Sunday, October 2, 2011

from one day to the next (m)

I call the aunties this week to check in.  There is a crazy scene going on at their house where they are in "lockdown" with Cousin Mary whom they are babysitting.  Mary is 80 years old and sharp as a tack but, according to Aunt X, "She doesn't pee, so we can't go out."

"Let me speak with Mary," I say.

"Hello, M!" says Mary enthusiastically.

I ask Mary what is going on with her body.  She tells me that she can't pee.  I ask her a bunch of questions, trying to triangulate around symptoms related to a urinary tract infection (Does she feel the urge to go, but can't?  Does she feel a little feverish?  Confused?  How long has this been going on?).  I suggest Mary get to a doctor today.

Next, Aunt Y gets on the phone.  "M?  Are you back from Romania yet?"  Well, yes, I explain.  I called you on Monday, remember?  I've been back since Sunday night.

"M...when will you be back?" she continues.

"Let me speak with Aunt X," I say.

X gets on the phone.  "M...I'm going nuts with these two.  When can you come over?"

I tell her that I will be there first thing tomorrow morning (Friday).

Thursday night, I prepare a meatloaf and cut up vegetables for a salad.  I buy the ingredients for stuffed shells and some side dishes.

The phone rings.  It's my cousin Debbie who is Mary's niece.  Mary is in the hospital.  They found a large mass on her kidneys.  They have to put shunts in to drain the fluid and then, once stabilized, they will do a biopsy of the mass. 


The next morning, I get up at 6 a.m. to cook everything.  I make meatloaf, baked potatoes, green beans and salad and then stuffed shells and cookies for another meal for them.  I pack up the car and head to the aunties.

I get there (the door is unlocked) and find Aunt Y alone, talking to her dead husband, and trying to change the television stations with the cordless phone (no wonder she thinks the remote control is "broken").

I visit with her, we look at old pictures and she eats a little of everything.  It's not quite 11 a.m. but, when you get up at 4 a.m., you can eat lunch before noon.

We have a nice visit and then I leave to go about my day, feeling sad for her and not wanting to be old--ever.

Friday night at 7 p.m., I'm getting dressed to go to a friend's birthday party.  It's Aunt X.  They are in the Emergency Room.  Aunt Y took a bad fall, broke her nose, fractured a finger and cut her face (7 stitches).   Aunt X thinks she pulled a muscle in her back trying to lift Aunt Y off the floor.

All three women (Mary and X and Y) are in the same hospital. 

Why am I writing this?  When I was a kid, my mother would always tell me never to put off until tomorrow what you can do today.  When I would ask why, she would say, "Because you don't know what will happen from one day until the next." 

To a kid or young adult, this advice was meaningless.  Time was a commodity in abundant supply.

Now, however, it has a whole new meaning.

If you have elders in your lives, visit them soon.

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