WOULD YOU PLEASE TELL HER TO DO WHAT I TELL HER TO DO?
October 23, 2021
So. Ya. No hiding the fact it’s been a rough three days. Today is day four since I started my mini crash and burn back into the slump of depression, so we’ll see how it goes. I started back on my methylphenidate, which I take as an off-label drug for depression. I hadn’t taken it when I was very sick, because it does cause me to be very alert and I wanted to be able to sleep. But with this lovely depression that’s set back it, and the fact it’s day 21 – (Happy Three Week Covid Birthday to me)! I thought I’d add it back in and see if it helps. If not, I don’t have to continue. My body may not be ready.
So, two days ago, after mom made sure I was out of the room, she pushed an 80 lb box of cat litter into the house from the porch. Well, she got it in the house, then closed the front door, then slid down the door and fell on her fanny.
I was in another room fighting with my psychiatrist’s nurse about the methylphenidate refill. They kept telling me I had to come in. And I kept telling them I had COVID. So, I was already pretty worked up and crying. I can do that! I do hysteria well.
Then, of course, I hear the large thump and scream of my mother falling. I hung up with the very unhelpful psychiatrist's office.
Now my mom doesn’t weigh much, but I still can’t get her up. And I’m afraid I’ll break every bone in her body if I try.
After making sure she wasn’t hurt, because I’m not completely heartless, there I was, standing across the room from her, crying hysterically, yelling, “Why do you do this stuff, mom? Why? Don’t you realize I’m sick too? Don’t you realize how hard you’re making this?”
“Well, you can’t do it!” she retorted.
“Mom! I’m 58! You’re 83! What makes you think you can do it better than I can? What makes you think you’re saving me by doing this shit on your own when you fall down?”
I sat in the chair across for her, still crying the hiccupy hysterical cry, trying to get a hold of myself all the while thinking “fuck it!" and continuing to cry.
After a few minutes of me yelling, “I can’t take it! I can’t take it!” at the ceiling, I looked at her with compete calm and said, “Well, I’m going to have to call 911.”
She rolled her eyes but she didn’t fight me; she knows I can’t get her up on my own. So, I called 911.
“Is she hurt?”
“Do you need an ambulance?”
“Are you OK.”
“Do you need an ambulance?”
“No. But tell the guys I’m having a panic attack. A big one. So just warn them.”
“OK, I will. Deep breaths.”
And then the firetruck shows up. I’m wondering, oddly enough, at that moment, how many times have we had emergency response to our house now? More times that I can count.
I scooch mom away from the front door, make a clear path, as in move the fucking 80 pound box of cat litter, and in the firemen come. They had her up and over to her recliner in seconds.
“I’m having a panic attack!” I said.
“We can tell. Deep breaths.”
“WOULD YOU PLEASE TELL HER SHE CAN’T BE MOVING 80 POUND BOXES ACROSS THE ROOM?”
“We can’t tell her that, ma’am,” one of the men said without any indication of annoyance. “She’s in full control of her faculties, she is able to make those decisions herself.”
"WOULD YOU PLEASE TELL HER TO DO WHAT I TELL HER TO DO!"
This one got them all laughing.
“If you can figure that one out," one of them remarked, "You can come to my house and convince my wife to do what I tell her to do.”
Yuck yuck yuck. Even I was laughing. In between the tears and the heavy breathing and the hysteria I so excel at.
I make them take her vitals, since they were there. They didn’t really want to. “We can’t do what your mom isn’t asking us to do. We can’t go against her wishes.”
I looked at mom and said, “Mom, since they’re here, can they take your blood pressure and stuff?”
“Sure!” mom said, cheerfully. She was cheerful! She’s a nut! Must be the male attention. All firemen are so damn handsome. I tell ya.
Her vitals were fine. She’s not dehydrated. She’s feeling better, actually.
So. The very nice firemen wished us well. Then they left.
I yelled at a mom a little bit more. She was sucking it up this time, not spitting back at me like she normally does. She had her eyes trained to the floor. Then I felt bad because she gets it. She knows what she can and can’t do. She just doesn’t want to believe she can’t do certain things anymore.
That must suck so much I cannot even fathom how much that sucks. She’s lost agency. That is the worst feeling in the world. Having a mind that works and having a body that is failing you. I so do not want to get old. I so just do not want to go through what I see her going through.
So then I stopped yelling, and I just pleaded with her. She agreed with me. I made her promise certain things. She promised.
“Mom, I’m sick too. You’ve got to put yourself in my position. I’m trying so hard. So hard. So hard. Please, don’t make it harder for me. You know I’m sad. You know I don’t feel good. I was good for a long long time, but now I’m sad again. Please please, take it easy. I don’t want to call 911. I hate to call 911! She nodded in contrition.
I left the room for something or other, and I come back out and she’s across the living room moving the 80-pound box of cat litter.
“That’s it!” I said. I grabbed my keys and my purse, and in my nightgown and robe, stomped out to the car where I sat for 45 minutes. I looked all around at the fall colors. The lawn man is doing a really good job of keeping the bushes trimmed. Wonderful man. And the colors are vibrant. There’s an especially beautiful red tree in the front yard. It’s gorgeous.
I remembered what I’ve embraced with all of my heart and spirit recently. I’ve given the philosophy a lot of lip service for years, but now I own it. I fully and completely own it.
“Wherever you are is right where you’re supposed to be. Wherever you are is right where you’re supposed to be. Wherever you are is right where you’re supposed to be.”
I said that to myself, several times. And I prayed and asked God to give me some fucking peace over it all, because I hate how I react immediately. And I’m working on that. But I find it’s only over a bit of time, when I can process and think and then own and take responsibility for my choice of reaction that I can have an appropriate reaction. And this whole thing – it was such a nothing thing.
Mom was fine. She didn’t hurt herself. She didn’t learn any lessons! But she’s fine. She didn’t hurt herself. She’s not dehydrated. She doesn’t need to go to the ER. She’s FINE. And she’s going to be fine.
After about 45 minutes, thinking I’d punished mom really good by making her think I had left her forever, I walked back into the house.
“Oh, you’re back!” she said, smiling cheerfully. “I’m hungry. Can you make me dinner?”
Just as relieved as I was annoyed, I stomped loudly into the kitchen to make sure she knew I was still frustrated with her, and made her a nice dinner. With plenty of butter on her one baby red potato, and cheese melted on her meatloaf. Because that’s how she likes it and I love her, and I want her to enjoy her dinner and I want her to enjoy her life.
I love my mother with my whole heart. But oh my goodness can she be a bitch on wheels. Just like me! It’s very clear I learned it from her.
I Persevere. And life goes on!