Sunday, April 1, 2007

The Mission for April

I look around and assess what I need to do, and getting the house ready to put on the market just looks so overwhelming and discouraging. My life has been filled with "firsts" since my husband died, and this will be the first time I have prepped a house for sale without him. We bought and sold - let me think - four houses during our married life, and moved in and out of a few apartments as well. I am no stranger to the process, I'm really good at this. But, damn, when I think about the long list of things that need to be tackled before the sign goes into the yard, and the next long list of things that will accompany actually moving, it's exhausting to contemplate. I am breaking it down to small steps and making lists, but...damn.

Then there is the issue of dealing with my elderly mother. I can't skip off to MD or NC and leave her sitting in that stupid damn house in BFE, Florida, freaking out over everything and refusing to take her blood pressure meds because she read the warnings on the label and developed every reaction symptom just by reading them. This is not out of a sense of guilt but a recognition of responsibility - like it or not, I'm the one who is deemed responsible for her, and I don't want to have to slog a thousand miles to deal with her. But I also can't/won't live with her. And she has a house full of stuff that she can't bear to part with, so even if she agreed to move to some nice senior apartment with transportation and such, it would be hell to accomplish it. The thought of dealing with THAT situation is very stressful. But the only thing worse than dealing with it is the thought of sitting on my ass here for the rest of her life, because she most likely has another 10 years in her. I know it sounds terrible, but she feels like a concrete block tied around my neck.

Boy, that sounds so cheery and positive, doesn't it?

On the plus side, I am ALIVE and feeling just fine. Honestly, at this point the SAH is fading into "Did that really happen?" in my mind, only the stubble and scar on my head are proof that it did. The scar is just a white line where there is no hair at this point, it doesn't look very impressive at all. The stubble is growing in, and boy, is it gray. Otherwise I feel boringly normal.

The scalp numbness is the most annoying remnant of this misadventure. I need to ask Dr. SL if the weird feeling on my scalp is going to go away in time, because it is SO strange to brush my hair and feel like half my head has had a shot of Novocain. I'm hoping that isn't permanent - I mean, obviously I can live with it, it's not a big deal, but it's just so...weird.

I got in touch with my former boss T, who had a similar-but-different brain thing (and what are the odds of that?). Though she did not have to have a craniotomy to fix hers and it was treated with focused radiation to shrink the offending blood vessels, and hers happened some months ago, it sounds like she went through a rougher time than I did and has had more residual issues. It's all about where the bad thing is in the brain - apparently mine happened in a part I don't use. ;-)

So, the plan for April is work on the house and work on me. Let no garbage day pass without a pile of mystery junk at the curb! I will be on a first name basis with the guys at Goodwill. My son will come down and help me clean out the garage and get ready for a garage sale.

My gym membership has been on hold for months because work craziness kept me away, but I'm going to re-activate it this week. I miss the weight machines. I'll have to start over at the "My dog weighs more than this," settings on the machines, but it will feel good. And it's the start of the next phase of Runagogo, or in my case, Walkagogo. I've spent the 3 weeks since I got out of the hospital warming the couch and watching game shows, but now it's time to get serious about getting better and getting ready for the future. Doesn't that sound brave and positive? Boy, I'm something, aren't I? Actually, I just want to go back to bed and wake up already moved and settled somewhere else, because getting there is going to be a bitch.

Edited to add: I must remind myself of a significant benefit of moving: not having to hear the words "Gator Nation" over and over on every news broadcast.


Amie said...

I'll have you know Aslan is really pissed at you. If it weren't for this cockamamey Walking thing you've come up with, he could sleep much more comfortably (on my lap, under covers, as is the preferred position). Thanks to you, if I'm up and moving, he's really only able to get a solid 20 hours a day. You should see the little bags under his eyes.

Catherine said...

I have the opposite problem - my small personal trainer will NOT let me forget to take him for a walk in the evening, no matter how much exercise I've already had! This morning he started in on me before I'd had my first cup of coffee - he did not win that round.

Anonymous said...

Can you enlist your son and daughter to help you sort out your mother's "stuff" if/when she agrees to move?

Catherine said...

I could enlist them and they'd do it, but she would not be cooperative - or worse, she would go along because she's convinced that if I get upset I will drop dead now, even though I've explained that the aneurysm has been clipped and disappeared. She'll go along, and then spend the rest of her life telling us how sorry she was that we let her get rid of a particular lamp or a table, and crying and moaning about what a mistake it was to move, and the neighbors are spying on her and why do we think she's crazy?

And that is if I could get her to agree to move, other than "in with me," which is totally not an option. I can eliminate that by getting a 1 br. apt for myself, and I would be happy to find her a suitable place near wherever I end up, but she is "of sound mind" from a legal standpoint. She is not sane from an "Oh yeah? Try living with her!" standpoint, but I can't make decisions for her, and I also know she won't make them for herself.

Trust me on this, I've tried for many years to get her to move closer to me, while my father was still relatively healthy, because I knew he'd go first. And over the years my mother has driven several realtors to rehab. Just one example from the many: we found a perfect condo five minutes from me 10 years ago, ground floor, spacious, sunny, with a screened lanai and lovely landscaping AND a garage connected to the unit. It met every criteria she had ever mentioned. My father was delighted and ready to sign a contract, after they went home my mother whined about it so much he threw up his hands and said forget it. Why? Because the unit (which was empty and immaculate) had a rust stain in a toilet bowl. I am not making that up.

Frankly, she can sit in that house as long as she wants, until she takes some affirmative steps to do something, I am not going to try. It's not the logistics of moving her as much as the crazy drama that will go with it that makes me dread the thought.

sallyjo said...

A friend of mine moved away to a place she loved. Then she got thinking about her parents and that they were old and sick and going to die, so she moved back. For ten years. They didn't get old and sick and die. She moved back to where she loved. One got sick and died, of course - but five years after she'd moved back to her own heaven.
Just something to consider.
(By the way, I'm not normally cold and heartless - this is just a phase I'm going through.)

Catherine said...

"Cold and heartless" is what people who are manipulating you call your acts of self-preservation. I have a friend like your friend, but mine has sacrificed many years for her elderly father. She has postponed getting married (she has the most patient fiance in the world) and works at a job she truly hates, that is beneath her considerable talent, all so she can be there to deal with her father, who is in his 80s and appears determined to break 100. There are siblings, but she is, of course, the daughter who is in charge of everything, not by choice but because the others didn't step up. On the one hand I admire her devotion, on the other, I think about where she will be when he finally does pass on, and how many years of her own life she's lost already, and what kind of feelings of resentment and laundry list of lost opportunities she's going to deal with later. It's her choice, she's extremely smart and knows all of this, but I cannot make that same choice. I don't claim to be wonderful and noble and self-sacrificing.