Adventures in Domesticity

Ginny’s visit to the doctor on Thursday was somewhat discouraging. Last month, we were told that her legs were doing well, and if it weren’t for her hip (left), she’d be able to start doing hard-core rehabbing. On Thursday, however, the doctor said that her hip was just fine, but that her right leg wasn’t ready to bear weight. Originally the plan was to wait it out another month, with PT coming in three days a week to work with her at home, but then the plan was changed and she decided to go back to the inpatient rehab center for a week to ten days to learn how to use a wheelchair and do some intensive PT and a few other things. Then she won’t need full-time care anymore.

In the meantime, since my mother doesn’t have any more paid leave, I’m using vacation days to stay at home and care for Ginny.

The doctor stuff is frustrating as hell because they see a different resident every time they go, and they hear something completely different each time, and sometimes reports even contradict one another. Add to that the fact that her surgeon is a very unfriendly man, and we were all pretty upset on Thursday. Two choice comments from the surgeon when my family questioned the conflicting information they’d gotten:

  1. “Well, it’s not like you’re going to run a marathon.”

  2. “Just because I want to get a hair cut doesn’t mean I can just go out and get one.”

That’s helpful. Thanks.

So we were told that they’d have a bed by this past Monday at the rehab, or by tomorrow at the latest, and of course we didn’t hear anything and they didn’t return our calls today so it definitely won’t be tomorrow as they had promised, so now we’re back to waiting, and dammit, we’re tired of waiting.

I’ve settled into a kind of routine. I get up at 9:30 or 10, I get Ginny’s breakfast, and then she goes back to sleep. I’ve been working on some office stuff at home during the day too, and keeping the house clean as well as I can, and then taking care of Ginny the rest of the time. Mostly that means getting food and dealing with the bedpan. My dad’s home during the day but he can’t do the personal care stuff Ginny needs. Friday was fine.

Monday, all hell broke loose.

Sam had a friend coming home from school with her to do birthday stuff with us. I was cleaning house and working on letters for work, and our vacuum wouldn’t work. The beater brush or something was broken. No problem – Ginny has a vacuum from when she had an apartment. So we find it and drag it out, and Dad goes out to buy bags for it, and we put the new bag in, fire up the vacuum – and it doesn’t pick up a damn thing.

And our floor really needs to be vacuumed, as among our house pets are a golden retriever and a long-haired white cat, both of whom are shedding like hell right now.

It’s late in the afternoon and I race next door to my Nanie’s and borrow her vacuum. She mentions that it wasn’t working right and I figure she just didn’t have the bag all the way in, so I wiggle everything and plug it in and turn it on. And it promptly spews dirt and dust all over the carpet.

I think I chucked it next to the corpses of the other two vacuums and cursed a lot at that point. Oh, also? It’s hot as hell and our A/C doesn’t work well when it gets close to 90 outside, and so I’m sitting on the floor with scissors and screwdrivers and vacuum parts all around me, covered in vacuum dirt and sweating like crazy.

I get up to put another load of laundry in and when I pick it up, I notice that the floor is wet there. I press a towel against the crack between wall and floor and water just keeps oozing out. I begin to connect the dots between this and the bump in the floor I kept tripping over, and realized something was leaking. Our dishwasher, water heater, and washing machine are all right around there, so it could be any of them. My money was on the dishwasher.

Mom comes home to find the house in complete disarray, and Sam calls to say she and her friend are on their way home. I show her the wall and we open the compartment and discover that the water heater has sprung not one, but several leaks.

So in one area of the house we have an invalid, and in another we have a ruined kitchen floor, a leaking water heater, and a ton of sludge and water, and in a third area we have a shitload of dirt and the corpses of three vacuums, and I’m standing in the middle all grimy and pissed and I’m thinking, “This is totally a bad movie come to life.”

Not to mention the fact that my poor parents are freaking out about having to shell out several hundred dollars we certainly don’t have right now in addition to all the other shit we’ve had to pay for lately.

And we’ve been without hot water since Monday night, which is SUPER convenient when you have a convalescent patient in the house who uses a bedpan.

The only lucky breaks so far are that the water heater didn’t cost QUITE as much as we’d feared, and that my Nanie lives next door so we could run over there to shower today.

It’s all kind of funny, in one of those “If we don’t laugh we’ll all cry” sorts of ways. My mother, I think, firmly believes we are cursed at this point.

Dad and I spent today wrestling water heaters around, and he’ll be able to finish hooking up the new one tomorrow. Mom brought a new vacuum home and I am disproportionately excited about it, which should show you that I’m turning into Donna fuckin’ Reed or something here. And I took Sam to get her hair cut this afternoon. Bright spot: when I came back there was an absolutely gorgeous Husky puppy in our yard. Mom and Sam and I completely fell in love with her and spent several hours playing with her, feeding her, and doing all sorts of things to encourage her to stay with us. We also put our dogs in another room and brought her in for Ginny to see for a while. She’s a doll. She looks purebred so I imagine she MUST belong to someone, but sadly, people drop animals off all the time around here, and during all the time we were outside, we never heard anyone calling for a dog and never saw anyone out looking for her. I didn’t see her when I locked up for the night but if she’s there in the morning I’ll try to get a picture.

We need another dog like we need holes in our heads, but she’s just so FRIENDLY and against our wills, we adore her. If she found her way back to her family overnight, at least we had a few awesome hours playing with her.

And there you have it – I think you’re all pretty much up to date now. I have a slow internet connection at home and not much time to write, but things are going mostly okay, I suppose, all things considered.

12 Replies to “Adventures in Domesticity”

  1. if this was really a bad movie, the dog would be certified in vacuum repair.

    great postage. you need a vacation.

  2. Agreed. You DO need a vacation! Dallas?

    I want to say, “Hang in there,” but then it just sounds so lame.

    I'm keeping MY fingers crossed for you.

  3. to the doc: Listen, your comments and attitude aren't useful to us and aren't what you're paid for – give us the facts on her progress, answer our questions in a straightforward manner and then shut the FK up. We need your professionalism and expertise – we are not friends though, don't assume liberties with our grace or our patience.”

    (Once “threatened” a doc in nyc after he was rude/rough with a gf in emergency care during a …pretty sensitive exam.

    /can't help thinking Ginny must love all the talk about the bedpan. ;-)

  4. ” It's hot as hell and our A/C doesn't work well when it gets close to 90 outside,”

    One way is to get ahead of the heat curve, by turning the thermostat down to 72 early in the morning when the AC doesn't have to work so hard. This won't keep it cold ALL day, but will help to delay the temperature rise appreciably.

  5. Ahem. I come to comment late, and don't really know what to do with the last pair, but Lorie, I can only add what everyone else is adding: this too WILL pass. It's fabulous material for a blog entry and/or a short story, and God only knows, you are getting heaps of “karma credit” as an entire family.

    Hurrah for dogs.

  6. Not to excuse the evil physician, who may in fact simply be evil, but sometimes they react to their inabiity to be god (since most believe that they are). The surgeon may actually be just as frustrated as you are that he can't “fix” Ginny. Back one hundred million years ago when I was insane and for some unknown reason was employed as law enforcement (don't ask), I broke my arm really bad (well, I didn't break it someone else broke it for me…don't ask). After the first of seven thousand surgeries, my arm wouldn't straighten out and the surgeon said to me…well, it's not like you need it in that position often, most people have their elbows crooked most of the time. If its going to be stuck, at least its stuck crooked and not stuck straight. Yay for me! Grrrr. Idiot. three thousand years later, it can be straight and bent. What doesn't kill us…blah, blah, blah…but what are our options? What you can't change, you gotta laugh through.

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