NOTE: This is a personal post, so if these sort of things do not interest you please feel free to disregard.
Yesterday I drove from Seattle to Missoula to visit my mother and help her sort out her health issues. I left later than usual, but with the drive time reduced by an hour compared to Portland combined with the relatively straight and boring I-90 I made it to Missoula with energy to spare (which also might have been why I was up far later than my arrival time).
The purpose of my visit is to visit my mother, show that I still care about my family, and help her sort out her medical issues (she’s currently going through her third round of cancer). When I arrived last night around 2300 I didn’t get a very good look at her. She had stayed awake past her normal 2000 time to await my arrival and greet me. Last night was relatively uneventful besides my restful sleep. She showed me to the apartment’s single bedroom. Each surface was meticulously cleaned, although none of the multitude of tchotchkes or personal accessories were organized or put away. While using the bathroom I noticed there was a small mop and bucket. Normally I wouldn’t think much of it, but in previous weeks my sister told me that my mother had given herself a panic attack making sure the apartment was spotless for my arrival. Unfortunately my trip over was waylaid for a few weeks, so I hope that she hasn’t been in such a state the whole time.
Last year I sent her an air purifier to remove all the pet danger from the air, and although she couldn’t figure out what it was or its purpose, thankfully she had finally figured it out and was using it. As a result the air was much cleaner and her phlegm-laden smoker’s cough was slightly better than last time I visited.
This morning I woke up later because I also fell asleep quite late into the morning combined with the timezone change. She has a few friends here in Missoula who (as far as I can tell) provide her with some company and source of gossip and usefulness. when I emerged from my room this morning I found her on the phone with one such friend. I didn’t get much from the conversation, but apparently the daily phone calls are a routine for her. That’s good.
What I really didn’t like though was the television. During the day it was a large part of her unchanging environment. Equipped with a “digital cable” box, this tube never showed anything besides Informative Murder Porn. Likewise, the bookshelves were chocked full of James Patterson books, promising more tripe romance and novelized informative murder porn. Although I fear that it’s rotting her brain I refrained from commenting about it.
After my emergence this morning we finally got a good look at each other. She finally noticed my attempt at growing a beard and I finally noticed her emaciation. Her weight is below 100lb now, and she looks positively skeletal. It’s not a pretty sight. It appears she attempted to dye her hair recently, but even with that effort it’s resisted, instead opting for a grey and wispy appearance. I offered to pick her up a meal with my lunch, but she refused saying that she already had breakfast.
We talked for a while about how she’s been. Besides the new medical situation nothing ever seems to change with her. She remains cloistered in her dark, smoke-smelling apartment with nothing to keep her company save her pets, her informative murder porn, and trashy novels. She hasn’t expressed any dissatisfaction with the situation, so perhaps she enjoys it. I haven’t asked, and haven’t decided if it’s appropriate to ask yet. Perhaps it’s imposing my values on her to think that she would be unhappy with this bountiful life she’s living.
This morning we talked about her medical situation. The gist of the situation is that she believes that she’s been caught up in a catch-22 with a set of doctors, each waiting to hear from another before proceeding to make a diagnosis and start a treatment. I asked her about what she knows (red blood cell count is down), and what kind of treatment she was currently undergoing. The answer was no treatment, so I continued by asking which doctor’s she’s seen and what their next steps would be (or what they’re waiting on). I got quite a few answers about quite a few doctors, and was unfortunately unable to follow most of it. I asked her to write a list of doctors down, along with what she thinks they’re waiting on and the last time they’ve been in contact. Hopefully when I get home this evening I can help untangle this and get her the treatment she needs. She didn’t seem particularly worried about things, which frustrated me. The scenario in front of me was her off-the-cuff attitude about it combined with the television showing an emotionally charged lady with a bloody knife crumpled into a heap on the ground, the police intervening to save the day and arrest the paedophile, had caused me to want to ragequit and give her some time to compile the list of doctors. I do not have much hope of returning home this evening to any list.
This afternoon, as usual for my Missoula visits, I’ve holed up at The Break coffee shop. It’s an old standby for spending uninterrupted time on my laptop to get a little work done. It’s also conveniently located far away from that apartment, and near the other goodness of downtown Missoula. The espresso might have been burnt, but the well worn tables, music reminiscent of my high school days in Missoula, and mixed clientèle lead to a very pleasing atmosphere. As I sit at my stained and worn coffee table typing away at my laptop I can see a young man in a cowboy hat and vest conversing with a friend in a denim jacket over a cup of joe, a dreadlocked young lady enjoying an iced coffee alone, equipped with Macbook and textbooks. Various others including a suited businessman, and a few white collar workers taking a lunch break are around. The bright but persistently drizzling conditions outside add to the hearth-like atmosphere of the shop. This place is going to get sick of me before the week is out.
This afternoon I’m going to attempt to do a bit do a bit of work and get in contact with my father and sister for their obligatory visits. I hope that I can return to my mother’s place and provide some sort of assistance besides moral support.
I’ll be in Missoula until Thursday evening.