On Being an Only Child

The day I dreaded for years has come. The only child syndrome has expressed itself in new and so un-exciting ways.

Happy New Year.

Since I wrote last my mother has gotten to come home from the hospital (New Year's Day). They put a tube into her lung to let it re-inflate and it has now healed and she's on oxygen for a few weeks. Besides the injury and being on pain medications (let's just say she doesn't have my pain med resistance…) she's a bit worse than usual in the mental department. While in the hospital, her family doctor came to visit. I happened to be there and in the course of the visit he said, "I realize you have been under some stress with your husband and now your own injuries, but when this is over I'd like to talk to someone who has been around you for a bit. I believe we have some memory issues that are ongoing." In the next breath he says, "I also believe there have been some issues with alcohol." My mother then proceeds to get defensive, saying she hasn't drank in two years. Oh, but she's been having a glass of wine in the evening…and she will probably have some when she goes home?

Uh. Hello? Since when is wine not alcohol? …and, no, mother, you can NOT mix wine and pain meds. Then I go home and find five used wine glasses in the dishwasher, a big bottle of wine in the frig almost gone, and another in the cupboard. Needless to say, the open one got dumped.

She is also on oxygen now and we have to carry a tank back and forth to the hospital – or when she travels. If she is just sitting still she doesn't need it, but sleeping and walking around she does. So she also has oxygen at home that they came and set up – it is a converter that takes oxygen out of her home air and it keeps her from having to have a tank at home. Okay. No problem. Except. They asked before we went home if she has a gas stove, etc. No, but she does have a gas fireplace. They say, "Do not turn on the fireplace unless you stay 25 feet away". The livingroom isn't even that big – she'd have to be in the far bedroom to turn it on. So… I say, "We'll just leave it off". The guy comes to the house to set up the oxygen. I ask about it and make sure it is okay to have it off, but if it is okay to have th pilot light on. "Yes, as long as you don't turn it on unless you are 25 feet away."

The fireplace turns on with a light switch. A light switch that is next to the kitchen light. I swear, not 5 minutes after the oxygen guy left, my mother flipped the switch to turn on the fireplace as she was fumbling for the kitchen light. Luckily, I was standing right next to her and threw it off before it could actually go on. I had already mentioned to my husband I was going to tape it down so she wouldn't do that, but I didn't know what switch it was. Needless to say, it got taped down – immediately.

So, now I not only have my father who is still in an unresponsive coma (he is breathing unassisted and did get moved out of the ICU into a room) and who the doctors are now starting to ask about "DNR" orders  – but I have my mother who, silly me, I thought just was annoyingly repetative and forgetful to me, but who as it turns out is evidently bad enough she has caught the eye of her doctor.

I packed my bag and am staying at my mother's for the time being, much to my husband and childrens' dismay. They had a birthday party get-together supper last night for my grandson who turned 11 and I couldn't go because she can't travel that far and she certainly cannot be trusted to be home alone. I was disappointed not to be there, they were disappointed that I wasn't there and my husband goes back and forth between being supportive and grouchy. Can't blame him, but can't change it. Seriously, they've all been terrific. Makes me glad I didn't make any of them "only children"… lol.

I have some extended family coming on Sunday (my father's sister) and we are meeting monday with a rehab facility who specializes in head injury. No idea what the outcome of that will be. Right now I feel like I've got most of the weight of it all on my shoulders. Hopefully we're going to get some insurance stuff figured out and I finally got mom talking about finances today. Babysteps. Bad thing is, Dad did it all… every bit of it. Obviously he's going to be no help figuring it all out. Arggh.

I once more want to thank everyone who has commented on here, on Facebook, or sent me emails. I appreciate it more than you know. It feels so nice to have such good friends – be it in real life or the cyber world. I hope all is going well with you as obviously no time or energy to be checking out your blogs. If anything big happens, please let me know in comments or send me an email. I want to know what I'm missing, even if I don't come look. I may actually get caught up sometime in the near future. I found out the hospital has super-fast wi-fi and my laptop is very happy with it. Now if I ever get my work caught up I may actually find myself reading blogs and WoW-ing from the hospital… Well, I can hope, can't I?