Archive for July 26th, 2011

Hotel California


Posted by Mikie Baker  |  No Comments »

Reprinted column in memory of Dorothy Baker

Around a week ago, Dearly Demented Mom’s second toe on her left foot decided to turn red. The other four toes liked that color so well that they turned red too. I immediately called in her wellness team and we determined that she needed to go to the VA to see the pros from Dover. Everyone concurred that she had vascular problems in her foot.

Now transporting DDM is quite the trick. Not a job for sissies. A couple of years ago I bought a sort of van-ish looking car (when I really wanted a truck) to transport DDM to and from doctors appointments. About two weeks after I purchased said vehicle, Dearly Demented Mom became totally wheelchair bound and unable to get in or out of any form of automobile

Since her heath has been maintaining its own over the last year, she hasn’t had to go anywhere anyway. That was until this week. When you can’t get someone into a car, you must find a different mode of transportation. Supplied by the US Army, ours was a magical event where two paramedics showed up in an ambulance and, aided with a gurney, got DDM to the VA. This mode of travel is called Transport. 

I must stop my story here and explain something entirely different. Hallmark has a yearly promotional offer where you can buy a plush singing Christmas toy at a reduced rate if you purchase three overpriced greeting cards. As you might remember, during the Halloween season, DDM got rather attached to a dancing Frankenstein that sang “Putting on the Ritz”. She’d hit the button and play it over and over. 

So, when Christmas rolled around, I immediately went out and purchased the holiday version: a singing snowman accompanied by a penguin and a dog. These three misfits are neatly placed atop a red sled and they sing the sleigh ride song. As DDM says, “The penguin is shivering, the snowman is swinging and the dog is agreeing”. 

I thought it a good idea to take her new plush singing toy in the ambulance as basically she has the attention span of a two-year-old. And you never a take a baby anywhere without being armed with diapers and toys.

I gave her the singing sled as they wheeled her into the waiting wagon.  I opted not to ride with DDM as I try to avoid ambulance rides at all costs, but I followed closely behind. Did you know it’s physically impossible to follow anyone down a major metropolitan freeway? I forgot how those Big City drivers are so adept at cutting you off.

Anyway, Dearly Demented Mom and said toy arrived safely to the hospital. She was wheeled upstairs lickety split and was seen almost immediately by Real Smart Doctor.

RSD: “Can you bring her back for tests in ten days?”
ME:  “Sure, you got Transport?”
DDM: “Want to hear the snowman sing?”
RSD: “And then we’ll schedule her for surgery. It’ll be in about four months.”
ME: “Four Months?”
DDM: “See the cute doggie!”
RSD: “Well, if she gets worse, we can make it sooner.”
ME: “Look, I’m pretty sure she’s already getting worse.”
DDM: “Watch the penguin. He’s shivering!”

Then it was time to get magically whisked away by Transport. This is where we come to the “you can check out, but you can never leave” part. It is much more difficult to leave the VA then to get there. The lady in charge of all things at the doctor’s office said we must go to the Travel department to arrange our Transport.

Travel? My ears perked up. I strolled into Travel and asked if they could send DDM to the Bahamas. Obviously, they didn’t have a sense of humor in Travel because they sent us to Triage. That’s the VA’s name for the Emergency Room. A place I also try to avoid.

Suddenly we were stranded in the middle of a room surrounded by chest pains, broken bones and a street guy who had to be quarantined. And Christmas decorations. Then I noticed the mistletoe, which made me ponder, “Hmm…mistletoe? Wonder what love triangle is going on in Triage?”

All the time we sat there; Dearly Demented Mom on a gurney and me in a chair, she played her Christmas plush toy. She kept pushing that button over and over and saying, “I’m bored. When are we leaving? I’m bored”. Suddenly, she started sounding like the Teenage Eating Machine.

At this point, DDM and I looked like the Ozzie Osborn version of a Hallmark commercial.  She played her toy for everybody within ear shot. Paramedics, doctors, people in the elevator and Travel. Maybe that’s why they won’t send her to the Bahamas.

Finally, the paramedics arrived and whisked DDM away. I drove back a totally different route to regain my sanity via a Chick-fil-A. When in the Big City, always grab your favorite fast food. Plus, I figured Mom needed a reward sandwich.

Once we got home and I got her settled, we had a nice little conversation.

DDM: “See the penguin? He’s shivering.”
ME: “Yes Mom. Boy, I’m tired. Bet you’re really worn out.”
DDM: “No, but I’m bored out. Wanna hear them sing?”

If only it was that easy with the Teenage Eating Machine.

Though it was exhausting, hopefully we brightened up a few people’s day by being their twisted Hallmark commercial. Maybe next time we go, Travel will finally send her to the Bahamas. I could use the break.

Spreading laughter throughout the world…one chuckle at a time. God Bless DDM.

Mikie Baker