Monday, February 9th, 2015

Monday has a bad rap in general.  It is the start of the work week, aka the absolute end of the weekend.  For the lucky portion of the work force who love their jobs, and hate the open endedness of unstructured time, Monday’s arrival isn’t the dreaded demon that makes others cringe.  These fortunate folk view it as a beginning, not an ending.

It has generally been a mixed bag for me, but this particular Monday was unusually heinous.  Mid afternoon, I got an email with some not unexpected news.  My last remaining aunt finally passed away at age 90.  She had been battling leukemia for several years, but the disease finally won.  Years earlier, her sister succumbed to the exact same disease.  Coincidence?   Not likely, as this particular type of leukemia, CLL, or chronic lymphocytic leukemia, is a known auto immune disease.  Like her sister Lois, Doris was yet another one of the Holton family autoimmune victims.

Dad had several sisters:  Marion, Eileen, and Kay all had MS, as he did.  Doris and Lois had CLL.  I believe he had another sister, but she died in childhood.  Now, I am the next generation, and I have MS.  My sister’s daughter Ellen has Wegener’s Granulomatosis, and Eileen has Raynaud’s syndrome, but this is unconfirmed.  Diane’s only other child Steven, is free of autoimmune disease, but he was this week’s other candidate for Monday crises.

At the age of 50, Steven had a heart attack.

Yes, he is morbidly obese, of his own doing.  He lives in Diane’s basement, and does nothing but play computer games, and nosh on copious amounts of junk food.  He has a diagnosed mental illness, several to be exact, from an anxiety disorder to a mild schizophrenia.  For the past dozen years, he all but refused to leave the house, and kept Diane and Ray on living on tenterhooks.  If he heard them watching the news, he could become livid, convinced that it was all fabrication, a plot by some unidentified power to warp the minds of the general public.  This had made a stressful daily life for Di and Ray, in their seventies, and both suffering from health maladies.

Steve is currently in the ICU at the Montfort Hospital.

Testing indicates his blood is showing cardiac enzymes, meaning that a heart attack has occurred.  He will remain there until a transfer can be organized to the Heart Institute, where they can better diagnose his specific issues (other than the obvious!), and treat any emergent issues.

While Steve is out of the house, both of  Diane’s daughters have stepped in to help out.  They plan to come back to the house next weekend, and go through Steven’s room, hopefully to organize it so that a homecare cleaner can come in and conduct a MUCH needed sanitizing.  This could NEVER happen if Steve was present!

I was quite pleased to hear that Ray has been talking with CCAC, looking to learn what help that they can offer.  I’d been after them for years to get in touch with this agency, but my pleas fell on deaf ears.  Or so I thought…  Ray is 75 years old, and is doing ALL of the cooking, cleaning and any other household duties.  That poor man desperately needs some help, but he would always demur, saying that he enjoyed doing everything.  Yeah, right.  Diane can only help with meal prep by sitting at the counter and chapping vegetables, etc.  She can no longer do the cooking itself, since she cannot be on her feet.  I know that she hates to have people in her house, but I think that it has gone beyond what she prefers.

I just shudder to think what will need to be done when anything happens to Di and Ray.  She is not exactly a border, but she supports clutter in a big way.  Ray has been nudging her along, trying to get rid of a lot of her stuff that she can no longer use.  Being unable to be on her feet has excluded SO much of what she loved to do!  Sewing, quilting, painting, lace making, now all made irrelevant by age and physical health.  She still has a wall cupboard packed with art dolls she has made over the years.  The theory always was that she could sell them, but now she simply cannot part wit them.  She couldn’t even bear to loan me one for staging when we were selling a house!  She gave me one for a few days, then wanted it back, claiming that Ray missed it!

This sort of situation makes the distance that much more difficult for me.  I honestly want to be there to help, but realistically, how much help would I be?  In some ways, the distance is my safety blanket!

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