Sunday, November 1, 2009

on stress, chaos, family and elections

WOW!! What a week!

Some background, I am the eldest of three children. I am the queer radical outcast, next is the younger brother with the wife and grand kids, then the baby girl (who is fast approaching 30), with some emotional and physical health issues. My brother lives next door to our mother and interacts with her on a nearly daily basis. I live 40+/- miles away and only have the occasional telephone conversation. My sister lives across town from mom and earlier this year cut ties with mom for her own sanity.

About two months ago mom was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. She was referred to a surgeon in the largest hospital in Maine about 3 hours away from our home for her safety. She is a morbidly obese woman who also has a lymphodema growth on her abdomen. They are convinced that they need to have her in the hospital best equipped to handle any issues that may arise. Mom meets with the OB/GYN who is concerned about the lymphodema growth being in the way to do the hysterectomy, so she consults with another surgeon who meets with mom and agrees to remove the growth and some of the fatty tissue around it, at the same time(well slightly before) the hysterectomy. She had the surgeries on Tuesday and all went well. She was in recovery and doing fairly well until late Thursday night early Friday morning when she became unresponsive. Something had caused her kidneys to fail.

At o'dark thirty (or 6AM) I got awoken by a phone call from my brother. He had been down with her during the surgery and had come home and was working an over-night when he got a call from our newly ex-step-dad telling him that mom had been transferred from the recovery ward to ICU and things were not looking good. So I wake-up in a hurry call my sister and tell her that things are bad and that my partner and I are coming to get her no arguing she was going. The three of us hurry down the interstate and get to the hospital by 11am. We go in and she is barely responsive and pretty incoherent when she does try to respond. The doctors have decided that dialysis is the best step to take and since mom is out of it they need someone else to give consent. She is newly divorced (don't ask, that is another post entirely) while he (Joe) is right there, he has no legal authority to sign the paperwork that is up to me as her eldest and therefore next-of-kin. So I sign and we wait.

Meanwhile my brother and sister-in-law show-up at the hospital and there are now 6 of us in the waiting room doing exactly that, waiting, and waiting and waiting some more. A little uncomfortably as none of us are all too close to Joe who is looking much like one of the Gieco cavemen and snoring loudly. Then the cavalry shows up oh hell.

My mom's mother, step-father, half-sister and her loser boyfriend. The hillbillies have come to Beverly. No this is not much of a stretch between the four of them there may be a full set of teeth and one high school diploma earned through special ed. All of them prone to lots of drama and hysterics based in some other reality. I am NOT in a space to deal with them. They are not happy with my sister and her cutting mom out of her life and they hate my partner. So now the 10 of us sitting in close proximity trying not to look at or talk to each other. We spend the entire afternoon like this interspersed with visits to mom's bedside. Eventually we all end up heading to various hotels and couches around the city.

We arrive at the hospital on Saturday after my brother and sister-in-law and mom had been asking for us. We go to see her but they are preparing to change her linens and we are allowed about 30 seconds. This is all ANY of us other then Joe get to see of her after this. The grandparents accuse me of not signing for a procedure but a thing that doesn't allow them to see her. WHATEVER! They get pissy and leave and head home. The rest of us head out to the places we are crashing for the night.

Today is Sunday, we arrive this morning and mom is not looking much better but they say she is doing better. As the day progresses we see that this is true she is awake and talking and making a lot of noise like mom does. My partner and I go in and talk to the resident on duty Doogie Howser, M.D. says that she is off all medications and her kidneys are on the mend and starting to function again. Brother and sister-in-law headed home to their children and jobs. We are here for one more night and we will check-in at the hospital in the morning. Have lunch with a friend and then head home.

Where we will drop my sister off at her house and my partner nay fiancee will throw ourselves head-long back into the final hours of the campaign that we have been working day-in and day out since March. We want to get married, to stop being second class citizens in our state, so we will be making phone calls and knocking on doors and data entry for 24 hrs and hopefully at the end of it all the people of Maine will vote for equality and fairness and we can get married.