Teddy Bears and Marxism at the Hospital

Mom’s doing ok – about 2 days post-operative and she’s been up walking, is gaining strength, but still very tired.  Issues with trailer park behavior are minimal – although i’m considering bringing a baseball bat tomorrow just in case.

Scores and Highlights:

     – Recovering from invasive surgery, such as bypass, includes a regimen of coughing.  It helps keep pneumonia at bay, brings up excess lung-butter and exercises the pulmonary system.  The challenge is the suture line – too much pressure and internal organs make unwelcome cameo appearances.  Hospitals routinely use a device known as “Sir Koff-a-lot” to aid patients.  It’s beautiful to see all of the patients in cardiac intensive care – mostly elderly – clinging tightly to their bears.  Mom is quite fond of her bear, and wants him tucked in with her before sleeping – “in case i need to cough”.  If she didn’t look like hell, i’d take a picture.  When she’s feeling better, we’ll need to name him.  My suggestion?  “Loogie”…

     – Per square foot, a hospital parking lot may be the most dangerous place to drive on earth.  i was almost clobbered three times today.  Between people under stress, driving on unfamiliar turf, and the armada of land-yachts, appearing to be driverless since the operators are too short to be visible, it’s treacherous.  Good thing there’s a hospital nearby – someone could get hurt.

     – Yesterday, after arriving at the hospital, seeing Mom up a mere 24 hours after having her chest cracked open, gumming oatmeal eating breakfast, i called my niece, DQ with an update.  i told her to call her mother, S (my ridiculously self-absorbed sister), and that i’d contact my other sister and brother.  Shortly thereafter, S called me and wanted to talk to Mom.  “I call her every day when I drive to work.  I had a really hard time this morning because I couldn’t call her… I don’t think anyone understands how important it is for me to talk to her every day…”.  Against my better judgment, i told her to keep it short and handed the phone to Mom.  Because she was agonizingly tired, Mom kept it short.  i hung up as soon as Mom was done… and turned off my phone.  Oops…

     – Invariably this morning, S called me before i had even arrived at the hospital.  Once again, she wanted to talk to Mom.  i pointed out that i was still driving, stuck in traffic, and in a hurry to get there in time to catch the surgeon on morning rounds.  She then said “I don’t think anyone understands what a hard time I’m having with this.  I talk to Mom every morning…”.  i interrupted and said “Yes, it’s clear you’re having a hard time.  But you need to get past that – this isn’t about you, it’s about Mom, and her needs come first.”  I then got blasted with “I DO put Mom’s needs first… blah… blah…”.  i said “Incoming call, gotta go” and hung up…  Before arriving in the ICU, i turned off my phone.  Oops…

     – Mom may be discharged as early as Friday.  She has expressed preference to go into a skilled nursing facility for cardiac rehabilitation before coming home.  The biggest reason?  She refuses to allow home health care workers to come to the house*.  We have about two days to find a suitable facility.  After leaving the hospital today, i’d arranged to visit a highly recommended facility.  DQ and S offered to meet me there – and i was glad to have their help.  It was fine.  Smelled a little like poo and disinfectant, but it was clean.  i was impressed with the low staff turnover.  i also checked classified ads last night to see if they are hiring – gives an indication of current staffing levels.  DQ not only called everyone she knows to get references, but was interrogating family members leaving the facility when we got there to learn of concerns or issues.  She’s good.  For all the trailer park behavior, if i ever have to bury a body, i’d call DQ.

So far, so good.  DQ has dropped into “force of nature” mode, and provides spectacular assistance for Mom.  S has, for the most part, been just an annoyance, rather than a hindance.  And she’s trying to help. 

Although they don’t know the origin of the quote, i often remind my entire family that we need to be tolerant and patient when dealing with stressful medical situations.  “From each according to his ability.  To each according to his need.**”

Mom asked me if i could have that made into a needlepoint wall hanging.  i might do that…


* Although we’ve tried for years to help clean and organize, Mom’s house is a cluttered shithole.  Avec spiders [shudder].  We clean it, get it organized?  She lets entropy conquer.  We gave up.  She wouldn’t allow home health care workers in the house to assist with Dad’s care, even though his preference was to be at home.

** Credited to the least funny Marx brother, Karl.

18 thoughts on “Teddy Bears and Marxism at the Hospital

  1. Sounds like the craziness skips generations, at least in S’ family. And, gosh gee, so sorry to hear about that troublesome phone…turning off like that [dripping sarcasm]. But glad to hear your Mom is doing better. A day at a time…a step at a time…a magic word said at a time (from Karl’s brother, Groucho). Stay strong.

  2. It’s good your Mom is getting better by the day – my Mum (note Aussie accent) had similar housekeeping problems – and passed them on to me 😦

    As for that fourth Marx Brother – his ideas were quite good – it was his followers who stuffed things up – somewhat like Jesus and Mohammed and their followers. And that Jehovah guy? – he was sheer nasty from the get-go!

  3. “Force of Nature” mode. My late husband’s doctor referred to me that way and asked if any of my IL’s realized that about me. I told him, “Not yet.”

    Glad your mom is doing well and hope you get that skilled nursing found quickly.

  4. “Loogie” is the best name ever! I wish you’d been around when my ex and I were looking for names for our offspring.
    (It’s good to hear that your mom’s on the mend, btw)

  5. you could transport your entire family to australia because this is a large part of my job at the gimcrack – I am the Respite Care Queen.

    if you were here daisyfae, and it happened to be a week when i had no spare beds I could arrange to have one of our less popular patients “put down” to free up a room for your mom


  6. gnu – don’t get me wrong, DQ is remarkably functional when necessary. it’s the status quo decision making that could use some work!

    archie – i agree. i was espousing the merits of Marxism when i was 11 years old. but i now know the difference between theory and practice, especially given the monstrous variable of “human nature”.

    annie – not surprised that you are “force of nature”. helpless and lost just doesn’t cut it in such a difficult situation. Some bumps in the road last night for Mom – not sure what i’ll be finding when i get there this morning, but the evil spectre of pneumonia is lurking… keeping fingers crossed…

    kyknoord – for childrens names, i’m not quite as good. i use scientific and medical terms as the baseline. if i’d had another boy, for example, his name would be “Gubernaculum“…

    nm – thank you for the offer of assistance! i have no doubt that Mom would become one of your favorites at The Gimcrack! Your management skills must be legend…

    archie – Crikey* – you’re insecure?!?! i’m the one sharing a flat with her for a week in Sevilla!

  7. Pneumonia is a scary thing in the bedridden or convalescing. Dad had it this last winter and it is what ultimately took my late husband. Fingers are very much crossed for her. Keep us posted.

  8. One of the many things that will doom me to hell when I pass on are my dubious ministerial credentials. I became ordained over the Internet, for $24.95, it was regularly $29.95. My Minister’s Packet came with a clergy placard that I put in the window to pull primo parking at a couple of local hospitals. It doesn’t always look right with my “Support Strippers” magnetic support ribbon, but I am an enigma.

  9. annie – yes, it is. even with a month off ths smokes, she was at risk. they’re treating it aggressively, it’s not full blown (yet). bigger challenge this morning is the arrhythmia – also being treated aggressively. ugh.

    uk – a man of the cloth and flesh! nice. very nice.

    NOTE TO MY CHILDREN: We need to modify the “DEFCON” plan for my funeral. Since we have no family clergy, you are to take some of your inheritance (seriously, spend the money) and fly uncle keith out to officiate my services. payable in liquor and strippers.

  10. Ok, first the serious comment – my dad didn’t have a teddy bear, he had a heart shaped pillow – but it took it everywhere with him.

    Now the other stuff, please do not leave me out of the DEFCON plan as I am also an ordained minister (thank you Unviersal Life Church of Modesto, CA) and would be more than happy to officiate along with my buddy beucase I like liquor and strippers too!

  11. Sorry to hear about the pneumonia, that’s tough, especially with a patient that obviously wants to live. It is often pneumonia, rather than other diseases like ALS or Alzheimer’s that end life. Love the bear. Back in the dark ages, when I worked in hospitals, we didn’t have them.
    DQ is doing just the right thing in inspecting the nursing facility. My mother put my grandfather in Shithole Care Center sight unseen. However, she figured it was all right because I lived across the street, and Grandpa K was one of my favorites. And then I went to work for the place, until Grandpa died. It didn’t hurt, of course, that Mr. John (they couldn’t pronounce his Slovenian last name) was a pleasant fellow all around.
    I am an ordained Pagan high priestess, and could be a good balance for your other two volunteer ministers. And since it is your funeral, I think the Chippendales are definitely in order.

  12. umdalum – You’re a Moonie? SWEET! Ok, you’re on the team!

    silverstar – And a Pagan high priestess would be another welcome addition. As would the dancin’ nearly-nekkid boy toys… Suspect that The Boy will be out drinkin’ and whorin’ with uncle keith and umdalum, need something to amuse The Girl!

  13. avec spiders


    I am a big girly girl when it comes to things with more eyes and more legs than me. Ew.

    But, internal organs [that] make unwelcome cameo appearances, now THAT’S cool.

  14. uncle keith – Umm… right! Since i plan to go in a bizarre aerial stunt accident, you should reconsider that option – depends on how good the undertaker is!

    dolce – Agreed. But for me the eight-legged variety is the worst… As for the “organ” thing, you probably enjoyed “Aliens”? (heh, heh, heh… we said “organ”, heh, heh, heh).

    MdW – Perfect! Loves me some Tim Burton twisted short stories! Mom has settled on “Ichabod”. i choose to spell it “Ick-a-Bod”, however… a compromise of sorts!

  15. Pingback: Bears, Beers, BBQs and Boneheads « Trailer Park Refugee

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