Monday, November 10, 2008

Mish Mash art politics and the intimate side of life and death

Well I stayed up for the election night returns on tv. What an exciting speech! Seems like what we need in these trying times a little inspiration and compassion.

Okay this where you have to bear with me.

I really didn't get a chance to bask in that hope for the nation, because my mother called me early Wednesday morning with the news that my brother, 48 had a heart attack a few days after hernia surgery. So then I was torn. I'd been torn before because ordinarily I would have gone down to see my brother when he had the surgery, but now this was more serious he had been air lifted to Boston and was on the cardiac care unit at Boston Medical Center a maze of buildings comprised of the old Boston City Hospital and University Hospital. I tearfully called Claire's son Tom who agreed that its hard to be two places at once and said that he a full day scheduled, I told him I would call hospice and see if I could get some respite. Then I called Lill, Claire's sister who comes by weekly, to tell her that Claire might be in the hospice house. Lill called me back to say that since Claire really did not want to be in hospice house she would come and spend a few days. The morning was divided by many phone calls, attending to Claire and trying to pack. Plus I had to take the dog out while the CNA was here. When Lill arrived, I was running around with a bag saying~ okay what do I need to put in this? Lill started cleaning and asked me what to with some letters on my kitchen table turntable. I said that she could just leave them there on the turntable so I could work on them later. They weren't bills for which I have a system but they needed my attention. Any way I decided before driving 2.45 hours I needed a nap and I took one.
I'm sure that it was very hard for Lill who comes by at least once a week to see Claire when she is usually awake and vibrant putting on her best face. Some thing that she can't pull of all day long. Not to mention Lill's dealing with my prioritized and limited housekeeping (laundry meals dishes) which allows time for crafting and Claire who is bedridden and needs a lot of attention. Also she is dying and I just want to be with here when she is awake because death is so near.
Lill told my mother that I was the most disorganized person she had ever met in her life. Handicapped by the disorderly array and frightened by Claire's decline. (Lill had thought just the week before that Claire could ride over an hour back and forth to her summer home by the lake for a cookout, just goes to show that Claire's theater class payed off and denial is a poerful force). Lill had to be beside herself.
While I was gone, Hospice called and said that the block of time I 'd requested for the workshop I am running next week ( see below)and a couple of other things, could not be covered unless I paid for them privately HA. Insurance company hoops. For weeks they had been telling me it was no problem having shown the coordinator and the nurse manager the plan. I think they are more used to medicaid and medicare. When Lill told me this I was in the parking lot of the Boston Medical Center and I said that's not right we have been over this many times. I have called the insurance company four times and reviewed this with hospice about the same amount of times. Lill graciously offered to call them. When she said that I would have to call hospice again I said that I couldn't at that point in time I didn't have all the numbers with me and I was making my way out of town in rush hour traffic.Lill graciously offered to call them. She was in the insurance business and is in her element sorting such things out, that knack of hers has been helpful over the past 14 months. She found out that they need an exact schedule written down for the entire month and then they might be able to put something together.Actually apon calling the hospice they said that wasn't correct I just needed to set some dates which I had already done and was all set for. I thought I had figured that all out already and I had.
Well satisfied that my brother was out of the woods, I made it back to Maine Friday around three thirty. Panicked, Lill who was not used to seeing Claire as sick as she really is and the substitute nurse had decided that it was Claire's time to go. They had asked her if she wanted to go to sleep and called all the relatives. So I never had a chance to deal with hospice and the insurance tangle. Lill said that Claire had said goodbye to her sons over the phone and that all her local brothers and sisters were coming over. 10 people. I told Lill that I believe that she is waiting to see her son Ray and that she won't go until he sees her one on one. Lill said that she didn't believe that people wait like that and that Claire had spoken with him over the phone and that was good enough. Claire has never been one to talk on the phone and many things can't be conveyed over the phone.
At any rate its Monday and Claire is still here. Lill left for Virginia and reminded me what I needed to do today when she stopped by to see Claire for one last time. Saying that couldn't do everything and that I need to get organized. I am thinking sheesh I put myself through College and grad school, worked for 25 years in social services, raised three kids spent 25 years in two long term relationships and bought two houses. I am going to be okay. To a type A personality perhaps it looks like my entire life is and has been falling apart but so far so good. In reality it works pretty well for me. I think that I can keep the house from going into foreclosure that will be tricky but I'm open to having roommates and when the administration changes there may be actually be work out there. I don't know about you but I am sickened by the way services have been slashed for those challenged by mental health issues in this country.The argument you often hear is their families can take care of them- just doesn't hold water in times when families are strapped. In the past 14 months I have seen how families take care of loved ones. There is a huge rant but I think I've covered that before. Lill is surprised that Claire is still with us and I reminded her that Claire is stubborn and will most likely try to wait for Ray.
Any way its Monday morning, I have been up since 3:30, my monitor woke me Claire needed medicine and adjustments. I have a moderate to do list and I haven't showed what I've been working on. In the middle of the turmoil I have felted a few things. I havent photographed them all but I am getting ready for a craft show in December.
I have also been invited to a craft night tommorrow as a new member of the Brunswick Artists Collaborative but I might put that off until next month. The acorn ornament above is stuffed with freshly harvested balsam from my woods in the back ground. The acorn a symbol of strength and hope. With Claire's passing and Obama's presidency life will start anew. I will probaly do one more memorial entry that will be the end of these intense personal journal type entries here. I hadn't intended this to be a personal journal, but life happens.


Gina - RoseThistleArtworks said...

Oh, Susan. My heart is breaking for the load you are under. How dare anyone worry about clutter/disorganization of a physical nature when so much heavy spiritual issues are being handled and cared for by you daily/hourly? Please don't listen to that. You are doing so much WHILE dealing with heavy emotions. When someone steps up and is intimately involved minute by minute, THEN they can make judgments, otherwise, let it roll off. They probably feel helpless and disorganized within themselves and would love it if tidying up a house would make all that fall into place better. It won't.
Susan, you are doing SOOOOO much and dealing with SOOOO much. You are going 90 mph in so many different areas and responsiblities. I hope you can find some rest and time for yourself, too. Your priority of spending time with your loved one is the one that will fill your heart always no matter what condition your dishes are in. They will always get dirty again. You only have a finite time to spend with those you love here on earth. You are both in my prayers through this tough time. You are doing a phenomenal job, Susan. I can't believe you are creating, paying the bills, planning for the future, and caring for a loved one who is so close to crossing over. Most people only do one of those things. You are doing all those.
Best wishes and hugs to you and Claire.

SuzeesJubileeZ said...

Thank you so much. Now we are figuring that perhaps this is our own private journey.

Alice Goldsmith said...

I checked your blog when I saw the name Kat Logan.I worked with her when the store Stone Soup was in Brunswick, I am a quiltmaker.
I too have a blog I used to live in a log house in Topsham.
Alice Goldsmith