Sunday, August 22, 2010

Gathering Clouds

The other morning, we woke to an unusual August sight: clouds!

Well, that many clouds, anyway, and that kind of clouds -- the ones that run in herds across the sky.

To me it seemed like a whisper, a reminder, a warning that the perfect weather we've been having is going to change greatly in the not too distant future.

In two weeks, we probably won't want to get in the swimming pool; it will be too chilly. Seems ludicrous today, when the temperature outside is 103 degrees outside, but the fact is, by the weekend, the low temps at night will make that pool feel like an ice bath.

So the clouds are an omen of cooler weather to come.

I got a phone call a few days ago that was a omen of changes, of clouds on the horizon of my life: my mother's nurse called from the nursing home to tell me that over night, Mom had inexplicably "bruised" an ankle badly. They took an x-ray, which showed no break, but then a couple days later, the nurse called again.

My mother's foot was still swollen, but turning red, with streaks going up her leg. I didn't need the nurse to explain to me why they had begun treating her for a possible infection; they were supposed to do some kind of tests to see if there was a blood clot involved.

No blood clot; so they tested for gout. No gout, no breaks, no clots.

I know this because they woke me up at 6:50 this morning to tell me that although the tests were clear of what they were testing for, her foot is still swollen, and because she can't remember from one minute to the next what her condition is, she tried to get up from her wheelchair to take herself to the bathroom, and fell. The nursing home always calls if there is a fall.

Mom wasn't hurt in the fall -- at least not this time.

I asked the nurse if there was a possibility of an insect bite that would cause my mother's foot to swell ... like me, my mother used to be very susceptible to "fly bites" -- gnats, in her case -- that would make her swell up with allergic reaction. (I got one off some bug on the surface of the pool about two weeks ago that made my left side swell and discolor like a bruise and systemic poisoning. That'll teach me to skinny dip at night and then not shower after!)

But the fact is, Mom isn't going to get all better, and the breakdown of bodily functions will continue to escalate. I'm not looking forward to how things will get more iffy, but I suspect that the breakdown events, knowing as I do that they must come, will be less traumatic than the onset of full-blown Alzheimer's was.

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