What is a monkeybox?

When I was a little girl, we had a pet monkey named Amanda. My Dad worked in the produce business, so each night he brought home that days culls in a big box - spotty cucumbers, pithy apples, limp celery, moldy oranges and the like. We called it a monkeybox. It was really just trash, but my Mom would take each piece of fruit and trim it, pare it and cut it up to make a beautiful fruit platter for Amanda. Even though it was deemed trash by one, it still had life left in it and was good for the purpose we needed it. That's how I live my life - thrifting, yard saling, looking for another's trash to be my treasure.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My Mumsie

I'm here.  I am tired and I am a small fragile pile of emotions.  My Mom.  I call her Mumsie.  She and I, well we aren't the usual Mother Daughter.  We are the very best of friends.  We talk at least twice a day.  We have my entire life since I moved out when I was 18 years old.  We have always done everything together.  She's 67, but doesn't look it or act it.  She just got the most recent lady Gaga CD uploaded on her MP3.  She reads books by the dozens, loves movies of all kinds including foreign films and slapstick comedies.  She is not old in any way.  But, this accident was a terrible accident.  (Wait, let me preface that by saying the Orthopedic Surgeon, Neurosurgery and the therapists all say she is responding well and will hopefully make a full recovery.  I MUST keep that at the top of my mind.)  She tripped going down the stairs leaving on Thanksgiving morning.  She does us a cane because she has Arthritis and her knees hurt, especially, ironically enough, going down stairs.  (INSERT MEAN FACE).  She fell from about three feet up, flew out into the yard, hit the ground and rolled under the car.  My step dad called an ambulance, then called me.  I met them at the hospital.  Actually, I beat the ambulance to the hospital.  That was stressful.  

The doctors did an xray and found she had a fractured shoulder.  They put her in a sling and sent her home.  But, her legs would barely work and she was bruised and everything hurt.  Yet, they sent her home.  We followed her home and helped her into a chair.  Later that night, she wanted to move to the recliner and as my Stepfather helped her, she slid to the ground.  We drove back out to her house and helped her up and into the recliner.  She wanted to rest so we came back home.  The next morning, I called to check on her and she hadn't been able to move all night.  I insisted we call an ambulance again.  Once again, I beat it to the hospital.  They did more xrays and discovered that she had a fracture in her back.  Suddenly, she had to be transferred to a hospital with a Neurosurgeon.  Now, it's not that we don't have any of those fancy doctors down here in Arkansas, but it was Thanksgiving and the Neurosurgeon on call was off that weekend.  Seriously.  I mean, I understand that a man deserves some time of, but if he is the only man to do the job, I think he should have been called in.  And you know about hospitals and policies - there were other hospitals locally they could have transferred her to, but they weren't in the same circuit or whatever you call it.  My brain is dead, sorry.  

Ok, so they also did blood work and discovered she needed a blood transfusion.  She needed two units there and two more in MO.  Talk of scarier things then deciding it was too much Tylenol to a decision that she has been Anemic for years and it just caught up for her.  That explains why she was tired a lot and needed to rest doing simple things.  She was literally low on blood.  

I'm getting too in detail here, but my mind is full and my entire life I have written things down to clear my head.  It's what I have always done. 

The point of this post is that she is hurt.  Badly hurt.  Fractured shoulder/arm (every doctor says it differently),  pinched spinal cord, fracture in her back and a bruised tailbone.  Because of the fall, she has no use of her arms or hands.  Her arms are coming back, but her hands are swollen from the fall and from the pinched spinal cord.  She can't use them at all which means she cannot adjust the bed, reach the call button, change the channel on her only source of distraction, feed herself, brush her teeth and a myriad of other things including call me on the phone twice a day.  For the past five days I have done everything for her.  And now she is in a new hospital/rehab where they insist she do it herself.  But, holey hell, she cannot do it.  It's not that she doesn't want to do it....she CANNOT do it.  I asked if anyone would help her eat and the admitting nurse who did not impress me (read that as:  I still cannot believe I did not fly over the bed and strangle her with my bare hands) said that she will have to do it herself or be wheeled to the dining room to be spoon fed with "the others".  She went on to say that they simply do NOT have the staff to give one on one treatment like that.  But, about five minutes after she left the room, the Nurses Aide came in and was so sweet.  She has four patients and she comes in and out of each room asking what they need constantly.  They brought my Mom pot roast which the Nurse says she'll just have to eat around (we don't eat beef or pork), but the aide goes to the kitchen and brings her back tuna salad and a spoon and starts feeding her.  I am learning that the Nurses are all about the rules and the handing out of meds, and the aides are the ones that care.  The aide got my Mom a pillow for her arm, got her a gentle touch call button that she can use and was being super sweet to her. So, I feel that she will get the care she needs from the Aides and the meds she needs from the Nurses and I will help and fill in as much as I can short of moving into her dresser drawer which is where I really want to be.  :(  I was actually really strong through all of this in Springfield, but now that I am home it seems really, really real and that is scaring me to death.  I don't have a very strong support system in my real actually life other than my Mom.  My Dad is being great, don't get me wrong.  I just rely on talking to my Mom about everything.

A week ago she was mostly fine aside from the tiredness and arthritis and now she cannot move.  But, she will get there.  Therapy starts tomorrow but I don't know how she can so much in a full back brace, neck brace and splint.  I know she will work hard because she wants to get out of there.  The plan is to have her come here because our house is flat and there are no steps until she feels like she can handle the steps in her house and we have a ramp built outside.  Her porch steps are impossibly steep and I have always known someday they would need a ramp.  I just didn't know that someday was last Thursday.  For now we will just take it day by day.  Curtis aka the "Breadman" is an emotional mess because he stayed here while we were gone and felt helpless.  The Bean is a mess because he went with me to help me and his "Baw".  He told me that he knows how much he loves me so he knows how much I love my Mom. I have such a good kid there.  

What a year this has been - our car being totaled, the job loss, my Dad's heart ablation and now my Mom.  But, we have a beautiful new car that got me to my Mom with no worries whatsoever.  My dad is fine and feeling good - his procedure was to make him better than he was and he was pretty good before that.  Curtis has a few promising lines on jobs.  Actually, he has had a couple offers, but I told him to slow down and take just the right one.  Unemployment is his right and he paid it in, so why not accept it until he gets just the right offer?  We aren't broke, he has retirement we can withdraw if he needs to and we haven't even had to pay a bill yet anyway since it has only been eleven days.  (How can that be possible?)  I don't anyone feeling sorry for us.  You can send best wishes and pray that my Mom heals quickly and fully.  But, we are fine in every other respect.  I just need my Mom.  I still have her.  I just need to be able to talk to her again twice a day.

Thank you for all the comments here, on Facebook, texts and emails.  I appreciate them all.  You guys are the best.  Thanks to Carol for updating the blog on my behalf.  I've never met her in real life, but she's a great friend.  


  1. Shara, you and your family have been in my thoughts so much these last few days. I even told my own daughter, who I talk to a few times every day!

    We will just keep praying that your Mom makes progress and can move from the rehab place as soon as possible. For what it's worth, it would be far worse if she didn't want to get better.

    Give the Breadman and the Bean a big hug for me!

  2. I can not believe that her primary Dr did not know that her iron was so low. that could have been the direct cause of the fall. She was so weak and worn out from that.
    I will keep your mother in my prayers. She has a lot of work a head of her. I just know that she will continue to improve.

  3. Your family is on EVERYONE's thoughts!!! J and MY mom have even been asking about you!! ;-)

  4. Praying for your family! I wish I could send you everything on your thrift ing wish list! Be strong and remember to take care of yourself,too.

  5. You have had more than your share of bad times lately, I know how you feel....

    Hoping your Mom is back playing her music and watching her movies in no time... Take care...

  6. So so sorry that your Mumsie is in this situation.
    I am very close to my Mom and I can only imagine what you are going through.
    And if it were possible, I would punch that nurse for you if I were just a bit closer to MO!
    Seriously, I am praying for your Mom to be healed.
    Take Care!

  7. Shara,
    So sorry to hear about your mother and the Breadman's job situation. I know this has been a difficult past few months for you. Please let me know if there is ANYTHING we can do for y'all.

  8. Shara I know how scared you have been! My Mom is 82 and I love her so much! Take care of you so you can take care of your Mom! I am praying for your Mom's recovery! Big Hugs to you!


  9. Deep sigh. What a year it has been. I know all to well about having a mother who is a best friend (call my mom twice a day too). Stay strong, hugs to mom and family..and hope the road to recovery is smooth sailing and not a bump lies ahead. glittery hugs...

  10. I'm sending you a message via facebook (more room!); mostly practical stuff, i have a spinal cord injury myself.

  11. I am so glad that you were able to post an update. You mom sounds like a tough, strong person and she'll get through this. She probably already knows that it will be hard work, but she sounds like a woman who is used to hard work and she also sounds like a wonderful, caring & loving mother. So do you, and the Bean is proof of that. I'm glad that Curtis has some interest as far as a job goes. It's been rough for all of you but the light is at the end of the tunnel and at some point, you'll come out of the tunnel into the sunshine.

  12. I believe our bond would be even stronger if we met in person....someday it will work out as it is meant to happen. Love and hugs to all

  13. You've got a lot of people rooting for you and your mom, Shara - and I bet we all wish we were a little closer so we could bring you a casserole or fold your laundry or something. I'm sorry you're having such a stressful year, and I hope it helps to know that people are thinking about you and wishing you the very best.

  14. I wish there was something I could do. I work in an Extended Care Facility and we would not tolerate a patient or family member being talked to in the manner that Nurse used. God Bless the Aide. And God bless you all. I will keep praying.

  15. Shara,

    I have been thinking a lot about you. Things are tough now, but you have to believe that they will get better. I believe they will! :-) That's great that Curtis has had some job offers, even if they are not the right ones - at least you know he is in demand. That's always good. I'm sure the right job will come along. Hope your mom heals quickly - at least she is on the young side! Thinking and praying for your family.


I love my comments. I'd love to respond to everyone, but if you don't have an email address tied to your ID, please sign your name so I will know who you are! It makes it nice to know who is saying what. Now, leave a comment! Please? ;o)

I Can See You!

Look at my Visitors!

Fellow Junk Followers