Yes, Pam, There Are Good People

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I would like to apologize, dear blog readers.  I have been down, and I have been venting on the blog.  That makes me upset with myself, because I created this new blog in order to concentrate on the good and get rid of the bad.  I guess old habits die hard (in may ways!) and I was back to feeding the gloom and doom within myself.  For that, I apologize, but I would also like to thank those of you who reached out in support.  Even if you didn’t reach out, I would still like to thank you for your patience and tolerance as I work through a  rough point in my life.

My morning was horrible.  I went straight to the hospital after emailing morning instructions to the office.  I needed to be at the office, but I felt that I had to go to the hospital first.  I wanted to speak to someone who could explain all that was going on with my mom.  At this point, most of my information was coming from her, and it was confusing at best.  Things were not good when I arrived at the hospital.  I couldn’t find the nurse assigned to my mother, so I waited and waited.  Mom was much worse today.  It is a sad and humiliating thing to watch what she is now going through.  When I came into her room, she was sitting on the edge of the bed attempting to get up.  I rushed over to see what why she was trying to walk.  She CAN’T walk unassisted, and there is an alarm on her bed that was chiming.  She said she had called for a nurse, but no one had come to help her.  I told her to wait just a moment until someone came in, but she couldn’t.  She needed to use the toilet.  What good was the alarm when no one reacted when it rang?  In fact, what good are the nurses if they won’t come when they are called?

Things with my mother got very bad, and I hate to even write about it all.  I helped her to the bathroom as shit trailed across the floor of her room.  Four times, back and forth.  Finally, I was able to get an orderly to at least come in to clean the mess on the floor.  Her clothes were soiled.  Her bed was a mess.  Her socks were soaked.  I ran out and found a nurse, but she informed me that she was not my mother’s nurse.  (Bitch!)

My only help for about an hour was the cleaning lady.  After the fourth trip to the bathroom, Mom started to vomit.  She was sitting on the bed, and it went all down the front of her gown.  The cleaning lady brought a basin.  I will add that I am NOT someone who does well with bodily fluids of ANY kind.  Not at all!  I have never had the least desire to be in the medical profession.  Like my Dad, blood and shit and vomit make me feel like fainting.  I was light-headed, and all I wanted to do was run as far and as fast as my legs would take me.  It was demoralizing for both my mother and for me.  Neither of us wanted to be in this particular situation together.

One time as she vomited, her upper dentures flew out of her mouth, onto the bed…..and dropped to the floor.  I picked them up.  Teeth, fake teeth, streaming with vomit.  My God, she was in the fricken hospital.  Is this the kind of care she should be receiving?  I was livid by this point, but afraid to leave her side.  I got on the phone, and called the nurses station.  My bitch hat was on, and finally one of the nurses was able to take a moment of her busy day to care for a patient.

It was a miserable, disgusting, horrifying, emotional morning.  I left when they were preparing my mom for her biopsy.  I was shaking as I walked out to my car.  It was hot as hell outside, and my hands were cold as ice.  I was alone, foolishly alone.  T had offered to go with me.  He had texted me while I was there.  Once he realized how badly things were going, he offered once again to come support me.  Each time, I said, “No, that’s OK.  I don’t want to mess up your workday.”  I am an idiot.  It’s true.  I prove just how stupid I am on quite a regular basis.

When I got back to the office, things weren’t much better.  I was three hours behind on what would have already been a busy day.  One thing I have to say again is that I LOVE the people I work with.  They are the most kind-hearted, friendliest group of people I have ever had the honor to know.  They showed genuine concern.  They offered to help in any way.  They actually CARED, and that meant so dang much to me.

I had a late lunch with T, and we didn’t really talk much.  I love that about him.  He allows me to be quiet, and I am rarely quiet.  Seems that I am sometimes quiet with him, only with him.  He is a quiet man himself, very self-contained.  He doesn’t care if I talk, he just wants me in visual range.  Now that I think about it, we communicate a great deal without words.  Most of the time, I am too wound up and dumb to connect all of those subtleties.  Thankfully, today I was able to “get” it.  I was able to see his kindness.  Maybe because I was thinking about “Slap An Asshole Day.”  T is not an asshole.  He may be many things, but one thing is true, he has never knowingly hurt me.  Sure, we have argued and bickered.  My feelings have been hurt.  So have his!  But never, ever would T be an asshole to anyone.  He is not selfish, arrogant, self-centered, or spoiled.  He is has kindness in his heart.  Always.  I felt much calmer and more in control of my feelings after our lunch.

On top of all that was going on in my day, I had to host a concert on the plaza tonight.  It was the first of 10 summer concerts that we produce.  This year, I won’t have to attend all of them.  I am passing that torch, but tonight I had promised to emcee and show them the ropes.  Getting up and speaking in front of a crowd was about the last thing I wanted to do on this particular day.  I wanted to go home, pour a drink, cry, take a bath, and harvest my Frontierville crops on Facebook!

I had a couple of hours between time at the office and the concert time, so I drove home.  Ah, the drive home.  What would I do if I didn’t have these wide-open fields to calm me.  I am so tied to this earth when I see the fields.  I understand the tie my family has had to this place and to this land and soil.  I understand the connection, the love, the care and husbandry.  When I see this fields, I see history and generations of families.  I felt my stress ebb as I once again let the land soothe and speak to me.

As I pulled into my long driveway, I saw the gentle shadows dappling the pavement.  Lola saw me, and her face lit up.  She ran to the car to tell me about her day.  I walked in the door, “Hey, babe!” from T.  Emily was standing there to give me a hug.  She knew how bad my day had been.  I had called to talk to her about Grandma earlier.  She told me that she was going to come to the concert with me to help out.  Aww….love that girl!  T warmed me a plate of last night’s leftovers while I sat down for a moment.  I had an hour at home, but it refreshed me.  I didn’t want to leave, but I felt more like myself again.  Yes, this is a bad, even terrible time, but there is still so much to be thankful for.  There is still so much beauty in this world.

For a few moments, I allowed myself to feel good, to feel the blessings and beauty of life.  Just for a few moments, because I can’t forget the pain and suffering that my mom is going through.  No wonder we fight so hard to keep living even when it is well-past the point of a healthy existence.  She is so sick, yet she wants to go on and on.  The beauty and joy of the world around us what we struggle to hold onto.  I hope that the beauty on the other side can compare, because this world we live in is almost more beauty than I can take in.

As I drove back to the city for the concert, my phone rang.  It was a young mentally handicapped woman who has volunteered for me in the past.  She was asking if she could help out tonight.  She sounded so happy and excited when I assured her that I would love her company.  This young woman has been damaged from birth.  Each and every day is a challenge for her, and yet she has such joy in helping others.  She is a blessing in my life.  I need to remember all these blessings big and small.

The concert was fine.  The weather was fabulous.  The night was hot, but there was a cool breeze off of the river.  The plaza was beautiful.  T designed all of the planters this year, and they’re glorious!  I felt a sense of pride.  I love my job, and almost four years into this, I am seeing real, tangible improvements.  I (not just ME, but my program) am making a difference.  I’m a perfectionist, and I am hard on myself, but tonight I felt so proud.

As we sat there watching the band and the crowd, my phone buzzed.  A friend sent me a text asking about my mom and what my plans were for the weekend.  I felt happy that she was thinking of me at that moment.  A while later, my phone buzzed again.  When I opened the text, I laughed out loud.  It was from a friend that I see only at conferences.  It was a silly picture he had taken with his phone.  He had a big, fat cigar hanging out of his mouth.  This wonderful man brightened my night just by sending a picture and saying “Hey!”  I miss him.  He has been a true gentleman and a friend.  I’m not sure why he entered my life, but I know that I am glad that he is a part of it now.  I sent him a text thanking him for the smile.

Tonight I held on tightly to all of these small, unrelated, but dear,  acts of kindness.  A text, a phone call, an offer of help, a plate full of leftovers warmed in the microwave, these simple little gestures lifted my heart and my spirits.  Yes, there are some fine people in this world.  I don’t HATE being me as I said last night.  Oh, I did in that moment, but that moment is past.  I am afraid.  I know that what lies ahead is not going to be easy.  The Pollyanna in me is going to be challenged.  I will falter and fall down, but hopefully, I will remember these good people in my life.  Hopefully, the next time someone offers to help shoulder my burden, I won’t be too proud and bull-headed to allow them to help.

I am breathing deeply tonight, and my heart feels full of peace and love once again.  My day is finally over, and my feet are propped up on the coffee table.  T is asleep in a chair (as usual!) and Andrew is across the room.  Lola is dreaming the dreams of an 8-year-old on summer vacation.  The other two kids are romancing the night away.  These are my moments of quiet and restoration for whatever life has in store for me tomorrow.

 

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