Sorry for your loss but I need…

Let’s just keep it real here and go on a purge of thoughts.

The last few months have sucked.

My father, who has been living with me for the past several years, passed away in mid September. Prior to his death, we had several trips in and out of the hospital, which eventually ended up with him needing at-home care.

My little sister and I tried to balance the tasks in between the hospice visits, and working. It was aggressive but we were managing, even getting into a routine.

Then, when I was away on a work trip, he passed away. I should have known it was close. And in my gut, I beat myself up for leaving. He was doing so well the week before I left. In fact, it looked like he was getting better. He was up and moving around. He scooted his office chair here and there and it was like keeping up with a toddler at times. He even hooked up a long oxygen tube so she could sit on the back porch and enjoy a beer with Doug and I.

Three days before I left though, he was struggling again. And I thought, maybe I should not go? But, though work had been demanding, they had let me work from home to care for dad. So, I figured I needed to go on the mission to prove I was still a team player.

So I did, and he died while I was gone. My poor little sister had to do all the immediate stuff: call hospice, watch him be taken out of the house and … I know that sucked even more than being gone.

So now we are here in the aftermath, figuring out what to do. Dad was not good with money and was a bit of a hoarder. I am not saying he was a bad dad. He was kind and worked hard to provide for us when we were young. He was a product of the generation of fathers were where just sort of there. Present but not fully present. I mean, there were no great Lifetime Movie Network moments of dad giving out great advice or showing us great moments of affection. He was just there and loved us in his way. Meanwhile, he was still a man with flaws and one of those was money management.

So, here we are now notifying bill collectors and sorting out his things. And while my work was flexible, my sister’s pretty new job was not. Not at all. They actually fired her because she “missed too much time in the training program.”

Like they literally said, sorry for your loss by you missed too much time in the program so we have to terminate your employment. What kind of crap company does that? I mean, no sympathy, no remorse, no kindness, no understanding. Perhaps they are not human there and therefore have no capacity to understand? Or perhaps they are so focused on work that how anyone feels is irrelevant.

In fact, I think much of the world has a limited capacity to think of others. Through this process, I have learned that people really don’t give a F&@*, especially when it is inconvenient to them.

They will talk a good game and say sorry and let me know what you need, but they really don’t want you to call them and ask for help. And I get it, because the things I needed help with were things no one wants to do. Oh, you want to come over here and help me clean dad’s bedsheets and give him food and medication while I go put my old horse down because she is now blind? Do you want to come over here and take my three cats to the vet because I cannot leave dad and they are way overdue for a check up? Or now that he is passed, do you want to call all these companies and inform them that they need to write off his bill because there is no estate? No? No one wants to do THAT stuff, the stuff you really need.

I mean, I cannot be mad at people for not wanting to do those things. Hell, I didn’t and don’t want to do any of those things either. But, sometimes, some of us don’t get choices. The party line is that we all have choices, but it’s just not true at times.

So here we are, figuring out who he owed and trying to inform them. And ultimately, they don’t care either. They just want their money, like bosses just want the work done.

People will say all the right things to take away all the awkwardness from themselves, but again, they really don’t mean it. They say sorry for your loss but then move right into what they need from you. And sometimes, there are folks who don’t even say the BS ‘Sorry for your loss’ line and just move right into, ‘I haven’t seen you in awhile so I wanted to talk to you about….’

And if they ask you how you are doing, they don’t want the real answer. They just want the politically correct answer so they can move onto what they need from you.

And for right now, I really want people to not need anything from me right now. But that’s just not the reality of the world.

So how can I help YOU?

Hopeless & helpless

I’ve discovered the most hopeless and helpless feeling is watching a parent age, especially when you can do absolutely nothing to ease their pain.

My dad has COPD and it’s getting the better of him now that he 80. Some days are good and some days are bad, and there is a trend the last few months with the bad.

A few months ago he went to the hospital with pneumonia. Then again with COPD exasperation. Then another after a fall out of bed.

The most recent scare was him calling me at 5 a.m. when I was out of the state on military duty. He whispered, “I cannot breath.” Just imagine the panic, fear and helplessness of getting that call when you are asleep. Let me tell you, it wakes you up fast. Fortunately, he managed to hang in there while I figured out how to call 911 from one state for help in another state. While I told the paramedics how to get into my house. While I called my neighbor, who I’ve only waved to from a distance and spoke to on the phone, to get the dog into the back yard so the paramedics would not be hesitant to enter. While I tried to not freak out.

After getting home from that hospital trip, there was another time where my sister found him on the floor. He had slid out of bed and could not get up, so he just laid there on the floor…for a couple hours.

So now, we’ve had to adapt, or are figuring out how to adapt. From the previous hospital visits, Medicare started some at-home care visits. This most recent hospital stay triggered a move to at-home hospice care. If you are not familiar with the difference, we were told this. At-Home care is to help you get better. At-Home Hospice is to make you comfortable. It’s gentle wording for a harsh truth that no one wants to know, hear or experience.

So now we have hospital stuff all over: oxygen machines/hoses/masks, walkers/bed pads/medications…and more medications. My sister and I have had to gut my dad’s room to support the situation. In more blunt terms, we had to take out his hoarding stash of things and fill up my ‘guest room’ with it all so we could accommodate they medical supplies he needs now.

Now, my house is insane. Various nurses, social workers, physical therapists, chaplains, and hygiene aids come in and out. And they almost never come on any predictability. And sometimes, they all seem to come at once. One day, about a half an hour after a physical therapist left, the chaplain came. While I was speaking to him at the front door, the hospital bed delivery gentleman came. Then while he was coming in, the social worker came. So in one hour, four people were there, and three were there all at once. Then, an hour later, a hygiene aid came. These people are wonderful and all provided by Medicare, which gives me some comfort.

With all these changes, my sisters, my boyfriend and I still have to work. He works a lot. I have two jobs that both require some travel. My younger sister lives an hour away and just started a new job. And my older sister lives several hours away. So making sure someone is with dad at all times now is very complicated, and stressful.

We’ve also lost all modesty in the house. Accidents happen and clothes have to be changed. Bedsheets have to be changed and washed out. Floor have to be clean. None of us are medically inclined people, nor want to be. So, it a struggle. A very real struggle. And, add in the fact that it makes you feel even more helpless and sad.

Yeah, it’s a lot. On top of that, while I was out of town last week, the barn owner called to say that my horse went blind. I will have to put her down. She’s in her early 30s, so it’s expected. However, it’s the same situation with dad, you know the situation, the facts, the eventual result, but it doesn’t make the reality easier. So again, it is just a hopeless and helpless feeling.

While I know this is the natural circle of life, I would prefer to remain ignorant to it. I would like to hide under the covers. I would like for it to all be different. Yet, I cannot. Things need to be done. Messes need to be cleaned up. And work still needs to be done while juggling all of these things I want nothing to do with.

Such is life I guess. Off to help with another breathing treatment.

Solutions & Coffee: There is always time

I don’t remember exactly when I wrote this but it was um, at least two years ago…. But hey, it was in my drafts so here goes an old update.

It’s been a while since I posted a travel adventure, so here goes.

I’m trying to return my rental car at the airport at 5 am. It’s early, but my flight is at 7:30 am and I don’t like to rush so here I am trying to be all organized and early. Well, I accidentally drive into the wrong part of the garage and now I am trying to figure out how to get out of the Alamo section and into the Budget section. So I find an exit and figure, I will go out and go back in. But there is an employee with their head against the booth window…asleep. After a few moments of sitting there making some noise, she wakes up. I polite explain I need to get to Budget.

Her: I don’t think they open until 8.

Me: Ok, but my flight is at 7:30 so I feel like they probably have some options. I just need to get out of this area and into theirs.

Her: You cannot exit. I am sorry.

Me: Um, ok. So how do I solve this situation?

Her: I am not sure. But you cannot exit from here. I am sorry.

Me: Oh, ok. So I guess I just stay here for the rest of my life? Did you bring some good lunch to share?

Her: [laughs] No sorry. [Then just looks at me with nothing really to say, but still seeming friendly.]

Me: Ok. Then. I guess I will go drive around and donuts and figure out where to live in this parking lot since I cannot ever leave.

Her: ok. Bye.

I drive away from wince I came and find two guys cleaning cars. One guy says, just follow him. So, off I go following some guy through the maze of the garage and bam, here I was at the Budget return place.

The point of this ramble is: there is always a solution too a problem. Well, at least for some folks. Though this lady was polite and friendly, she clearly did not have any problem-solving skills. Or perhaps, she just didn’t want to use them on me at that early hour. Whatever the case, don’t let one sleeping, got no problem-solving skills people stop you from your destination. Smile. Nod. Then move along to someone else who is capable of assisting (or willing to help) you with your journey.

There is always a way. You may have to drive around in circles and talk to several people, but eventually, you will get there. And still have time for airport coffee…as long as you are early and planned ahead.

Random airport thoughts

So I took my first work trip since March of 2020. And as I sit here at the airport waiting for my flight, here are my random thoughts:

  • Why do people put their phones on speaker and talk loudly around others? I mean I get that you might have to have a conversation, but on speaker?
  • Do people really not comprehend that wearing a mask UNDER their noses is not effective? Or are they just being defiant? Lazy? Sloppy? I really want to know.
  • When there is a literal world pandemic and you still cannot bother more than one second of water (and hopefully, maybe some soap) on your hands after using the bathroom…I may have seen patient zero at the airport bathroom.
  • Why do some people still not see that literally breaking into the Capitol with tactical gear as a problem? I truly am confused on this? It seems pretty obvious to me that this is a bad thing. Yet some folks are seemingly ok, if not in full support of this.
  • Why does nearly everything on the Cheesecake Factory menu have to be like 1200 calories. (I had a gift card to use.) Why are portions so big now? Is there anywhere in the world that you can get a reasonable portion, of healthy food when you travel?
  • I realized that I have missed my camera, the act of taking photos, the joy of being creative.
  • I also realized that in the process of working so much I have become stressed, cubby and slightly sad. I need to regain motivation, movement and creativity in my life.
  • I have to admit, that the hardest thing about wearing a mask for a long period of time is admitting that my breath is that bad thing I smell. If you don’t experience this, you must be a magical creature, constantly brush your teeth or lying.

Well, time to board my plane. I hope you enjoyed some random thoughts. Have you had similar?

Hello again. Is there hope?

I know it has been two years since I last wrote a post. And in that year, I only did two posts entirely.

I have missed blogging. Of course, I am not sure anyone missed my blog, but that is ok. I started it years ago to feed my desire to write and be creative. If one person liked it along the way, that’s was a plus. (To that one-hello! How have you been?)

Anyway, today is more wandering thought than creativity. I am sitting at the airport. And of course, while I wait, I am people watching.

I used to travel for work nearly every month, which eventually just ruined my free time and creativity to write on my own blog. Then, COVID struck and I thought, oh I can write now. However, my work became even more time consuming, just from home.

I am flying today, not for work, but a friend’s wedding. Not just any friend though, it’s a friend that I deployed to Iraq with back in 2005. And two other girls from that deployment will be there too. So, even though flying during a pandemic is not ideal, it’s really important. Therefore, I sit. All sanitized. Wearing a mask. And trying to avoid proximity to others.

I cannot lie. It feels different. First, the parking areas at the airport were EMPTY. We were able to drive right up to the parking garage lot. I swear I didn’t notice one car in the Park-n-ride lots that lined the airport road. That was the first majorly different thing. Then, inside the airport there are signs and stickers all over the floor, reminding people to distance and wear their masks. Of course, there are those who don’t pay attention, listen or care. Who knows which reason they are not following directions.

This got me thinking. Having been around the Army for a bit, I am used to following directions. I am used to going the better-safe-than-sorry route. So, it boggles my mind daily when I see and watch people. They argue about wearing masks. They argue about distancing. They argue about everything.

I just don’t get it. Is wearing a mask really impeding on your rights? Heck, I don’t like them either. They are hot. They make my glasses fog up. They are itchy. They don’t look good… and the list goes on. However, if this is one thing I can do to help others not get sick, not get sick myself or just show that I care about people other than myself, I will do it. What’s the big deal already?

And let’s just say, that those scientist people know some things and this mask thing can help. (I know this is a reach for some. But let’s throw out this hypothetical situation.) So IF they do help stop the spread and we all wear them, I have come to the conclusion, there may still be no hope this will get under control.

My lack of hope in improvement is not due to lack of belief in science. It is due to the lack of hope in humans to wear a mask properly. As I sit here, there are masks on most people. Yet, at least a third of them have no idea on how to wear them, or chose to make a statement by not wearing them correctly. Some have them only covering their mouths. Others have them on their chins…protecting who knows what. Others are fancy and wear them like an earring. And then, there are the special ones who won’t wear them at all.

If getting this thing under control relies on people doing something as simple as wearing a mask, I am concerned.

Well, it’s almost time to take my flight. Stay safe out there folks and hang in there. And, can someone please give me a reason to have some hope? It doesn’t look very good right now.