I left work early today and went to the Dayton Art Institute. I needed a break from everyone and everything. I needed to clear my mind. I need to not think about responsibilities and expectations. I needed to see Bouguereau.
My mom called me around 11am. She told me that she had to go see Dr. Eads because her toe had a wound. She was cutting her toenails and I immediately said "why are you cutting them? The doctor is supposed to cut them - you are diabetic!" She then said "how was I going to get there?" She had a point. Dr. Eads sent her to see Dr. Appleby, whom I know. He is probably the best vascular surgeon in Charleston. They tested her for peripheral vascular disease, which was positive. When she cut her toenails she cut too far in and it became infected, which turned into a diabetic ulcer. Because of this and the subsequent testing they found out that she has poor circulation and will probably need to have angioplasty surgery from her breast to her toe. They are trying to avoid amputation. I called Dr. Eads and he told me that he had not gotten Dr. Appleby's notes yet but he will have the girls up front get them and will call me back. He asked me if I was moving back to Charleston. I told him that he knows my sisters are losers so I will probably have to.
In December Traci told me that she will make sure Mom was taken to all of her appointments and to the grocery store... wherever she needed to go. She said that I should stay in Ohio and to not worry... she would handle it all! Well, my mother hasn't seen Traci in over a month. My other sister, Janine, hasn't talked to my Mom in several months. Why would she? When MY father died Janine's meal ticket died. There was no one to save her from evictions, car reposessions and no one who could spoil her kids at Christmas any longer. Why would she want to stick around?
Then there's me... the one who escaped from the ghosts in Charleston. I left three years ago to save myself. I have come full circle. I am not the same girl that left Charleston on October 15, 2003. I question myself ever day. Am I ready to go back? Can I ever go back?
It's strange what happens when people die. You see all of these people converge around you in the final days of losing your loved one and then slowly they all disappear once the person dies. I don't think anyone has really contacted my Mom since my Dad died outside of Christmas cards - relatives or friends. Her father and Lorraine call her, or course but no one else, really. I know that people are busy with their lives and I am guilty about that as well. I mean, I really should call my Grandparen't more often, but at the same time... they are not alone like my Mom is.
Mom spends every day with her dog, Maggie - that's basically her only companion. She sleeps all day and stays up all night. She can't paint any longer because of how diabetes has affected her vision. She has even gone so far as to buy huge magnifying lenses, which don't really help. That fact that she even tries to paint any longer baffles me since she has pretty much lost her desire to do anything except watch television. She can't mow the lawn and my sisters nor my nieces and nephew mow it for her. According to my Mother the grass is up to her knee and she can't afford to pay someone. Looks like I will be making a call to a lawn care company soon.
Mom hasn't slept in her bed in 3 years. Sure, she has laid down on top of it, but she has not pulled the covers down after she remade it the day we found my father in a coma. When I think of what she could possibly be afraid of all I can vision is when we pulled back the cover and there he was, covered in his own urine and looking like a concentration camp victim since he had lost so much weight. When she pulled back the covers we both looked at each other... both wondering if he was still alive. He was, but not for much longer. I suppose that's why she's afraid to pull down the covers now. Who would want to re-live that? All of this because my Dad smoked... doesn't it make you want to light up another cigarette?
So now, here I am. Wondering what do do. I can't afford to just pack everything up and head down to save the day. Neither sister has a phone (lucky for them!!) When Mom called the on-call doctor about her foot he called in an antibiotic for her. She had to call one of her painting friends to drive her to the pharmacy... Her neighbor, Lois, is apparently tired of toting her around from place to place even though Mom continually gives her gas money. The last place Mom went for fun was when she went downtown with me last November. How sad is that?
I just keep hearing Traci tell me over and over "Don't worry... stay in Ohio..." I should have known not to trust anything she says. She's always been a terrific liar. If it wasn't for her, Mom wouldn't even be in this predicament. Traci was living in Washington State and had just broken up with her girlfriend. She called Mom and begged her to send money with a promise to pay her back. The only money Mom had was the check she received from the insurance company after she wrecked her car. Mom sent Traci $1,500 and hasn't seen a single penny of it yet. I believe that was almost 3 years ago. That money was so Mom could get another car.
My head hurts. I need a hug, or a shoulder, or both.
It was good seeing my old friends Bouguereau, Lichtenstein and Rothko among others, but I doubt it's good manners to cry in an art museum. I suppose I could have blamed my tears on the beauty of it all instead of what was really troubling me.