Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas on Call

Every year when I sing for Christmas Eve at St. Alban's Episcopal Church, I am reminded of a Christmas several years ago when I was still working at the mental health. I was on call this particular Christmas and, to my dismay, my beeper went off about 30 minutes before the service was to begin. 

I called our answering service and was connected to "Jay", one of our clients who was constantly in conflict with his sister. Upset with her about something, Jay proceeded to make threats against his sister. Of course, I had to take these seriously. I tried to get Jay to tell me where he was, so that I could get someone out to check on him and pick him up if necessary. 

Jay knew the drill. If someone came out and believed that Jay was a serious danger to his sister at that point, he would spend Christmas in jail or the local psychiatric facility. Instead of telling me where he was, he asked me if I thought he was crazy. His sign off was "Fuck you bitch!" Then, perhaps thinking that greeting was a bit harsh, he added "And Merry Christmas!" 

After hanging up, I immediately called the sheriff's office. They were able to pick Jay up, calm him down, and take him safely home. 

I have not seen this man in years, but I still crack up when I remember his Christmas greeting. Merry Christmas, Jay. Wherever you are. 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Wild Week

This week was quite a roller coaster of activity and emotions, ranging from the low of being afraid I was going to lose another "mama" right here at Christmastime to the high of our lovely chancel choir cantata this morning. 

In between was a great time at a book signing and art exhibition at the local library. Each vendor pledged a certain amount of proceeds to benefit the local Child Abuse Prevention Center. We also had place for attendees to donate on their own. Over $200.00 was raised for this very worthy cause. 

Next week will be somewhat busy as I make some last preparations for Christmas and help Dad with Sara when she gets home. But, Lord willing, it should be a calmer and less emotionally intense week.

Did I say that out loud?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

ICU and Lipstick

As I was walking into the hospital yesterday to take my shift sitting with my stepmom, I saw my dad coming out carrying Sara's things. One look at Dad's face told me that the news was not good. Sara's blood pressure was too low and they had moved her into the intensive care unit. Her diastolic (the bottom number) pressure had gone down to 17. The last time I saw a pressure that low was when my mom was dying. My heart just sank.  

Three pints of blood, constant monitoring, and some medication juggling later, she seems to be out of the woods. She is still in ICU, but felt well enough this afternoon to ask for her powder and lipstick. I knew she had turned a corner as I dug through her train case and helped her fix up a bit. You know a Southern woman is going to make it when she asks for her lipstick!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Tomorrow, my sweet stepmom, Sara, will have surgery to replace her hip. This thing has really been slowing this 80 year old lady down the past few months. It has been frustrating for her, because she is used to going and doing as she pleases. 

Hip replacement these days is fairly routine, but there are concerns. She *is* 80. She has some problems with a blood disorder and blood pressure. Her lungs were damaged by hydrochloric acid years ago and effects linger. However, none of this has slowed her down much. Just this hip. 

So, tonight I am praying. For personal strength and energy to be able to help my dad and her sons care for her. For my dad to be able to get the rest *he* needs during all this. And for the surgeons and hospital staff to be at their very best. 

But, most of all, I am praying for a positive outlook, freedom from fear, smooth surgery, and a swift recovery for Sara. 

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


I have been following the recent events surrounding body scans, pat downs, etc. with some interest. Many "average" travelers are now dealing with things that I, as a disabled person, have been putting up with for the past 10 years. 

On a trip to a Myasthenia Gravis gathering in Cleveland Ohio, I was being transported through the airport in a wheelchair (this was before I got my scooter). I had my C-Pap with me. I was stopped, pulled out of line, and questioned about my machine. They would not allow me to open the case and show them what it was. They called in a bomb sniffing dog. I missed my flight and had to wait about 6 hours for the next flight. I had to load my luggage on the wheelchair and take it all with me every time I had to use the restroom. I was unable to walk far enough to get a meal or visit the shops. This was pre-iPhone, so it was pretty boring. 

Pat downs seem to be pretty much routine for me when I use my scooter in an airport. They make me drive my scooter off to the side, but won't allow me to go back through the scanner. It also takes time for them to examine my scooter and my biPap. Some even make me remove my medic-alert. 

I do realize that all this is a necessary evil and not likely to change. But for you "normal" folks...welcome to MY world. 

Mystery Meat

I have recently become reacquainted with a substance I have not voluntarily encountered since my school years.  Mystery Meat  I brought ...