Sunday, April 4, 2010

I'm sick. No I'm Sick....

I'm finally feeling better, much better after a knock down, drag out sinus infection. I was already feeling a little lousy when I wrote the last entry. The minute I hit "post" I realized my foggy brain forgot to add the couple of funny stories about where we used to go as kids when My Mom handed us off, and now all the crazy places she's been and people she's probably met now that I hand her off... I just couldn't pull enough energy together to write a post.

As it would go, My Mom was still completely in "go mode" when I needed life to come to a screeching halt this week. She gets 'jazzed up' as she would call it from being on the go. It's as if someone pumped caffeine intravenously into her frail little body. For two full days now I've desperately needed rest and she keeps acting like she's on speed. We've been hanging out in the living room where I can lay on the couch and keep an eye on her. Every two to three minutes she has both feet off the recliner footrest asking me "are we ready yet?" or saying "okay, let's go." At first I humored her, "Where do you want to go?" I'd ask. Completely buzzed up from all the action she experienced the previous few weeks, she was literally game for anything. The question gave her brain some much needed exercise as she struggled to think up an answer. "Well... you know, there." Not good enough. "No, like where?" I pushed her. Realizing I wasn't budging until she came up with a solid plan, she really put her thinking cap on. "How bout the movies?" she suggested. My Mom never wants to go to the movies, but evidently anything seemed a viable option that day compared to being home bound. Later she added we could go to the store, home, or a couple times even to see her mother (who passed away almost 30 years ago.)

By the end of the second day of feeling lousy I couldn't take her jack-in-the-box behavior anymore. I decided it was time to really push the sympathy route. "Mom, I'm really not feeling well," I moaned. She looked genuinely compassionate. "You should have told me," she said. I could have laughed. I've done nothing but tell her I didn't feel well for over 48 hours. This was, however, the first time I groaned as I said it. That must have been the necessary emphasis to catch her attention. She was always great at caring for us when she was able-minded, the nurturing skills kicked in to gear. "Honey, you should have a good Hot Tottie and be in bed." (For the Scottish, whiskey is the number one cure-all. We use it for a multitude of ailments, starting with teething as a baby.) I thanked her for caring and told her what I really needed was to rest. "You need to relax and stay on the chair for me to do that," I said. She still wanted up and about. "I'll go get you something to drink," she replied, both feet back to teetering dangerously over the edge of the footrest. I desperately wished she could care for me, but the reality is she's much to unstable to wander around on her own. She also wouldn't know what to do or where to find anything once she hit the kitchen. Just to see what she'd do if I accepted her offer, I played along. The reason she doesn't know her way around the kitchen is that she always has an excuse to get out of cooking or cleaning these days when I try and include her.
"Okay a little juice would be good," I said. Sure enough, that did it. The thought of work sent her lazy little fanny plunking right back into the chair. Then she set out to make sure nothing further could be asked of her. Leaning back she now started to moan, raising her head to her forehead. "I'm the one who needs juice... I'm all clogged up." I wanted to say "Are you kidding me?!" but at least she was safely sticking to the chair for the moment.
I let her play sick for a while to keep her planted in the chair, but as this ridiculous sinus infection raged on, I needed her to help herself a little bit more than usual. Bedtime that night proved difficult. "Okay, get yourself into your pajamas," I coached. Pause. "Please, Mom, I'm really not feeling well."
"You're not feeling well? Look at me." She made her voice weak and raspy to match mine, and she even feigned a little fake cough. "My throat, my head," she gave a side look over at me taking inventory to see if she missed any major symptoms, "my chest. I'm a mess."
"I bet you are Sarah Bernhardt." She used to call us Sarah Bernhardt when we were little when she thought we were acting. Evidently Sarah was a contemporary of Mary Pickford or something. All I knew is that it was an insult. Well, what goes around comes around. It was my turn to use the term. My Mom could win an Oscar for this performance. She was as irritated as I used to get for being accused of acting. In fact, she was down right indignant. She sputtered a cough and tried to eek out a few tears. "No one even cares. Here I am so sick and I'm trying to do all this myself."
'All this', for clarification, encompassed putting her right foot into the pant leg of her pajamas. She absolutely looked on the brink of a breakdown over the small task.
And so it went on, for three very long days. Any time I coughed, sneezed or tried to speak, she too cough, sneezed and wheezed -- matching my ailments point for point. I guess looking back, I'm glad she only caught a fake cold. I was concerned that whatever I had might be contagious. Trying to care for her and myself if she was really sick would have been a lot to manage.
(Side note: We're 'both' on the mend this weekend, so I've got her back on the move. Last night we braved a rain storm to go shopping. We bought her a cute new mint green sweater which she'll wear today when we're once again heading out -- this time for Easter brunch.)
Enjoy the spring weather!!

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