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September 2009 PDF Print E-mail

There's an old saying that's used to describe the inequities of life beyond our control...sometimes you bite the pooch, and sometimes the pooch bites you.

Anyone who's been around me the last 4 months can pretty well see that my hind quarters have been a rawhide chew toy, and the health care system and anyone associated with it has been the offending canine!!!

My 8o year old mother has been ailing, and no longer able to take care of herself moved in with me and my family.  She took over my daughter's room, and  relegated my daughter to spending her summer vacation, home from college, living in our family room down stairs.  We all made due, and while the worst of the situation did not occur at home, but on the outside, this is where the gnawing on George began.

Countless visits to the hospital...untold visits and phone calls to surgeons.  Multiple trips to pharmacies, only to be told we need to make another trip to the doctor because we have the wrong "script" insider technical shorting of the word perscription.  Go to Walmart for one script... Shoprite for the other one... Riteaid because it's one dollar cheaper then back to Walmart because their kitty litter is dust free, and Sam, my mother's cat from hell, will only poop dustless!  Then on the way home, stop at the condo and get the mail, even though Middletown is three towns away from where I'm heading.  Oh, and all the while, trying to still run the business, whose phone system has turned into a hotline to all the doctors, surgeons, health care givers, and pain therapists, that all seem to be on vacation, or celebrating some obscure holiday at the same time! Burn this phrase into my brain...they'll call you back, don't worry!!!!  NOT!

In between all this, throw in 3 mountain bike races hosted by us in what has to have been the wettest, and nastiest summer on record.  Hours spent in the woods working on trails, trimming vegetation that mutated with the weather, and feeding the hordes of voracious species of biting insects, some of which I believe have not been discovered yet.  If there's any budding entymologists out there that would like a DNA sample of biting flies, feel free to contact me for a gratis blood sample...that is if there's enough left to study.

I guess this is a weak attempt to excuse myself for not having written in two months.  I just couldn't do it.  I was busy, depressed, stressed, exhausted, frustrated, angry, sad, and spinning out of control.  Even countless visits in between to the Brewhouse Beverage store, couldn't lubricate the wheels of motion that were accelerating me toward early lunacy.  I was under the impression that at my age, my children were supposed to drive me nuts, not my parents!

Any way, heading into the fall, my daughter is back to school, and with any luck at all, by the time some of you read this, my mother will be back home, giving it one more try at independence.  After two surgeries within three weeks of each other, she is on the mend, and keeps telling me she's tired of me taking care of her...boy, if she only knew!

Never again can I look at hospital issued socks in the same way...who knew they could substitute for shoes.  House dresses at 4 for $28 that I thought were discontinued in the 80's now take up one half of my laundry basket...and they all have Hawaiian flowers on them...go figure.  Vegetable laxatives are more plentiful in the cabinet than my beloved cheddar goldfish.  The spot once occupied by fine scotches, and wines, has been taken over by countless bottles of pills, most of which I can't pronounce or spell.  All this soon to be over, but believe me, never forgotten.

I wish her, me, and my wife all the luck in the world.  Of course, I am seeing some humor in all of this, but the truth is, that the heartbreak we have endured over the last four months is almost indescribable.  Only some one who has gone through a similar situation, can truly understand just how sad it is to see a parent suffer, and just how broken our healthcare system is in this country.

I will be leaving labor day weekend to do the Shenandoah 100 mountain bike race in Virginia, and cannot tell you how I am looking forward to going.  I will suffer I'm sure, but can rest easy in the knowledge that I will quickly recuperate.  Upon my return, mom is heading home.  After I restock her refrigerator, dust the furniture, pick up the mail, and refill the cat box, I will come back to my house and hopefully resume normalcy...or at least what I construe to be normal.  I do know that every time the phone rings, I will sneak up on it in the hope that it's not my mother calling, but some intrusive solicitor trying to sell me the latest, and greatest perscription plan, or the customer service desk at Walmart asking if I have an 80 year old mother insising on buying dustless kitty litter!  Who knows...I might just say no!!!

"Yours in momentary relief"...George