Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Report from Pillville: The orthotics, the fall-detector button, mental decline, and lingerie?

My mother's feet have killed her most of her life. "It's because we grew up wearing other people's shoes," she says over and over again. "You'd have bad feet too, if all your shoes came from a church rummage sale." Then of course there's the fact that for years she had jobs that kept her on her feet all day while she was wearing those shoes that didn't fit properly--and she walked to and from work--or at least to the bus.

When I was a kid, buying shoes was kind of like going to the doctor or the dentist. We went to THE shoe store where we had our feet measured (both length and width) and a professional shoe salesman came out with the appropriate styles that would fit our particular feet. It was such a big deal that I remember that the names of the salesmen to which my mother entrusted the process.

I'm trying to return the favor here in Pillville, but the first foot doctor was, I'm certain, the brother of the dentist in Little Shop of Horrors. We're on the third podiatrist now, and my mom hates the way she trims her nails--though it is not with power tools. As for the orthotics, well, they might make nice trivets, I suppose.

The fall-detector button is swell, so it seems. The range of the base unit is pretty amazing, and my mom is willing to wear the thing. The form that I must send in to the lifeline folks is a testament to our lack of support network. There are half-a-dozen spaces to write the names of relatives, friends, and neighbors who are within 15 minutes of our house. I suppose I could write my name in all of them.

I'm really trying to open my eyes to things that could cause a fall, and tomorrow a heater will be installed in the ceiling of my mom's bathroom ceiling right next to the shower. She's been dragging one of those little oil filled plug-in radiators back and forth between her bathroom and bedroom, despite the fact that I've offered to do it almost every time. To which she answers, "No, I don't need it." Then she moves it.

This morning we spent hours going 'round and 'round over a bank statement and a credit card. Numbers do not make a whole lot of sense to her anymore, though through some burst of fortitude or a moment of clarity, she managed to get on the phone to one of her favorite mail-order catalogues last week and order 7 sets of matching bras and panties in every color of the rainbow. Given my love for nice lingerie, I'm hoping that's a genetic skill that I'll be able to count on when I'm 89.

All-in-all, Pillville is without a crisis right now. But my mom is sleeping more and is less active. Her hearing is worse; her grip--both literally and figuratively--is weakening; and names for almost everyone have skated off into the polar vortex. She still loves to eat though and is maintaining her weight. And she still has that martini almost every night.

As for the other ancient resident of Pillville, Piper the cat, we're doing our best to keep a bit of CatSure in both of her bowls--the one next to her bed in the laundry room and the one on the coffee table (I know.)  She feels heavier to me, but it might be wishful thinking. Piper got a catalogue of her own in the mail today. Maybe she'll order a new collars in an array of colors.

As for me, my favorite catalogue looks like this:

And yet, here I am in paradise.

january afternoon view to Anacapa and SantaCruz islands


Elizabeth said...

I'm sitting here at my computer, eating peanut M&Ms that are pink and red, nodding my head and imagining you with a halo over your head. Then I thought that you and I both should have halos and we'd be the Sinner Saints.

Andrea said...

I must say I'm mighty impressed by that lingerie order. It takes a lot of wherewithal to get on the phone with the catalog people and order something, let alone such an array of somethings - the item numbers, the sizes, the colors, the colors you have to choose from because they don't have those colors you wanted any more, the customer number, the catalog code number inside the box on the back of the catalog somewhere or other near the customer number, the credit card number, the choices regarding various ways of shipping - standard, overnight, two day, UPS, USPS, Fed Ex, llama, etc. If your mother can do all that she is in great shape, rummage sale shoes or no rummage sale shoes. Cheers and huzzahs and haloes too.

Ms. Moon said...

I read other people's comments and I think, "Yes. That is what I want to say." But I am so far from coherent these days and all I can manage is- keep on walking, wandering, wondering, being in wonder.
Your presence on the planet makes me feel better.