this time other problems had come up that caused the arrangement to be that Bob was staying with the friends who he had been painting for at night and coming to our house during the day. I stayed away from Bob when he was at our house because I simply couldn't deal with what was going on with him, and it helped keep Donny calm.

Last Wednesday afternoon Bob was taking a nap in my grandma's bedroom, and Donny was asleep in the garage. When Donny woke up he came into the house and spent some time with me in our bedroom. We were having a good day and when he stepped out of our room he was in a good mood. The next thing I knew he was yelling at Bob in the living room. I went and got Donny and took him to the garage to calm him down and find out what happened. Apparently, Bob had told Donny that he had been trying to nap and asked him not to slam the garage door. (The garage door automatically closes behind you, and it slams if you don't catch it.) Donny was livid tthat this guy was now "ordering him around in his own home". I got Donny calmed down enough for me to go deal with the problem, and went to talk to my mom to ask for ideas on the best way of handling it. I was still in my mom's room when I heard Donny come in the house and head for the restroom. I stepped into the hall in time to hear Bob ask Donny if he had calmed down yet. I was almost to the living room when I saw Donny kick the back of Bob's chair. I got to him before he could hit Bob.

This was the point at which I grabbed Donny and told him to get in the car. I had no idea about a long term solution, I just knew that I had to separate the two men before things got any worse. I can't afford to bail Donny out of jail right now. We went for a long drive that ended up being an adventure in and of itself. The evening ended on a good note, we really enjoyed the time that we spent together that evening. Bob has not been back to our house since then, but there's nothing decided about possible future visits. He is a friend of my parents after all.

I summed this up to my mom by saying, "Those two are like a couple of dogs marking their territory. Which would be kind of funny if I weren't the fire hydrant."

Monday, August 11, 2008

Healthcare Advocacy

There's been a lot going on here, which means that I haven't had a chance to post lately.

Donny's health seems to be even more iffy than usual lately. I'm not sure if there's something going on underneath the surface, or if this is his new good. Two weeks ago I had to take Donny to the doctor for pneumonia. Last week I had him in for his regular monthly appointment. Tomorrow I'm taking him in for a suspected baldder or urinary tract infection. His overall health seems to be worse than normal, but there's no specific symptoms that I can report to a doctor. .

I will, however, be letting the doctor know about him passing out yesterday. We had gone for a drive, and Donny was really relaxed and seemed to be enjoying himself. All of a sudden he passed out. I had my hand on his knee and he just slumped forward across my arm. So I'm doing 60 down a backroad, trying to slow down and pull over, while using one arm to get Donny upright so that I can make sure that he's breathing. It took about 4 tries, but I finally got him pushed into an upright position. The jolt of flopping back brought him to, and he seemed okay after a minute. I have no idea what caused it, but it sure scared me.

When Donny saw his doctor last week I was talking to him about Donny's insurance and about medications, which caused me to come home and look at all his medicines again. That's when I discovered that, without telling us, the doctor cut one of his medicines in half, but wrote the prescription for a 2 month supply. Since I got the same amount, I didn't look at what the label on the bottle said. For almost a month I gave him the same dose as always. I'm frustrated that nothing was said because it caused a problem with having enough pills. Fortunately, the doctor's office is going to give us samples to get Donny through until his next refill.

Next month Donny goes on Medicare. It's good, because it should open doors for seeing specialists, but it's bad because it's going to mess with his medicines again. Since he's getting the part D prescription coverage I'm going to have to figure out what's covered under the nerw formulary so that we know what's going to need changed. It's all such a pain to keep track of, but if I don't do it then there'll be an even bigger headache when it's time to fill prescriptions again.

I get so tired of having to be an advocate. There is so much that I simply don't understand about healthcare that I feel like I'm constantly about three steps behind. I hate that feeling, but if I don't do it, then who will? It's up to me to make sure that Donny is getting the care that he needs, but I often feel like I don't have a clue about what he needs. Should I be fighting to get him in to a GI doc who can see him more than once every 6 months? Is there such a thing as a lung specialist? And if so, should I be asking for a referral? Should I be asking for a liver biopsy to be done? Does it matter? Should I be pushing to get him a prescription for a rescue inhaler that makes it so he doesn't run out long before the next one is due? Should I be getting the doctor to teach Donny better management of the rescue inhaler he has? There arte always way more questions than answers.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Pity Party

July 31 was my mom's birthday. We had a barbeque in the park. A couple of families that we're friends with joined us and we all had a great time. Because Donny has pneumonia again he wasn't able to join us. The heat was just too intense for him to spend that much time outside. It was nice for me because I was able to relax and enjoy things more without him there.

I've been finding it true a lot lately that I'm more relaxed and enjoy myself more when Donny's not with me. I feel guilty because I shouldn't be that way with my husband. In fact, because he's so ill I should be treasuring every moment that I have with him, but I don't. In fact, I sometimes dread the time that we spend together. I look for excuses to not be with him.

The hardest part is that I don't like being with him because he's not the man that I married. Gone is the loving husband who did his best to put me first. Gone is the man that I could spend hours talking to without running out of anything to say. Gone is my confidant who never judged me, no matter what I told him. Now I have a selfish, hateful man living with me. If I'm not careful about what I tell him he'll use what I say to put me down. My needs are no longer a priority, his needs and wants always come first. If I don't watch my step he'll tell me what an awful wife I am.

The worst part is that I'm starting to believe him.