And It Begins
You know, for some chronological reason or whatever, as soon as I go back to school for the new school year, things in my personal life completely fall apart! All of that summer organizing and preparation just seem to fly away like steam over a boiling pot of water. If nothing else comes of this time I know that I can always, always count on the consistency of utter turmoil showing up.
I started school with the students today! They are a great bunch of young 8th grade teens, beginning the last year of middle school. Next year, they will be high school freshmen, and oh what a joy that will be. Our new rule this year is to keep all cell phones on silent and out of site during class and during class changes. Cell phones are allowed during lunch in the cafeteria and outside once school has ended. In modeling this new rule, I, too did not have my cell phone on me. Not that it would have made a big deal, since I did not have any missed calls or messages (not counting social media alerts and stuff).
At the end of what was a great first day, I got into my car to make my hour-long commute home. Having forgotten to text that I was leaving (a requirement made by my husband, since I haven't always gotten to my destination safely in the past...stories for another time), I called him, hands-free, of course. When he answered, I immediately knew something was amiss. He gingerly informed me that he was not at home, yet he was not at work or going home. He had been called to the house at about 10 this morning by our caretaker, who stays with my mother-in-law while we are at work. Needless to say, this was not going to be a great conversation.
My husband had been at the emergency room all day after dialing 911 this morning for his mother, who would not speak and appeared to be having difficulty swallowing. I would not be going home after my first day of school with the students, I was now headed to the ER. Apparently it was a particularly busy day for a Monday at the hospital, because we were informed shortly after I arrived that they would be admitting Maw. She had an infection and was taking antibiotics intravenously, so she would remain in the hospital until she was back to normal. Whew! That turned out better than I was imagining. It was sometime after midnight when she was finally taken to a room. We stayed long enough to make sure she was comfortable, then headed home. My 4:30 am alarm would be in just a couple of hours, making day two with the kids sure to be a long one.
This post did not make it in on the Monday for which it is dated, since I was experiencing some life moments not expected. My husband wound up not working all of this week. By Wednesday, he had met with doctors, nurses, a case manager and hospice. Maw was released on that same day and transported home to her new hospital bed, and we felt ignorant about what to do next. We did know that we would have to hire additional help, and pay out-of-pocket since we are considered the primary care-givers. For those of you yet to face aging-in-place in the home, those people that allow us to work also cost us most of our paychecks. I am not complaining, just trying to educate those of you that may not know...like us.
We are in the midst of rearranging our budget, and I will update on this blog of ways that we are quicky learning to cut corners. It can be done. The good news is that she can speak and can swallow; however, she is still weak and things, we are told, will probably never be the same and will certainly in time decline from current conditions. We are aware that life has a beginning and an end, and we are now aware that, for caretakers of the young and old, the picture is not much different. Creamy foods, diaper changes and sleepless nights are once again in the picture.
I guess what I am making of this week (beause it was so much more than Monday), is that change is inevitable, time marches on with or without us and to be thankful for every single day we can share with one another. It has made me more patient with my students, more understanding of rushed or even rude people in public, and absolutely thankful for being able to watch a great Braves game in the evening with my husband. My daily commute to and from work, listening to the JOY FM uplifts my spirit and allows me to feel the joy that only comes from my Savior.
"That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:10 NIV of The Holy Bible