Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Overdue Post

Some of my favorite bloggers have recently been doing "year in review" 2006 year-end postings to summarize how their life has been going through the past year. I suppose I should consider doing that myself but I mainly wanted to let everyone know why I haven't been posting as much lately as I would like to.

This past year has been a tumultuous one and lots of events have occurred, both positive and negative. I started off the year still working at a regional airline, and I ended it working for one of the big boys, so I am very happy about that. Without going into every sordid detail, I was growing increasingly sick of my former employer (due to management issues) so this was probably the year's biggest accomplishment. Although I picked out a very bad moving company, my stuff and I did make it safely to my new apartment. Aside from a couple of issues with my back, post-move, my health has been very good overall this year. These are all positive things.

On the negative side, this year has been overshadowed by some financial stress (caused in part by the move...reminder, all, that if you're considering a move in the Midwest, avoid Galaxy Van Lines at all costs) as well as family matters...specifically, dealing with my Mom. As you may recall, my sisters and I tried to get my mother to move this past year to a retirement community. She initially agreed, but even before the move was complete, she was saying she wanted to move home again. After a few hair-raising events (including walking five miles from her new home to her old home one day with her small dog on a hot summer day) the management of her new community said they couldn't support her continuing to live there without a large increase in cost on our part for additional monitoring. We decided it would be best to move Mom back to her old house (which is where I grew up) and have some caregivers come daily to help out with things. Mom was initially receptive to this idea but lately has been resenting having the caregivers come every day. All of this is about as much fun to try and manage long-distance as you'd think it would be.

So, you may say, why is it my Mom needs caregivers at all? Well, her physical health is pretty good overall, although she hasn't been exercising as much as she used to. Her mental health, on the other hand, is not. She has been diagnosed with a dementia, most likely Alzheimer's, that makes trying to deal with her problems that much worse. For instance, she doesn't see why she has to have daily visits from a caregiver (which is primarily to see she takes her medicine and is getting proper nutrition) and she also doesn't see why she can't drive anymore (the not driving is something we insisted on once she moved.) When bringing up her not driving anymore, my sisters and I would bring up specific events that her friends and relatives had told us about (running red lights, etc.) as well as forgetting where she had parked her car on more than one occasion, and she would get very defensive and talk about how there are no dents on the car. So, while I did take my Mom's car in part because I needed a new ride (and yes, I am paying her for it) I also took it so she wouldn't be able to call a locksmith to make keys for it and start driving again. However, this did not deter her at one point from having one of her caregivers take her to a car dealership and attempt to buy another car. Fortunately, they called the person in charge of my mom's financial accounts before selling her one, and he alerted my sisters as to what was happening, so the sale did not occur. But it wouldn't surprise me if Mom doesn't try something like that again.

Unfortunately, the year ended with a new medical issue for Mom. She is a breast cancer survivor, first diagnosed when I was in high school, but she has had it recur a few times over the years. It's been caught early each time and successfully treated. The year ended with her oncologist discovering a small nodule which she had removed and biopsied, which turned out to be cancerous. She is going on some new medicine to try and treat this (not chemotherapy, fortunately) and this is also something that has been fun to try and manage long-distance. My last trip to Albuquerque was to go to the doctor's appointment with her where she got this news. (It's a good thing I can fly for free or I'd be REALLY be having some financial stress with all the times I've had to visit Albuquerque.) I also helped see her off to go visit my sister in Chicago for Christmas. Unfortunately, that trip got overshadowed when the incision they had made to do her biopsy became infected, but my sister caught that early and Mom was put on antibiotics during her trip. She is still on antibiotics but should be finished with them shortly.

All of this occurring right before Christmas has been about as much fun as you'd think. I flew back home on the Friday before Christmas, in what turned out to be the busiest travel day for my airline EVER in terms of total passengers carried. Fortunately, I was able to hitch a ride in the jumpseat and make it home in time to go back to work.

Of course, I also had to work on Christmas Day itself, being new and junior at my airline. I did get to go to my oldest sister's house for Christmas dinner before work (she lives in the same city I do), and they also fed us at work later that day, so it wasn't all bad. If there is one good thing about all the issues we've faced with Mom, it's that it has brought me and my sisters a lot closer together. I'm very glad I don't have to deal with everything about Mom's care on my own.

In terms of my personal life, I probably should be taking better care of myself as far as exercising, trying to lose some weight I've gained since the move, and getting my apartment organized here (it's still kind of a mess.) I may join the throngs of people signing up at gyms after the holidays...there is a gym at my apartment I can use also, but I haven't been, so maybe I should just start using it as a first step. I'll let you know how things go in that area.

I don't intend for this post to be all negative (after all, I started it off with positive things.) I do appreciate those of you who have taken the time to read my ramblings occasionally, and link to or comment on my blog. I feel kind of guilty for not contributing to it more often...but as you see, I have had my reasons for not being able to. However, I'm not going anywhere, and this blog will continue...in fits and spurts, perhaps, but it will continue. Thanks for your support and hopefully the New Year will bring good news on Mom's health front. I'll keep all of you posted.

3 comments:

Suldog said...

Chuck:

God bless you. You've certainly got a full load to deal with. Here's hoping that all works out nicely in this coming year.

Thimbelle said...

Sorry to hear about your Mom's health problems piling up like that. :( I know how hard it can be to feel so helpless, and be so far away.

We'll keep your Mom (and you!) in our prayers.

T. :)

Chuck said...

Suldog and Thimbelle - Thanks for your support! It's cool to have nice online friends like you.