Saturday, August 23, 2008

Insecticide and The Sandwich Generation

What a cruddy week. My mom's been in the hospital, my office has an infestation of gnatty little fruit flies and my boss tried to poison them and ended up poisoning me, instead.

I've been home sick with some sort of allergic reaction to the indiscriminate spraying of large cans of Raid in an enclosed office space where all of the windows and all of the duct work and all of the fresh air vents had been duct-taped shut prior to said spraying. The aforementioned Raid spraying was done in addition to the professional exterminator's spraying which had been done only hours before. This has happened not just once, mind you, but twice on different days. My throat hurts, I'm hoarse and it feels like an elephant has been sitting on my chest. Plus I can't get the smell of insecticide out of my nose and throat. I've been staying home for two reasons, 1) It hurts my throat to talk or swallow and 2) I'm afraid of what's still to come. The building maintenance supervisor (after drilling a hole in a wall and inserting a small scope, not unlike the one which a gastroentologist would use to ram down your throat and look into your stomach with) is talking about jackhammering the tub and cement flooring in order to reach what he describes as "Several feet of standing green water which is trapped beneath your bathroom in which we think the bugs are breeding." Many years ago two of my three children were stricken with Legionnaires Disease. I have not trusted any source of stagnant water, much less "several feet of standing green water" since then. It took forever to diagnosis, they very nearly died and even though they were fortunate enough to survive while many others did not they still suffered lingering effects for years afterwards.

My 85 year old mother has been hospitalized in Indiana for the last 10 days. What started out a half-treated UTI progressed into confusion, dehydration and an inability to ambulate. Considering she's lived alone since my aunt died several years ago, that's a problem. For now she's fully recovered from the UTI but she's still unable to walk or dress without assistance. My sister and I have had her transferred to a short term rehab facility - hoping she can get her strength back and return to her home. I'll most likely be going home in a week or so to help her get back on her feet and to assess the situation. Best case scenerio she'll be able to function with some daily visits from relatives, friends and whatever social agencies I can find. Worst case scenerio, she won't.

It's awful to get old in some cases. To be unable to care for oneself must be the worst of the worst. In my mother's case there's nothing medically wrong. A good bit of arthritis, a small touch of forgetfulness, a whole lot of sadness and anger at the world in general and her family in particular, but nothing threatening or fatal. Her heart is good, her lungs are good, her circulation is good, her overall physical health is excellent. Her mental well-being is another story. She just can't or won't get out of bed and care for herself anymore.

They say you're lucky to have your health when you reach a certain age but I suppose if you feel like you have nothing else it's nowhere near enough.

I have officially joined The Sandwich Generation.

1 comment:

Maddy said...

That's the same 'club' that I've just joined.
Best wishes