Triage

Do I clean the kitchen cabinets or do I retile the master bathroom? Do I wait on hold with the insurance company advocating for my mother to receive an inpatient MRI, or do I answer a call from the unit where she is hospitalized? Plastic or paper? (Kidding, I bring my own). These are a few of the decisions I have had to make lately. It used to be, What dinners should I prepare so that I can get all members of my family around the table at the same time and get all the kids to where they need to be for their extracurricular activities? I miss those decisions, that kind of problem-solving. Petitioning guardians have a lot on their plates. My mother’s welfare and care are of utmost priority, much like the concern one has for her minor child. Ironically, my mother always told me (I heard this verbatim as a child many, many times), “You are MY mother reincarnated.” What a position to be put in as a young girl of ten. How time can really catch up with a person…her dementia, my steadfast (yet detached) support now makes those words all too cryptic.

Those in the medical field have much bigger triage questions to handle than what is happening in my small little complicated world. How to handle the influx of patients coming in? Which nursing staff can cover in case of staff infection? How many beds can we pull together to provide for the most vulnerable in our communities? Tough decisions.

The triage parallels of the present COVID-19 crisis and my present family’s crisis are not lost on me. Thrust into this National trauma, our frontline medical personnel are facing what will be, I am afraid, a life changing experience. Pray for them. Send your positive energy to them. Send them virtual hugs and check in on them. We all need to pull together.

Separated 1500 miles from my husband and children, my heart is torn in more ways than one. I am needed here. I am needed there. The need for me to be where I am, living in my late father and demented mother’s home, allows for coordination of all the moving parts of her mental health crisis. She faces placement in memory care and the destruction of her civil liberties. Her rights will be stripped from her because her daughter – her only child – will become her court-appointed guardian. This is triaged with my desire to be with and comfort my beautiful children and stand aside my husband, and serve dutifully as his sounding board, confident, friend and wife.

Triage will change you. Am I up for the task? Are you?

Friends, thank you for reading my Blog. Please sign up for email notifications and feel free to share this post on social media. Perhaps there is someone out there in a similar situation that could use my words and find comfort. Perhaps I need to know there is someone who is in this unique situation at this very moment in time as well.

Blessings and stay safe,

L

Answers to initial triage questions: I chose retile the master bathroom. The carpet had to be ripped up in the bathroom (please don’t ever carpet a bathroom for goodness sake! The carpet had been Deeply Soiled, use your imagination) and this took priority over the kitchen cabinets I was cleaning. She told me that she wouldn’t go into the master bathroom with the plywood floors because “It was scary.” I was concerned about night waking and her need to use the toilet and getting confused about where another toilet was in the house, perhaps getting hurt or getting frightened. So I tiled.

I ended my two hour call on hold with Aetna (hey Aetna if you’re listening – NOT COOL) to speak with the hospital staff. I figured I can always call back and be on hold for another two hours, maybe I will even clean the kitchen cabinets while I’m at it.

One thought on “Triage

  1. You can’t do it all yourself. Regardless how hard you try. Lean on family and friends. We would love to help. We can do work, pack up. Clean. Just let us know. We’ve done it,and can do it again. Slow and steady. Don’t just throw things out, go through everything. Take time to cry. To walk away. I still do .

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