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Sunday, May 31, 2015

AmyKossBlogThang: Girlfriends

AmyKossBlogThang: Girlfriends: My mom is talking in her sleep, a woman across the hall periodically screams in Russian, and someone the has been coughing vigorously for ho...


My mom is talking in her sleep, a woman across the hall screams periodically in Russian, and someone has been coughing vigorously for hours, so it's no wonder I can't sleep. Plus, even though I sneaked the sheets and pillowcase off and washed them, they still smell like rehab. (My mom has no roommate so I've been sleeping in the next bed.) 

Anyway, in my awakeitude I've been thinking about my mom's girlfriends Edie, Alva and Flo. 

My dad and Edie's husband Jack were boyhood friends, so my mom and Edie (now widows) have been pals since they were brides. 

Alva and my mom met a little later, sang in Yiddish choruses together I think, had mutual friends, some of whom have since lost their marbles or died. 

Flossie and my mom go back forever, Flossie's mom and my mom's mom were friends.

I've never not known these women.

There were other close women friends and cousins, Selma, Rusty, Bea, Lorraine, Ethel... but they are gone. And my mom has newer friends, made since I've lived away.

But it's Edie, Alva and Flossie who are on my mind tonight as I think about how hard it must be for each of them to make themselves get in the car and drive here. There are always so many other things clamoring for their time and attention. Finding reasons not to visit would be so easy & no one would fault them if they gave it a miss. They too are older women with aches and pains and fears and limited energy. 

It can't be easy for them to see their friend so altered and how could they not imagine themselves in her position? 
It must be both heartbreaking and terrifying.

And yet, they come. 

They don't do it to impress anyone, or out of guilt. 
They've each been through their share of tragedy so the novelty of anguish has long since worn off. 

The three aren't particular friends of each others so don't come together for support. They each come often. And they come alone.

Girlfriends: brave, beautiful, loyal, remarkable, wise, kind, funny and profound. 

My mother and I are lucky to know them.

xo amy

Thursday, May 21, 2015

AmyKossBlogThang: Call Light

AmyKossBlogThang: Call Light: Last time my mom broke her hip she did time in a rehab up the street. Whole novels could be imagined, written, published, reviewed, read, pu...

Call Light

Last time my mom broke her hip she did time in a rehab up the street. Whole novels could be imagined, written, published, reviewed, read, pulped and forgotten in the time it took to get someone to answer her call light there.

The nursing staff was overworked and underpaid and most of their tasks were gross. The gnomes who ran the place squeezed every cent out of them by under-staffing to the bone. Between management greed and staff resentment, many patients' beds were soiled, and pains endured far far longer than necessary. 

Come hip break #2 we are no longer innocent babes. Armed with the lessons of the past, we ask the new gnomes at rehab #2 about their response time to call lights. Turns out they have a new system in place that insures that all call lights are answered within ten minutes! The lights are on a high tech monitor-timer-thing that keeps a record of how long each light is on. This ensures prompt patient care, keeps the staff accountable and abolishes negligence.

Half way through our second night here, I can explain how it works. 

1. When a patient's call light goes on, the nearest staff member goes in to that patient's room (within the ten minute period) and turns OFF the light, signaling that the problem has been addressed. 

2. The staff member promises the patient to alert the nurse who handles pain meds or bed pans, then promptly disappears as if to do so. 

Now the patient, knowing that she has been heard and that help is on the way, feels better...for a while. But even among the most trusting and optimistic, faith eventually gives in to despair. By the time the patient loses all hope and hits the call button again, so much time has passed that it looks like a whole new request. 

The record on the fancy, high-tech employee monitoring system shows only the relentless demands of that cranky patient in 306. 

¨Sheesh! She called at 7:00 then again at 7:45...8:24. What a pest!¨

Isn't that clever?

I am so glad my mother only has two hips.

xo amy

Sunday, May 3, 2015

AmyKossBlogThang: Taking Sides

AmyKossBlogThang: Taking Sides: M y succulent / cactus garden began with cuttings snatched from neighbor's yards and public places. I nurtured them in pots for a bit,...

Taking Sides

My succulent / cactus garden began with cuttings snatched from neighbor's yards and public places. I nurtured them in pots for a bit, then transplanted them to my front yard, hoping they’d fill in. Eventually they did.

My garden's golden age was pretty and peaceful. Like when the prince and princess are done resisting each other and the fates that kept them apart are vanquished, and they live happily ever after, the end.

But there is no end in a garden. The plants keep growing. With their spikes forward, the Agave & Nopales advance steadily on the tender Jade.
As space became scarce, violent, slow-motion battles played out in complete silence. 

My friend and fellow gardener, Carl, is forever uprooting his plants and moving them in search of their perfect spot. I’ve been objecting to this for years, insisting that he was over-playing his  humanness. I felt sure that plants were not happy travelers once their fates had been established with roots. 

See a weed making do in the crack of a sidewalk, a tree entwined with a cyclone fence. 

But when I woke up this morning I realized that my jade plants were counting on me to protect them. Their happiness and safety were my responsibility, and I'd been neglecting them by not using my garden-god-powers in their defense.

Right or wrong, I carried my dad’s rusty old saw out front and tried to make things fair, although I’m sure the agave & nopales would not agree with that assessment. They'd had no evil intent -- they'd only done what I’d asked of them: Grow! Live! Thrive!

None the less, I hacked off and carted away whole buckets full of their heavy limbs.

The jades didn't noticeably rejoice at the conclusion of this blood-bath (sap-bath), but I assume they are, in their own way, grateful or at least temporarily relieved.

And me? I'm covered with prickers and will probably be too sore to move tomorrow. Nothing is simple.
xo amy