Thursday, August 16, 2007

"The Race Is On!"

I would imagine most people at least in their 50's or early to mid-60's or so would be familiar with the recording artist, Jack Jones - right? Or maybe a good many might also remember a country western singer named George Jones too, don't 'cha? Well, I happen to like both of these singers but my true preference there is for Jack Jones, especially if I might be in a mood to just have some easy-on-the ears music playing. Of course, at the present time, all my ALBUMS - yes, I said that -albums - not cds or tapes or cassette (boy, can you get much more antique than tape cassettes?) - are currently "in storage" up at my son's house because we just don't have any place for me to stash them here that would be anywhere near to the range of my turntable!

But, if memory serves me correctly, I do believe both of these gentlemen a good many years back - translated, that means at least 35-40 years ago - had recorded the song "The Race Is On." (Don't even think of asking me for other details about that song -like who wrote the music or the lyrics cause I don't have a clue nor do I have the energy to try to do a websearch and maybe find that out either so you'll just have to take my word for this as being facts.

Well, right now, tonight - the race is on here in my house between my little 16-month old grandson and me to see which one of us will fold up like an accordion first, collaspe and go to sleep. And right now, I'm betting it just might be the night hawk Grammy, Me!

I am beat tonight! The little guy - Kurtis - has never been a really good baby when it came to going to bed and sleeping the whole night through till like 8 a.m. with NO, absolutely NO periods of interruptions. But for the past month at least -maybe two months now - my memory is often toast when it comes to short term stuff to begin with and it's been really foggy for quite a while now due primarily to the grandson's lovely sleep patterns.

Time was, up to about 2-3 months ago now, that he might fall asleep between 11 and midnight and maybe, if we were really lucky, would sleep straight through for a max of 4-5 hours, then wake up long enough to wake his mother up, maybe me too, then fall back to sleep again and sleep till usually 9, maybe 10 a.m. That wasn't too bad for me since some nights I would go to bed about 1 or 2 a.m. or later and be able to sleep till about 9 a.m. anyway - with an occasional wake-up to go visit the bathroom and go back to sleep then.

But the last couple of months, the little stinker has decided that he is not going to lay down and go to sleep until he has drained at least 2, sometimes 3 bottles of milk - 8 ounces in each one -or before 2 a.m. - whichever would occur first ya know! And because his mother's work schedule some days required that she get up between 6 or 7 a.m. to go to work, she needed to get her solid sleep beginning at an hour well before when Kurtis wanted to call it quits, so she started to let him sleep downstairs, here in the playpen in the living room and I've since then been sleeping not in my bedroom - also on the first floor -but rather here in the living room on the sofa.

The sofa isn't that bad as far as sleeping there goes now and again, but doing it for at least two months solid - well, it gets old after a while.

Another reason she figured it would be easier though to do things this way is because generally I am up way late almost every night. Time was, once upon a time, when I would stay up until 4 or 5 a.m., get some sleep till maybe 8, 9 a.m. the latest and then be all rested up and ready to roll for the day till the same hours the next night. And I did this almost all the time for many years too. But the last four years or so, my sleep patterns have been all screwed up! Now, I might sleep for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, 4 at max, then wake up and be wide awake for perhaps 2-3 hours and have to go lay down and take a nap for at least an hour, maybe two. Rarely though do I sleep solid for say a six hour clip though. Very rarely! But judging by how I will just start to "wilt" at various intervals throughout the day, apparently my body says it really needs like eight to ten hours of sleep during a 24-hour period. That's by my calculations anyway.

But today especially has been a bit rough. Last night, the little guy didn't crash till almost 3:30 a.m. and by the time he did fall asleep, then I was really wired and awake so I couldn't relax and didn't actually fall asleep then till close to 6 a.m. Now this morning, Maya's behavior therapist was here - arrived around 10:15 a.m. but for some darned reason -some fool had decided to call here around 8:15 a.m. - damned bill collectors anyway - and that woke me up! So I was up and moving for about a hour but then hit the sofa I figured for a little bit of a power nap since Mandy was here this morning and so, got in about an hour's nap time then.

But from then on, I haven't had a chance to get another other nap in throughout the day!

Add to that the fact that this afternoon, Mandy, the little ones and I had to go to Clearfield to do some grocery shopping and since all of us would be going over, we figured we would stop before going to the store and visit a bit with my aunt and cousin who are residents of a nursing home in Clearfield.

Now, by many people's standards, I suppose we have been not as diligent as we should have been -well given normal hours and circumstances anyway - about getting over to visit my aunt and my cousin. But Mandy's hours for work have been really off-base for the past couple of months and so, I've been the one to be here almost all the time with the kids. That, plus the fact, with Maya - she sometimes can be very tempermental about going into the nursing home the past couple of months too and has been known to have some meltdowns when we have gone over to see our aunt and cousin thus cutting the visits even shorter.

Now, Mandy's work hours have been cut, her husband is laid off and well, the price of gas has not gone down but rather has been spiraling upwards so we've been trying to curb driving whenever possible too. Even on the days when Mandy's hours gave enough time in the afternoon for me to venture out, there is no way at all that I could go to that nursing home and take both these little ones with me all by myself! I just can't do it and for that matter, Mandy will tell you even she - who is a mere 31 years old and I'm in my early sixties - couldn't manage to do that either!

Well today when we went to the nursing home, it did seem the powers that be were looking down on us with great favor. Maya was very well-behaved as we walked into the nursing home, down the hall, even smiling and saying a quiet little "hello" no and again to patients sitting in wheel chairs in the hallway or reception area. Up the stairs we went - avoiding the elevator as that often trips her trigger for a meltdown and there was no point in risking doing that - and down the hall then to my aunt's room.

Sadly, my aunt didn't know our names - didn't recognize either of the children at all. She knew that Mandy was my daughter, knew my face but couldn't remember my name at all. When I told her who I am, I could see it wasn't fully registering there so I said, "I'm your brother Jim's daughter. Do you remember your brother, Jim?" And her eyes got this really far off glaze over on them and finally she said "Yes, I think so but that was a very long time ago." Yes, my dear aunt, it certainly was - 63 years to be precise come this October since my dad died.

Well anyway, back up a bit here with the beginning of our visit too. After being in the room a minute or two, Mandy and I both realized it was very quiet in there. The reason being there was no Jane there -no Jane in her bed, no Jane in her wheel chair either. (Jane being my cousin, my aunt's daughter who is severly handicapped, both mentally and physically.)

So we asked our Aunt "Where is Jane?" She thought for a bit, for what seemed a really, really long time and finally after looking around the room slightly, she shook her head and said "I don't know!" Her voice is so small now, so slight, you have to strain to hear every word she tries to say. Plus, her hearing is poor too so you have to speak VERY slowly and also, very, very loud for her to pick up what you are saying to her as well.

Now, at that point, Maya was already starting to get a little restless and wanted to explore the halls a bit, so I told Mandy I would walk down the hall and see if maybe Jane was sitting out in the lobby area and we just hadn't seen her when we came in. So I took Maya and we began to walk towards the lobby and the nurse's station.

About mid-way there, a nurse was in the middle of the hallway and I stopped her to ask if she could tell me where Jane is. I explained which Jane I meant and she asked who I might be. So I told her I am Jane's cousin; her mother is my aunt. She looked through her charts and then back at me and told me "I'm sorry but I'm not allowed to give anyone that information. We can't divulge that due to the HIPPO laws." and she went on to tell me I'd have to call my aunt and Jane's POA - power of attorney. Oh yes, I know who that is. A cousin who I used to respect very much but for the past year now, he's been very inconsiderate not just to me but also to another cousin of ours who lives in this area too.

Ever since he -and the state - had our aunt and cousin admitted to this nursing home, he has had restrictions on their cases in that neither my other cousin or I can call and even inquire about our aunt and/or cousin just to simply ask if they were doing ok, if they had a good night or restless or a cold - whatever!

So I figured then and there, if a phone call had to be made to find out why Jane was not in the room with her mother, that it probably wouldn't be a very friendly call to say the least.

After we left the nursing home, Mandy and I got our groceries, headed home, fixed a late supper and then, Mandy said she would call my cousin to inquire about Jane.

She did that and he told her then that she is in the hospital there, second time in the past ten days - for pneumonia. He then proceeded to dress Mandy out because he feels that she, her sister and I have all been very lax about going to visit our aunt and apparently we don't give a rip and yadda, yadda. You get the picture, I'm sure.

Yes, I know he makes the trip up here from his home which is about 100 miles or so from here at least once a week, sometimes two times. I'm very grateful to him that he does that and that he is the one who is in charge of their care there too as I know he knows way more about handling things like that than do I. I'm very happy too that he and his wife also watch their two year old grandson as well and still manage to come up here and visit our aunt, along with his going down to the homestead to chek on the house, to do lots of cleaning out of the place - inside and out. The yard is in perfect condition and he's also cleared out bunches and bunches of brush this spring and summer around the yard as well. I'm very happy that he is able to do that -timewise, knowledge wise and physically too. I'm also very happy that he and his wife have their little grandson, can care for him too but more so, that his grandson is also a "normal" toddler as compared to mine - one who is definitely autistic (Miss Maya) and the baby, who is showing many markers that are indicative that he too may be autistic as well. Don't get me wrong, I love my grandchildren like you wouldn't believe and wouldn't trade them for the world, but by the same token, I wouldn't wish for any parent or grandparent to have to face the unknowns that accompany an autistic child and all the extra work that is entailed to help these children to learn, to function in some respects. Maya, fortunately, has been deemed to be high functioning and in many, many areas yes, it is very evident she is a very bright little girl but she has her own particular set of circumstances that she must learn to cope with, as must we too and at times, that is not an easy task for her or for us. She's doing great, that's for sure but the road we're on is still a very new highway for us and we have probably more to learn than perhaps she does about ways to help her to be the best that she can be years from now; to grow to be able to be a fully functioning individual in the adult community, in the educational community, in the work community -in society in general.

Needless to say, my daughter was very, yes VERY, hurt by our cousin's lecture to her and especially so when it made her feel he was accusing her -and the rest of us as well -that we don't love our aunt, we don't love our cousin, are unwilling to do anything for either of them and that really isn't the case.

Why did he place the restrictions with the nursing home initially that he is the ONLY person allowed to ask for any information about our aunt and our cousin's well-being? I know he didn't ASK for the work involved in having been named Power of Attorney for them and frankly, I can't think of another of my cousins who I would want to be in charge of their care because generally he is not just very knowledgeable about those type of things but also because I trusted him fully, implicitly, no doubts at all that he would oversee their care to make sure they had the best care absolutely possible and available to them. I'll not fault him one iota in that respect.

But what does give him the right to decide that he knows what circumstances my daughters and I are dealing with every day to know that we should always be able to come and go easily to visit them too and if we can't, what gives him the right to assume - quite wrongly here I might add - that we don't give a rip at all about either of them.

That is absolutely the furthest thing from the truth.

He has no knowledge whatsoever about my daughter's job and the hours it entail and how much free time it might -or might not -give her. He told her he understands that she has two little children and all that but.... well, he has his grandson he watches too. Uh huh! He doesn't realize that Mandy doesn't have just her own two little ones but also has a 15-year-old stepdaughter here who is a handful and a half on her own too along with two other children in between that girl and the two little ones - her husband's other two children - who live with their maternal grandmother but guess where they are almost every Sunday on what has been Mandy's only day off all week too - yeah, right here!

He and his wife -both professionals with good paying positions - are probably not rich by the standards we would attach to that label but they are not struggling from month to month to make ends meet either. As things stand right now, my son-in-law was laid off from his job almost a month ago now and last week, Mandy had 16 hours cut at her job which was only part-time to begin with - 30 hours down to 14 hours is a big drop in the old pay check there even if it is a job that is a little above minimum wage. It makes spending for gas to run around something none of us do near as freely as before, that's for sure!

To Mandy's credit, she listened to him ream her out, was very quiet and polite with him on the phone, said nothing at all out of line to him -very, very respectful she was and yes, I do believe that is how she should have been to him too.

But by the same token, before letting fly and accusing her, me, her sister of these things, perhaps he could have at least given us the benefit of the doubt to have a way to know what was going on with our aunt during the past year too, don't 'cha think?

After Mandy's call, I then called another cousin who lives down south -mainly to let her know about Jane being in the hospital and having pneumonia now and all that. But I also did tell her too about the phone conversation and what he'd said to Mandy and her interpretation of it all was that she attributes it to him turning into an unfeeling, selfish old man! She also said if we have cause to speak to him again on the phone she feels Mandy or I should just cut him off at the pass if he starts acting that way again to either of us.

Now, in theory, that does sound like a reasonable enough thing I suppose. However, because the only people I would ever consider addressing that way and then, it would be because they'd done something really really terrible and inexcusable too would be my own kids and they in turn would have the leeway to address me in that manner too. But I highly doubt either of my girls or I would ever turn on him and tell him some of the things that have gone down over the years within the family from him, his doing too, that could be construed as just as bad as what he thinks we've done now.

It would, in my mind, serve no earthly purpose to do or say mean, rude and nasty things like that to him, would it? Some might say, well if you did, you'd feel better having gotten it off your chest. Maybe some would, but I wouldn't and therefore, he'd have to really push my buttons so far that I totally lost control of my emotions, my speech, train of thought - whole nine yards - and then, I'd go overboard and unload in a way that I know I would really regret it later so the less said to him then the better is my theory.

How would you handle this?

How and back to my title for tonight - for your information - it is now going on two a.m. and the baby is still going strong! Playing away, talking or rather, jabbering to himself, and I've had a nice big iced coke and am once again awake - wide awake now - to continue our little nightly race towards going to sleep. If I can just hold out now for the duration....


lattégirl said...

Maybe it's because I've only had one coffee (8:17 a.m. here) but I got through the Kurtis/sleep part and then you went into a different topic and it's so long I need another coffee to go back and read through it properly! (You need to break up those ultra-long paragraphs to make it easier for us old folks to follow.)

Anonymous said...

First with the kid. Duct tape and a soundproof crib. Be asleep in no time. LOL

When my mother passed away in 1986 from cancer, my aunts were at my mom and dad's house before she died arguing over who gets what. My dad was there not knowing what to do. My mom was lying in the bedroom dying and hearing all of it.

I got there and I promptly and in one case physically removed them from the property. I informed them that everything there, when my mom was gone, belonged to my dad. It was not a pretty sight but at least I did my talking outside the house where my mom didn't have to hear that crap in her last days.

After my dad passed away, I sold everything that I didn't want to keep at auction and if those aunts and cousins wanted anything they had to buy it. I have not talked to a single one of them since 1989. Sometimes family problems just can't be fixed. I tried to initiate contact but was rebuffed between the passing of my mom and my dad.

Sometimes you can't fix problems unless both sides want it fixed.

Later Y'all

lattégirl said...

It's true it would serve no purpose at all to say mean things to him. It sounds like he is stressed out and perhaps regretting taking on the POA and all the tasks entailed with that responsibility. Maybe next time you talk to him, you can calmly outline your circumstances but offer to help more in any way you can, provided he changes the POA to allow you and the two other people involved to at least get information on your aunt and cousin, so that you might possibly help out more when the situation requires. Or send him a letter to that effect. Maybe if he listened to your side instead of getting up on his high horse, he'd gain a new perspective. If he knew you wanted to help more whenever possible, he might soften his stance.