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…an eventful day.

May 6, 2011

This day has been.. eventful.

It didn’t feel all that eventful.. most of the day it didn’t.

The usual struggle with anxiety and other issues. Took the car in to get it looked at, went to the library, talked with some friends on the phone, looked for a mother’s day card for my mom.

She and my aunt were at the hospital most of the day today. Yesterday and last night, they were with my grandma at the independent living center for senior citizens where grandma moved into after we moved to Idaho from CA.

Grandma wasn’t doing well yesterday, but last night she seemed to be doing a little better. My mom spent the night in grandma’s room.

Earlier they were thinking of bringing grandma to the emergency room, but the elevators in the care home were broken, and grandma seemed to be doing better, so they didn’t call 911 to get paramedics to help grandma down the stairs. She lived on the third floor.

I got up today at 9 am. Our house guest who I mentioned in a previous post had last night said she wasn’t planing on leaving early to head for Wyoming. But, early in the morning, as I was half asleep, I heard noises in the kitchen, and figured it was her, getting ready to leave. She hadn’t had much time to spend with my aunt because my aunt had been with grandma.

When I woke up, our guest was gone, and so was my aunt. My aunt was already at work at a hospital – she is an ultra-sound technician. Mom was still with grandma.

I got up at 9, because our contractor who was working on the house we just recently moved into was coming by to do a bit of touch-up work, pick up a can of paint, and his paycheck.

He didn’t stay long. I was still tired, but waking up some. Had to call the auto shop anyway, the “check engine” light had come on in the Toyota, and that’s not a good thing to let be.

The car didn’t have a serious problem, so I made an appt. for later, went on with my day.

Library, store to find card, etc.

Came home again, called mom. She said to get some food for us, so I took my dad and headed to a grocery store, got some food.

A few minutes after we got home, mom called, and told us grandma – the mother of my mom and aunt, had died. At 10 past 6 pm.

Grandma lived to be 92. Her health has been bad for sometime. The majority of her life, I think she’s been miserable, her own mental illness problems, serious difficulties communicating with people, overpowering religious fixations.

Even though the last 5 years or so in CA, when grandma lived on the other side of our duplex, with my aunt, I didn’t spend much time with grandma.

I couldn’t go over to visit her on my own. She would preach at me.. intensely. I have not been a Christian since the mid-nineties, but my grandma has still been preaching. Dealing with Christianity has been both a cause and symptom of my own mental illness, and I can’t bear being preached at.

In recent years, grandma had become more infirm. It became dangerous for her to get into such a state of religious fervor. The last time I visited her without my aunt or mom in the room, grandma was even more intense than usual. She got into her preaching mode, talking in an unusual manner, stood up without leaning on her walker. I could not get her to sit down. I was quite worried she would fall down and hurt herself. Grandma finally calmed down and I left.

From then on, I didn’t see grandma all that much, and made sure mom or my aunt was there with me. That was their instructions. Grandma wouldn’t preach so much with one or both of her daughters in the room.

Since we moved out here to Idaho, I haven’t been to visit grandma much at the senior citizens’ home. The few times I did visit her, even though my mom and/or aunt were in the room, grandma started preaching again, so I mostly have stayed away.

It’s been a few weeks since I last saw grandma, and the visit was the same as usual. Haven’t been back since.

Almost every day, my aunt has been over there, since we moved to ID, and my mom would visit as well, so grandma got enough attention, even though she was alone a lot of the time. She has had a social phobia of sorts most of her life, and even on days when she could take the elevator down to the dining room, she wouldn’t, preferring to do what she almost always did with her time..

Read the bible, wrote sermons, listened to tapes, dictated her sermons into a tape recorder, watched religious television. That is pretty much how she passed her time since I’ve been alive.

She was married for I don’t know how many years, to a very nice man, who she did not treat well at all. Another facet of grandma’s mental illness, I believe. Mom said it was partly grandpa’s fault though, for not standing up to grandma, and putting up with her verbal abuse.

Grandpa died in 2008. He’d been dealing with Alzheimer’s for years, and was quite impaired by the time he died. Years previous, he’d had cancer, but beat it. The cancer finally came back though, and that is what he died of. His death was a mercy. His mind was going. He had forgotten who I was, and I could no longer visit. I came to see him on the day he died. He looked at me, and there might have been a slight spark of recognition there. Perhaps there was.

He died, in the company of my mom and dad, shortly after Ieft. My aunt wasn’t in the room, not sure why.

Grandpa had been living in an Alzheimer’s care home, and grandma, after grandpa’s death, continued to live on the other side of the duplex where I lived with my parents.

And grandma moved up here with us.

She wasn’t content to stay in Idaho. Her heart has always been leaning toward the Midwest. Where she was born, where she got married, and raised a family. Some of our relatives still live in the Midwest.

In March, my aunt and uncle from Michigan came out. They talked things over with my mom and aunt, and then talked with grandma, and it was decided that grandma would finally move back to the Midwest, and live in an assisted living place in Michigan.

Grandma and my aunt were scheduled to fly to Michigan this coming Tuesday.

But today, grandma died.

I am glad she has passed. I have felt bad for her these past years, even though I could not visit her much. Her health has been failing, and most of her life, I think she’s been unhappy.

I’d wondered when she would pass on, and figured it would be in a year or two.. after she moved to Michigan. I’d told mom and my aunt that after grandma left for the Midwest, it was quite possible none of us would see her again. This was somewhat of a hard thing for them to accept. But, caring for grandma for all these years has been terribly draining for my aunt. My mom has had my impaired dad to look after for so long, so it fell to my aunt to be grandma’s caregiver, and the main person to provide her with company. Even when grandma was being mean to my aunt.

So… this is of course a relief for my grandma, to finally shed her mortal coil.

As for an afterlife.. I don’t know, and can’t say.

That is one loss I’ve experienced today. The other.. my cat.

I love my cat. She’s been in our family for 8 years now. She arrived on a summer night in 2003, when I was sitting out, late at night, on a bench on our porch, crying in frustration. 2003, like most all years in my life, had been rough. Earlier in the year, my dad had almost died. Was in and out of hospitals.

I tried to work in 2003, had had 3 jobs, none of which I was good at. I also looked after grandpa some. Took him to church on occasion, and to coffee. Even then, his mind was starting to go.

On an August night, after a miserable shift at the third miserable job I’d had that year.. realizing I’d have to quit to save my sanity, I was sitting out on the bench, in tears.

And a very cute little cat I’d never seen in the neighborhood before was walking up the sidewalk to the driveway. I thought she wouldn’t come when I called her, even so, I called out “here kitty kitty,” and she ran right over, and sat on my lap. A little angel clothed in fur.

She’s been with us ever since, until today.

Suzie, our cat, has been having a rough time. Took her perhaps as long as a month to adjust to living in the house we were renting, and hasn’t handled the past three weeks well either. We’ve been living in the house my parents and aunt bought these past three weeks, and Suzie has hid under beds during the day, and prowling around the house most nights, meowing pitifully, and running around restlessly, keeping us awake some nights, and not settling down.

She’s started to do better lately though, seeming to adjust a little better, and has been more affectionate to us. She’d gotten into the habit of jumping down two feet from the main level of our tri-level home, to the table where the computer I work on sits. Last night she was sitting here on the table, and I had to pause at the computer, and pet her.

Last time I saw her was last night.

I’m used to not seeing her during the day until late afternoon. That’s fairly common.. she’s just about always been sleeping under a bed during the day.

When I got home in the early evening from doing my errands, I still did not see her, and got a little worried.

After dad and I got home, just before 7 pm, I started looking through the house. I went through it twice. No Suzie.

I finally thought of why she is not here.

Our guest, who unexpectedly left early in the morning, must have let Suzie out. Either intentionally, or by accident.. by leaving the front door open in order to carry things out to her car.

So, it’s likely been many hours since Suzie disappeared.

Dogs can find their way back..in rare cases even crossing through several states to arrive at the new locations of their owners.

Cats don’t tend to come back. Not if they are let out in an unfamiliar neighborhood. We’ve not let Suzie outside yet, she’s still been getting used to the house, and it takes awhile for cats to get comfortable outside in their new neighborhood. We wanted to wait ’til she settled down in the house, before letting her out, and then we’d plan to only let her out when several of us were outside too.

But now, she is gone, and I don’t have much hope she will return. I put her food bowl and water bowl just outside our back door, just in case.

I am guessing she got scared of being in an unfamiliar area, and wandered off.

Perhaps someone else needs her now, more than we do. We live in a residential neighborhood, fairly well populated, so it is likely Suzie will find food from other people, somewhere.

But I already miss her, and am not feeling well about this.

Some months ago, while we were living in the rental house, I was just thinking that we’d lose her somehow. I mentally prepared myself for her absence. But, we didn’t lose her while we lived in that house, and I eventually didn’t have the thought any longer.. didn’t think she would disappear. She’s been even more friendly than she was for awhile, at least during the afternoons and evenings, before she’d start her prowling late at night. She has been a comforting presence.

I even checked out a DVD on cats at the library today, so I could learn to understand Suzie better.

I came home, and she was gone.

So many things are beyond our control. So many things we cannot prevent.

Yes, it has been an eventful day.

Grandma died.

Our cat is gone.

The rest of us..

Carry on.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. May 7, 2011 3:11 AM

    I’m sorry to hear about your grandmother.

    I wondered, have you ever been tested for sensory processing problems? These can be found in people on the autism spectrum and in people with various other neurologies. They aren’t simply an autistic thing. They cause anxiety and obsessive thinking.

  2. tomschronicles permalink
    May 7, 2011 4:41 PM

    Thank you for your condolences. I think grandma is finally better off now.

    Sensory processing…

    Heck of a good question. Hmmm.. I’ve never heard of being tested for sensory processing problems. I most certainly have anxiety and obsessive thinking. Also, I can’t filter out noise in crowded places, and have other sensory issues. Some people who know me well, and one commenter on this blog, have said they suspected I have high functioning Aspergers. This is quite possible. I have not been able to find anyone capable of diagnosing Aspergers and sensory processing issues. Such specialists probably exist somewhere in America, but are likely to be expensive to see. I should try a web search, though.

    Can sensory processing problems be corrected?

  3. May 8, 2011 1:35 AM

    I must admit I thought you had high functioning Aspergers as well. But it seemed a bit rude to say it when I’ve only just met you. You write with the length, detail and energy of mind that one often sees in Asperger bloggers.

    People will Aspergers will put heavy things on their bodies, like weighted scarves and jackets, to make their senses feel better. The deep pressure on the skin blocks the tingly little nerve signals produced by sensory overload. Next time you’re at a party and you have younger relatives with you, let them sit on your lap and see if the weight on your legs helps you feel better about the noise.

    Obsessing may be the brain’s way of handling sensory overload. If you can clear your mind, see if you’re more physically sensitive. But beware, I may have planted that idea in your mind.

    I’ll reply to your other comments shortly. I’m off to church. It’s an Anglican catholic church so our beliefs about the wafer are somewhere between your aunt’s and the Protestant idea that it is symbolic.

    • tomschronicles permalink
      May 8, 2011 3:24 PM

      Hmm.. are there a lot of Asperger’s bloggers out there? Is blogging something people with Asperger’s are more likely to do? How do you know all this? I am guessing someone you know has this condition.. but I won’t ask who, specifically. I value your knowledge. Interesting to read..

      I got a comment from another reader about Asperger’s, This was over a year ago.. After reading some of my writing, he wrote to me and said, “I have a lot of the symptoms you have. We are very similar. I have Asperger’s Syndrome. You might too.”

      I wish I could find someone who could tell me .. officially.. if I have Asperger’s or not.. I’ve seen people who have Asperger’s on TV, but the ones on TV are lower functioning..which makes the TV show more dramatic.

      I am wondering, though, once I got the diagnosis, what would I do then. I am not aware of any cure, or even any effective treatment.

      How do you know about this disorder?

      I’ve never heard of the use of heavy things to make people feel better. Hmm.. There’s not a whole lot I know about Asperger’s.

      Having kids on my lap doesn’t help though. My brother has little kids.. they are very high energy.. don’t sit still.. Would rather jump up and down on me.. it’s stressful to be around the kids. They are 10, 8, and 6 years old. Not very well-disciplined. They cause more sensory overload.

      Having multiple diagnoses.. multiple disorders.. makes things complicated.. hard to tell what is causing what.. I don’t know why my brain is so obsessive and over-active. At home, where I spend a lot of time, it’s mostly quiet. Not much sensory overload here..but still my mind goes crazy.

      A little worse these days, because I am spending more time at home due to injury. Can’t go to the gym, and not as busy or social as I’d sometimes like to be.. but being at the gym or out somewhere socializing can really cause sensory overload!

      Sleep.. sleep is good.

      So.. the Anglicans don’t quite believe the bread and wine literally become the body and blood, do they?

      The Episcopal Church out here, which is the American version of the Anglican Church where you live, has experienced a schism.

      The leaders of the Episcopal denomination decided, a few years ago, to ordain a gay man.

      Many conservative Episcopals were horrified by this, and split off from the Episcopal denomination. The conservative faction then aligned themselves with an Anglican denomination.. from Africa. So now, there are Episcopal people out here, and Anglicans, and they are no longer the same group.

  4. May 9, 2011 1:28 AM

    I didn’t know that about the schism in America. Gay bishops are fine by me. 🙂

    I can’t say much about who I know as the Internet is very public. 🙂 There are a lot of people with Aspergers on the Internet. Google Asperger blog and you’ll start finding them. I think because they have difficulty in spoken communication they thrive on the Internet.

    • tomschronicles permalink
      May 11, 2011 6:25 PM

      When I first heard about gay bishops, I was troubled. There are passages in both the Old and New Testaments that speak out against homosexuality. I found it strange that gay people wanted to be Christians, considering what certain scriptures say, and that there is so much anti-homosexuals in many congregations.

      Nowadays, I don’t care whether or not gays are ordained. I think each denomination should decide for themselves.

      Asperger’s.. maybe I will look up some blogs.. not sure I want to learn too much though. I could have a psycho-somatic reaction.. in other words, I might be psychologically affected by what I read, and sort of come up with new symptoms.

  5. May 12, 2011 9:41 AM

    Giving yourself new symptoms is a bit of a danger. I think, um, whether or not you’re Aspergic, just be kind to yourself if you’re bothered by noise or smells or any other sensory thing.

    People with Aspergers and mental health issues are often very creative. So if you see that in yourself, be proud of it.

    • tomschronicles permalink
      May 14, 2011 1:15 AM

      YEs.. just be.. such a challenge!!

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