As previously mentioned...very emotional week. Lots of communications with medical personnel on behalf of my grandmother. Moreso than the previous 9 constant months of her courageous battle with a staph infection that has comfortably situated itself in her lumbar spine. It has taken her mobility. She's on a feeding tube because, and I quote, "I'd rather be fed through my stomach than eat the crap they throw on my tray in these hospitals". Duly noted, Mommom.
Given the latest developments and decisions that needed to be made, only "face to face" visits would do, in lieu of our usual nightly phone calls. No matter that she's an hour away. It's coming down to the nitty gritty, and it's all quite scary for us. But when she's looking to me for comfort, I can't crack. When we're discussing the possibilities, I can't cry. When an infectious disease team and a neurosurgery team are speaking to me about my grandmother as "the patient" in an unfeeling manner, I have to categorize that in my mind and communicate effectively. It all boils down to the fact that...I have to control my emotions.
That's kinda funny. If they only knew that my med chart contains the reports of several neurologists, which confirm my most prevalent ms symptoms as "emotional lability and occasional pseudobulbar affect". If they only knew that some of my daily fatigue is the result of trying to reign in and quantify my emotions...which are either really, really high - or really, really low. If they only knew how often I go off to a solitary place (usually the bathroom) in order to recite the verse, "emotions can lead me astray, but the Word of God stands firm". I control what others are able to see fairly well, except the occasional pseudobulbar affect. The only control I have over that is...where I run to so they can't see it unfold!
I was doing alright with maintaining a very "put together" facade. I successfully made it through my work week, made it through screaming banshee children, and through those delicate conversations...all with a trademark smile. That's my usual M.O., except on the inside, I'm varying between elation and sadness...for no good reason. But this time? Anger is visiting with no variation. Just anger. Huge. Anger.
The proverbial "cherry on top" came when a "friend" of my grandmother's stopped by to visit the other day and I happened to be there. This woman's a real peach. As my grandmother lay fighting for her life, this woman comments that she should get a wig, on account of her thinning hair. And where is her make up, because she looks awful. She's had the audacity to call my mother and question her as to whether or not she was doing "enough". Nevermind that she's in the top ranked hospital. She freely says negative things to my grandmother about the care she's receiving and belittles my mother. Personal Rule #1: My mother is off limits. She's quiet. She's sweet. And she'd never say a bad thing to anyone, even if she really wanted to. Because of this, I've seen people walk all over her...but she keeps it all in. Guess who I'm not?
From the minute this woman sat down, staring intently at my grandmother as we watched a soap opera together (why do people do that? Stare at the sick person?), she carried on and on about how she doesn't see why "they" can't do this or that. "They" meant my mother. Oh temper temper...quick! Scripture! EMOTIONS LEAD ME ASTRAY BUT THE WORD OF....then I heard, "Tina. Why can't she just..." And that was it. I let her have it. Well, in the most controlled manner I could, but I let her have it all the same.
Another Temper Temper Test failed.
I apologized to my grandmother when the lady exited stage left. I was afraid she'd be upset with me, but she laughed and complimented me on my delivery. I held her hand and felt the tears coming. I was fighting them off with my every fabric...and just when they were about to fall? Laughter. Hysterical, pseudobulbar laughter! My grandmother? Also experiences pseudobulbar affect...and she began to laugh. Hysterically. At me. And we continued to laugh. At one another.
You know, maybe pseudobulbar affect isn't a bad thing afterall! Plus, it's really fun to say. And how many points would that be in a game of Scrabble? I can't think of a better person to share it with than...my Mommom. Because my Mommom's cooler than...
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you