Monday, January 5, 2015

Aunt B and Mom, Arsenic and Old Lace

This is a republished post from 7/3/08 before most of you were reading this blog.  Aunt H passed away 3 years ago and Aunt B passed away this January 1, 2015.  My mom is now 93 and is the only one left from her family.  Aunt B's funeral is today.

Some things are so sad that you just have to laugh, or else you would just sit and cry. On my way up to Q on a Saturday in July 2008, my cell phone rang. I never answer my cell when I am driving, but I was eventually able to locate it in my purse (while driving).  I saw that the caller was my brother who lived in Q. Since I was in Hannibal across the Mississippi River from Q which was in flood stage at the time, I thought it made sense to return his call, lest there be no way to get to Q in case a levee had broken. I pulled over to a parking lot in Hannibal, MO and called him back.

My brother started with "I guess you've heard the news." That is never good news in my family, never, ever good news. I answered negatively, I had not heard news, I had been driving for over 2 hours up from the Lou. My brother said he was at the hospital and since my cell reception was blipping in and out, I nearly shouted to get him to tell me what the"news" was as quickly as possible before I lost his signal. It seems that Aunt B (visiting my mom from out east) was taken to the hospital that morning after some sort of fainting spell. I would probably have to meet the "crew" meaning my mom, and her sisters, Aunt B and Aunt H at the hospital.

I drove the 30 miles to Q, taking my time, stopping to get a sandwich and unloading my stuff at mom's house because I had a house key, before I headed for the hospital, proving that I am every bit my mother's daughter. " Take care of the important stuff first" is the family motto. Then I drove over to the hospital. I was a little afraid in these regulated days of health care I would get no information about my aunt, but Q is a small town and the information desk directed me right to the cubicle where she and her sisters were. They were about to take Aunt B up to her room.

Long story short, Aunt B had a slow heart rate and was dehydrated and had an infection and was kept overnight. We also discovered that Aunt B was in early stage Alzheimer's which caused her short term memory to be very poor (her son and home doctor knew this apparently from the prescriptions she was taking, but nobody mentioned that to us before letting her fly across country to stay with my mom). Aunt B kept asking what happened to her. Since she had had a stroke a few years ago, we feared a stroke, but it luckily that wasn't what happened. God was very good to us. Aunt B was released the next day and was doing much better.

I asked my mom what had happened to Aunt B and this is the story I heard from my 87 year old mom.-- After breakfast Aunt B had slumped as if in a faint. Mom tried to walk her to her room, but she fainted again. Mom put her in the closer bedroom, gave her an aspirin and talked to her. Unsure what to do at that point, my mom TOOK A SHOWER so that she could get dressed and the she would decide what to do. Mom knew that she couldn't go to the hospital with Aunt B if she needed a shower.

 Fortunately, my brother just happened to call my mom at that point and hearing what had happened insisted that my mom call 911 immediately. My mom did not do this, and somehow my brother knew she wasn't going to call 911, so he went over there and drove Aunt B to the ER. (Thank you, guardian angels, who had my brother call and get my aunt to the hospital.) I think of all those improbable movies where old ladies move dead bodies and hatch up crazy schemes and now I am having new respect for those movie producers who apparently know old ladies better than I do.

I went home to the Lou on Monday and I hoped that the 80 something ladies could take care of themselves. It kept the angels busy. Once at home I took care of scheduling blog posts before planning supper or unpacking my stuff. After all the family motto is--Take care of the important stuff first.

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