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Monday, September 5, 2011


It was a long week of visits to Michael's hospitalized mother whose condition steadily worsened until mid-week when things started to turn around.  She is by no means cured or even back on her feet and can anticipate many more days in hospital, I fear, but at least the concentrated worry is over.  For now.

Michael has fared very well through it all, enduring several visits over the week.  After our first successful foray to the emergency ward last Sunday, I have boldly dragged him along on almost all of my visits. That way I haven't needed to use up my precious respite hours.

There is a long uphill climb from the parking lot to this hospital's entrance. One day, a highly observant individual, on seeing me push Michael up this hill in his wheelchair, helpfully commented on how steep an incline it is. I responded with a polite but, I hope, ironic thank you. So Michael's job was simply to sit still, remain calm and not stir up trouble, all of which he accomplished admirably. The rest I could take care of.

By week's end two children arrived home, one with a rather large dog in tow that he had been dog-sitting for a couple of weeks at his home in Toronto and was returning to its owners on Sunday night. This boisterous horse-sized creature bounded into our house wreaking havoc with my old and grumpy dogs. At least, that's how they saw his visit, I'm sure.  He was well behaved and obedient on the whole and listened astutely whenever he was scolded by an annoyed elder. He'd submissively take up a resting spot well away from them for an hour or so until he thought he could try pestering them again.  He was to be credited for his persistence.

With my mother-in-law's care, the arrival of this gangly energetic dog, two adult offspring dashing in and out and, of course, my husband's ongoing needs, I was truly distracted by Sunday night.  And tired.  A couple of sleepless nights, one nursing a sick and frightened dog during a noisy thunderstorm, saw to that. So when it was time for Michael's seven o'clock dose of Parkinson's meds, it seems it all caught up to me.

Michael's various medications are spread throughout the day over five dosing times.  But the plastic container into which I divide up his weekly meds only contains four little boxes per day. The fourth box contains both his seven o'clock PD drugs and his bedtime pills which I carefully separate out into an egg cup for later. This bedtime collection contains his cholesterol medication, any laxatives he is currently taking, his anti-anxiety medication Clonazepam and his anti-psychotic medication Clozaril. The last two ensure a peaceful night, usually knocking him out within minutes but within half an hour at the latest.

Last night I administered Michael's seven o'clock dose while shooing the visiting dog away from the butter dish he was happily licking, and carrying on a conversation with my son who had just walked in the door. Michael settled himself in front of the television for yet another night of viewing.  Ten minutes later I gasped. There on the counter, next to the well-licked butter dish, were the untouched Parkinson's meds. I rushed into the living room to check the other egg cup, hoping that I had dreamed the part where Michael had swallowed his pills.  No such luck.  Empty egg cup.

Great. Seven o'clock and Michael is doped up for the night.  Our son went out with the offending dog and I took my usual position next to my husband on the couch.  As the minutes wore on, Michael sank deeper and deeper into me with his head resting alongside my outstretched legs.  He had a bowl of cherries in his lap that were being dropped ever so slowly one by one into his mouth, Roman orgy style. Then equally slowly he was removing the pit and stem and dropping them heedlessly onto the floor. He drunkenly got up to use the washroom and fell like a rag doll six times in the six steps needed to reach the room, then a loud crash as he entered it. Another six falls back to the couch.  I held on until nine o'clock with him again safely slumped against me on the couch, but then I decided to pack him into bed. My stoned husband was not taking in anything by this point. Nor was I after a fairly sleepless weekend.  To avoid further injury, I loaded him into his wheelchair and got him ready for bed, no easy feat with a drunken sailor.

I fell into bed moments after his collapse and was asleep instantly. A stupid mistake but I was too tired to feel badly. Obviously there had been too many distractions, but at least I got an early night out of it.

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