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On the Sliding Scale Of Cynicism Vs. Idealism, I like to think of myself as being idyllically cynical. (Patreon, Ko-Fi.)

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The disaster where it's bad enough to ask for help · 8:21am Sep 13th, 2018

This is probably going to ramble. I haven't slept. I've had a lot of reasons for not sleeping. I don't know how coherent I can make this. But if I don't make myself say all of it now... then maybe I won't say anything. I can have a hard time talking about the underlying real, and... it doesn't get much more real than this.

My mother is in a hospital. Two states away. And she doesn't know how she got there.

Take it slow...

My mother has been living with me for -- some time now. Let's leave it at that. And a portion of that residency is medical issues. She has myasthenia gravis, something which took years to diagnose, and I originally had to watch the doctors finally confirm it through giving her a nerve agent which was minutes away from killing her. She's on medication for that disease, a lot of it, and she will be for the rest of her life.

She was in a car accident, a long time ago. One which left her with permanent, chronic back pain. It's the sort of thing you could sue the driver for, except that the driver was her sister. The pain is severe enough that she's on morphine -- by prescription.

Between the two... not as capable as she used to be. And she hates that. She's something of a control freak, my maternal side parent. She hates it when she feels like anyone is telling her what to do. She's the last person to admit when she needs help, her methods of asking for it can be passive-aggressive-read-my-mind, she's among the world's worst patients... you get the idea. I could go on for a very long time in this vein, and I shouldn't.

But recently... recently, there's been two other things. One is a dental issue, with jaw infection included. On antibiotics for that. And I'd been noticing that she's been forgetful lately. I thought that was the infection. Having bad things happening in your head, y'know? Not always kind to your thinking process. Pain in the jaw... it makes it hard to concentrate, hard to think. 'Hard to remember' didn't feel like much of a stretch.

(I was in denial.)

The other is foot swelling. Weeks worth of it, severe enough that shoes were an issue. Finally got her to the podiatrist on Monday, and only after one of her friends yelled at her. (I've been telling her to go for a while. She doesn't listen to me.) Broken bone. How? No idea. But it's been broken for a while. She has to wear a soft walking cast for six weeks, and she may still need surgery after. Also, no driving. Period.

So... you remember the crocodile?

She's out of state right now. Way out of state. Still finding ways to be a problem, even from that distance. And she talks to my mother, at least until that parent gets fed up with her and vows to never speak with her again, until she does. The cycle repeats every few months. In this case, they aren't really talking, and... the croc called a welfare check in on her.

That was a few days ago, just before the podiatrist visit. I had to laugh, when I found out. Y'see, the crocodile wants my mother to mail her some drugs. No go. After a while, no answering the phone. (Also, she's on the hard-of-hearing side and doesn't always register when her cell is going off.) So she called the police on my parent, to make sure she was okay. And claimed -- get ready for this -- that my mother had been speaking about fears of being kidnapped.

Well, that one will say anything...

(I may owe her an apology.)

The last few days... they've been hard. I can't get her to wear the cast. I keep telling her that she doesn't want the surgery, the cast is the only way to bring down those odds, and she just won't put it on. I've been stressing out left and right. (I have a lot of stress. Up until last night, I thought it was a lot.) She won't listen to me, because she's stubborn and a control freak, kind of a bitch sometimes and in trying to get her into the cast, I'm telling her what to do. Can't have any of that. I was pretty much reconciling myself to her getting worse there. Having the surgery. Being me, I was accessing the odds of her dying under the anesthetic.

So that brings us to yesterday.

I've been sick. (Stress.) It's been hard to work, harder to focus. I had to run to the store for something, I got back about 1:15 in the afternoon, and I just passed out. I woke up a little before three, and she wasn't in the apartment.

Well, she has friends in the neighborhood. She goes visiting.

I tried to get some work done. Not much luck. Around four or so, I looked out the window -- and the car was gone. Also, her walking cast was in her bedroom. Lovely. So now she's ignoring her doctor to the point of driving on a broken foot. Probably went to the supermarket. Or sometimes she doesn't feel like walking to a friend who's a few blocks away, so she takes the car there. Quite a bit of that is followed up by her falling asleep on their couch. For hours.

Seven. I start calling her cell. She doesn't answer. (Hard of hearing. I often have to tell her when it's ringing.) Can't leave voicemail, because that's been filled to capacity by the crocodile. So I walk up to where her friends are, and... the van isn't there. Nothing's parked outside those houses.

I keep calling, every twelve minutes or so. Still no answer.

It's night now. I start calling hospitals. No patient by that name. Police stations. No accident with that vehicle involved.

I try calling her friends. No answers there. I attempt to contact the guy who works on my car, because I had oil issues over the weekend and she said she might take it to him this week. After several attempts (and more time), I get someone. She was never there. She didn't fall asleep on that couch.

There's one hospital within walking distance. It's raining. I walk there. I check out the parking lot of a supermarket she could have gone to on the way: no van. (I'm thinking heart attack, stroke, anything where they moved her and the car was abandoned.) Nothing. And I already called this hospital, but I'm also looking for female matching this description, because maybe she wasn't capable of giving her name. No one. I'm soaked. I get a call back from the mechanic's spouse. They've been trying to contact the same hospitals.

Home. Check online for the rules about filing a missing persons report. We are closing in on eight hours. I can call right now.

I call the police.

And at the moment I call them, I feel like I'm asking them to find her body.

Drove when she shouldn't. Dubious medical health. Didn't wake me to drive her: wants to drive herself. One bad moment of pain behind the wheel, slow reflexes...

I'm trying to reconcile myself to her death. Who do I contact first? What bills have to be paid? There won't be a funeral: I can't afford one. (We had this discussion some time ago. She was okay with having her body donated to medical research.) What do I say? How many times will I have to...?

My mind is spinning. But I have to focus. I have to call the police.

They come to the apartment. (It's several miles to walk, in the rain.) I tell them everything I can. They listen. They look around the apartment, because procedures say they must. They take a picture with them. I thank them as they go. They tell me not to walk anywhere else, to stay in, try to stay away, wait for news.

As soon as the door closes, the tears start.

I believe she's dead. I am waiting for someone to tell me she's dead.

I have to stay awake. I have to wait for news. News I only have to receive once, and pass on a dozen times.

YouTube provides background noise. Something to not-focus on. Oh, look, Spidey PS4 footage. Peter's funny.

I keep trying her cell. I wonder if I should stop. Every time it rings, it's draining the battery...

My phone goes off. It's the police, with an odd-feeling question: where do her relatives live? I start to provide the list.

Anything two states away? Not that I know of, but she has relatives everywhere --

-- because that's where the cell tower is saying her phone is. Two states away.

I have no answer for that. I only have scenarios. False signal is possible. The second is theft. (Carjacked? That car? And they took a hostage? Or just stolen with her purse in it, but she would have borrowed a phone...) And the third...

Stay awake, they tell me. We're checking.

Cross the line into a new day. Waiting in the dark.

Phone again. Police again.

She's alive.

It wasn't a false signal. She's two states away. She... ran out of gas in the center lane of the highway. It's a miracle she wasn't hit, didn't get into an accident. She...

...doesn't know where she is. How she got there. That she'd crossed the borders. What time it was, what day it was...

(Gathering strength now.)

She tries to call me, gets through. She's scared, but -- she's not as scared as she could be. She sounds... disconnected. But she knows something's wrong, she's not fighting on that. She's willing to go to the nearest hospital. The car is being towed. I speak to those distant officers. I speak to my local ones. I thank everyone I speak with. I call AAA, tell them what's going on, learn the car will be parked two states away and because it's an approved AAA place, I should have one day of grace before the fees start.

The hospital calls. They want a list of medications. They tell me she's on a social hold in the ER, may (or may not) be formally admitted. But a social worker will call me, once they're in. (Still hours away.) They'd like me to be there in person by noon.

The car, of course, is two states away.

And here I sit, terrified.

The physician I spoke to feels it wasn't a stroke. My mother has motor control and can hold a conversation of sorts, even if it's a rambling one. But... fugue? She drove across two state lines and doesn't know she did it, doesn't understand...

I have, I think, a lot to be terrified about.

I've been checking mass transit. I can reach her. Yes, even across a couple of states, I can do it with the right connections. But it's costly. We're looking at $60-$70 roundtrip. Driving might be more: gas plus tolls. And I have to bring the car back at some point -- soon. I'm hoping there really aren't storage, release, 'it's on our ground' fees.

I don't know how long she's going to be there. How many trips I'll have to make. Days. Weeks? Months?

I don't know what happened. What's wrong. If it can ever be cured.

(I've been trying not to think about the genetic chances of having it happen to me.)

I... need help.

I said that if it was bad enough... I would ask for help. This is bad enough.

So here I sit. Scared, on so many levels. Terrified. And... I'm asking for help.

Here's my Ko-Fi tip page. (Someone left a huge one five days ago. I just saw that. I don't look very often, because me. I'm sorry.) That's the one where I can potentially see any assistance in two days or so. (ETA: I was asked in PM to clarify this. Ko-Fi runs through PayPal. Anything placed there is added to my PayPal balance immediately: after that, I just have to transfer it into the bank. That's usually one business day.) You know where my Patreon is, but that's the start of next month, I only collect if I write and... finding the centering which allows writing to happen might be a little harder than usual. I'll try, but... well, at least for now, I'm stressed. Understandably so, I think.

I'm asking for help because among the many things I have to be terrified of right now is making that roundtrip several times a week for a month or more. I can't afford that. And I don't know if it's possible to get a transfer to another hospital, and then there's paying for a two-state ambulance ride...

I am so scared.

I'm sorry. I hate being out here like this. I hate asking. I have fear, and now I have guilt to go with it. I have guilt just about every time I collect pledges. It's worse now.

But... this is bad enough to say something. To ask.

She's alive. It could have been so much worse.

But she doesn't know how she got there.

I haven't slept. I may not sleep. I'm afraid to face my own dreams.

The worst may be yet to come.

ETA: Update. A CAT scan found a small subdural hematoma. She's being transferred to another hospital. (Still two states away.)

The good news, such as it is, would be that there's now a diagnosis.
The hopeful news is that due to pure geographic dumb luck, she's being transferred to one of the best neurology departments in the country.
The bad news: due to that status, the above sentence probably cost ten thousand dollars.
(I hope they have a charity care program. But it's, at best, the tenth problem to solve.)

Report Estee · 4,308 views ·
Comments ( 82 )

Sounds like it could be early stages of Alzheimer's.
If you're real lucky, could be overmedicated (You said that she's on morphine)
I agree. This is serious

I wonder if she was trying to go see the crocodile?

I know it's not much but I hope that helped.

Best i can do for the moment, Aussie dollar not good against US. We're thinking of you.

Would be interested to know if perhaps she ever had relatives living in that general direction, perhaps more than two states away. She may have been operating under the notion that she had to go someplace "safe," with family. If this is Alzheimer's, she might clearly remember how to get to where family was decades ago.

I'm so sorry that you felt you had to mentally prepare for news of her death. I can barely imagine what that's like; every passing in my family was either of old age or too sudden for me to dread. Still, I will be praying and sending love your way, wherever you are. You may be physically alone in this time, but you have a legion of friends here to support you.

From the stress levels, antibiotics and such, while it *could* be early Alzheimer's, I'm more inclined to think it's a combination of her physical health and dissociating, particularly given the detachment you mentioned.

But with the infections, meds, and her refusal to be treated properly, that can have side effects that do ugly things to the mental state. Went through that with my Mom not too long ago.

Will see if I can help with getting you to her this afternoon.

My sincere best wishes to you and your mother. Good luck, and I hope My donation was able to help.

I'm not sure what to say, and there's unfortunately not much I'm thinking of I can do, either. Just... good luck, I guess.
(If the place you need to be is around the middle of Long Island, I can ask my housemates if you can sleep over here and maybe save some hotel money, at least (I'd estimate fairly good odds of a yes there, though I can't promise), if that's a concern, but I don't know if I'm remotely near where you need to be.)

I contributed. Best wishes!

Sorry I cant help out any except with hope and well wishes. No credit card etc even if I say wanted to drop the equivalent to a game price your way. Only thing I can think of is apart from teh transport, which you seem to be very lucky to even be available, theres also cheapest travel hotels etc, if any of those are around. I dont know US prices and at what point the hotel gets cheaper than paying off a house etc.

Donate to medical science? I hadnt realised that was an option, given after 20 years of savings I still cant afford a basic funeral due to ever rising costs.

Wish you the best, man, or at least good enough.

Oh my goodness...

Best of luck in getting both back. Here's hoping this is just a combination of stress and meds on your mother's part and nothing neurodegenerative. I've made a more tangible contribution beyond the well-wishes as well.

All I can say is damn, and that I feel for you. Sent a little coffee your way; hope it helps!


Update just came in. See above.

I'm packing a bag to bring her: clothing, toiletries. I'll probably be out the door in another ninety.

Thank you to everyone who's given, and who might do so while I'm in transit. Even when you can only send your hope.
I'm not good with hope. It helps to have a little coming from the outside.

A diagnosis is very good news. You can now make a plan. Fingers crossed for the next step.

Author Interviewer

Until this moment, I thought you lived alone. :C

I'll try and get a blog up today to signal boost this. No reviews set, but I can make it happen. :)

Here a coffee for you and your Mom, I give you my hope that it's not something too grave. Safe trip and God speed.

Ouch, that's terrible. My grandma lost herself a few years ago.

Hope things work out well for you.

It's very good that she's got a diagnosis and is in a place where she can get help. Good luck to the both of you.

I just contributed. By the way, Estee, did you know that Ko-Fi is using your real name when acknowledging my contribution? You might need to check your privacy settings if this is not intentional.


did you know that Ko-Fi is using your real name

It isn't. I know there's a name there, because that's how PayPal works: it has to display a name or an organization. But it isn't my real one. It's just a receiving Email address that I use for PayPal purposes.

I believe in online privacy the way fish believe in water.

Donated and signal boosted. :heart:


Wise. Hopefully the IRS won't come knocking about using a false name.

Filial piety is a great virtue. You are surely generating much karma. (Though the Buddha himself AFIK didn't say much about it. That was mostly added later by Chinese Buddhists who were influenced by Confucianism and Taoism.)

Not much I can do for you, I just had to help my best friend/mother of 2 buy her house because her loan got pulled after the paperwork got signed.

In my unrelated medical knowledge (I deal with drugs at events) it sounds possible that it could just be drug interaction. I've seen more than one person drugged out on opiates (which you've said she's on) go into that detached state and just "do." They have no clue what they're doing or why but it was important when they did it.

I wouldn't be surprised if her medications had poor interactions... But I'm no doctor and only a medic if none are available, so I'd let the doctors know all the meds she's on. If you can, check she hasn't taken too many of any of her prescriptions.

And most importantly, BREATHE. She's safe, you're safe, everything else is a lesser problem... Future Estee's problem if you will.

Storms that's rough, I can't imagine what that's like. Well, I can't give you ten thousand dollars, (though I wish I could) but I can certainly give you a round trip.

I wish you all the luck in the world, and whatever happens, keep talking to people.

I may not be able to contribute finacially due to Chronic Empty Wallet Syndrome (something that affects way too many of us here), but I can and heartily will send as much positive mojo your way.

It just goes to show that this site is one big happily dysfunctional family!

Good luck, all my hopes, and a few coffees for the road. Always reach out.

My mother is in the incipient stages of dementia. I know that feel. :fluttershysad:

Site Blogger

Ha, I saw what 4936895 saw and was surprised.

Good luck, Estee. (Don't forget to check on your Ko-fi when you have a spare couple of seconds.)

Some Australian coffee heading your way.

Sent what I could. Best of luck.

So sorry to hear that. My prayers are with both of you. I really hope you're able to work this out. God Bless.

Coffee sent. Not much I'm afraid, not working mean not getting any new money.

And remember to take care of yourself too. My family as been going trough some though time recently with both of my grandmother affected with similar problems. Just beacause your not the one on the hospital bed does not mean you are not suffering too.

My thoughts and prayers are with you Estee.

For all it is worth, my love and comfort goes out to you from across the globe. Never give in my friend to what life may hand you. You are stronger than you know, and so long as you are breathing you are promised to see another day.

My father in law had a brain bleed like that a few years ago. Delayed reaction (by a week or two? I forget) to a car accident. It was terrifying for a few days. No short term memory, weird trance-like semi-functional fugue state (definitely couldn't drive, but could talk slowly and sleepily, and was together enough to form an opinion on the musical we saw). Then he's been totally normal after recovering from the surgery, except that he doesn't really remember the time while it was happening.

I've been on the bad end path of this too, though. Good luck and calm waters, Estee.

Sorry I can't help more, but I sent something. We're all hoping things go as well as possible, with an outside chance for a miracle.

Estee, whenever you read this, stop for a minute and take a few deep breaths, then drink some water. Try to eat if you can stomach food, or drink a meal replacement shake. Check your Ko-Fi when you can. Bring something on your drives that will make you smile.

I've been, not in EXACTLY the same place as you, but had someone very close in my life that was near death for several days, and I think I would have starved if it wasn't for family telling me basically the above every few hours. I wish I could help more financially but, due mainly to the preceding sentence, money as you can imagine is an issue. So I'm stuck with the unfortunate loop of "Thoughts and prayers" but also, as someone who has felt that sense of hopelessness before, I'm hopeful that a reminder to care for yourself will at least give you a little bit of help.

Supported. I hope everything works out well and soon.

Can't send anything but thoughts and prayers. I hope you and she are well.
It's an option. Cadavers are used by med students studying to be surgeons and pathologists and etc. Learning anatomy from a textbook is one thing, learning by getting your hands wet and sticky desensitizes you to the process of opening up a body.

Hope it gets better.

Living on two Mexican minimum wages (about USD$300), I can't really send you a peanut, but I can donate you my time.

Remember that I freaking have a degree on Tourism.

PM me your general location and the name and address of the hospital, and I'll see if I can shave you a buck or two.
Secondly, try checking with the car and truck rental companies if they are hiring "get backers": people who move vehicles from low demand areas to high demand areas. Moving companies also have a similar position, except for vehicles they are hired to move.
Thirdly, if you have documents regarding your story, you could sell your sob story to a moving or trucking company and hitch rides regularly.

I am so sorry to here that.

Like more than a few of us here, I can do naught but send you and yours my best well-wishes and hope that the least-worse scenarion is the one that pans out.

(I actually saw this this morning, but held off, since I felt that such might be not helpful at the time.)

I thought I had poor week myself last week, but nothing remotely as bad as you. (Though I always keep my perspective - there's always them who have had it worse.) I regret that, hundreds of miles away, I can do little else but post.

I swear, when I finally get to the point I can properly ascend and re-structure Reality and give it the solid thrashing in the squeedlyspooch it deserves, I'll be sure to put in a good few kicks in for you personally.

This sounds hard for ya, and this should be a story.

Sorry if double posting.
Just realized what the last non-update bit of your post said. I know it feels wing to try sleeping, but I sincerely hope you can, even for just an hour or two. Better to sleep somewhere of your choosing than have your body put you to sleep somewhere potentially dangerous

This is true. You won’t help anyone by making yourself sick from lack of sleep, or being unable to make good decisions.

Also dreams can be disturbing, but also healing sometimes. And even if they’re messed up and horrifying, they’re designed to not leave a lasting memory. There’s brain chemicals to cause amnesia and everything.

As of this comment, I have this blog, and 5 others in my feed that point here. It is so nice when everyone gets together to help those that need it.

Our best wishes for you and your mom, Estee.

Everything will be Ok.

I did what I could, I'm sorry it's not more. All of my best, Estee. :heart:

Good luck, and hope, again, then. :)
And glad you at least had two items of good/hopeful news to one bad in the update.

Let me toss in a very small but important bit on the car (that I found out the hard way). When a AAA car is towed, the tow truck company puts it (or they did ours) in the most expensive parking spot in their lot (ours was actually in the garage). They have far cheaper spots, normally behind the building in the grass, and don't charge to have the car moved normally.

Every little bit helps.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. I'll send what money I can.

Oh, mane...I'm really sorry about that! :'( I hope everything gets better...God Bless you....:heart:

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