30 January 2022

Easier Yet Harder

Surgery One of Two is done and all is well.  Mostly.

The wait between drop-off and the actual surgery was at least 45 minutes, and that I didn't enjoy.  I told Kevin that I just wanted to walk in and boom: surgery.  I don't want to discuss it, I don't want to know anything, just get in, knock me out, and get out.  Kevin just kind of laughed and said "You know you can't control this, right?"  Shut up, Kevin. 

Instead they did the check in, well-check, and then I laid there for forever while the sedative took effect.

They used Propofol so I was aware but not, in a Michael Jackson kind of way.  I remember talking to the anesthesiologist and the nurse giving me oxygen, then I remember hearing the surgeon finishing up and kind of seeing a light like at the end of a tunnel, then being wheeled in to see a worried Kevin.  

But like when I had my bionics taken out of my leg, I felt like I was fine.  I'm sure that I wasn't.  

We got burgers (garden burger for me)  afterward because I hadn't eaten since 2 a.m.  (I woke up and had a snack at 1:45 am because I knew it wasn't going to be good for anybody to be anxious AND hungry.)  Anesthesia makes me chatty, so that was really fun for Kevin, I'm sure.

Once I got home, I slept on the couch for a few hours with my Snoopy pity blanket and an eye patch. Then sometime during the nap, Lucy climbed up with me and we watched television/napped. Then I made tacos, because nothing stops Taco Tuesday.

It was both easier and harder than I anticipated.  The surgery - other than the waiting -was easier than I anticipated.  The recovery has been harder than I planned.  I was a little low yesterday because of who I am as a person.  I just have no patience with the time that it takes to heal.  Everyone said "Oh, it's easy.  You'll see so much better and feel better quick."  Well, shut up everyone. 

Firstly, as discussed before: thirteen years sober.  I've only had anesthesia twice in adulthood: once in 2012 and once in 2015.  So even with "just" the Propofol, I was a little knocked down for a bit.  Secondly, I forgotten two things about me and anesthesia: it turns my urine a light pale green for a few days and messes with my hair.  My hair is like teenager mid-puberty hair right now.  

I can see better, yet worse. Lol.  I won't know exactly how much better until weeks after the second surgery. Meanwhile, I found an old pair of glasses that aren't perfect but they're pretty close. And they were one of my favorites that I've ever had. Purple, of course, naughty librarian style.  I still use my reading glasses so that's good.  I have three pairs now so I'm all set.

Hooray for hoarding!  
I usually donate them but #thankscovid

I had found a pair of clip-on shades for the glasses I was using. Then I accidentally found a pair of sunglasses that I missed when searching before, that mostly work.  Those made it possible for Lucy and I to go to the bay yesterday, because my eyes are still light sensitive.  (example: the refrigerator just needs to calm the eff down)

The unexpected part of the surgery is the brightness and seeing COLOR.  I told Swistle that it is like the scene in Wizard of OZ where it goes from black and white to technicolor.  I hadn't realized how dimmed my vision had become.  It happens so gradually that a person doesn't notice. (like the frog in the boiling water analogy)

  • The eye patch - both styles - are like sleeping with a cast on.  You just can't get comfortable.  So I slept in, like A LOT, today because Kevin had to work.  
  • The eye is still swollen.  Like the actual eye, not the "you look tired" swollen.  It looks like I'm high. They say that will subside soon.
  • Ucky part:  There was blood where they had to do a thing (I'll spare you)  It was in the corner of my eye and couldn't really be seen.  Then yesterday, the clot burst and kind of flooded the lower part of my eye.  So it looked like I had been in the pool too long.  My vision was a little blurry looking down but it's better today.
  • Vision: I would say it's about 75% restored.  Glasses will do the remaining 25% and I'm happy with that.  The surgery on the other eye will help but the change won't be as dramatic.
  • I can get in the habit of Not having my glasses on here at home because I can see pretty well without.  My eyes will just wander around my head and Kevin is already used to that.
  • Oh, that gives me an awesome Kevin story to tell: when we met, I was using my glasses for driving only at the time.  It had been not many dates when we went to a nice restaurant for dinner.  I was talking and nearly knocked my drink over.  Then later as there was a pause in the conversation, he just politely, kindly, off-handedly asked "Can you look at me with both eyes when you talk to me?"  which made me LAUGH and know he was probably a keeper.
  • Can you believe that I haven't tried reading a book or a magazine yet? That tells you the state of my mood.  I can read the computer and phone without glasses. HOWEVER, my reading glasses still help a lot.  It could be because of the astigmatism and amblyopia correction though.  
  • Also, I had to shove my monitors way, way back and turn down the contrast and tint.  
  • Colors are still bright but not as shocking as before.  Because of the aforementioned blood, white can have a purple/pink hue.  Think of it as before and after the outside windows have been washed or the first time you open all the curtains/blinds in the Spring.
  • It appears (vision pun!) that my depth perception is better.  I'm not knocking over things, tripping or bumping over/into things.  I had to relearn how to park the truck.  I didn't expect that, so that's happy.

Unintended consequence:  I can see all the paint that needs a second coat or touch up.  It has made me laugh.  First I noticed the wall outside of the common folk bathroom, then the orange closet, then our bedroom.  I'll be breaking out paint brushes when this is all said and done.

I have one more post-op appointment on Tuesday morning.  Then on Friday it's back to the pre-op procedures with the eye wash, compresses, no makeup, etc.  I told Kevin that I'm not bothering with makeup for the four days in between. (also, I had to buy new makeup so there is no chance of infection)   Then sometime on Tuesday will be the second surgery. I hate that they don't let you know until Thursday afternoon what time the surgery is on Tuesday.  I'm going to assume it will be similar to the first one, mid morning.

Finally, the people were super nice so that makes going back easier. The surgeon said a little prayer, after asking permission, which was kind of sweet even though I'm not a believer.  I had to give written and verbal permission for an intern to observe the surgery, so that felt very Grey's Anatomy.

The Ophthalmologist tech during the follow-up appointment cheerily asked me "Are you excited for your second surgery?" I was all  "NO"  and she looked surprised.  I followed up with "It's still a SURGERY so no, I'm not.  I AM looking forward to having it done."  I know I was tired, anxious, recovering, so my answer was probably curt but c'mon.  Hey, are you looking forward to someone cutting into your eye? I bet you are!

One other thing that made me laugh:  As I'm laying there waiting, I'm listening to other people being checked in.  I made it a game to listen to the birthdates of everyone, then do the math of how much younger I am compared to others.  I am easily 15 years younger than most of the people there.  Of all the things to be an overachiever, this is one I'd rather not.

Finally, with all of that, if you need vision correction surgery then I would say to Absolutely have it done. Despite all the whining above, it will be worth it in the long run.  If you're doing it only for cosmetic purposes, then I would be meh, might want to think about that.  

28 January 2022

The Tip of The Iceberg

 Okay, so the parents. We made it one whole week without drama.  Then, it's like they had saved it up for one day.

I was talking to Kevin the other morning and he said "Mom's calling, I'm hanging up."  Then I held my breath, waiting for the call back with either "It's nothing" or "The ambulance is coming" Because it feels like there isn't any middle ground anymore.

He phones and asks in the tone that he hopes will prevent an oncoming tantrum, if I will go next door and help his mother.  She has questions. *deep breath*  Yes, of course, just let me stomp my feet and flail my hands for a minute.  

I masked up and went over there.  She's sitting at the table and she is in Full Scale Meltdown.  TILT has been unlocked. "What's the problem?" I ask as my f-i-l sits behind me and is trying to wrangle the ill-behaved puppy.

"I can't figure out my insurance and my medicine isn't coming."  Umm, okay, that's two things.

"What's wrong with your insurance?"

And she is so spun out that she can't clearly answer the question.  I change tacks (tacts? I never get that right)  "What makes you think that your medicine isn't coming?"  I ask.

They have her medicine set up with Pill Pack via Amazon.  If you have elderly parents, HIGHLY RECOMMEND.  Like, So Much Recommend.  They send the pills out monthly in literal little packets that are clearly marked for Day or Night, to prevent medicine mix-ups.  It's the best thing.  

Anyway, they had phoned to say that they need the prescription renewed and so she extrapolated that to her medicine was not coming and would never come again.  Deep breath.

I phoned Pill Pack and they were lovely.  They just needed one of the two doctor's offices to renew the prescriptions.  Okay, I say, I will make that happen.  I disconnected from them and called the cardiologist office.  They are super helpful and will just send that right off.  

So that fire is put out, for now.  (ooh, cliffhanger!) 

I return to the insurance question.  Finally, she is able to ask "Why did we switch insurance?"  I reminded the both of them, yes, BOTH, that they had made that decision during December and did all the paperwork to change.  And that they did it because there was a substantial monthly savings.  She accepted that answer but I don't think she remembered doing all that.

I return home.  I'm watching a movie and she phones again.  Now CVS has called and she had to create an account with them.   She told them that I would phone them back.  Ummm, okay.  I have a tiny panic attack that she just gave hackers her information.  

I return back over there and ask "Why did they say they needed you to make an account?"  

"To get my medicine." she says.

The medicine.  That less than two hours previous, I had handled with the cardiologist and the Pill Pack.  So I was all "Did you tell them that it was handled through Pill Pack and that you don't need their services?"  

No, she says, "Because they said that I HAD TO."  And she is vague whether or not she gave them her information. (which tells me that she did)

I phoned CVS, totally anticipating a hacker but got a lovely human.  She said that she was phoned, simply because PillPack and CVS are partnered and because I spoke with PillPack, it put me in an automated callback queue for CVS.  She said that because she had Pill Pack, CVS did not need her information.

And: drink.

They said not to worry so I disconnected then called Pill Pack again to make sure.  As I'm starting to speak with them, my f-i-l rises from his chair and decides this is the time to wad up crinkly plastic to throw away.  I turned my back to him and continued the conversation and I heard "Dear, she is on the PHONE." and he stopped.

BUT THEN, he goes and gets what-felt-like half a gallon of ice from the ice machine.  oh.My.DOG.

I turned and walked outside and closed the door.  I could hear my m-i-l whisper/shouting for him to stop.

And I think I heard a little giggle in the voice on the other side of the phone call.  I don't blame them.

Anyway, they reiterated what CVS said and checked the prescriptions, and checked the insurance again. This caused me to go back inside to get her insurance card.  She gave it to me and I sat at the table away from them.  As we're speaking, she picks up her ever-present cup of ice and begins eating it with a spoon.  Augggggghhh.  But wait.  This is where my f-i-l says "Dear, put that down. She's on the phone."

I mean. Wut.  Is this real life?  Because it feels like Everybody Loves Raymond.

 Finally, we are good to go. Again, she's skeptical so I said "Let's just wait and see how this plays out and we'll worry about it later."  AND I said: "Good job telling CVS that they had to talk to me first."  To which, my f-i-l very gently tells her "Yes, dear. They're to talk to Surely. That's all you have to tell them."  So, that felt like a battle won.

Later, I told Kevin all about it and even he was all OMG about the ice thing.  

Now it's today.  Maybe a full 24-hours later.  My m-i-l phones.  From my f-i-l's phone.  I didn't ask why, I just didn't have the energy to have that conversation again.

She says that CVS phoned and that four of her medicines will be delivered next week.  She is spun out again, because it's not Pill Pack.  I told her that we are just going to wait and see what they send and we'll worry about it then.  They already have their February Pill Pack so it's not like she's out of meds.  Again, she is skeptical but I held firm.  I have no doubt that she will try to phone them again.

This is where I say that this adventure began just at 24 hours POST OP from my surgery.  I don't even have full vision at this point.  I'm still a little high at this point.  

But, maybe that was a good thing.  hahahaha.

27 January 2022

Winter Break Update

Started this a week...two weeks?...ago but anxiety got the best of me.  

 I've been sober 13 years as of New Year's Day.  I've managed to outlast all the nonsense that has been thrown our way during the pandemic and failed overthrow of the our government.

I also lost a friend at that time that needed to be lost

We watched Christopher Titus stand up's on the youtube over the winter break so that I could get some therapy.  It's interesting to watch it with Kevin because he's usually surprised at least once when I comment that something like that happened in my childhood.  This one was the fight between a brother and the dad.  He looked surprised, shook his head, and just said "Your effing family..."

The snow is finally gone. Three weeks of snow and ice.  I'm usually sad when it's gone but between not leaving the house for days (because ice, not snow) and being married to a person who reports the weather constantly, I am over it.

Kevin's mom is home and as frail as we expected.  Nothing to be done there.  (time has passed, see next post about that whole sitch.)

The brother-in-law's new puppy has already shown aggression to Lucy so that's super fun.  Boxer, known for bad behavior plus someone who doesn't know/want to properly train a dog.  Like having a months old puppy not on a leash and then being furious when they run and don't return.  So, that's going as expected.

Without getting into detail, Kevin had a windfall and is putting it into the racecar, as he should. It's not something I'm "entitled" to and that's okay.  He did the work and I did not. (Also, now time has passed and I have news...in a minute)  Eventually, the racecar will be fun for me, just not right now.  So, with that, he said that I could blow cash on something I wanted.  This was after the holidays/birthday so I kind of demurred and told him I'd think of something.  

Well, today was the day.  I had to go get a mammogram in the city where I used to work. (results = normal)   Just down the way from the imaging center is a certain big box BOOK STORE.  $108.68 later, I'm a happy camper

I needed a calendar and I was concerned that there wouldn't be any and there were just a few.  Also, Swistle has me entranced with getting a cool calendar every.single.year. and every.single.year. I get the same calendar.  I don't know why I wuss out.

I bought two boxes of Christmas cards that I don't need, justifying that I would use them for Kevin's staff next year AND ignoring that I've already bought a box for that purpose.  But LOOK: an abominable snowman/yeti/bigfoot card!   A book light because I have zero luck with booklights and reading is really difficult right now and maybe it will help for the next twelve days.

And BOOKS.  I bought Allie Brosch again because I gave away my first one without reading it.  The other two books I have read about and by pure dumb luck, I found them.  Do I have a list/screenshot of books I want? Yes.  Is it organized and helpful? No.  Also, I had the goal of buying authors that I haven't read before.

Also: this is the second time that I've been to this store; during the workday and both times it was nearly empty.  If it were busy, I wouldn't go. 

My surgery is in a few days and I'm anxious in the same way that I was anxious for Vegas.  I'm ready to be able to see again, even if it's not 100% until mid-February.

I managed to get fingerprinted today.  I had the same person and this time we chatted about true crime and she even wrote down a name for me to research! There was only one other person there so it was a complete 180-degree turn from last time.  Whew.

Oh, and the murdered dentist.  I read the obituary and I am convinced the husband did it.  Now, this is probably not cool to post when this poor woman has been allegedly murdered but this obituary is like something from a Dateline episode:

Michelle, my love, you have gone where I cannot yet follow.

You began your journey in California on date, and concluded it date. We celebrated your 51st birthday this year. Your highest callings were to be a dentist, wife, and mother, and when we met in 1995, you were well on your way.

2000 was an eventful year, and our lives took off. We got engaged in tourist trap town on New Year’s Eve. You graduated with your Bachelor of Science from the University in March. We eloped and married in St. Lucia on May 15th. When we returned from our honeymoon, you attended the University of Dental Medicine, graduating 2006 with your Doctor of Dental Medicine.

Even with your grueling academic load, we still found opportunity to become parents, and we welcomed our son in 2001. We moved to the Island in 2006, and you took over the clinic. We welcomed our daughter in 2009, and continued to work our way through our bucket-list.

Alas, we ran out of time. We miss your bright smile, passion, empathy, and too much else to mention.

Your Celebration of Life will be held at Brickworks on Saturday. All who have something positive to share are welcome.

No mention of her childhood or family or friends.  It's Just about him and her and in a weird first person, yet removed. They eloped.  They moved far away to a literal remote island. Then the piece de resistance: "All who have something positive to share are welcome"    SO MUCH ACK!  Oh, and his name is Scott.  I've found that guys with that name are nearly always A MESS.

I was whining about Who Has a Zoom Meeting at 3:00 on a Friday Afternoon.  Well, I just need to shush about that whole thing.  My job has authorized a significant pay increase for all employees for the school year (retroactive) for "retention and appreciation purposes during this historic pandemic".   So that was a fun little surprise.  I guess some folks were anticipating being a mass lay-off so that was a zippy twist.

Okay, so surgery is done on the first eye and it went well.  I'm still in the healing/this sucks part but it's mostly good and definitely bearable.  Because of who I am, I want to be healed immediately and I don't want to wait another eleven days for the next surgery.  I'm trying to convince myself to take time off and enjoy the couch.  But I think that kind of coping skill is one of the things that is lost to the pandemic. It's no longer a treat to be at home and do nothing.

With that, I'll post about the goings on with the parents over the last 24 hours next.  But I'm almost out of screen time for the day.

14 January 2022

Fingerprints and PTSD

 Okay, so you know what.  The 2022 meme that says "2022 is pronounced 2020 too" is just not okay.  Especially and specifically when I have days like yesterday and get work emails like this:

"As for the clinic, the dentist was just found deceased recently. 😥 Her husband found her in the hot tub...with the lid on. I've seen enough crime shows to know they better be interviewing the husband!"

I mean, C'MON.

It's the fourteenth day of this new year and I'm already:

I'm going to quote my email to my bff to explain how this whole thing started:

My gawd I am pissy this morning.  It has been one of those frustrating work mornings where everything is just stupid.  I flunked a bloodbourne pathogens online test and I GOOGLED THE ANSWERS after the fifth fail and STILL failed.  That's the kind of stupid stuff.

I had to do a criminal background check and I had to list my former married name and it ruins my day for about five minutes.  I always stumble on the Have you ever violated a restraining order question and have to correct my brain to say It was violated against me, not by me.

I also had to register for something that made me update information that hadn't been updated since 2006 and had all my former workplace information.  GAH.

So, about that criminal background thing.  It's required for my work.  It feels like maybe it didn't get completed on deadline because there was a sudden push to do it.  

Right now all the hospitals in this region...three counties..are full because of Covid.  Now is not the time to have folks out in the community unnecessarily

Since the last time I completed mine, fingerprints are now required.  Sigh.  This created a need to register for a WHOLE OTHER WEBSITE and complete that process online.  Which I did.  Except not.
I scheduled the appointment and off I went yesterday.

Firstly, it's on the old campus where I went to school for five minutes during the worst part of my divorce.  In that parking lot was a very dark and disturbing conversation with the former husband after he had stolen my car.  So, no PTSD was fine.  Psh. whatevs.

Secondly, this building is an old college. Imagine one long hallway a la The Shining, with lots of small rooms and offices. The office for the fingerprinting was at the very back. Couldn't get further away from humanity and still be in the building, very back.

Enter the room, which it turns out IS JUST a room.  No ventilation, no windows.  Just three cubicles and let's see...eight people including me.  Two of which were international maritime workers renewing their credentials.   I am masked up and I just tucked myself in the furthest corner I could find.  

Actually pretty quickly, someone came to help and she chose the furthest cubicle away. As she checked me into the system, she had me step up to read the monitor to verify my information.  Did she step away?  No.  Then, they don't have my appointment on record.  Because of course not.  I had to hand the worker my phone to show the documentation and at one point she says "I have to take my mask off, I can't read and have it on."


At least she was also wearing gloves.

So, fifteen excruciating minutes later, I left with my hair on fire and go to my office.  Because I also had a quick meeting with an advocate and needed to pick up supplies.  I'm feeling like I should just lick all the doors at this point.

There stands the "manager" who is coordinating all of this.   I kind of unloaded on her, not angrily but definitely frustrated. Animated, for sure.   I explained that the parents live with us, I don't put myself in these kinds of setting AND if I'm going to be in that kind of settings, I quarantine from them for at least five days but I CAN'T because they're needing my help TODAY.  

I remember that she said two things "The instructions were in my email" and "Well, you're still within your ten days of getting this completed so that's good."  I walked away.  Then later I texted my job partner: "Coworker is literally being PAID to be empathetic and still can't do it."

So, yeah, maybe a little PTSD.

By the time I returned home, after walkies and a Happy Meal with Lucy (shut up) TWO CENTERS had been closed due to Covid. Thankfully and luckily, not the center where my office is/was located.

Kevin phoned in the middle of this and he sensed....tone.  He asked what was happening and he flipped into the mode of  the "One Crazy Person at a Time" clause in the relationship policy.  He knew I'd had it when I dropped the gawdammit to him, which I never do because his family doesn't believe in using that phrase.

I came home and headed over to the parents to help them.  I remained masked up and stayed on the other side of the room.  If you remember, they had me switch their insurance while I was on winter break, just prior to the m-i-l's hospitalization.

Well, they don't remember any of the details of that.  And, they found that the new insurance had drawn their payment already.  So, I'm re-explaining all of this and left a message for the new insurance agent because "We have questions."

Silly me, should have asked what their questions were before phoning them.  Their questions were the above stated issues.  And. and. AND: my f-i-l thought he'd cancelled his/their insurance but he couldn't remember.

This is a thing because not only is he now uninsured for January, she just spent a week in the hospital.
I directed them to call the insurance RIGHT NOW to confirm he did and to undo it, if he did.  I told them I was going home because I still had work to do.  I did AND I just needed five minutes.

And of course while I've been gone, everyone needs something.  I worked about another hour, putting out little fires. My phone rings and it's the in-laws.  My f-i-l just says "Can you come over here, right now, please?"  Yes, of course.

Scurried over there and they're on the phone...speaker phone...with the insurance.  Yes, he had cancelled it and they were undoing it but the folks couldn't communicate clearly so Enter: Me.  I spent a half hour on the phone undoing his cancellation and correcting an error on her account.  ALL THE WHILE, the new insurance agent is phoning me back as well as my work.

My in-laws are in their chairs and I can hear "Oh, thank god for Surely"  "We couldn't do this without Surely."  "How does she get these things done?"  I am not pleased with this, or bragging, because I'm annoyed.

Because thirty minutes later, the m-i-l says she doesn't want to get a power of attorney for her/with me because she's still "with it" and doesn't want to give it up.  As Kevin is reporting this, I actually laid my head on my desk.  "Kevin...if she's so okay...WHY DID I JUST SPEND AN HOUR OVER THERE FIXING THEIR ISSUES."

So, meanwhile, everything is fixed.  And I return to doing my actual job 

Finally, it's the time of day where I'm done.  Super, extra done.  Oh, what's that? An email announcing a zoom meeting? Tomorrow? (Friday) at 3:00 pm?  And it's mandatory?  With less than 24 hours notice?

Now it's Friday at noon. I've rescheduled the fingerprinting.  I've finished my work.  I'm taking Lucy for walkies so I can be back in time for that dogblessed meeting at 3:00.  Recently they've been asking for "screens on" so I'm trying to figure out how to do that and watch Schitt's Creek.

C'mon 2023.

08 January 2022

Covid Christmas - a Sequel and Another Sequel

 Shortly after writing that post, our electricity went out.  Yep, foot of snow on the ground, in the twenty degree range outside, and no power.  Merry effing Christmas.

Kevin leapt into action, getting our generator running then going over to get the parents settled.

Remember, he had them all set up so it would be easy-peasy.  He went over and he said it was like herding cats trying to get them to understand and help.  "It's not a big deal"  "We're fine" were the popular refrains.  He got them set up then returned home in exhaustion and frustration.

This whole time, his brother didn't come out to help or phone.  Kevin finally phoned him and he acted surprised that Kevin would suggest that he might start his own generator or help the parents.  So, that went well.

We were just discussing sleeping arrangements when the power clicked back on. Whew.  Dodged a bullet.(Parents would sleep in their recliners, where there is a heater or go to the brothers if it gets too cold. Kevin would sleep in his recliner to keep an ear out on the generators, etc.)

We settled back in and was watching television when I got an instant message from an old friend, asking me if I could facetime.  It's almost 9:00 pm at this point and I was a little gah about it but went into my office and we facetimed.  OMG, so worth it.  

Her present from her mother - one of the mothers in the community who stepped up for me as a child - had given her a video compilation of her childhood. It included her grandma and great grandma, whom I loved because they were like fairy tale grandmas.  Imagine a fairy tale grandma in two cottages on an old remote farm.  Yes, that's exactly what they were like.  So it was a rip in the time space continuum to see them again.  But then.  THEN

Her mother had videoed her twelfth birthday slumber party.  Before my eyes were all the girls from the community from ten to twelve years old. It was stunning.  Stunning.  And there I was, one of the smallest with pretty blonde hair and actually looking happy.  (I was eleven)  There were lots of "Omg, that's Eva.  That's JODI, that's Jenny."    Neither of us have any recollection of any videotaping happening at all.  Oh, and it was a theme party: Sock Hop.  I mean, c'mon.

So that was really the best present of the holiday.  Ah.Mazing.  

Finally we went to bed but I think Kevin slept with one eye open the whole night, waiting for the power to go out again.  It didn't...until the next day.

Kevin spent the next morning clearing pathways for us and the parents.  He checked the generators again. We made it all the way to 12:30 in the afternoon when the power went out again.  Back into action he went, this time a little smoother because everything was set up and the parents were more cooperative.

But was his brother ready for any of this?  No, of course not.  So Kevin spent time over there helping, just in time to go to our other neighbors house to help.  The other neighbor...my brother's father-in-law.  Wait, you just thought: why would Kevin...?  And herein lies Kevin's frustration.  It all falls on him.

Finally, we get settled in for the night.  We had warmed up Christmas Eve dinner, which was nice because we certainly weren't going anywhere with all the snow falling.  We watched television and relaxed for a little bit when we started to think about bed.  The conversation bubble hadn't faded out of the air when the power blinked back on.  We sat, breath held for the next two minutes until we knew for real that it was on to stay.

Kevin bundled back up and went back next door to make sure everything was good over there.  It took Kevin raising his voice to prompt his brother to help with the parents this time.  

We made it one whole day with electricity and everyone home and relaxed. One whole day.  I spent a good portion of the day on the telephone with an insurance agent, medicare, and an insurance company, trying to help the parents get their medicare supplemental plan in place by January.  Was I successful? No.  My f-i-l has managed to lose his insurance card.  He also was insistent that he wasn't on the same plan as my m-i-l.  Based on what, we don't know but he was wrong.  

This started a Big Conversation about power of attorney, wills, DNR's and the such.  Just how one wants to spend the holidays.  Luckily, we are all in agreement about the way of things.  Was the b-i-l there for that conversation?  Don't Be Silly.

So, eventually the day wound down.  We had dinner and just settled in to watch television.  And the power went out again.  Kevin had just gotten his boots and coat on when it blinked back on again. "EFF it, I'm going to bed" he said.  So we did and the power stayed on the rest of the night.

Oh, and now we have a foot and a half of snow.  And record cold temperatures. It got down to single digits and neither of us ever remember it being that cold here before. 

Kevin had called out of work for the week between the holidays because his work can't operate in cold temperatures and snow.  I was also on winter break and this is where I will whine: THIS WAS NOT THE BREAK I WANTED.

But Kevin is still in the middle of a big project so he was mostly going to be in his shop.  He got up in the morning and took Lucy to the treat stand to get coffee.  He phoned about fifteen minutes after he left and he had tone in his voice.  All I could think was the last time he drove in the snow, we wrecked.  Thankfully, no, it wasn't that. 

His dad had phoned and his mom had to go to the hospital and he wanted us to take them.  Of course.  He was still fifteen minutes away.  (and I'm not mentioning the MULTIPLE conversations of we don't take her in the car, we call the AMBULANCE)

I had just gotten out of the shower so I was still wet haired, half dressed.  I pulled on my boots without socks and put on a hoodie with no shirt and the hoodie up and trekked next door.  She was having severe stomach pains all night and had been vomiting.   So I stepped back outside and phoned the ambulance.  

I finished that call and Kevin arrived back home and was a little spun out.  His limit had been not only reached but exceeded.  He was problem-solving getting my truck out of the snow and I had to stop him to get him to listen that the ambulance was already on it's way.  He went into the parents house and talked with them, while I stood in the driveway to wait for the ambulance.

They arrived and made it right up the driveway, which was a concern.  One of the paramedics was here a month ago when my f-i-l had a reaction to his booster shot.  We did the whole "Nice to see you again, hardy har har" thing that you do when you have family members who require the ambulance more than a few times.

They began monitoring her and getting all the info from her when I started listing all the health issues she has to the other paramedic...forgetting until last the G.I. tube, sigh...and then had to quietly state "We aren't going to need it but the DNR is right there on the counter."  I hate having to say that.  There's always a flicker of surprise then sympathy.

Once that was done, I got out of the house because there was just too much happening inside.  Kevin is outside, chatting with one of the fireman and I felt a tiny bit of irritation but you know what, he's had enough.  There's nothing for him to do really. 

Except make a path through the snow for the gurney.  Luckily the snow was dry so I could just sweep it to the side and actually found the task a little soothing.  Once I swept, I stomped it down with my boots. Maybe a little aggressively, until I wore myself out.  I returned to the house as the firemen were coming out so I explained the pathway was cleared but still sketchy.

Kevin said he was going to go start my truck and clear it off.  I asked him to wait with his parents and that "I need to go put on socks, finish getting dressed, dry my hair, and get warm before I ride in the ambulance with your mother."   The firemen stalled, somewhere between "Oh snap" and "OMG, she is serious."

So, fast forward to they pack off my m-i-l in the ambulance.  I will say if I never watch my 85-year-old father-in-law watch the ambulance leave with his wife, I will be okay.  It is a very specific kind of heartbreaking.  And we know that one time it is going to be the last time.

I'm dressed, truck is warmed and cleared out and we are finally on the road to the hospital.  We get there and Kevin is all "Whelp, we'll drop you off because we have errands to do then we'll check in."  *RECORD SCRATCH. WUT*

His dad was 100% okay with that and Kevin did just that.  I think maybe they had talked about it when I wasn't there but maybe not.  Then I did realize that because Covid, we probably weren't allowed anyway.  But this was unlike Kevin so warning shot over the bow.

It turns out he had phoned his brother who was all concerned but not concerned enough to leave work... Penny in the air...Kevin unloaded on him and said "I have a week off and you know what I've done? taken care of the parents. ALONE.  I was actually going to town by myself to do something FOR MYSELF and you know what happened?  I had to turn around and go home because the parents needed me AGAIN.  And you know what?  There wasn't anyone else but ME to take care of them."  Penny dropped.

If you know Kevin in real, you know he's not an explosive guy.  Loud, funny, sarcastic, but not self-pitying or mad, like, ever.  All I responded with was a quiet "Well done."  We did our errands and got lunch via the drive-through because holidays/snow/Covid, then he phoned his dad to get an update.

Because Covid, the hospital is full and the E.R. is full.  She had a room in the E.R, only because she was brought in by ambulance.   It was going to take a while to get any answers and we weren't allowed to come into the hospital, in any fashion.  Kevin said okay and told his dad that his brother or sister-in-law would be by later on to get him.  

My f-i-l balked.  What if she wasn't ready for him to leave?  What if they didn't have answers yet?  This is fair but because of the snow, they were his ride and because of Covid, we couldn't just hang out.  He didn't like the answer but he accepted it.

We got home and Kevin complained for like one second.  Finally, I just replied "This is my winter break too and this isn't AT ALL how I was going to spend it either."  

So, sigh. Fast forward one week.  She spent a week in the hospital with a bowel obstruction and a "heart attack-like event"  (also called Broken Heart Syndrome)  My guess is there was a little exhaustion sprinkled in there as well, because we just finished the holidays.

It also turned out to be a break for everyone that everyone needed.  My father-in-law got almost a week's worth of respite, which he actually seemed to enjoy. (zero judgement)  Kevin got a little bit of a break, finally too.  She's back home, weaker than before as expected, and we wait until we do this all over again.

I have Spring Break in twelve weeks. (I counted)  I'm not telling ANYONE.

P.S.   And this is why I changed the profile pic of this bloggity to the roller coaster.

01 January 2022

New Year's Meme - Pandemic Year, the Sequel


It’s back! The New Year’s Meme!   You could do it too, it’s a fun way to look back on your year. Although no one really wants to look back at these past two years.  Let’s do it anyway.


1. What did you do in 2021 that you’d never done before?

Quarantine within my own house. Zero stars, do not recommend


2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Yes, I believe I did or at the very least looked each of them in the eye:


My resolutions for 2021:

1.  Finish painting the master bedroom (Done!)

2.  Write More (Meh)

3.  Buy a damn stove, like, for real though. (rebuilt, not new so sorta yes)


My resolutions for 2022:

1. Just keep going

2. Advocate for working from home forever for my 22-23 contract

3. I got nothing…


3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No, we are out of that stage of life, unfortunately


4. Did anyone close to you die?

Not close to, but people we know.


5. What countries did you visit?

Lolsigh.  #thankscovid


6. What would you like to have in 2022 that you lacked in 2021?

The ability to see our Canadian friends, it has been almost three years.


7. What dates from 2021 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

February 13th – getting in the wreck with the snowplow

March 16th – one year anniversary of the lockdown

September 27th – travelled alone to Vegas for school

November 4th – vision diagnosis


8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I got, like, super organized because there’s nothing else to do. 

I learned how to refinish furniture.


9. What was your biggest failure?

There has been zero opportunity for any kind of failure this year


10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Illness adjacent: Kevin had Covid. 

Received my vision diagnosis & surgery scheduled.


11. What was the best thing you bought?

Tickets to the Van Gogh exhibit in Vegas, cozy self-pity Snoopy blanket


12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Everyone who is vaccinated, boosted, and trying their best to save civilization

(also: everyone in the medical & science field, first responders, front line workers)


13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

The entire GOP & it’s brethren. Anti-vaxxers. 


14. Where did most of your money go?

We managed to save money this year.  I’m just going to say Amazon & ClickList


15. What did you get really excited about?



16. What song will always remind you of 2021?

Shotgun – George Ezra

I’m Bad for You – Eric Strickland & the B Sides


17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? Gah, I don’t even know.

– thinner or fatter? Same somehow.

– richer or poorer? We have been beyond fortunate.


18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

 See our Canadian friends


19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Having to make constant decisions about being around the unvaccinated  


20. How did you spend Christmas?

Eve – Next door for a quiet low-key dinner

Day – Home, with the parents for a bit then alone


21. Did you fall in love in 2021?

Every day.


22. What was your favorite TV program?

 You would think with all the time spent at home, I would have one but nope.


23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

My hatred for ignorance and those who champion it remains strong


24. What was the best book you read?

One Damned Thing After Another  (a bit of a cheat, started it in December and finished in January)  My vision has limited my reading.


25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Music from the ticktock.  AJR, if I have to chose just one. (play them loudly)


26. What did you want and get?

 Working from home


27. What did you want and not get?

 Other than the obvious: being able to move about freely, I am good this year.


28. What was your favorite film of this year?

I don’t think I watched anything that really stayed with me this year

In The Heights is the only one I can think of


29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

53 and we went for a drive, looked at new cars, had dinner.


30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

 It's a theme and I don't apologize: seeing everyone vaccinated so that we can resume our lives in this new nearly post-apocalyptic world


31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2021?

Yoga pants and hoodies, shoes are again not my friend.


32. What kept you sane?

Walkies with Lucy


33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

 Alan Cumming.  I have been listening to his podcast and his books. Highly recommend!


34. What political issue stirred you the most?

 The antivax movement.  No, wait. The insurrection.  No, wait. The probably reversal of Roe Vs. Wade.  Gah.


35. Who did you miss?

 No one that I don't usually miss.


36. Who was the best new person you met?

I met no new people this year


37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2021.

 Expect the Unexpected