25 June 2015

Sometimes These Things are True

Nearly one year after stopping working, surgery, and having a horrible private sector job, I finally have a new job!  It was one of those serendipity situations where my dream job became available right at the perfect time.

Because, really, I was starting to think that I wasn't ever going to be employed again.  I heard a lot of  "over-qualified" and "had some skills you don't possess" (usually casework or accounting, neither of which I'm interested in growing skills).  I was beginning to believe that I was going to have to take a job in the dreaded, formerly unsuccessful foray, of the private sector.

Somehow, someway, I don't even care, I was offered my dream job yesterday.  It's an office administrator/fundraising/many hat-wearing, position with a non-profit school that serves developmentally disabled children.  It's part-time, in the afternoons, and flexible. Check, check, and check! 

I begin sometime next week and I'm equal parts excited and nervous.  It would be foolish not to be.  I'm gaining new friends, I'm learning new systems, I'm going back to work in the SUMMERTIME.  Where am I going to park, what do I do about *any number of things*.  You know, the usual stuff.

But mostly, it's a big, loud *happy dance*! 

I was out of town visiting a friend when I got the call.  I excused myself and took the call outside.  I was so excited they could still hear me outside.  I hung up with them and immediately phoned Kevin "I GOT IT!!!" I yelled at him.  I rarely get overtly excited about anything so this took him by surprise. "You got what?"  "I GOT IT" I continued to yell.  "THE JOB! THE DREAM JOB!"  Then he did a happy dance with me and suggested I bring him an iced mocha in celebration, as is proper etiquette in the Pacific Northwest.

So, oddly funny, I was flipping through magazines last night.  I looked through the TV Guide (because I'm seventy-five years old) and in the back are horoscopes for the week.  In a creepy cool way, the horoscopes (which are always accurate and true, right?) predicted my dream job:

I'm Sagittarius

24 June 2015

Wait, Seven Kids, Not Six

For every dark side, there is a shiny side.  After so much dark, we received a big dose of shiny over the weekend.  The Nephew and his wife are PREGNANT!   We are all so excited.  They've known for a bit now but wanted to wait until she was nearly out of her first trimester, which matched up with Father's Day.

So, if you're following along, this baby makes SIX kids.  Seven counting his thirteen year old brother-in-law, whom they have temporary custody.  Talk about a Crowded House!  I'm hesitant to do the math but this baby makes my ninth grandniece/nephew.  All under the ages of 14.

They had the ultrasound yesterday and discovered that there is only one baby.  I will admit to being slightly disappointed that there is only one baby.  After having triplets, one would think that they would be begging the Universe for a single baby but they were surprisingly calm about the whole thing.

There will be nearly ten years between the triplets and the baby.  This means the baby will be the youngest and yet, also be an only when the trips go to college, etc. Kind of like I was.  I think this is part of the reason they are so chill about it.  It's not as if the kids are all young and in diapers, they're all schoolagers now and two of them are in middle school.

We asked about the kids reactions and they were varied and funny.  The eldest (C1) was all teenagery about it: cool, fine, whatever.  C2 is excited, thinking about all the cool things they will do together, Girl Triplet is trying to figure out how she is going to go to school and take care of the baby, Boy Triplet C is "That's So Cool" while Boy Triplet P is like "Wait, what?"   The new child, I don't know the easiest way to describe him to y'all yet, said and this is a direct quote: "That's cool, if that's what you want to do."

Go back a month or two to when Kevin's mom was having surgery.  I didn't know this but the Nephew was the last one to speak with her before she went into surgery.  He said he went back into the room, leaned over and whispered "Nana, we're pregnant. We're having a baby in January."  He said she lit up the room, hearing the news.

How sweet of that boy to send his grandma off to surgery with such huge news.  He told her that she had to keep it a secret when she woke up.  Thus implying that she was going to wake up, when there was big doubt that she would.

I'm excited about this baby in a way that I haven't been with the others. Not to imply that I didn't look forward to the others. It's just after the past three years of abject awfulness that we've had, this baby is such good news.  Nephew has become like a son to us, even more than before.  I feel connected to this baby and can't wait until he or she is here. 

Babies are such good news.

19 June 2015

I'm Going to Write Myself a Letter

I am going to write myself a letter to open when I turn seventy.  It's tentatively titled "Don't be a D*ck"  or perhaps more appropriately subtitled "Accept Help When It's Offered"

We're having the ongoing struggle with the folks accepting help caring for the mother.  We keep hearing "We've got it" and "When she gets better then we can..." when NEITHER OF THESE THINGS ARE TRUE.

I keep meditating on this topic, "I'm going to be there someday" "We all get old" etc. etc.  Kevin says that we can't MAKE them do anything and he's right. 

We are trying to get them signed up for a program that can offer them all kinds of assistance: someone to come in to help, food assistance, financial assistance, medicine management, etc.  The caseworker is the husband of a friend of ours and he called me today to say "Nope."  Because of the I'll Do It Myself! attitude, they won't get past the initial screening process. 

Here is a non-quick recap of what we're dealing with:

We've had endless talks about Kevin's mom drinking water, because dehydration was one of the causes that landed/lands her in the hospital.  She always promises to try and then doesn't.  I think it's going to come down to the boys telling her they're not going to visit her in the hospital if she has to be hospitalized because she's dehydrated.  She acts as if we've asked her to set her hair on fire.

When she was admitted to the ER, the doctor stated that medication management has to change.  She wasn't taking her meds correctly and she was taking something she shouldn't be (laxative) and wasn't taking something that she should be. (cholesterol meds) My father-in-law does all the meds.  Here's the fun part: he doesn't read.  He literally holds the bottles and visually matches it to the paperwork.  But he doesn't know what he's reading (think heart meds vs. anxiety meds)  

Of course, we try to problem solve. We said we would buy pill boxes and help him get it organized. This way he only has to hand her the meds.  EPIC TANTRUM.  A list of nonsensical reasons why it won't work: the pills don't fit in the boxes, what happens if he runs out, it takes HOURS to distribute her pills (using an example of when she went to visit her sister) and we don't understand IT JUST WON'T WORK AND I CAN DO IT MYSELF!  (that last part is implied) 

The answer to this is You Can't Read.  But the boys can't say that, although I think they should. I'm not as worried about his pride when it's something this serious.  So, I walked away because I don't tolerate tantrums.  In fact, I've taken a wee break from them entirely.

We agreed to shelve the topic until the next day or so.   Two hours later, Kevin went over to check on them before we went to bed.  His father was STILL trying to figure out the meds.  The discharge paperwork wasn't formatted the same as the previous paperwork so he couldn't figure it out.  He was freaking out. Kevin texted me to come help.  I may have cursed.

I had to go over to figure this out without cursing, muttering or doing the I Told You So dance.  I was mostly successful.  Finally, I just took the paperwork home to figure out how to make this make sense to him. I cannot touch the meds physically because he has A System. And don't get him started on the one time that the ER docs "mixed everything up" and ruined his life.  MONTHS AGO.

The paperwork stated "Take two times daily" or "once daily".  While this is obvious to everyone else, it's not obvious to him; he spirals out with "But is it in the morning or the night? How do I know if she needs it?"  OH FFS.  Oh, and the nurses notated in the margins and with highlights when she had the last dose.

30 minutes later, I created a spreadsheet with everything delineated as best I can for someone who doesn't read. I had also called the nurse at the hospital for help but they were busy.  I was finished by the time they phoned back and even then it wasn't the nurse we needed.  But she did say that my logic was sound in making the chart and entering everything correctly.

My sister-n-law managed to get the pills organized into pill boxes the next day without a PEEP from him, which makes me relieved and yet, still a little stabby. The next step is to register for Walgreens online and set everything up on auto-renew.  He insists this won't work because: reasons.

Swistle summed it up the best: "It's like, nothing can solve it because everything is going through the That Won't Work filter. The goal isn't to listen to possible solutions and see what will work; the goal is to pick solutions apart and "win" by proving nothing will work."

I guess the most frustrating part is that they need help and will sometimes will voice that need, but then he gets all stabby and shouty when anyone makes suggestions or tries to help.  Logic says just walk away and let him deal. But this is a safety issue (MEDICINE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD) and we can't do that. Logic also says that it's because he feels we're judging him and that he's done something wrong.   Because WE ARE. 

Then there's the fact that he is at risk of falling or being exhausted (requiring hospitalization) because he's the sole caregiver.  The reaction to this is textbook defensiveness.  We can't get him to understand that the consequence of him geting hurt or injured is they're both in a care facility. But to him, it's simply NOT POSSIBLE. We can rationalize that it's the loss of control and independence, but we can't get them to understand that the next stop is a care facility.

On a selfish note, and Kevin has used this rationale with them, at some point it has to be about US.  We're exhausted.  We're stressed.  We are spending our free time making sure that everything is taken care of.  When Kevin mentioned "Don't you want to do this so at least WE can stop worrying and having to come help?"  They just continue to insist that they don't need it and eventually everything will go back to normal.  He even told them (bless his heart forever) "Surely can't continue to clean your house, babysit the dog, and catch the ambulance forever.  That can't be her job."

Have I mentioned she's on oxygen 24/7?  That she doesn't like taking her medicine? Or eating?  YEAH.

So, deep breath. I am going to write myself a letter.  Maybe even include this post with it.  When I'm old, I need to remember to not be a jerk to the people that are just trying to help.

18 June 2015

Faded Letters

Back to the photo project topic, I promised to elaborate on Kevin's memory book in one of the past posts.

Kevin's mom gave him the memory book a few years ago.  He looked at it then we put it away for safekeeping and forgot about its existence.  With the photo project, I brought it back out.  He looked at it again the other evening after I added photos and reordered it a little.  It has to be chronological or what's the point, right?

She not only had all of his school portraits and class photos, she included birth announcements, doctors orders (he was a failure to thrive baby), birthday cards (see, I'm not the only one who keeps/hoards them!)  and report cards.  We were both amazed at what she kept and that she thought at the time to keep them.  They moved many times during his childhood so this had to be quite the effort.

Imagine Kevin's surprise and eventual embarrassment when he discovered that she also kept (and somehow FOUND) Kevin's love letters. Love letters being from when he was ages between thirteen and sixteen.

He sat and read them with a mixture of humor and absolute horror.  "My MOM read these!" he said at one point.  They were simple, age-appropriate letters from girls that he was "dating" at the time.  They were actual letters too, with stamps and everything! It was a picture to see him, some nearly forty years later, long married and wearing reading glasses.

One is written in pencil and is extremely faded.  I offered to scan it so he could better read it and he was a little horrified, "Um, no, no, you don't have to do that..."  I didn't read them while working on the book so I had no idea what they included, other than they were written by girls.  I've read them since and they're the typical letters from that age, you know: heartfelt and utterly humiliating to read as an adult.

But it gave me the idea that Kevin resoundly and immediately squashed:  Find the girl on the facebook and message her a copy of the letter, just for a laugh.  I mean, what good is social media for if not to share humiliating memories?

It also made me think of the episode of Everyone Loves Raymond where Raymond discovers that his mother read his journal when he was a teen.  The embarrassment was acute and hilarious.  Once again, I found myself in one of those sitcom episodes.

17 June 2015

Greenish Thumb

In between taking care of two houses, babysitting dogs and flower gardens, looking for a job, and frequent trips to the hospital, I've been trying to work more on my gardening.  I have been mildly successful.

One thing that I discovered is that the grocery store I regularly go to has a discount plant section.  There are plants that are struggling for whatever reason, not being watered enough/too much, rootbound, past blooming stage.  I've bought yellow chrysanthemums that looked like Adams Family Flowers but are pretty and blooming now.  Kevin thought I'd lost my mind planting half-dead flowers. He wasn't all wrong.

I bought a small rose bush that blooms in small, multicolored buds.  I'm hoping that it will root in the rock garden and be happy.  It looks good right now but we'll see.  Next up was lavender.  I planted this yesterday in the rock garden and it's starting to show signs of peppyness already.

I have a butterfly bush in the rock garden that is making the bees SO HAPPY right now.  I'm going to find another one and plant it.  And yes, I've seen a fair share of butterflies too.  Because Kevin's mom gave it to us years ago and she no longer remembers what exactly it was, I'm going to take a photo and ask someone.  It has happy pink flowers.  There is another one further down that has happy white flowers.  So far the bees aren't as impressed with it.

There is a walkway behind the house that only Lucy uses; it runs from our deck to the back yard.  I put plants along that walkway this spring to make it look nice and not so stark.  Kevin mentioned that no one could see it and I told him that I liked walking out on the deck and seeing it.  However, only half the plants were happy there.  I think two things happened: there wasn't as much direct sunlight as I thought and because they sat on the ground it was a buffet for bugs. You're welcome, bugs.

I found something in a magazine that I'm going to try but it's going to have to wait until I return to work.  I want to make narrow planters along that fence (Kevin's already shaking his head) so that they're up off the ground.  The article lists shady plants that like the Northwest weather so I at least have a road map for this attempt.

I also want to plant some bulbs but am hesitant.  The last time I tried, Missy was just a puppy and she declared them the BEST TREAT EVER.  I can only imagine what Lucy would do, especially since it would require digging.  She's already killed the daisies I planted because she was hunting for critters.  Also, what bulbs did survive the puppy were taken out by a then unknowing Kevin.

And while I'm doing this, I'm trying to only choose perennials.  Every once in a while, I'll cave and buy an annual because OMG So Pretty but I have to exercise some sort of restraint if I want the Magazine Garden of My Dreams.

15 June 2015

Look At This Photograph...Every Time It Makes Me Laugh

The project I'm working on now is scanning photos from Kevin's mom's albums.

Kevin's mom likes looking at pictures, she always has but recently, she will spend a while just looking at photos.  It doesn't matter if it's actual pictures or ones on her tablet or someones phone, kind of like a child.

I did some research about folks with dementia and found that is a characteristic.  It's a self-soothing technique.  I thought about how to go about doing this for her.  Here are the struggles:

I've printed out photos before but they've gotten put away in the shuffle of life or she's put them somewhere and doesn't remember now.  She's not strong enough to hold a big photo album.  Sometimes she's good with her tablet and other times she isn't.  They live in a tiny house so hanging photos on the walls aren't an option.

So, I'm making photo albums on her facebook so that she can see them anytime on her tablet, they won't get misplaced or ruined and bonus: everyone else gets to see them as well.

I've done this in the past almost a year ago, her nieces asked for any photos she had of their late mother. So I made an album and tagged all the girls (4, including twins) so they could have photos of their mom.

Then one of cousins sent pictures so I created another album on Facebook for her of family history stuff.  I've been adding to that here and there.  This last visit to the hospital, I raided her closet where she keeps all her photos and albums.  I started scanning them into the laptop and posting them on Facebook. (thank god for the cloud...but my data plan is taking a beating)

Holy time travel, batman. There are photos from when Kevin's parents were teens and when she was a child.  There are baby-teen pictures of Kevin that I've never seen, or him for that matter. 

With this photo project, I'm hearing family stories (Oh, and an aunt passed away and we went to her funeral yesterday. Because, of course.)  A person needs charts, graphs, and a laser pointer to keep track of this family tree.

Kevin's mom has four sisters and a brother.  Kevin's dad has two brothers and three sisters.  Originally, one of the brothers married one of HER sisters.  They divorced and he eventually married not one, but two of his brother's ex-wives.  One of my father-in-law sister got pregnant as a late teen by a boy from a prominent family, married someone else, and was eventually widowed.  The other two sisters have long-term marriages.  All of them have at least two but up to four children.

Kevin's mom's sisters have been married multiple times.  Susie married Uncle Don TWICE, once in the fifties and once in the 90's. The one that married the brother was either married or in multiple relationships and died as an addict.  The other died of cancer after being divorced and was in love with my sister-in-law's widowed dad, and the youngest sister (who is the EXACT SAME AGE AS KEVIN'S BROTHER) has been married twice. To two guys names STEVE.  The brother is gay, but married TWICE, and his lifelong companion died of AIDS right when Kevin and I started dating.

I swear this is all true.
But, then I learned a little bit more about Kevin's parents.  I knew that he had a dalliance when Kevin was young.  I use the word dalliance because his mother insists that there was no sex. (eye-roll) What I didn't know was that they separated and that there was another, another woman who caused a second separation.
He was a long haul truck driver and this isn't unusual for drivers.  But I was shocked that there were two women and that they were actually separated.  She also said that he used to be hell on wheels (Drinking and mischief) but that was because of the friends he hung out with.  To which, Kevin and I have eye strain from the eye-rolling.  OH, and another thing: one of his best friends back-in-the-day was my ex-husbands uncle. 
So, I'm looking through a different filter when I'm looking  at some of the pictures of Kevin's parents. He was a total rascal. It was always said that it was his BROTHERS that were rascals. Ummm, no, it was him too.

You see what I'm saying?  LOLOMG.

So, anyway, back to the original topic.  Kevin's mom made memory books for the boys that included school portraits, class photos, report cards, and keepsakes like birthday cards and Valentines.  I've been able to add to Kevin's book quite a bit.  It's been really fun. (and more on this topic later)
Now Kevin's mom has stated that she wants to have the photos distributed amongst the sons and grandkids.("Otherwise, they will just sit in the closet until I die!")  This is my next step. I've already begun separating photos out for the boys but she means the photos that are in albums and not just the ones that are stored loosely are to be distributed. And what about the one million cousins?  That's a big project that I might just offer to store the albums instead of taking them apart.  Then I will work with her to make sure every one of them are labeled and stories are told.  Also, I'm hoping that tossing them up on the facebook will be sufficient for the one million cousins.
OH! And when I was posting the photos of Kevin's dads family on Facebook, I didn't know who was who.  I took a photo of the photo then messaged Kevin's aunt (who is my FAVORITE, ever) asking for details.  That was Super Fun!  She would say things like "That's my mom and my exboyfriend...NO" Or "That was Sonny's ex-wife, she never smiled" or "You can post that one, Marlene might not like it but that's okay."  (Marlene is a sister, and she's on Facebook, and she wasn't amused.)

I've found that I have to walk away or I easily get overwhelmed. There are so many photos! (Five large albums and on big cookie tin full of wonderfulness)  Also, we're having a bit of heat wave and my office bakes in the afternoon, even with a giant window.  But I've finished the memory books as much as I'm going to and I've dropped off some really old, black and white negatives to be developed.

So, word of advice: label photos with your parents now before the memories fade.  We're "lucky" that Kevin's mom's dementia has affected her short-term memory only.  She can talk all day long about what happened when everyone was young.  A benefit of labeling photos is that you get to hear stories.  As stated above, whooo boy, there are some stories to be heard in every family.

07 June 2015

Little Shop of Horrors

For Kevin's birthday, we went to the hospital.  Well, we also went to lunch and then had Carmel Frappucinos, and ice cream for dinner.  Because: Adults.

There is a Cabela's on the way to the hospital.  All of Kevin's guys at work are always talking about how cool it is.  Because Kevin doesn't hunt or fish, he has had no interest in going inside. But after passing it every day for a week, he decided he wanted to stop and walk through.

So, this is where I say that I don't enjoy hunting or fishing. I am not anti-hunting but I'm also not happy with it.  It is a necessity for very few folks these days. I don't understand it and I grew up in a hunting community.

They have taxidermy animals all through the store.  It was like a effed up zoo trip.  Looking at them, all I could think of was that these animals are in the forests, minding their own business and living their lives when someone shot them because reasons.

We particularly enjoyed the lion attacking the zebra taxidermy.  Kevin just looked at it and said "Well, that makes me feel warm and fuzzy." and walked away.

They do have a dog section so we spent time there, it was our one happy place in this store of unhappiness.  They have tennis ball guns. OMG.  I'm totally going to buy one of those for Kevin.

They also have an interior design section.  Some of the stuff was cool, lots of woodsy stuff but also a lot of horns. They also have a big clothing section, which I liked because I'm always looking for durable outdoor clothing for Kevin to wear to work.

But I spotted fur stoles.  I didn't know these were even a thing anymore.  Somewhere in my brain, I thought they were banned in Washington State.  So, I went to to look at them.  One was white and soft so I thought bunny.  I checked the tag right when Kevin walked up to me.  "What is it?" he asked.
"Umm, well. I don't want to say but it's Coyote." Essentially: dog. 
"Well, that's effed up." he says and walked away. He doesn't even like coyotes.

It was just strange to me.  I could only think: this is a whole store dedicated to killing things. And camping.  

So, we crossed that off the list of things to do.  A trip to a really effed up zoo.

03 June 2015

I'm Seeing Too Much of You

God bless whoever invented the DVR because: commercials. I don't watch them much anymore but no matter what technology brings, a person can't avoid commercials.  Even with the DVR, a person catches glimpses.

Here is where I feel like a Puritanical church lady: I'm tired of seeing naked people on television.  I'm not referring to nakeyness like Game of Thrones.  I'm talking about underwear commercials, adult diapers commercials, pretty much any commercial that airs during the day.

The "empowering" diaper commercial featuring men and women, all of whom are too young for adult diapers, is one that makes me actually angry.  First, I don't need  to see your junk. Second, no commercial is ever going to make wearing adult diapers feel okay, and third, it feels condescending. Adding happy music doesn't change the fact of ADULT DIAPERS.

The other one that annoys me is the tiny woman in the tiny WHITE bikini, going down a waterslide - because that happens - and is supposedly using a tampon right that very second. NO. No she is not.

It feels like commercials are needing a rating system.  I don't want to watch a Viagra commercial with my in-laws, or see that godforsaken tampon commercial when the littles are over. Kevin doesn't need to hear about using pads as pee pads, like women are puppies.  This is information that doesn't need to be shared. Everyone knows these things exist.

And, for some reason lately, all these commercials are featuring hardly dressed people. Because if you have a leaky bladder, or your period, or lack of wood (crass. sorry) the last thing people want is to see or be seen is nearly naked. This is not helping.

I would just rather not have these commercials. People who need these products are aware of their availability.  There's a meme on the interwebs questioning the need for toilet paper commercials:


In It

Swistle mentioned that this whole ordeal sounded stressful.  This is going to sound a specific kind of stupid on my behalf, but I really didn't realize it was until she acknowledged it.

I mean, of course, I can sense stress and tension in these situations.  I'm not a robot.  I am, however, the kind of person that can get through a crisis scot free until days afterward.  Case in point: I just spent yesterday watching television and napping.  I kept thinking to myself "Why am I so tired?"
Well, duh.

Because of my childhood, I can compartmentalize like no ones business.  This is a good thing in some settings, like this situation. But there does come that Hitting A Wall moment eventually. 
I phrase it as "Well, we're IN IT right now so we'll deal later."  Example: Kevin wondered how his dad hadn't crumbled under the strain.  "He's IN IT right now. When it's done, then he will."
Kevin is more of On His Feet Feeler.  He deals as it comes and bounces quickly.  In some ways, I wish I was more like him.

I just made a call to a social worker about getting services for the parents.  He's the husband of a friend so it wasn't as dramatic of a call as I'd anticipated.  (SWEETEST guy on the planet, btw) I managed the call just fine but then felt tired afterward.

But I found myself twice thinking "Why didn't I think of that?" during our conversation.  If I were doing case management at my old job, I would have had this stuff done by now.  But because "I'm In It", it didn't occur to me at all. 

No point really.  Just that we're all In It right now.

02 June 2015

Balance has Shifted

Well, that was a roller coaster of not fun.

Kevin's mom remains in the hospital.  There is rumor of her returning home soon but nothing has been confirmed.  We have learned not to trust rumor, until we hear it directly from the nurses and doctors.  We are still working on family members freaking out other family members needlessly.

(while writing this, Kevin said that they're sending her home today. It's 5:30 pm so we will see)

They did surgery to remove what turned out to be a foreign object, like a fish bone.  It wasn't Diverticulitis after all so that was the one good thing.  However, it was a life-risking surgery due to her diminished capacity.  She pulled through, much to everyone's surprise.

Nothing like watching your husband trying not to be an eight year old, heartbroken boy while saying "See you in a bit" when he really means "Goodbye, Mom."  Also, his birthday was the very next day so we all had this niggling thought in the back of our minds how awful that would be.

The current challenge is an old one.  She has been in the hospital long enough that she's beginning to complain.  Yesterday's complaint is that the nurse (who was curt, in the m-i-l's defense) wanted her to walk and the m-i-l told her no because she had a visitor.  In the past, we've found that she begins to complain and misbehave after a long stay.  Misbehave as in not walking when required or doing something alone she knows she needs assistance with. Complain as in that she can't sleep because the bed isn't good, the nurses are suddenly not as nice as before, or the food sucks.  It's a HOSPITAL, we often say.

Usually we end up being the parents in these situations.  I am usually direct and blunt. "If you want to go home, you need to do this. You must not want to go home very badly."  I luckily wasn't present for the "But I have a visitor" situation.  Kevin is a little more diplomatic but even that is waning.

Although this hospital is far away, it is a much better hospital than what's here locally.  It sucks a little because the best option is the furthest away. But it's good that for once, Kevin is the closest to where she is.   They provide good, consistent care and they are really good with Kevin's dad, who can be challenging. (If I hear "Are you in my way?" being said to the nurses while they're trying to work, someone else is going to need hospital care.)

They've also provided good boundaries for when she begins to act up or when there are simply too many visitors. They are exceptional at explaining what is happening, what could happen, and all options possible.  They're the first hospital who routinely lists all her health issues at each shift change and not just the one that has caused her to be there.

So, that has added education to what I've begun calling my Grey's Anatomy medical degree.

I had to stop reading Being Mortal because of the above, which has it's own irony. (and I found it in poor taste as Hospital Reading)  Now I'm finding myself anxious to return to it.  Kevin asked regularly "What is it saying now?" so it's been helpful to him as well.  I'm going to see if he will lend it to my sister-in-law in his diplomatic way.

There has been a slight shift in the power structure, it occurs to me.  Like I said before, we have become the parents in a lot of ways.  However, it's also changed between Kevin and his brother.  Kevin has taken more of a lead in this latest adventure.  He's the secondary contact person at the hospital, he's been making the phone calls, and making more decisions.

I feel a little badly that he's carrying this on his shoulders but more relieved than badly because it's gone so much more smoothly this way.  Let's just say there is less drama, if you will.

I've been taking care of the parents dog, flowers, and house during all of this.  While I need to return to work, I recognize that this is good timing.  Although, the same thing would have happened if I had been working.  While the siblings-in-law do stuff for the parents, the scale is definitely not balanced when it comes to caring for their parents.

Kevin made me cringe, laugh, and feel good all in one statement the other day: "I know you take her shopping and you do a little cooking and that's all great.  But Surely has been taking care of the house, the dog, and everything else."  When the siblings demurred, Kevin took a verbal swing with single statement of "She cleaned sh*t out of the toilet."  OMG, I love that guy.

So, I realize this is meandering and that's because it's how life is right now.  She came home late last evening and couldn't get up out of her chair, even with my f-i-l's assistance.  Kevin had to go over twice to help.  This is our life right now.