This past week has been a struggle. No, really it has. There have been several times where I wanted to scream into a pillow or start crying and never stop. It’s been bad enough that I can’t even remember all of the badness.

The worst of it started on Monday morning. (Prior to this, the freezer we keep my ice packs in died.) Mom had a steroid injection in her neck. She’d thought it was funny when they scheduled it that they could either do it on Valentine’s Day or on my birthday (Thursday); and she didn’t understand the concept of: I have plans those days that don’t involve hours of waiting in a car for a shot that never actually gives any lasting relief. But I agreed to Valentine’s Day because I knew it’d be easier that day than on my birthday.

So because of their newest Covid protocols, I sat in the car for three hours. When you have a notoriously bad hip, sitting in the car can be beyond painful. I was stiff and in a lot of pain during my date with Chris, but the date was nice, cute, and fun. We watched YouTube videos afterwards.

An hour before my dad had to leave for an appointment on Tuesday morning, mom fell. I checked on her and asked if I needed to take him. She said she was okay, and she took him to his appointment. When they got back, she was talking about how the next afternoon he needed to go to the pharmacy to get his pneumonia vaccine. I told her that wasn’t possible since I had to work Wednesday. She then said she’d do it on Thursday afternoon. When I reminded her I had plans on Thursday, she told me other people in the house have plans too and she didn’t understand why I had to do whatever it was on Thursday. I told her she could take him early on Thursday, but I wasn’t going to give up that afternoon. She never seemed to recognize why I was so adamant about Thursday.

I had to take her to a lab appointment that afternoon and I had to sit in the car in the parking lot for another hour, which inflamed my hip even more. When we got home, I went to grab my bag and I saw that a painting of mine had been cut in two places. I assumed it was damaged by my dad because he does that with my stuff quite a bit. I showed my mom and she didn’t seem to understand why I would be so upset.

Normally, Tuesday is Writers’ Club night. So I would usually be staying at Chris’s overnight after we all went home. But Tuesday it was canceled. I texted to make sure I could still stay over, since I know sometimes he might not feel like it, and he said of course I could. So I went over and started napping on the bed with him at around 5 pm.

Text from mom: Janet I think I may need to go to the ER.  I'm choking on drainage in my throat.  It doesn't matter what I do, it won't go up or down.  My throat feels like it's being cut with a thousand knives.  And my doctor is not in tomorrow.  Also my back is killing me.  It hurts so bad that I can't stand to get up and down.  Any suggestions of what to do?

At 5:59, we both woke up to a special ringtone I have set for mom. She might need to go to the ER. Her throat hurt, she couldn’t swallow, her back hurt, she couldn’t move, and she couldn’t see her doctor the next day because he wasn’t going to be in. I drove home and picked her up; I waited while she got ready. Then I drove her to the ER and, at about 7 pm, let her out before I went to park the car in the parking deck. That’s when it happened, and, by it, I mean I wrecked my car.

Car in parking deck with damage to front right headlight and fender.

I hit a concrete pillar/support/column as I was entering the parking space. A doctor witnessed it and tried to prevent my oncoming panic attack. This led to an asthma attack and texts to Ashley, Chris, mom, my aunt, Laura, and Kitty. They helped calm me down.

While in the ER’s visitor waiting area out in the parking deck, there was a guy who was reciting rap lyrics, yelling obscenities & slurs, and said “I’m going to fucking kill you” as a state trooper headed into the ER. The cop grabbed his vest and turned really quickly. I was sure something bad was about to go down. It didn’t. Security moved the guy a few times. Eventually Chris suggested I go wait in my car, so I did.

At about 1:45, mom texted me that she got a room in the ER. This meant I could go wait with her in the hospital, which I did. We were told that the doctor would be in soon. Soon ended up being 5:30. He said she pulled a muscle and just had a sore throat; her throat had already started feeling better by now. He said we’d get discharged soon. Soon ended up being 7 am.

Around 24 hours after I first woke up.

I went home to take a nap before my HAL shift, and got about 4.5 hours sleep in. Luckily, things were fairly dead on Wednesday, so I just sat and watched my friend Sara get married via livestream. Oh, and I answered a new text from mom about how I needed to change my birthday plans. (Not because she was in pain.)

Text from mom: Storms and supposed to come through from 4 to 8 pm tomorrow.  That will probably make them very strong.

My response: Ugh. That’s not good. 

Mom: I know.  It throws a kink in your birthday plans doesn't it?  I'm sorry.  I want you and Chris to have a nice time together.  Can you take something to his house to have for dinner and go to the Cheesecake Factory another day?

Me: It does. We should be able to get food at the Cheesecake Factory at/around lunchtime and get back to his house before the storms get here. And I'll take dad in the morning to get his pneumonia vaccine if you want me to.

She told me that there would be storms the next day and there was a risk they’d been strong. I had been monitoring the system for days. She wanted us to cancel our plans to go to The Cheesecake Factory. I told her that I would just make sure we got there and back to Chris’s house before the storms arrived. So even though I suck at time management, I worked out a timeline for the next day so that we could do what we’d planned on doing for months. (Mom had been told a while before that this was our plan.)

Because of the importance of the timeline, I was the one who took dad to get his vaccine, not her. And I was able to get to Chris’s house well before I needed to to make sure we could go to The Cheesecake Factory.

Chicken Parmesan Pizza Style at The Cheesecake Factory

Our date was actually one of the best birthdays ever, and not just because I was finally able to try Chicken Parmesan Pizza Style, which I loved. No, it was one of the best because I was with Chris.

Chris smiling at The Cheesecake Factory

He’s so pretty.

At 4:54, mom texted to check if we’d gotten back. We had been back since shortly before 3:30, which was when I had told Chris we needed to be back. She asked if I was staying overnight and I told her I was. She said that was fine.

Mom: Be glad you're not home tonight.  Dad is having fits over his new glucose monitor.  Every thing about it is wrong.  He is snapping and yelling and losing control of his senses.  I'll stay out of his way and let him implode.  Say a prayer for me.

Me: I will. Maybe he'll calm down soon. 

Mom: If not I may have to call HEMSI to take him to the hospital.  I'll be fine. ☺️☺️☺️

Me: Is there any curling or anything on? That might soothe him.

Two hours later, she let me know that dad was upset by his new glucose monitor. She was describing him as losing control, snapping, and yelling, which he does these things as part of his dementia and his bipolar disorder and his sparkling personality. He can be violent and it’s important to keep him as calm as possible to prevent that violence. His violence is something that mom knows scares the shit out of me because I’m usually the person he targets. So bringing it up was a good way to make me come home. But I sensed that he wasn’t really in that mind frame, so I tried giving ideas to soothe him. She told me nothing could soothe him but she’d leave him alone. Chris asked if she realized how her texts sound. I told him that she says she doesn’t, but that I’ve told her in the past and she claims that isn’t her intention.

I don’t think anything major happened on Friday, but on Saturday night while I was sleeping my Facebook got hacked. I was able to convince Facebook to let me change the password, but my account is currently disabled, pending a review.

From what I’ve gathered, the hackers posted an ad for some kind of good or service that violates Facebook’s Terms of Service. The community standards link leads to this page. If they compared the ads to any other post I’ve made since 2007, they’d notice that none of those goods/services line up with my values.

So, in 28 days, I may officially have a permanently disabled Facebook profile for things I didn’t even do. Fun. Things will get better soon. They have to.

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