Saturday, June 20, 2015

Anxiety, Mental Health and Real Pizza

 I worked half a day on Tuesday, so that T.A. and I could go visit Ma down at the nervous hospital. Visiting hours are 11:30 to 1:00 and 7:30 to 8:30. We had to shoot for the latter, so we had some time to kill. We piled in her little hatchback and headed to Big City.

The first stop was the grocery store to get some prescriptions filled. $60 worth of prescriptions. Why isn't vitamin D on the $3 list? Seems kind of redunkulous that it's the most expensive thing.

While I waited, I scoped out the near-death mark down foliage. I've been working on making my office mine. Since I moved to the former manager's spot, (just the office and most of the responsibility, none of the pay or benefits,) I've kind of felt like a squatter. Comments have been made, mainly by The Groper, not to get to comfy because eventually they'll hire a new sales manager and I'll have to move.

Well screw that bullhockey.

The other day, I brought in a lamp for my desk, a little $7 one from the dollar store. By the way everyone acted, you'd have thought I'd trucked in a purple crushed velvet living room suite. I can't wait to see what kinda brouhaha I'll stir up with a half dead philodendron.

Anyhooters, after I picked up my drugs, we headed out to the far side of Big City. We found a little hole-in-the-wall pizza place, family owned, fading paint on the outside, just up the road from Shirley the Psychic. It has been years since I've had a real pizza. Here in the holler, you can get one from the Grab n' Go (and go and go) made with frozen crust, gross, salty sauce and whatever lunchtime leftovers they can find.

When our waitress sat the pie on our table, honest to gawd, I had to wipe drool off my chin.

Sometimes I miss civilization.

We also stumbled upon a brand new bead store with great prices and a huge selection. I really miss making jewelry, maybe if I can find a good magnifying glass on a stand or something I can get back in to it. I'm good for about 30 minutes before all those little seed beads get blurry and start to run together. 

As we pulled in to the hospital parking lot, ominous clouds formed and everything turned gray. I debated whether or not to swallow a nerve pill before going inside, then decided against it. I've not had to take an emergency anxiety pill in a long time, I could tough it out.

Bad call.

We passed a large family of Hispanic people in the waiting room who were muttering comments about the two fat people passing them and giggling amongst themselves. I damn near launched my fat ass from the elevator like a heat seeking missile. I stopped putting up with that shit years ago. No longer do I bow my head and scurry past in shame. I will straight up put the truck in park and get out in the middle of the street if I catch anyone flapping their pie hole at me and especially my child.

The only thing that stopped me from possibly being arrested and being admitted down the hall from Ma was the quick closing elevator doors.

On the second floor, I had to ring the bell at the locked steel door and give Ma's security code to be let in. They took my purse, our keys and cellphones and led us to Ma's room. She was sitting up in the bed, restrained at the waist, her feet twitching, face dripping with perspiration, her expression one of confusion and agitation.

Ma took one look at me, tears filled her eyes and she pleaded, "Don't you leave me here."

That was pretty much the gist of our visit.

She cried and begged. She told me not to come up there again if I wasn't gong to take her home. She went from sad face to angry mom face, making demands and threats.

I had to step out in the hall and get the tears out once or twice. I didn't want her to see me cry.

Forgive me if I sound like a drama queen, but to me it was a horrific experience. I am not emotionally prepared to be the adult in our relationship.

When our hour was up, she cried and clung to us both. We finally had to just walk away. In that moment, I wanted to die.

The chubby little nurse with the perma-smile kept insisting that I tell her why I was crying, asking if there was anything she could do for me. Inside I was thinking, "If you don't open that fuckin' door I'm going to knock you in the head with my over-filled purse." Eventually she did and I fled.

The Amazon, bless her heart, was the voice of calm throughout the whole ordeal. During the two hour ride home, she had to listen to me babble, a nervous verbal diarrhea, all the way back to the holler. I jumped from one topic to the other, from my dad to my aunt's alcoholic rants to shit that happened with I was in kindergarten.

I'm not even sure what the hell I went on about. It's an anxiety thing.

The next day, I called the hospital to speak with Ma's nurse. She told me that Ma was going through classic drug withdraw, that she'd been that way since she got there and they'd started weaning her off all the medication the nursing home had put her on. I made comments about Shady Pines' inability to manage her mental health issues and implied that maybe that wasn't the best place for her. The nurse assured me that the doctor and possibly a social worker would be in touch with me to discuss other arrangements if that were deemed necessary.

It was possibly a mistake to make this call from the office.

I started worrying about what the nurse meant. I mean, it had taken me a long time to find a nursing home that would take Ma. The ones here in Hee-Haw county don't accept patients with mental health problems, other than those associated solely with aging.

What if she meant she'd have to go to an actual like... asylum to live? There's only one in the region, the state run facility in Morganton. The thought filled me with that gut churning doom feeling. Morganton is about two hours past Big City.

I decided to Google it. This has been the week of bad decisions.

If you want relief from anxiety about a loved one going in to a state run mental health facility, DO NOT do a Google image search. 

It took me 'til bedtime that night to convince myself that the nurse never said Ma was going to the state asylum. Over the span of a few hours, I had myself worked in to frantic state of panic, guilt, sadness and hopelessness.

This is my brain on anxiety.

It's important to note, I didn't tell anyone, not The Amazon or Lulu, no one, about the phone call to the nurse or the resulting downward spiral of mental garbage. Having allowed one's own mind to turn against them is embarrassing. T.A. would have simply said, "Stop that!" while Lulu would have just looked at me like I was crazy, that sad look you give old people who've finally gone off their rocker.

So today, I slept. I made my morning coffee at 3 o'clock. My brain is tired.

I've got crap to do. I'll probably come to life at bedtime. Right now, I'm just fighting the urge to go back to sleep.

We'll talk again soon, ya'll take care. Thanks for listening.

Later Taters.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Shady Pines, Engineers and Staying Human

It's official. Underbewb sweat season is upon us... and I don't like it.

I've spent most of the weekend doing laundry. Loads and loads of laundry. A couple of weeks ago, our snazzy new tiny washer was delivered. It doesn't do a whole load at a time, but it uses less water (and electricity) so no more worries about flooding the potty palaces with pewp water when the sewage backs up (as it tends to do in the holler.)

After at least a year of washing everything by hand, you have no idea how thankful I am. It's not so much the washing that does me in, it's the dumping of the heavy tub, the wringing out and the taking two days for crap to dry. The new gadget spins the ever living snot out of the clothes (it sounds like the sombitch is gonna take off,) and they're dry after hanging inside for a couple of hours. As we speak, the pole in the laundry room (for hanging clothes, not for shaking my groove thang) is full, as is the shower curtain rod.

Now I'll have to clean out my closet to make room and buy more hangers.

After I cleaned up everything that was in the floor around the laundry basket and labored for 8 hours straight on Saturday, the pile is the same size it was when I started.

How the crap does that even happen?


Last week at The Asylum was busy as crap. I worked through lunch a couple of days and stayed through 'til 6. By the time Friday rolled around, I was tired. I really wasn't pleased when I pulled up that morning to find that Kat was still on vacation, Tiny and Thelma were taking the day off and TW's father-in-law had gone to the hereafter sometime in the night. Lulu left around 10ish (she comes in at the ass crack of dawn and had her 40 hours in) and The Groper called in to inform us that.. and I quote.. "I can't get off the terlit!"

That left me and the Baby Engineer in the office with Wally out in the tool crib, doing his purchasing thang.

Of course I don't have a problem with TW being out, hell I was glad she wasn't there. With the various personal dramas she's been dealing with the past couple of weeks, she needs some time off to get her head together. Tiny, on the other hand, takes off every freakin' Friday. As the Engineering manager, you would have thought he'd have come to work after TW emailed everyone that she'd had a death in the family.

Since I was there, basically alone with the switchboard (The Baby Engineer doesn't count, in our office, if you have a tallywhacker you don't have to help answer the phone) and everything else I have to do, I streamed Whispering Pines while I worked and actually got a lot done.

Have ya'll been watching Whispering Pines? Did chit not get real freaky all of a sudden???

Sometime Thursday afternoon, I got a call from the nervous hospital. Apparently Shady Pines was supposed to have called to inform me that they were arranging a room for Ma. This was the first I'd heard of it, as a matter of fact, I'd just talked to them the day before and they assured me Ma was doing much better after they increased her psych meds. The lady from the nervous hospital was very nice, but also kinda pissy over Shady Pines and told me she'd call back later.

About an hour later, I got the call from the social worker at Shady Pines, who was angry at the lady from the nervous hospital for calling me first. After she got her feisty little ass calmed down, she told me Ma wasn't actually any better, depressed, hallucinating and bordering on suicidal.

In other words, I don't have a freakin' clue of what the fudge is actually going on. I'm getting pretty annoyed with everyone involved.

So THEN, the lady from the nervous hospital called me back while I was in the bathroom for an extended and somewhat tense visit. I was in there sweating, trying to be quiet and ya know... accomplish some things... while I answered Ma's medical history questions. I don't think she suspected anything. Apparently I'm a ninja pewper. She ended the call by telling me that they hoped to have a bed soon, possibly that evening.

I didn't hear from anyone all day Friday, so I assumed they were still waiting for a bed. I mean, I had the switchboard and several huge quotes to work on, I figured they'd call me when they had more details.

Late Friday afternoon, I got a call on my cell from the psychiatrist at the nervous hospital. Apparently Ma had been there since the previous night, had been seen, tested and her meds adjusted.

She'd been transferred clear to the other side of Big City and no one had bothered to call me.

What the actual friggen hell?

When the doctor called, I just let the switchboard ring. I had reached that effit stage of caring. It kinda ticks me off when I'm there at The Asylum, trying to keep chit running and getting my work done while everyone else is off dealing with the personal crap. I HAVE PERSONAL CRAP.

The doc said he didn't think Ma's problem had anything to do with being bipolar or dementia. He said he took one look at her list of meds and wondered how the hell she was even able to form a complete sentence.

Me and The Amazon are planning to drive out there on Tuesday when she's off work. Gas is way cheaper in her car than in Jolene. The nervous hospital is like... 2 hours away.

I've been in a funk for most of today. Gollygeewillickers...I wonder why?

While I'm super thankful that I got that monster pile of clothes washed yesterday, it took it's toll on me. I haven't been worth a chit today.

My house is slowly coming together, I just have to do what I can, when I can and learn to cut myself a break when I over do it. I have to remind myself that I'm not lazy and I'm doing all I can.

In other words, I don't suck. I'm only human.

On a side note, there is now a link to my Flickr account in the sidebar. There are a few more pictures from our Mother's Day adventure. I hope to add more soon, I found my camera charger and the card reader. I miss taking pictures.

Anywho, that's the latest from the holler. We'll talk again soon.

Later Taters!

Friday, June 05, 2015

More Than One Mama Bear Can Take

Here at The Asylum, it's been a bad week to be a Mom.

On Tuesday, I was answering emails when I received a call from Lulu on an outside line. I didn't even know she'd left. She was calling from the DG in town, looking for Benadryl. Her mom had called to tell her that her son, Mitch, had been stung by a bee while working outside and was swelling up like a balloon. Lulu grabbed the drugs and dropped them off with her mom and rushed back to work. A little later, when I went to ask how he was doing, she was gone again. I called Thelma to ask if Lulu'd left again, looked up and there she was, standing in my doorway. She'd been to the clinic and back.

Lulu's got mad ninja skizzles.

Mitch ended up at the Hee Haw clinic with Dr. Methuselah, 2 shots in his belly, one in his hip and 2 more.. I don't even want to know where. They said if he'd waited any longer he'd be dead.

The docs down at the Hee Haw clinic don't embrace the practice of "bedside manner."

Today, Mitch is doing fine, but Lulu is in sticker shock after finding out they wanted to charge $400 for epipens for him to carry. Mitch's income is so low, he doesn't even have to have Obamacare, so no insurance. Lulu called around and found someone with a sample pack so her youngun doesn't up and die, seeing how he cuts trees for a living and is bound to run across a bee or two again. In the mean time, I found a manufacturer that offers free pens to low income people, so she's got that for next time.

On Tuesday afternoon, after being holed up in her office all day with the door closed, leading to all sorts of speculation around the office of plant shut downs, mass firings... all kinda stuff.. Twatwaffle came to my office and shut the door.

"This is it.. I'm fired," I thought.

She leaned back against the door, muttering something about informing her top notch team, began shaking all over and hyperventilating.

With her 96 year old father-in-law in hospice and her mother facing surgery for the lifelong effects of rheumatoid arthritis, I assumed something really bad had happened to one of them. I walked over and put my arms around her.. anything to stop her from shaking. Between panting breaths, struggling to speak, she squeezed out the words, "Monday night.. my son... OD'd... on heroin."

I was flabbergasted. Her son, barely 21, had the world handed to him his whole life. TW has a daughter and three beautiful grand babies, but this boy, this was her baby.

"His... skin was gray... I.. I.. had to do.. CPR... on my baby boy."

That night, he'd come in late and asked her to make him something to eat. She told him no, she was tired, what with running to the assisted living place, taking her mom on doctor visits and running this place. She told him she was going to bed. He is grown after all, surely to gawd he can go make himself a friggen sandwich.

But then she felt guilty, as we all do and went back upstairs to toss some chicken in the fryer. She told herself it wouldn't take ten minutes, then she could sleep, guilt free. As she puttered around the kitchen, she heard him go in to the bathroom, but, after a reasonable amount of time, didn't hear him come out. She banged on the door, but he never answered. When she pushed her way through, she saw him there in the floor, not breathing, with the needle hanging out of his arm.

It would be traumatic enough if you knew your child was doing the hard stuff, but TW had no clue. I can not even begin to fathom what must have gone through her mind.

She yelled for the Bubbahubby to call 911 and began CPR, or at least, the best she could from what she'd seen them do on T.V. When the paramedics arrived, they popped him with a syringe of Narcan and hauled him to the E.R.

Today, TW's baby boy is doing ok, other than facing a court date for possession charges and ya know.. being a heroin addict. TW and her Bubbahubby on the other hand, are all to pieces. I think both their worlds have pretty much been blown to smithereens in the past week.

In the middle of all this feckin' Mama Drama, Thelma put her baby boy on a plane to Argen-fudgin-tina. He met a nice South American girl while working at a ski lodge in Colorado this past winter and decided to pack up his stuff and head way south of the border.

Thelma is nervous, but okay with it. Her Bubbahubby and her mother-in-law are not and are blaming Thelma for "letting" him do it.

The boy is 19. What's she supposed to do? Lock him in the basement?

Lulu said Thelma's brother-in-law even stood up in church last Sunday and asked for prayers for Thelma's baby boy to see the error in his ways, shaking his head and putting on a good floor show.. and embarrassing the beejeebus out of Thelma.

So while I feel lucky that back at my trailer, the worst thing I'm dealing with is The Amazon's swollen ankle and her lack of enthusiasm for helping with the dishes, I've still had my share of anxiety fueled chest pain this week.

As much as TW gets on my last nerve, I honestly do not think I could survive the week she's had. My heart aches for all three of them,

It's hard to be a Mama, yo. The struggle is real.

We'll talk again soon.

Later Taters!