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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

One way or another

If you're "just tuning in" this post may leave you wondering what the heck I am rambling about, I hope you take the time to go back and review my earlier posts so you can catch up with our story.  I very much appreciate your thoughts and comments.    For anyone who has been along for the whole wild ride - 
Thank you!

One way or another

Within a couple days following the shocking news we had received from the infectious disease doctor, mom and I were both recovering
and once again counting the days until August 23, 2013 when we could return home.  With just over a week to go, the realization that I had no way to transport mom the 250 miles home hit me like a ton of bricks.  I was going to have to figure the transportation out one way or another.

We had already established that with the rod keeping her leg straight she couldn't get in my car; we had tried my older daughter’s vehicle and that was a “no go” too.  I had one last option to exhaust before I was going to be forced to either rent a very expensive handicapped accessible van or we were going to have to buy another vehicle.

“Hi babe”, the conversation with my husband was pleasant as always and I was feeling pretty confident that he would not mind driving moms car over and mine back when he came to see me for his upcoming days off.  Unfortunately, before I got around to asking him about it, my hopes were dashed and my heart was broken.  “Hey, since you’re coming home on the 23rd, I think I’ll just stay home this weekend”, my husband finished with; “I have a lot to do around here”.  I couldn't talk around the lump in my throat; I hadn't seen my husband in nearly 5 weeks and I felt hurt that he dismissed an opportunity for us to spend a day or two together.  I’m not sure what else he said as my mind started clicking through possible alternatives for getting moms car over the mountain.

My younger daughter was coming to visit soon and she readily agreed to drive moms’ car over and take mine back.  I was hopeful, but not optimistic, about mom being able to get in to the car; however, I figured that would be the car we would trade in if we were forced to buy a new one.  I could just picture myself at the dealership, “This car was only driven by a “little old lady” to church on Sundays”; I giggled at how silly the truth sounded.  I actually giggled a lot for the next few days.

My older sister came over a few days before my daughter was
due to arrive, so we spent time looking at handicap vans that might accommodate mom.  Since we knew we would need the vehicle at least until the rod was removed from moms leg, renting one was pretty much out of the question so we set off for dealerships in search of something that we might be able to afford.  It was good that we had fun, because we certainly didn't have any luck.

We looked at custom handicap vans and were absolutely astounded at the price tag attached to them, so we moved on to mini-van conversions.  After exhausting the inventory at the only dealership we could find that actually catered to this market, we were ready to leave when the dealer said “I have one other option, but I don’t think you’d be interested”.  Funny thing, as soon as someone says I wouldn't be interested, I’m interested!

Next thing I knew my sister & I were laughing hysterically as we
barreled down the interstate in a six year old, 16 passenger van fully equipped with a wheelchair lift and everything.  Now, the truth of the matter is, I was only half joking about starting a service for senior transportation out of the valley we call home to a place where they might find quality medical services.  Luckily the realization that I was not financially or emotionally able to handle such an endeavor hit me before I got too serious.  Besides, mom would be livid if we showed up in this beast of a vehicle.

Deciding that my daughter would be there soon and we still had hope of moms’ car actually working, we returned the van to the dealership; grabbed an early dinner and returned to the Skilled Nursing Facility to check on mom.  Judging from moms’ mood that evening, she would NOT have seen the humor in us showing up in the bombermobile.  In fact, mom didn't see the humor in much of anything that evening.

Even though I have been surprised throughout this ordeal that my
mother has not shown signs of depression more often, it always makes me feel helpless on the rare occasions when it does occur; it actually throws me in to my own depression.  It was obvious that our being there was not going to improve moms’ mood, so we set her up with the crossword puzzle I had managed to grab from the newspaper at the dealership and my sister & I returned to my hotel room to just spend some time together.

My sister and I chatted; teased and giggled; we shared our concerns and fears about mom; tossed around transportation ideas and made plans for the following day before my sister returned to her hotel for the evening and I returned to the SNF to help mom get ready for bed.

Moms’ mood had improved some when I returned, but not a lot.  It didn't seem to matter what I did or said, mom was just not happy.  I went through my list of investigatory questions: “Are you hurting?” “Did something happen?”  “Did they mess up your dinner again?”  Mom answered each question with a furrowed brow and a simple “no”.

Running a brush through moms’ hair triggered one more question, “You didn't get your shower again, did you”?  This time the answer was more than just “no”, it was “NO!”  I was pretty sure the lack of a shower wasn't the only thing bothering mom, but I thought it was probably the only thing I had a chance of doing anything about.

Mom seemed to relax a little after I promised to make sure she had a shower the next day “one way or another”.

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