Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Insanity Begins Anew!

Yesterday, it was being "ready" for when the physical therapist arrived. Three hours in advance, armed with socks and shoes. The last two hours prior to the therapist's actual arrival went something like this:

"Where is this girl, already?"

"She's coming at 9:30, Mom. It's barely after 8:00. Relax, she'll be here."

"What's taking her so long?"

"She's usually on time. I have no doubt she'll be here when she said she would."

"But I'm ready NOW! I have things to do!"

"Like what?"

"Oh...shut up! Call her, and see where she is!"

(This conversation will be repeated, almost word-for-word, for the next hour, until I decide that I've had enough and go and blog some stuff).

This morning it is the anticipation of having the staples removed from her leg. The suspense is killing her; she foresees a painful and bloody nightmare of torture ahead of her. The whining has started. The whimpering soon follows, and ultimately, tears. She's frightened. As if having the surgical staples removed is something on the order of an amputation, or worse, a death sentence.

There is no amount of hand-holding, no level of cheerleading, no amount of positive reinforcement that I can offer that can overcome this level of acute anxiety. You can remind her that this is a very simple procedure, something the nurse probably does 50 times a week, a mere routine, and the words and logic go unheeded. You can dispense a Percocet to calm her nerves, and it doesn't work; my mother must the only person in the Solar System immune to Percocet.

But really, it's the anxiety that causes the Percocet to not work. It's the anxiety over something that's pretty trivial that causes this extreme emotional turmoil. Twenty years of being best friends with a psychological counsellor, and my mother somehow STILL has an anxiety problem that can blunt the effects of an opiate. Some friend. So, the conversation begins anew.

"Where is this girl, already?"

"She's coming at 10:00, Mom. It's only 9;00. Relax, she'll be here."

"What's taking her so long?"

"You're not the only patient on her list today. She'll be here on time, and then this will all be over."

"But...I have things to do!"

"Like what?"

"Oh...leave me alone! This isn't easy for me! I know this is going to hurt. I hurt already. My back! My leg! My head! I'm so cold: turn the heat up again! Oooooh, I won't be able to watch this, Dear God -- take meeeeeee!"

(This conversation will be repeated, almost word-for-word, for the next hour, until I've decided that I've had enough, and go and blog some stuff).

Welcome to my HELL. This is almost every hour of every day for the last week. If it isn't the Visiting nurse or physical therapist, it's "where's your brother? He said he was coming last week". If it isn't my brother, it's "Where's the mailman? Dammit, he never comes at the same time two days in a row!". If there's a bright spot in today's insanity -- thus far -- it's this: she at least doesn't have a To-Do List for me this morning. Yet. I fully expect, however, that once the anticipated auto-de-fay-like "ordeal" of surgical staple removal is over, and she finds that her leg is still attached, she'll act as if nothing has happened, as if she were the bravest soldier on the battlefield ever... and decide that I need to call Newark Airport to complain about the aircraft flying over the neighborhood on final approach...and "as long as you're up", do you think you might ___________?"

Stay tuned.

Update: I've just gotten a good glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror. I look like I have malaria. I have more bags than Kenneth Cole under my eyes. I'm tired, cranky, irritiable, and think I might be developing a menstrual cycle. Still no visiting nurse, and I have been asked to call her twice in the last half hour, because it's 9-fucking-58 and she's still not here. More to follow.

Postscript: The trials and tribulations are now over. I don't have any children of my own (well, none that I know of...wink-wink) but if ever I shall have them, I am now prepared for the excruciating crucible of the Delivery Room. When my Good Lady Wife (as if!) gives birth to quintuplets, I will have been prepared for the blood-curdling screams, the appalling language, the absolute howling of bitter agony.

The service sent a Russian nurse, which in and of itself is no big novelty, but it always makes me laugh. I keep thinking "I have been sent by Comrade Moose and Squirrel to remove staples. You vill comply!" But she's a lovely lady, nonetheless. The process of removing the staples took all of 10 minutes, at most. It was the preparation that was the killer; Mom would not hold still, behaving like a skittish toddler confronted by a pediatrician weilding a foot-long hyperdermic needle. With flames coming out of it.

Once it started, visions of Charlton Heston popped into my head. I see the angry man in snow-white beard and flowing robes, lifting his staff high into the air and calling down the wrath of God upon the wayward Isrealites, the skies darkening, the holy fire of the Almighty called from the Heavens to smite the Golden Calf. The earth shakes. The very air seems to burn. Thunder reverberates in the distance.

She called upon the ancestors;

I want my father!

I want my mother!

Dear God, why do they do these things to people?

Daddy, come and help meeeeeee!

And when it was all over -- just as I had predicted -- you would have thought that absolutely nothing had happened, but she did apologize to the nurse because she was embarrassed by all the carrying on. Big baby! Of course, I get no apology for the ten trenches she's dug into my arm with her fingernails, my Mother suddenly having developed a G.I. Joe Kung-fu grip while she was thrashing about like Linda Blair bathed in Holy Water.

And then she sent me out for a sandwich. She's suddenly ravenous, you see.

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