It is almost April. How and when did we get here? I have not had a moment of peace since I don’t know when. We had all that trouble with the neighbour next door in the fall. When did I not have trouble with her since she’s moved in 10 plus years ago? But this time, it was enough to call the Police Liason for help. After that I had a small corridor of peace. In December Sheba had her ear hematoma and infection. It was to doggy ER twice and a total of 5 visits in 2 weeks and a bill of $600 plus. The money was the least of it. It was watching Sheba suffering with discomfort and anxiety. It was 2 weeks of little sleep and worry. But she did come out of it with a tiny crimp at the tip of her floppy ear.
Christmas was peaceful and January uneventful. I don’t have a clear memory of it. But came February, my mother came down with shingles on her left forehead. We caught it soon enough but it has been hellish. It’s one thing to watch your dog suffer, it is another to watch your mother. Every time I think it will ease up, it’s just a tease. So I should learn not to expect it to. Maybe then things will get better if I have no expectations and keep quiet. Though I have been accompanying her to her appointments and been vigiliant about possible complications to her eye, it has happened.
I do not have self blame for not doing a good enough job. But I am feeling a lot stressed and stretched now going into the 7th week. Even with the Coronavirus pandemic going on and the state of emergency declared in this province, I’ve managed to do a phone call appointment with her doctor. Then with my mother, an in person appointment at the office because by now her vision in her left eye is very blurry. She could see a tree but not its branches. She can see my face but not my features. She could not do the eye chart at all. It was the first time I saw her face crumble.
The good news inspite of all this is we got in to see someone the next morning at the Eye Centre at City Hospital. We were reassured that this is treatable. It will be reversed. But there’s always a but. She has to be on antiviral drug 3x/daily for 2 weeks and then a smaller dose once/day for a month. Plus a steroid eye drop 4 times a day for a month. If you know my mother, pills are a big problem. She has so much sensitivity to everything, even tylenol if she takes more than 2/day. She always makes it sound the side effects are worse than death. And who am I to argue? She’s the one feeling them. Maybe it’s just the Chinese way. So what do I do when she complains she’s having side effects and should she keep taking the pills – on a Saturday evening during a pandemic?
Well, I did the *!#^fk twirl around the kitchen island a few times. Then I called the pharmacy at Safeway. The pharmacists there are my best friends now. He looked everything up and said those side effects are really not for that drug. Then he advised maybe I called 8-1-1 and report it. I phoned my mother to check her symptons again. She was adamant her symptoms were drug related and not virus related. Next move, page the doctor on call. She was prompt in answering and helpful with advice. Which was more important – my mother’s eyesight or the side effects? And with those symptoms it doesn’t sound like the coronavirus. It was not necessary to call 8-1-1.
That was the question I put to my mother. She is taking her pills. We got into a squabble. I lost my temper. She said I over reacted. I needed not have gone all to that length. She was just asking my opinion what to do. I reminded her that I am not a doctor. Any answer I give her could be the wrong one. She has to make a judgement about how bad those ‘side effect’ are and her vision. The good news is her vision is a little better and the pain is a little better with the antiviral. I reminded her that she could also call her other daughter, who is a pharmacist even though she is busy and there’s a pandemic.
So, I’ve laid out my anguish here. I was really feeling squeezed between a rock and a hard place. I probably shouldn’t have lost it with my mother. I’m stressed and stretched. She’s in pain and probably anxiety which she denies it. She said she is not worried and very calm. But she did yelled at me and I yelled back. But I’m still the one looking out and after her. This morning Hamlet’s ‘to be or not to be soliloquy’ was playing in my head. My wish at the moment was to be extinquished and disappear without drama and fanfare – like a firefly. It is painful to be in this world. I feel as if I’m everyone’s keeper and have no self. I guess I am a bit of a drama queen. It is not the Chinese way but it feels good to get it off my chest. I’ve never claim to be a good Chinese. I’m just flipping sad.