invaded

February 26, 2019

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A tyrant has invaded our home, ordering each member of the family to follow its chaotic marching orders. Armies of pill bottles are in formation on each table and countertop. Walkers and canes stand as sentries by doorways. An oxygen machine guards the bed. Fortresses of supportive pillows are built on beds and in chairs. We all must bow to the Sultan of Seniority.

This morning I realized that no one had explained the pages of medicines and dosages given to GramBea. She sat in front of all the bottles with a pill box and loose pills, flustered and looking to me to help. I’d started to look up some of the names last night for her, since most of the names on the list didn’t match that on the bottle, and so required a good old google to decipher what we were actually looking for. But I’d assumed someone at the rehab center would have gone over the list with us before discharging him. For whatever reason, this did not happen. So when we were caught off guard with an unexpected homecoming yesterday afternoon, medicine turned out to be one of the greatest hurdles. For starters we had to gather them all. Some of his prescriptions turned out to be obscure, so Peter was sent from one pharmacy to another in search of available stock, driving for two hours before managing to get just the immediately urgent ones (less urgent ones are still on order to arrive for pickup in the next few days).

And now we have the joy of sorting them. This morning it took about an hour for me to make sense of it all enough to get a weeks worth of pills sorted out in the pillbox. As I neared the end of the job, feeling as if I was nearing the end of a grueling school exam, PaCharley called me. He was trying to fix the button mismatch on his shirt and began to ask me for help. “While you’re sitting here…” he began. “No!” I said, with too sharp of a tone. But I was too on-edge about the task at hand to apologize. “I can’t interrupt what I’m doing right now, PaCharley,” I continued. “This is too important—that has to wait!” And it was true, not necessarily because anyone would have had to focus exclusively on this task; but with my novice approach, I knew that I couldn’t afford any distractions while in the middle of it. For very good reason, I have never had any temptation to pursue the pharmaceutical professions. Tonight’s education was a bit more along the lines of my leanings: learning how to operate an emergency oxygen tank. I was pleased to realize that it is rather similar to my last quirky oven and its leaky regulator.

I’ve taken to hugging GramBea and telling her she’s my hero (the truth). She usually responds with “I’m amazed we’re still talking to each other!”
Will we survive? Yes. Will we still like each other? Hopefully :-) Will we still love each other? Definitely.

Yesterday I read a quote in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It seems appropriate to end, for now, with the words of one who has far better words than I do these days . . .

“Please – Aslan,” said Lucy, “can anything be done to save Edmund?”

“All shall be done,” said Aslan. “But it may be harder than you think.” And then he was silent again for some time. Up to that moment Lucy had been thinking how royal and strong and peaceful his face looked; now it suddenly came into her head that he looked sad as well. (12.21-22)

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