Thursday, October 27, 2011

An Ugly Tuesday

On Monday the cleaning lady at my father's apartment found a bedbug in Dad's bedroom and we were instructed that on Tuesday, the cleaning crew would come to the apartment and remove all linens, have a pest control company spray and would then have everything back in order by 2:30 in the afternoon.  I'm in a funk over the bedbug stuff and so I decide I'm going to go easy on my chores for the day.  I have to find a restaurant for my cousins and us to eat at before we go to the theater that night which I do on Open Table.   I work out as usual, then shower and dress, call my cousin and tell him to drive separately because I have this bedbug situation.  Dutifully I arrive at my father's apartment at 10:30 where as instructed I pick everything up off the floor before taking Dad back to the house.  Dad spends the day grunting before the television and reading a few pages in his book except for when I feed him lunch.  I do chores around the house and walk our children's dog who is staying with us while our son is in Colorado Springs on business.  I even take a short nap.  I am concerned because we have received a phone call from the theater warning us that there are some street closures because President Obama is in town.  As predicted, the weather turns cold and it starts to rain around 4:00 as I am taking Dad back to his apartment.  Of course, the apartment is in complete disarray when we arrive.  There are no linens.  The boxsprings and mattresses are off the frames and the couch is still torn apart.  I call the front desk and housekeeping.  Soon after they arrive and try to put things back together.  The pillows are still wet so we have to borrow two pillows from another apartment.  At 4:45, I finally leave after my father thanks me and I tell him I don't mind but could he please try a little harder to be happy?  I'm fine on the street to downtown until I get mid-way.  My cousins call to tell me they are already seated at the restaurant.  They took the light rail.  Smart people.  I call my husband and leave a message to order me a big fat glass of wine and dinner at the restaurant so we won't be late.  Then I begin a series of jigs and jogs through downtown. I try to call my cousin and discover I don't have his cell number.  I accidentally call my daughter-in-law who calls me back and tells me she has to have her gall bladder out and in addition to taking her and the kids out to dinner tomorrow night, could I come at 7:00 tomorrow morning and help her get the kids ready for school.  Every street to the theater and the restaurant is blocked by a bus and a police car.  It seems the president's hotel is adjacent to the theater and the restaurant.  I finally turn into a parking lot that shows up miraculously, not the one I usually go to for ten bucks.  This one is fifteen.  Two women are ahead of me to pay for their stalls at the pay station.  They're having trouble paying for each of their cars.  I hold the umbrella for the second one, the first one finally makes her payment, then the second lady makes her payment and then it's my turn.  I then have to take the receipt back to the car (the furthest away I could have been from the pay station) and then scurry over to the restaurant.  Altogether I am more than a half hour late and my husband who has sprained his foot and is wearing a soft shoe is still not there.  I go to pick up my phone to find out where he is.  (He's also stranded in the traffic).  It seems I don't have my phone.  I left it in the car.  My husband arrives concurrently, we rush through dinner....oh, that wine tastes soooo good and then we're off to the play.  It's wonderful, so worth all that it took to get there.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Yesterday Mom had dental work done at her facility.  The dentists (a father and son team who insisted on receiving their $1300 fee ahead of time) came to Mom's unit and got her.  We all walked downstairs and outside to their cozy van where they proceeded to pull one tooth, replace a crown and salvage another tooth. I waited in the lobby while the procedure was done and then returned to pick her up and take her back to her unit with one of the dentists accompanying us.  She did great.  (She loves the attention of all doctors.)  The problem was a series of mishaps that came later and resulted in a total meltdown by me.  The dentist failed to send a fax describing post-visit needs.  The occupational therapist, I'm told came to take Mom for her session without any knowledge that she'd been to the dentist.  The second shift at the unit received no information that Mom had had work done.  A cryptic note by the "lead" from the morning shift said she needed a prescription for acetaphamine (over the counter generic that is also Tylenol.)  At the grocery store where I'm shopping for my father, I get a call from one of the unit caregivers asking for the name of the dentist. I don't have it with me and can't remember if it's in the car.  When I get back to the car, I find the number. When I call back, I get a different caregiver who insists that it's fine if I give her the number.  She is the current "lead."  Why wasn't the number on the instructions?  Well, it seems there were no instructions faxed.  I'm somewhat leary of this because they knew about the acetaphamine.  And besides if the "lead" from the first shift hadn't received the instructions she had been notified were coming, why didn't she call me to find out why they hadn't come yet or better yet call the dentist who is the retirement facility's on premises dentist?  Everyone is trying to cover their backs and I'm just plain livid.  This has happened before.  The caregiver unit tells the dental office to call me to explain what's going on and they also make excuses.  "You know," the receptionist says, "these homes are all the same.  There's constant turnover."  I don't care that there's constant turnover.  I want the instructions sent and permission for whoever to give my mother Tylenol.  I go downstairs and tell the "Health and Wellness" director.  She nods blandly and says it sounds like a lack of communication, but she doesn't really sound very remorseful.   I take a deep breath and decide to let them duke it out while I go home and get a glass of wine.  As my husband says, I've learned my lesson.  If I don't watch every move it won't get done.  And there are a lot of moves!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hey, Dad, It's My Birthday

We have made it through the Jewish holidays somehow or another.  My father insisted on attending services with us in the mountains (a one hour and forty-five minute trip up and back two times).  He insisted on going to services (the second day was three hours plus and he finally made us leave).  Then, after saying he wasn't going to go with us for Yom Kippur services, he changed his mind and insisted we take him with.  We decided to only attend at night.  I warned him that it may be cold and snowy. (It was).  It didn't matter to him, he said.  "We have no kitchen," I told him.  (We're remodeling).  It didn't matter to him.  We traipse up the mountains to our kitchen-lacking home.  We, of course, have to go out to dinner and, of course, we have to go early to get a handicapped space at the chapel.  (This is the fourth meal we've had to eat out in order to accommodate my father.  Keith, my husband, always pays.)  He stays awake for the service and, as if to show his macho side, rises and sits throughout the service.  "I'm confused," he tells me. "About what?" I ask.  "Where are we going?"  "To services tonight, then home for Break the Fast tomorrow."  He gets up the next morning and asks if we're going out.  I tell him Keith and I are fasting, but I'll go to McDonalds and get him some breakfast.  I go down the mountain, purchase the breakfast (for $5.47 you get a drink and hash browns...I've never eaten breakfast at McDonalds and the clerk stares at me as I try to navigate the process).  My father eats everything and then we head on home so I can prepare for the Break the Fast with our children and grandchildren.  The next day I am visiting his apartment and take out his calendar.  "You know," I tell him.  "My birthday is Tuesday.  Why don't you have that written on there?  You've got your grandson's, you've got your son's.  Why don't you have mine?"  Tears come to his eyes and he makes excuses.  "You know what, Dad, Tuesday you're going to take me for lunch and you're going to pay."  (We have to go to the doctor anyway so we might as well go to lunch.)  He shows little emotion but agrees.  I guess I'll ask the doctor once again for anti-depressants.  He is really being a grump and I'm losing my patience.