Friday, September 03, 2010
It was a Monday; I had been visiting my mother in England and flew back Sunday afternoon with no inkling of the impending excitement. Monday morning I awoke to no wind but a torrential downpour and went to work at the paper to covering the storm and its effects, which mainly involved a lot of tree damage and downed power lines. The wind soon picked up quite a bit. The day's highlights included watching big long waves roll backwards out from land into Long Island Sound, and then trying to interview some hardy soul who had stayed in his oceanfront cottage. I knocked on the door and asked if he would talk, he said yes but be careful of the wind, I said no problem, and his screen door slipped out of my wet hand an immediately tore off its hinges in the gale. I barely batted an eye -- "Sorry about that! So... why are here in the midst of all this impending devastation, etc., etc.?"
That night we gathered at a friend's house and drank beer as quickly as possible since it would soon be warm (no power of course). Definitely my most memorable birthday.
* * *
On August 7, Sarah had a birthday sleepover with four other girls. She and her best friend stayed up ALL. NIGHT. LONG. I myself slept fine, however. By about 9:00 a.m., Sarah had passed out like a freshman drunk in a convoluted position in a dining-room chair with arms. Ouch.
* * *
Sarah and Becky started school this week (5th and 3rd grade respectively). Sarah is now in middle school. What does this mean? Will I soon be hearing rumors of her first lipstick party? (Wikipedia assures me this is an urban legend born of "moral panic." Let's hope so.)
* * *
Ben and I took turns spending several hours on two different weekend days in the ER with Ben's mom, who was having trouble with her plumbing and ladybits. I won't go into details except to say that this was more of a problem than it would have been for someone without Alzheimer's because (a) she kept forgetting why she was catheterized, so it had to be explained repeatedly and at top volume since she's also hard of hearing, and (b) she refused to keep the portable urine bag strapped to her leg, so... let's just say there was leakage. And that's all I'm going to say. It was emotionally traumatic for Ben not just because it was his mother and he had to deal with ER idiots, etc., but because of the embarrassing nature of her immediate medical problem, which is why I took over on the second day of the crisis and also took her to the doctor the following day (a Monday). Fortunately things seem to have resolved.
BUT... the capper was settling gratefully into my chair at work midday on Monday after returning her from the OB/GYN appointment and then getting a phone call from Sarah's summer camp that went sort of like this:
"Hi, Sarah's-mom... no emergency, but we thought we should call you to tell you that Sarah told her counselor that she was bleeding from a place she shouldn't be."
[Puts forehead on desk, thinks "Are you fucking kidding me?"]
"Ah, um, okay... does she need me to pick her up or anything?"
"No, just thought you should know. I mean, it seems possible, given her development--"
"Yes, yes, I understand... well, I'll check it out with her when I pick her up. B'bye!"
"So Sarah, could you step into this private soundproof room in our house for a minute?"
[closes door, assumes offhanded yet concerned yet affectionate yet thinly veiled WTF motherly expression]
"So what's this I hear about... bleeding?"
"Oh well, it was just that I scratched myself when I was wiping. When I went to the bathroom. Because my fingernails, they're sort of long and stuff."
"Are you SURE? I mean do you want me to... look?"
[please God let me not have to see and talk about female private parts with both an 84-year-old and a 10-year-old within a 24-hour period -- shit I did NOT just think that word]
"Yeah, I'm sure. So what's for dinner?"
[Breathes sigh of relief, recalls conversation with former coworker that afternoon during which, when informed of the possibilities, she chuckles and says, "Yeah, you'll be going to CVS tonight." NOT!]
* * *
Last weekend we went to update New York for Ben's niece's wedding. A traditional Jewish ceremony, featuring at the outset a rare but moving reading from the ancient Hebrew Book of the Resumes. This involved the rabbi spinning a complete biography of bride and then groom, including education, hobbies, current employment, etc. I was half-expecting him to conclude by saying "References available upon request." But the food was awesome.