bookmark_borderWhat I Did This Summer

Wow. Where did summer go? I mean, it was June just yesterday, right?

I had a freakin’ crazy summer. Here goes the shortened version:

Got the bathroom done, got some of the Rose Room done, got some other stuff done.

Left on the 1st to go up Nawth. I took Mike, my Service Dog in Training. The Plan was to clean up my Mom’s house, do a yard sale, and come home with Ryan for his long-planned-for Summer with the Insane Aunts. 2 weeks tops. What Actually Happened was I got there and saw my Mom the first day. She was not doing well at all (as in she couldn’t hold her eating utensils, could barely stand, and, basically, appeared to be a quadriplegic). We started working on her house the next day or so. She got worse. She had seen one idiot “Physician” who said it was diabetes neuropathy and was scheduled to see another neurologist in mid August. But they called one afternoon to say there was a cancellation and she went to see them the next morning. She was hospitalized a few hours after the appt. The diagnosis: Guillain–Barré syndrome. She was hospitalized for 7 days, undergoing intravenous immunoglobulin treatment. From there, she went to a rehab facility. We continued working on cleaning Mom’s house but now with the objective of making it as safe (as in cleared) as possible. Me, Ryan, and Kelli worked our butts off. I stayed until late July and rushed South with Ryan.

In late August, Ryan and I returned up Nawth. Our short 3 weeks in The South were quiet, calm, peaceful. We did nothing, really. We shot a bow, ate a lot of pizza, visited the Blue Ridge Parkway, ate more pizza. It was pleasant, really. Hot as hell but pleasant. We got windows put in the Rose Room! They look great and now I want the rest of the windows replaced. Oh, and I turned 45 early in the month. We got back up Nawth and prep for school to start began. We didn’t get a chance to go back to Mom’s to work more on her house, though.

Mom had been having these strange episodes where a tight band of spams would hit around her torso, making breathing very difficult. The first time it happened, she was taken back to the hospital. They didn’t find anything and sent her back. The second time, they knocked her out and did an MRI where they found really really bad cervical spine stenosis and disk problems. Now the question was what problems are the neck and which are the GBS? Her initial response to the GBS treatment was wonderful. She was doing great in PT then took a sudden dive and was, in some respects, worse than when she started. I was visiting her a few days after my return when the spasms hit again. They again took her to the ER but this time admitted her. The neurosurgeon and neurologists both agreed that the neck needed to be taken care of so on Sept. 2nd, she had surgery where they shaved bone, reset the cervical spine, relieved the pressure on the spinal cord, and then affixed the mess in place with plates and screws from C2 to T1. By the next morning, Mom was able to lift both legs and move both hands. The right side had been critically low in function. Her right hand was starting to contract. When my brother and I saw her the next day and she showed us what she could do, we were in near tears. But Mom was far too busy screaming in pain to share the joy completely and it was several days before she was comfortable enough. She was moved back to the rehab place (a nasty, nasty place but has decent PTists) just over a week after the surgery.

I then get a call from Lorna. Her dad was very ill (he has Parkinson’s, diabetes, heart complications, couldn’t swallow, etc) and was refusing to eat. I helped her make arrangements to come up to see him because they were saying he was most likely dying if he continued downward. She rented a car to drive to Elizabethtown and I drove out to meet her on Sunday the 12th (her parents are in PA and mine are in NJ). Her father recovered (problem was partly medication, partly exhaustion, partly sheer stubborn mule) and we left there Tuesday to go back to NJ, get my stuff and Mike, returned to visit the next day, and headed home that afternoon. We were still in PA when we got a call from my brother. Their house had a fire! Luckily, the dogs were the only ones home and they were all fine. The neighbor smelled the smoke and the fire dept. was there within a few minutes. They are living out of boxes as the insurance company does the repairs (which will not be completed until November!).

We were not yet unpacked all the way when we get a call from Lorna’s sister on Sunday the 19th. Her father took another dive and this time it was very obvious he was dying. Sadly, we didn’t make it back up in time. He died at about 8pm while we were racing northward through VA. He was laughing with us just a few days ago and now he was gone. Luckily, he’d made nearly all the arrangements so the sisters had very little to do in terms of major decisions. The funeral was Thursday. We took our time coming home after spending time with her mom. Winnie is doing well, considering. She’s got some health issues too but seems to be keeping on.

So Lorna and I are home and have spent the weekend decompressing. She’ll return to work tomorrow and our lives will find their rhythms again.

Mom (her name is Patti) is doing great with rehab. I got a photo of her feeding herself the day before Clarence’s funeral. Sadness on one end, joy on the other.

Winnie turns 90 in November and Lorna (perhaps me, too) will go up to celebrate with her.