Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Mother-In-Law Madness

Where to begin?

My mother-in-law is a very sweet lady, although she unfortunately came of age in the 1950s when female helplessness was thought attractive. Perhaps that's why in spite of her fear of doctors, she has done nothing to safeguard her health as she's grown older. Over the nine years of our marriage, Dan and I have seen her admitted to the hospital several times for matters that really could've been nipped in the bud, like colds that turn into bronchitis and then pneumonia. That sort of thing.

So on Saturday evening, I woke from my post-Indian-buffet nap to find a couple of frantic voicemails on my landline from Dan's sister, saying Mom-in-law had been taken to the hospital with stroke symptoms. She had also called Dan's cell, because when I went looking for him, he was already gone and had left a note.

First update was that she had been taken to a nearby hospital, checked over and released. Dan came home. Second update was that within an hour of arriving back home, she had the symptoms again and was this time taken to Methodist Hospital, which is known for its stroke team. Dan dithered around the house for a little while, agitated and uncertain whether to join his brother and sister at Methodist or wait for word when he would be needed. But finally he took off, wrinkled shirt and all, and was gone all night.

Poor baby. He spent all night in the ER waiting for her to be admitted and given a room, and didn't get home until around 11 am Sunday, at which point he promptly crashed.

So much for our comped theater tickets for the 2:30 matinee. Of course his mother and his sleep were more important, but since he quit doing theater work in '99 we've hardly gone to any plays at all and this one starred one of his old theater buddies. It was also the only weekend for which we could get free tickets.

Oh well.

Sunday evening, with lots of tests done and no definitive diagnosis, Dan went back to the hospital to spend the night with her. She was terrified to be alone, so the three siblings were taking shifts. Lucky Dan got the all-nighter. *Sigh* So I packed the little soft-side cooler full of goodies including homemade bread pudding, and sent him on his way. And Monday night we did a repeat. She was finally released late Tuesday morning with a diagnosis of transient ischemic attacks (mini-strokes) and a prescription for what turned out to be $300 worth of medicines.

Oh, did I mention that part of Mother-in-law's helplessness includes a complete inability to get herself onto things like prescription insurance programs?


So Dan ponied up the $300 and then showed the receipt to his siblings. The same siblings who had previously told him, voices dripping with sincerity and can-do spirit, that all such expenses would be split three ways. The same siblings who were now suddenly, mysteriously broke. These are also the same siblings who by virtue of their proximity (one lives with her, the other next door) promised over a year ago to get their Mom onto AARP's insurance and see what else she may qualify for. They didn't do that, either.

This puts us in quite a pickle. Obviously a loved one's life is worth the inconvenience of time and money, but we just don't have $300 a month sitting around here. If we had that kind of money left over at the end of the month, I'd be sending it to the student loan people. We could afford a mortgage on an inner-loop home with an extra $300 per month. We just don't have it and we can't wish it into existence.

And we shouldn't have to. It's their mother, too. TIAs have a very high rate of being precursors to bigger, serious strokes resulting in paralysis or death if they aren't treated properly and promptly. That includes proper medication. One has to wonder just what the sibs would do if they didn't think they could shove the whole responsibility onto my husband. Would they just let her die?


In other news, I had a weird Saturday workout. It's usually my long run day, but threatening clouds and a stiff wind made me rethink the matter and head to the gym instead. In these circumstances, I usually alternate 30 minutes elliptical/30 minutes treadmill to keep myself from going mad with boredom. After two hours of this and still no rain, I went back to my apartment, changed into some dry clothes and went for a short run on the bayou trails.

On Sunday there were no organized rides, nor had I been invited anywhere, so I had planned to do a spin session. But I was up too late waiting on Dan's calls to get up with the chickens and do my spinning before he came home. Once he was home and asleep, it was out of the question. So I saved my spin session for evening and spent the day cooking instead. I made a week's worth of brown rice and veggies, and also made my first-ever batch of yogurt.

The yogurt almost turned into a disaster. Even though I followed the instructions to the letter, the yogurt didn't set within the three hours promised by the website I used. Luckily I'd seen other websites that said it would take 5 hours, 8 hours or even 12-24. So I didn't get discouraged and toss the jars, but left them sitting in the warm water and by 8 pm it looked like it might be starting to gel. By 9:30 I had yogurt. Real yogurt made in my dinky little kitchen by yours truly! Best of all, it was creamy and much tastier than store-bought. Yay, me!

So that's my news. And exciting stuff it is.

Recent Workouts
Saturday: 1 hour elliptical, 1 hour treadmill, 3 mile run
Sunday: 90 minute bike - Spinervals 5.0 Mental Toughness
Monday: 45 minute core and strength training, 30 minute lunchtime walk, 30 minute elliptical
Tuesday: 45 minute core and strength training, 30 minute lunchtime walk, 45 minute bike - Spinervals 3.0 Suffer-O-Rama


Phoenix said...

Hei! Very good post! veru good indeed. hugs from a Portuguesa visitor. =D

Wil said...

Wow, you are kicking BUTT on those workouts (and looks like on making yogurt, too!).

Anonymous said...

Greetings from a fellow ROE2er, thought I'd pass along this yogurt tip. I have a friend who was into making yogurt; she was disappointed with the liquid-like texture of her yogurt until someone gave her the tip of adding extra powdered milk to the batch (I forget the exact amount, but it was on the order of a tablespoon per cup of yogurt). This led to a firmer texture, more like store-bought.

Kurt Liebezeit