Monday, August 9, 2010

Weekend at Bernie's

Another Monday means another weekend's worth of inactivities to report on. Sooo, let's get this party started, shall we? Wanna start with Friday? I know I'd rather just forget about it myself. What the heck . . . maybe if I let others share in my misery it won't seem as bad. Just a theory, of course, it'll need to be tested.

Friday morning was nothing out of the ordinary. Jason came home just before noon to wrangle the herd and ship 'em to Granny and Papaw's so I could accompany my Mom to Doc Lees. Remember? She was to have a follow-up appointment regarding her plunging blood sugar. I hadn't really felt up to going but did not want to miss it.

Did I mention the ER doc, who we all seemed to like by the way (a real rarity these days) had noticed evidence of COPD both in her chest x-ray and while listening to her breath sounds? She denies this fact, however Amelia and I were there too and as our blood sugar levels were waaaay closer to normal than hers I'm thinkin' we were the ones to have heard the doc right.

Anyways it had been my intention to accompany my mom for many reasons. First I love her! I want to be there for her as she always was for me. And up until this last exacerbation I'd felt like I could help her. At the very least drop her at the door like Jason does for me. Sometimes, push her in a wheel chair. Stand at the window to sign her in. Just little stuff, but still, I felt like I was helping - as I know first hand how difficult that 'little stuff' can be.

Second, I always went with my Dad whenever I could. You wouldn't believe the mountainous paperwork I'd filled out for that man. I used to know mine, Jason's and my Dad's Social Security numbers by heart. Now I do good to even confirm my own when someone reads it to me.

Third, I need to be there! Truth be told I don't trust her any further than I can throw her. Sneaky, sneaky . . . that's all I'm sayin'. And after you hear about Friday's appointment you'll understand what I mean. I am one to research like crazy pre-appointment and arrive armed with knowledge and craving more.

So, I shower. Quite the undertaking these days. Prolly shoulda skipped it, but it had been, ummm, longer than it should've been is all I'm gonna say. Out, dry, and dressed I make it via my new Cadillac walker to the front door just in time to hear Mom pull up in the cruiser. And my house phone begins ringing to confirm. Today instead of answering it to tell her I'm comin' - I let it ring as I reason, 'she'll see me when I get there.' Plus the phone was waaaay back in the living room.

And as I'm tackling the door with my walker and figuring out how to best get the door closed behind me [note to self: look in to purchasing new front doors that do not require storm doors] I realize I failed to lock up Gooch. Both legs trembling at this point, he was gonna be granted yet another afternoon of freedom. And after we'd just gotten the last fiasco picked up. Please be a good Gooch!

So I make it off the porch. Around the front of the cruiser. Past the passenger seat. And just past the back passenger door so that I can fold my walker and slide it in the back. I'd seen Jason do it a million times. Shouldn't be a problem, right? Ha! Wrong! I try, try again. And again. All the while the shaking in my legs becomes more intense. Violent even. If I don't sit soon, this could go baaaad!

I turn to sit in the back with my legs out so I can get a better look at this darned walker. Maybe she wasn't a Cadillac after all. Maybe I'd got a lemon. Growing frustrated I instruct Mom to call Jason and ask him what the trick to this thing is. But before she could even get him on the line I'd figured things out having been closer to the folding mechanism than before. Mom to Jason, "Nevermind, honey, she figured it out."

And then attempting to keep the now folded walker from slamming into my 300 or Mom's cruiser, I advise, "Wellllll, I'm going down." And, wellll, that's just what I did. Hello, scalding hot concrete. Meet butt. Butt, meet scalding hot concrete. And introductions done they really got to know one another. Luckily I'd at least saved the Chryslers from any pink paint scratches courtesy of my newest ride.

So while I'm down here, why not load the walker? So I do. Mostly. Sure I used to lift weights. Sure I used to saddle horses, some even over 16 hands. But this light weight walker on this day might as well have been a real Caddy. Wowsers. It was heavy. By the powers of Grey Skull, I huffed and I puffed and she was up and in.

Mostly. Again, I know. What's with this 'mostly'? The car seat behind the driver's seat was holdin' her up. So I cussed a bit as Mom asked permission to call Jason again. Nope! Calm cool and collected, I said, "We can do this, Mom." So I had her get out of the car and pull while I pushed. Yay! A success. I hated to have to have her get out in such heat, but it just couldn't be avoided at this point.

Once she was back in and settling in she commenced to asking to call Jason. And I commenced to figuring out how I was gonna get my rear-end off this scorching pavement. First order of business was to close this back door. Ever butt walk, readers? It ain't easy. And I don't recommend it. Especially in shorts on hot concrete whilst your legs are refusing to move and the even hotter air rushing you from the running vehicle is causing your vision to blur. Hello weekend! Here I come!

Butt shimmy back just far enuff to close that door and head uphill towards the next one. But first a rest to reassess the situation. Back against the cruiser for just a tic I realize though I can't feel a good portion of either of my legs, as it is excruciatingly hot to touch with my hands, it's prolly burning the heck outta my long loveleys as well. Poor legs. How dare you crap out on me. Karma's a bitch . . . But who wants to be a burn victim on top of everything else? Not me.

I reach up to fumble the front passenger door knob open only to realize my fat bum is partially blocking the door from opening. C'mon. Give a girl a break already. Geesh! So I hoist her up. Again with the brute force and shear determination. I was up - here it comes again - MOSTLY! I'd made it to my knees. And yes, the driveway was HOT. My knees screamed, "FIIIIIIIIIIRRRRE!"

If they could've spoke, I'm sure they would have asked, "What the sam hell are you dragging us along this ruff cracked concrete for? And in this heat? You out of your ever lovin' mind?" And had I had time for conversation with them I would have replied, "Yes. As a matter of fact I am out of my ever lovin' mind." Ha! Then I'd ask 'em if they wanted to join me for a walk so we could reminisce about the good old days of jumping for the rebound, or the spike approach, or just for the heck of it. How's about jump rope?

So once I've given the door just enuff clearance I get it open. Tho all I really accomplished with this was skinned knees and getting to hear Mom's pleas to "just call Jason" much, much better. And to see her. She looked as helpless as a mouse. Prolly much the same as I looked although she wasn't nearly as pissed as she was concerned. What were we gonna do? What indeed!

I looked over at my neighbor Rachel's house. What was Rachel gonna do with my 200 lb. ass? And her hubby? Tho I willed him to be home and willed him to just happen to be coming outside for something or the other. No such luck. He wasn't home. When I'd given up on that fairy tale I reckoned I could handle this here perdicament myself. Yeehaw. Let's give this gettin' up a try.

At the very least maybe the concrete shaded by the open door might be a degree or two cooler. Not so much, but there we were - my worthless legs, my skinned up knees, my tiring arms and my now throbbing head. Had I hit it? I don't think so, but I'd gone from okay to a multi-layered head cake in no time. Or had it been awhile? The heat was gettin' to me.

I grasp the door in my right hand and position the left just inside and near the back of the seat. Hip muscles and the occasional help from both arms propelled my scraped knees closer to the car. A plus? PT Cruisers are very low to the ground. Yay! Surely I could do this. I tried raising my right leg first. Usually my weakest, but as of late I've changed her name to "ole trusty." But she protested. NO!

All the while my knees screaming in agony, I gave "limpo lefty" a try. No. Almost. No. And again. Yeh, maybe. Aww, awww, spasm, jerk, no, fail! Hello, knee! Meet Mr. Pavement again. And this time meet him good. PAIN! And retreat. Flopping to my backside again I returned to my previous resting position against the cruiser. But resting? I was not! I mighta cried a bit and I guarantee I cursed a bit. "Fine," I gave in, "call Jason."

Hearing her explain the ordeal to him just disgusted me further. I am not, nor have I ever been a quitter! Once off the phone Mom tried to console me. "Honey, it happens." Some other nice heartfelt stuff and then the kicker - which verbatim seems to elude me. But it went a little somethin' like this: "When we fall we can't get back up on our own." WHAT? Did she say can't? She did! And rather it was intentional or not . . . never tell an Orth she can't! We've been through this, right?

Attempt #8 or #9, (I'd lost count at 3) was gonna work. Or I was gonna die tryin. No joke. This was war. Both arms to pull my left leg up hill. Then to pull my right. Then repeat, whilst continuing to butt shuffle and maintain my close proximity to the cruiser itself making sure the small of my back remained snugly against the car. "Don't forget to breathe, Daniel-sahn!" And breath. And now what?

I didn't want to be on the ground when Jason arrived. He already thought it was silly of me to go. What a pair we'd be. Who's gonna help who? Boggled by the entire situation still this morning he asked, "You sure your Grandma or Amelia ain't going?" And as I answered he shook his head no in disbelief wanting so bad to say, "Uh-oh!" Wellll, indeed. It hadn't made much sense. But such is life, and he knew telling me no would soooo be the wrong route to take.

So I lean forward and put both hands on the lip of floor below the seat. Grasp tight and push. We have lift-off! But hold on Tex, what about your long, sexy, once muscular, now hairy, scraped and useless legs? That, my friends, is enuff pronouns to choke on. I love writing. Have I thanked you for reading lately? I should do that more. THANK YOU!

So as my arms begin shaking it comes to me I'm gonna have to reposition those bad boys in order to get this approach to work more efficiently. First things first. Butt reunites with pavement. Pavement whispers, "I've missed you so!" And then to the legs. Not really my legs at this point - just the legs - 'cause I couldn't feel 'em. Both hands now acting like spatulas to scoop up one leg at a time just under my thigh and above my knee on each leg. Once both knees were bent tight with the underneath of my calves pressing the underneaths of my thighs I reached around the outside of either leg to fine tune the placement of my feet via ankle adjustment. Once they were squared up, we'd be ready for phase 2 of this attack.

"I'm gonna do it this time, Mom," I warned. This time with teeth gritted my hands grasped the floor. Although a bit skinned from the concrete, they'd become too sweaty working with the legs. I took a tic to wipe them on my shirt. Dirty my blouse? Prolly. But a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. Now dry and in place I clutched the flooring with all the strength I could muster for optimal traction. And successfully for the second time that sweltering afternoon - WE HAD LIFT OFF!

As my elbows straightened to lock my upper arms began to quiver earlier and more aggressively than before, however putting my newly positioned legs to use I shifted a portion of my 200 lbs. forward towards them as I scurried walking my hands up and back towards the seat of the seat. At this point better use of my legs would've been sooo useful, but alas, as my ass was getting higher my legs were becoming less and less useful in their new remedial job of simply supporting a couple of pounds or so. BASTARDS!

And admittedly I may have cussed a word or two throughout this struggle. I have a horrible time refraining from this attrocious habit when I'm stressed, nervous, or drunk. Or so I've been told. And I'm hardly ever in any of those three conditions. So grit them teeth harder and power thru. C'mon, Angela! Then I flash to Mr. T's scrumpled up mad face as Clubber Lang fighting Rocky. "You ain't bad! You ain't bad! You ain't nothin'!"

So I muscle up to get a firm hold of the seat cushion on hand at a time, and upsey, daisy, we're gettin' closer to a successful landing. Elbows are now refusing however to lock causing an inkling of panic and a bit of sweat to drip from my brow. No biggie. Once settled in I'll just use my already dirty blouse to dry my face. Won't that just get my face all nasty? Prolly, but who cares?

What next, I wonder as my legs are now fully extended outward and unable to support any weight? More work for my arms that I just mentioned no longer had the strength to straighten and lock? This was gonna call for a little work from the 'ol throbbin' noggin. What to do? What to do? Wish I could listen to Steve from 'Blue's Clues' and sit down in my thinkin' chair and "think, think, thiiiink!"

Just as I threw my head back in utter despair having had no better ideas than to sing a song from a show we used to watch when my now 9 year old son was a toddler, I felt my bum brush against my hands. Well, hallelujah! Maybe I was closer to conquering this beast than I had thought. This time I planned to heave my head, neck and shoulders back towards Mom.

I hoped her door was shut as I planned to give it hell. Now that'd be a sight, wouldn't it? Mom on the ground beneath the tree on the driver's side, me on my back on top of her and neither one of us able to move. Arms flailing about. No doubt the shear hilarity of it all would cause us both to piss our pants.

And then imagine poor Jason pulling up in the drive. I know. He advised against this whole field trip. Pretty smart guy if I do say so myself. If I were him I'd prolly keep drivin'. But knowin' him he'd prolly just be sure to get a picture first and then help us. And in this wonderful man's defense the photo would not be for comedic purposes, but to remind me the next time I want to go on some unsupervised outing.

All my chaperones from here on out MUST be able to lift 200 lbs. Sooo, I guess that means unless Jason (Conan) or Amelia (Red Sonja) are going -- I ain't goin'. Asa's gettin' there tho. We need to start him on some weight training after after football.

So I lean just enuff forward as my quivering arms will allow in hopes of getting a running start, let's call it. Then, BACK! And what's this? My butt is (although ever so slightly) on the edge of the seat. Yipppeeeee! I think this calls for a "Woooo hoooo!" So what next? I trust in the Lord and return to practicing proper posture.

I say trust in the Lord as this sitting upright could have gone one of two ways for me. (1) I could have found my self gettin' cozy again with Mr. Pavement as my butt was so precariously perched on the edge . . . OR (2) I could remain [mostly] in the vehicle just enuff that I could grasp the innermost side of the passenger seat for support and walk my butt in there one cheek at a time. And so it goes!

I instructed Mom to call off the rescue cavalry as I let my cheeks do the walking. Once far enuff in to deem myself secure I bent forward to grab my left leg and hoist her in. Enter Bon Jovi's hit "Livin' On a Prayer." My rendition, of course, "Whooaa, we're half way there! Whoooaa, livin' on a prayer, er, er eeeer!" And a pause to admire the beauty of the Chrysler's stainless steel-esque dash. It was pretty, but sooo missing the truck's grab bar.

And 1 - 2 - 3, and down for my right leg. And up to find my multi-layered cake had doubled and my right leg was uncontrollably jumping for joy. Yes, hello, Mr. Dash. Didn't mean to leave you out Mr. Door. For Pete's sake, Mom, hand me your purse! Maybe sitting something on it would settle it down. If not, look out Cobra-Kai. Stand back or I'll inadvertently kick somebody's ass.

So I'm in. Praise the Lord. I made it. The clock on the dash reads 1:26 and her appointment is for 1:30. Good thing I don't live far from Doc Lee's office. We can do this. Easy, peesy, lemon squeezy. We arrive to the one remaining handicapped parking space at 1:28 and I am in no way ready to proceed. Thus we argue about 1 minute as to what our net move will be. I won the first battle, but not the war.

She would go on in and when sufficiently recovered enuff I would be right behind her. There was always a loooong wait. So I wasn't worried. Time would be my friend. I was sure of it. Mom left the keys in case I changed my mind, so I could turn on the air. I wasn't havin' that tho so the 'ol keys quickly settled in for a nap above the driver's visor. Sleep well, my friends.

And away we go! First to get the walker out as I sure wasn't risking trying to stand for any amount of time. Next, I opened my door and turned in my seat to open the back door trying to shove the walker out bit by bit. The car seat actually assisted with this plan as the walker was already resting at an incline. And if I couldn't get it out without too much of a struggle, I'd be too spent, and it would be like divine intervention telling me to stay seated, dork! Or as Obi-wan said, "These are not the droids you're looking for." I'm a nerd too. Betcha didn't know that?

But it came out fairly willingly. I put just a bit of weight on my rubbery legs in order to maneuver the wheels around the passenger door with my left hand and push said door shut with my right. Yay! Teamwork! Once in front of me I unfolded the walker and again put a bit of weight on my legs as I tested the walker for stability. It passed and thankfully so did my legs pass not one, but two tests of willingness to cooperate with at least some of my 200 lbs upon them.

No time like the present. Let's give 'em a go with all the 200. And we're off. Shaky and weak, but on the move none the less. You wouldn't believe the people going in and out that didn't even glance my way let alone offer help or assistance of any kind. Horrible, tho, I guess before this MonSter hit me I was prolly the same way. People can suck sometime - me included. My dad on the other hand could get stuck sometimes at doctor's offices just opening the doors for people. My boys are gonna be like that. It's my personal mission to make it so! And you all are my witnesses.

Pausing twice I make it to the covered portion of the entryway. I spot an older gentleman stopping to hold the door for me. In excruciating pain and crippling fatigue at this juncture, I give it all I got to create a smile to thank him. Still a good 15 or so feet away and having used precious (non-existent) reserves on a smile I politely said, "Well thank you sir but I'm prolly gonna be a while."

To that, he replies, "I'm in no hurry." I fight for a couple steps closer to him, but not wanting to fall in front of him as he didn't look like he'd be able to lift me (at least not with ease), I activated my lock on my brakes and explained, "As a matter of fact I'm actually gonna need to sit and rest a bit before making the long walk in to the chairs." At this he tilted his head as if puzzled. Why indeed would a hottie thirty something such as my self be walking and carrying on so pitifully? Why, indeed!

He then replied, "Well, alright then, if you're sure." Then as he left he pointed out and explained to me the handicapped door opening mechanism even demonstrating to me how it worked. WHAT A SWEETIE! And just when I'd given up hope in humanity. This guy came outta nowhere. An angel in disguise. God bless him. I thanked him again, and once more before he was out of sight.

I sat a bit worrying even with using the automatic doors that I wouldn't be given enuff time to make it thru before the heavy metal and safety glass concoctions come speedily slamming shut on me, or worse yet, in to me. As I was making my way to standing and beginning the second leg of this journey two other people came out and three others in - again, none of which offering any help.

So I press the little blue handyman symbol, I call 'em, and in I go. One more set of doors. There should be a handy man to press for them too. Where is that little guy? Uh-oh. I gotta reach behind me? That's awkward and somewhat dangerous in my current condition, but just standing still would be even more risky. And so I said a little prayer to myself and made it through. "Yay, me," says London Tipton.

And then immediately to the seats nearest the doors for another rest. I lean to peer down the loooong hall of seats lining the wall to Lee's waiting room and find my Mom sitting nearest the entrance to his office. She'd made it and by golly so could I. Just another minute in the air conditioning and I think I can make it. Then I hear the nurse call her name. Grrrrrr! I was gonna have to haul ass on back there.

But what's this? My knight in shining armor, well, shining GMC anyways, pulls up in the parking lot. Guess what dear readers? My Mom had called him to come get me as I was in no way fit to make it in. Well I showed her. I was in! But when Jason came in and explained that to me and I had got him up to speed with a few of the gory details, I begrudgingly opted to go home. And why not? Apparently the doc was seein' patients in record time today. She'd prolly already talked to him anyways.

On our way out another very kind lady held the door for me. She'd even risked losing her place in line to do so. Fighting tears and anger from the whole situation I did manage to thank her too. I reckon I may have even overly thanked her if there is such a thing. Good people do exist. And may God bless her too.

I'll spare you the details of my return to the couch. Betcha didn't know that in a pinch those fancy Cadillac walkers, though the instruction booklets warn against it, can be used as a transport chair. Yay! And nearly falling sideways off the one teensy, tiny nearly non-existent step we do have going in to the house, wellll, that walker doubled well as a chair.

Jason lifted me from the seat and damn near threw me to the couch. It was more of a sling/drop. We'll say slung. I was slung on the couch. And completely and utterly exhausted the wacked out position I'd landed in was the same exact position I maintained when he returned home. Would I ever make it back upstairs? Your guess was as good as mine.

I did. And I was so greatful I did. Sleep came fast. And again - no complaints here! Sooo, that covers Friday. Dare I burden your eyes with more? Should we trudge on thru the weekend? Why not? I can edit from here on out. Okay? I pinky swear even. You say that I can't? Oh, it's on now. I bet I can do it in two paragraphs devoting one to each day. Whatcha wanna bet? Huh? As the saying goes, "It's on like Donkey Kong!"

Saturday we slept in a bit. I sure needed it and woke sore as all get out as if I'd been in a fight with a gang of concrete and lost. Once up and fed (lunch instead of breakfast as we'd just missed the fast food cut-off times), we began the task we'd set for ourselves the previous week - CLEANING HOUSE. Jason even called in for back-up. His Mom, Dad, and Aunt Ann came to the rescue. Laundry, vacuuming, dishes, stairway - you name it - they cleaned it. THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH! Bed followed not too awful long after they left. And again, although I hadn't really participated in the cleaning effort besides folding a few clothes and barking the occasional direction - I was exhausted.

OK. It was a loooong paragraph, but it was a looooong day. Now to Sunday. Although we were up in plenty of time for church I layed in bed awake worrying that if I got any worse I may be completely unable to participate in the boys' back to school shopping this year. And I so loved doing that, plus we were over due to shop for them each new pairs of shoes. Sooo, I decided we'd venture to Target instead, but on the way I would share with them my favorite Bible story about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendego and the fiery furnace. And I did. And we shopped like banshees. We brought our own wheel chair and each of the three guys took turns pushing me whilst another handled the cart. We were quite a conglomeration, I'm sure. Once home we vegged. The boys swam. And Jason worked. Bed before 9. A Sunday miracle.

There. I did it. Thick paragraphs, but still . . . got 'er done. Today is Monday. I sit blogging next to a snoring pit bull. No news on South Bend yet. I'm guessin' we'll call back tomorrow. Please, please continue to keep us in your prayers as each of you are in mine. I'll post again when I know more or when another weekend has passed. Until then, "Seacrest out!"

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