Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Walking on Eggshells

This last weekend, my sister F and niece Emily made the 70 mile drive to central Minnesota to look in on my mother. We'd received a call from assisted living that she was coughing a lot and also very tired.

We took her to the dr, who said that she "perhaps" had pneumonia. They couldn't tell by a chest x-ray because there was too much scar tissue from the emphysema, nor could he tell by listening to her lungs. I said "pneumonia is very serious in someone with existing lung problems, right?" He then muttered that we should hope that it was pneumonia, which could be treated. Worsening emphysema cannot - one just progresses further down the tunnel of poor health. My M does not have much of a margin left before her quality of life is totally hosed.

So, it was not a happy visit. On the way home, Em and I were sitting in the backseat, playing travel bingo and working on learning some old Beatle songs. I took out my meter and lanced my finger. Em said, "wow - is that blood?". I told her that yes, it was blood, and that I was going to put it on a little piece of plastic and then a number would show up on the screen. We waited and looked at the number. I told her that the number tells me what to do next to take care of myself.

A few minutes later we pulled into a gas station and F turned around and shouted "don't you ever do that again - Emily is traumatized". Well, that was news to me. Em was singing "Good Day Sunshine" somewhat offkey but with a lot of gusto.

In truth, it was F that does not want to be reminded that I have db. She was very close to one of my cousins that died from it a couple of years ago. None of my immediate family has ever seen me take an injection, and I've always discreetly treated my hypos. It's a lot to keep up with. But no, I musn't upset anybody.

When we got back to my place they both came in to try on a sweater that I'm knitting for Em. F was in the kitchen and saw a piece of paper on my frig. Plain and simple, it is a list of all my meds and db stuff that I need to pack when we go home for my M's final days and/or funeral. F knew that and then again blew up. "You've already got her dead and in the grave - how can you think like that?" I calmly told her that the list had been written 9 months ago. I took it and moved it to the side of the fridge.

F is a high strung person, and my M's illness has been difficult for her. She refuses to talk about the funeral when M brings it up, but, I have. I don't know how to handle these episodes but to keep my mouth shut and not stir the pot.

I've talked to my friend Elise about it and told her that I was willing to make the compromise so that I could be a part of Emily's life. She said, "but there's no compromise involved. You are letting F dictate all your actions - she is not giving up anything". Hmmmm.

Well, hopefully she's cooled down. I'm tired of tiptoeing, and need to take the stage front and center, with everything that belongs to me. DB and ailing mother included.