Saturday, October 06, 2007

Early afternoon phone call

Boring family stuff again....

My mom is in a nursing home. It's not a fabulous one, but it is also not a horrible hell-hole. However, having a phone in her room is just not feasible for the amount of use she would get out of it. We tried a cell phone a couple of years ago; she couldn't work out how to answer it, or how to end the call. Her vision is just not good enough, or maybe it's that her eyes and brain are not longer in communication.

Anyway. To call her, we call the main switchboard and they take a phone to her room. That's one bit of hassle.

Other bits of hassle: I'm calling long-distance, being on hold while they wander around searching for her (or whatever they are doing!), listening to the 3-minute repeated on-hold message, finding the "right" time to call (more than an hour before or after meals, and not early or late in the day, among other proscribed times), not being able to understand her, her inability to hear/understand me, the cordless phone not functioning.... It's not a party, ok?

All, all of this, for a conversation lasting less than 5 minutes, at the end of which I will be told to call more often because I don't call enough.

I spent 28 minutes on the phone just now, having dialed SIX times, for a 4-minute chat during which she told me twice that it was noisy in the hallway--where she had to take the call because the cordless had hung up on us twice--and she couldn't hear me. She has no contribution to make because she doesn't do anything all day. She did tell me that it's supposed to snow there today. Otherwise, I did all the talking. And repeating. And then she had to go because 12:30 is lunchtime and she doesn't want to be late; it takes five minutes (MAX!) to get from her room to the dining room, and I'm pretty sure they'd hold her food for her if she were a couple of minutes late. And I hung up at 12:10 her time. If I'd been connected when I called the first time, the lunch thing would not have been an issue.

And yet.

And yet.

I have another phone call to make this afternoon, in a couple of hours. I have been asked by my sister to call my niece (her daughter). Talking to Katherine is always a mine-field, never more so than this year. She and Alan are making a point, it seems, to be busy all the time, too busy for family, or at least too busy for her family. I don't know about his. I just know that my sister said Katherine sounded depressed this week, she hasn't gotten a firm answer about whether they should try to get pregnant again, and she's worrying because that's what my family does. We are Expert Worryers. So. Katherine's worrying, my sister Marie is worrying, now I'm worrying. And I just don't know what to do, how to help, how to be available but not hover over her and Alan.

That last...the not knowing what to do...has become such a constant companion over the last month that I'm in serious danger of going catatonic in virtually every area of my life. There doesn't seem to be one thing right now that I'm doing well, or up to my standards. I don't even think my standards are that high right now, and I can't achieve those!

It's a gorgeous fall day today, nearly 90 degrees out. The farmers are out in the fields harvesting the corn and beans. Tonight is a big dance for Sparky, and he's having a friend spend the night. His football team won their game last night and remain above .500 (fairly unusual for our high school). Beast is golfing, but he is nearer home than he has been all week. Tomorrow is our first 'real' youth group meeting at church and it means cramming a TON of stuff into three hours. Life is very good, and I'm trying to hold onto that.

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