Friday, January 27, 2012

A day in the life of Kim

How many of us can open ourselves up and stand naked to the world; our deepest darkest thoughts exposed for all to see and scrutinize? How many can do it even when it's just to themselves? You can say that you don't care what others think about the person that you are...your character, your thoughts, but that's not exactly true. It takes courage to write a day in the life of Kim because sometimes there is ugliness in truth, and evilness behind humor.
My daughter looked at me and said, "You seem like you're in a bad mood."

"No, but I am tired." I replied.

"Yeah, your voice was real soft when you was talking to Grandma."

We had just dropped Mom off at her house and I thought it was the worse day ever. There are things that you do for the people you love, without thought, because even though you might not do it for your self--you'd do it for them. I'd do anything for my Mama and my kids. Period. But that doesn't make it easy.

Earlier I went in to work half a day so that I could take my Mom to a 3:30 post surgical doctor's examination. Earlier in the week she had complained about the condition of her toenails so I had picked up an electronic pedicure kit and told her I'd be there to give her a pedicure and to help her in the bath. Unfortunately my day began badly when I realized that I had left the thing at home and had to go to my house after leaving work. I usually take the bus but drove so that I could be speedy. 

I'm not going to Mom is known for being on CP time. I dashed over there knowing that after I did her toes and helped her in the tub I would need to go to the store and get her a vegetable salad from the grocery store. I did all that and announced that I was going to get her salad when she said that she didn't want it because she was full from her big breakfast. I told her she'd want it later but she looked totally uninterested and I wasn't in the mood to hit the grocery store so COOL!!!

We were really late but you never rush someone who is notorious for being on CP (colored people) time. Who am I to argue when she needs the purple hat that matches her purple blouse or she needs lotion rubbed into her back. Hey, not my business if she sends me to fetch her bra but it's not really the one she likes. I needed at least 30 minutes to get her to her appointment but by the time we got going I only had 17 minutes. I got stressed trying to rush plus driving her big truck so that she could get comfy in the back seat was no joke. We were half an hour late by the time I finally got parked in the garage and luckily a wheelchair magically appeared so that she wouldn't have to struggle with the walker. Unfortunately we were in the wrong garage and had to catch a shuttle to the correct facility AND the shuttle didn't have a wheelchair lift (???) AND Mom had to go to the bathroom very badly. Look, by the time we got into the doctor's office I was just whupped, okay?

All the while I kept sneezing and coughing from the MRSA or infections or flying viruses that I had been exposed to on my my previous hospital visit the week before, but then here is the kicker, I get a text from my daughter;

Mom, the water's off.

Crap! I'm paperless because not only am I a germaphobe, I'm a tree hugger--one of the few bills that's not completely electronic is (you guessed it) the water bill. It's after five, too late to call in a payment.

I'll swing by after we leave the doctor and I'll pick you up and we'll shower at Mom's. Did you eat?


Then we'll pick up Chinese after we leave Mom's.

The doctor comes in and introduces himself to her and says that although he did her surgery they had never met. He asks her what happened to cause the break and I prepare myself for the story about how her foot went 'CRICK' and broke off and she had to put it back on.

Only now the story has made a drastic change. The foot went 'CRICK' and came off and then the bone stabbed into the ground! I almost fell out when I heard that. The doctor doesn't allow this story to phase him as he announces that they are removing the cast and giving her a boot. WHATTTT??? After only a week???? Even though she just had surgery to add a plate and screws??? Why is it that in the good ol' days you wore a big bulky cast for two months?! But then he explains that when there are wounds involved in the break, ie stitches, they find that it helps if she flexes it 3x a day and they also want air to get to it otherwise it gets too dirty to treat the open wound.

Oh well that makes perfect sense to me. Because we wouldn't want to have a dirty wound...though it seems keeping the foot immobile would be kind of important too but--okay. 

The nurse comes in to remove the cast and asks my mom how she broke her leg. 

"I was just walking and then my foot went CRICK and broke off and then stabbed into the ground! It was only held on by my skin!"  

Hell, maybe that did happen because the nurse keeps a straight face, no comment.  The scissors appear and Mom begins to wail, Owww! Wait! It's going to hurt. Five minutes later Mom apologized and admitted that it didn't hurt at all, she was just scared. I was a little annoyed. Not because of the wailing exactly, but because I thought she was hurt and I was hurting watching her go through it...only to discover that she was a big baby. Hey, her words not mine.

I'm mean, aren't I? Don't worry. I will get my just deserts...

Mom was telling me how much of a big baby she was and I agreed and told her not to act like she's in pain if she isn't or the doctor will not handle the situation the way it needs to be handled. She gave me a look as hard as stone and said, "I was scared." I thought, about all of the surgeries I've gone through, the pain, the needle pokes and never let my fear get the better of me. I nodded my head and sneezed into my tissue and helped her to the bathroom, then got another appointment for the following week when they would be removing the 30 staples holding my mom's leg in place. Dear god give us both strength...

We head for the shuttle only to discover that its raining...and dark outside. My back is throbbing relentlessly due to an old sciatica injury and pushing that flipping wheel chair around the world and back...but thankfully the shuttle appears instantly so that we don't have to wait. On the way to the house to pick up my daughter and a change of clothes so that we can get showered, Mom says she doesn't have any money on her and wants to go to an ATM. 

"Any preference, Mom?"

"Well I like the one in the grocery store."

I scowl to myself. I'm not getting out in the rain to go all the way into the grocery store just to get money out of her account. No no no...crazy is not going to make an appearance tonight!

"...and while you're there we can get that salad I wanted earlier."

You are a mean-assed daughter if you don't get your Mama that salad! I'm going to do it, Jeez!!! Luckily the phone rings and it's my cousin who has been cleaning my Mom's house, and she announces that she is about to leave and is there is anything she can do. She's such a lovely cousin. She has now become my favorite person in the whole wide world.

"Yes, you can get Mama a salad from Krogers." Jeez I love her...but she don't love me in that moment. 

I get my daughter and the puppy and head across town back to Mom's house. very tired. I'm talking to Mom, my voice is soft because I'm tired, not annoyed. We get her home and my Mom announces she doesn't want the salad because there will only be old lettuce at this time of night and so now my cousin is happy. After showering we hang out for a while, order a pizza AND salad, and really have a good time visiting with her. 

I pull up Adele's album 21 on Youtube because my Mom loves her but has never heard all of the songs from the album. I play Love Song because me and my daughter really love her rendition of the old Cure song. The three of us get sad at her haunting voice; three generations of women--all in different phases of our lives but each able to find our individual connection to that song. My mom says that she wants to listen to it again when we leave, and then she looks at the floor and says, maybe I don't want to hear it when you leave.

But then it's time to go and my daughter says;

"You seem like you're in a bad mood."

"No, but I am tired." I replied.

"Yeah, your voice was real soft when you was talking to grandma."

I was just tired.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you how I got my just deserts. The very next day I was using my break while at work to call various doctors and hospitals to get my daughter a meningitis vaccination in order for her to register for housing in college. You would have thought that I was trying to break someone out of prison! All I want is a vaccination for my daughter but no one offers it, or if they do then they are not accepting new patients. 

I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to get this done and trying to pull up the meningitis waiver form when my phone rings. It's my doctor's office. Oh cool, maybe they found a way to get the vaccine for my daughter.

"Hi this is Donna from Dr. Giullitto's office."

"Hi Donna."

"We got the results back from your mammogram. There's a shadow on your left breast. We need you to come in for a second bilateral mammogram."

I sat there in my seat for a moment trying to connect her words to my daughters vaccination. Wait...huh?  "Oh...kay." I finally say. She gives me a bunch of instructions and I call the hospital to make the appointment. When I hang up the phone the first thing I think is who is going to be there to help my daughter with college if I'm not?

The world continued to move around me, but the path of my existence came to a screeching halt. The world was moving around me...but there was a possibility that I wouldn't be in it for long. 

A mother, daughter, friend's job is never done. And though my life was in flux I still had things to do. I had to deposit my mom's check into her account, pick up dinner and it was raining and dark again. I called my Mom. My mom has so much on her plate, I shouldn't burden her with this. But I was scared. I needed my Mom.

"Mom, my mammogram shows a shadow on my left breast."

Quiet. "Kim, twice I had a mammogram that came back like that. I have cystic breasts. It's going to be alright baby. You're my daughter. You're going to be alright."

I could breathe again. "Okay." We talked for a while longer.

"I love you, baby."

"I love you too, Mama." I'm sorry I made fun of you for being afraid.



  1. You know back in 2009 I was starting think that the first architect that ever built a hospital had too much time on their hands to have hospitals so huge and with so many entrances. I def. feel for you Pep, my brother actually was in a similar situation with screws being put in his ankle and casts and boots and physical therapy it was all so much work on top of the normal chores that needed to be done...You don't want to even know the exhaustion of having to get a twelve year old up and ready for school when he's got a cast that covers his entire leg, all the way from his toes to the curve of his buttock. Getting him bathed, dressed and fed, in time enough for him and his wheel chair to make it outside in time for the school bus to pick him up. Not to mention him being the tallest, biggest kid in his grade. Guaranteed, if need be, I could have used his cast as a weapon that's how big it was. But then maybe you do...The only thing that kept me sane during those days was the fact that he was only my brother, and not my own son.
    And you really do receive my sympathies cause I know exactly what you are going through with your mom, cause my mom does the same thing. My mom may not scream and holler but she whines and complains with the best of them, especially when she doesn't get what she wants. Or she needs errands to be run and grocery stores to visit cause she has to have that special item that only that store carries no matter how snow is on the ground. I think that's why my mother and I eat the same types of food most times, cause if she doesn't eat whatever she has then its more for me. :)
    I do hope that everything turns out alright for your mother. And please know that getting staples removed does not hurt. I know if my brother can have 5 of them removed from his head and not cry then it must be painless.
    On a side note, I just realized how accident prone and unfortunate this makes my brother seem and believe me, he really is that accident prone and unfortunate as he sounds. lol :)


  2. There is nothing like a mama. I was raised by my mom and there is no one that can make feel better then my mom can. Of course there is also no one that frustrates me more. I hope to do the same for my daughters ;) I will send up a prayer for your boobs, I hope all the scans come up with huge rays of light instead of shadow.

  3. Hi Kim, I hope that you and your mom will both be ok. Keeping you and your family uplifted in Prayer. Take care.



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