Saturday was filled with unknowns, but I'd decided to go to the Women's March. I didn't have a plan or a hat or playmates, but I figured that I'd head down there and meet new people at the event.
I was lacing up my shoes when the phone rang, and it was the Wellness Office at the mama's complex. Uh oh.
Let me just say that everything is fine. Everything. But we had a hell of a day.
The mama's eye burst a capillary, we think. I've had it happen, and my dad used to carry an eye patch in his glove compartment because it happened to him so regularly and is so scary to look at. For those who are interested, once it does happen, you're more likely to have it happen again in the same capillary if you sneeze too hard or exert too much effort (say, in the bathroom).
But because she's got glaucoma we had to have it checked out because bloody sclera could be indicative of something more serious. So I put on a different shirt, drank some coffee, and drove over to take the mama and her caregiver to the ER, where we spent 5.5 happy hours.
Anyone who has been in the ER knows what a scene it can be. There was the lady having a psychic break. Not sure what she was in for, but her psychosis probably wasn't helping. There was the rock musician in town on tour who said he had been jumped by someone who had beaten him with the butt of a pistol (but who actually looked like he'd gone through the windshield of a car). There were a bunch of quiet people, almost all African American or Pacific Islander, some college town ladies who for sure didn't vote for Trump, and a giant television in the waiting room blaring Fox News. So unfair.
Next to us was a woman who was coughing like crazy. She was also speaking to her relative on the phone in a deep Southern accent. And when one relative would conclude a call, she'd move on to calling another one. She was both conversing with these people and giving them a running commentary of everything on television and in the room. She liked Donald's hair "they colored it different, and it looks like they're parting it now. It looks much better"..."What? I think she's funny. I like her sense of humor but it's her lifestyle I can't stand. She's a degenerate. No, I don't think she ever dated Ellen." "It's on whatever channels you have, there. You can see it on *your* tv if you want." "Ronnie's an alcoholic."
This woman's psychic presence was enormous, and her physical presence was, as well, so it was really difficult to ignore her. I wanted to tell her to get off the phone, but was worried about how I could do this without completely causing a scene and embarrassing my mom. Luckily the mama's hearing is so bad that she was missing most of this. She'd wake up, say something snarky about being cured and wanting to go home, and then go back to sleep.
After a while we were treated to a live broadcast of the President speaking to the CIA. And after about 3 hours in the ER I was a little cranky, so this happened:
I was really unhappy at this point, but there were people in there with much worse problems than my sweet mama, so I didn't think it was worth saying anything. Yes, it took less time when we were in the ER last time, but she'd broken her hip, I reminded her.
Anyhoo, I started posting some of this to Facebook, and a friend asked why I hadn't changed the channel. Right. Why hadn't I? Because my mom watches Fox? She was asleep. So I asked the guy at the desk if he had the remote. He couldn't find it, so I started pushing all of the buttons on the tv. Then people started heckling me to get the remote, so I went back to the desk and found it on the desk. "Is *this* the remote?" I asked, pointedly. Then I shut off the tv from across the room. The guy at the desk asked politely if I could turn it back on, just to a different channel, and I was a bit stumped. An API guy who seemed like he was in pain said quietly "Anything but news." The lady on the phone was literally still talking to her relative in Alabama about whether Ronnie had found a church to go to since the funeral and calling out "Channel 5!! Channel 5!!" I said "No!" and she said "It's not news!! Let me see, what day is it?" Someone suggested PBS, and it was a blessed relief. They were promoting a program that was literally images of the Sonoran desert and classical music. It could not have been more soothing at that moment. People thanked me. Arkansas lady said "No words, only music". A different desk guy came by to retrieve the remote. Eventually Arkansas got a room and our long national nightmare was over.
But we still had a few hours to go. At one point I had to move the car for the third time and desk guy (#2) let me back into the curtained area where the mama was going to be seen. "You're the PBS lady!!" he said. "When you did that, the whole room changed."
It took some prompting from people on FB, but I helped people after all, it seems.
And the mama's doing fine.