Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Lorraine the Matchmaker

“Lorraine” is a sweet 80 year old patient with CHF living in a nursing home. Her son Larry had hired caregivers and served as her primary caregiver for quite a few years until her care became more than he could manage and led to some health problem of his own. Lorraine has been my patient since the end of July but due to her short and long term memory deficits, she never remembers who her hospice team is. My recent visit was no exception.
Lorraine was sitting in the dining room with other residents while music played in the background. She is always sweet and pleasant to everyone, whether she remembers them or not. On this particular day she believed that I was Larry’s girlfriend! I told her that I was not Larry’s girlfriend but that I did know him, which she was glad to hear. I quickly changed the subject. We talked about the music playing, which she didn’t like since it wasn’t classical, and her life. She talked about taking care of her 20 year old grandson Mike when he was younger but at first did not remember the reason why she babysat for him- because of Larry’s divorce. Once she remembered she told me all about Larry’s ex-wife. She next talked about working as a pediatric nurse and running her family restaurant. Lorraine always asks if you’ve eaten anything, usually several times during the visit because she doesn’t remember your first answer.
After I reassured her that I had eaten a very good breakfast, she asked me again if I was dating Larry. When I told her no, she asked me why not. She sang his praises while I tried not to laugh and come up with the best response. She wouldn’t understand the ethical implications of a social worker dating a family member of a hospice patient- she does not even know that she is a hospice patient. I can’t tell her that Larry is overly attached to her and this is resulting in some large mental health issues. So I went with the honest answer: “Sorry, Lorraine, he’s too old for me.” Larry is at least in his 50s.
She then asked me how old I was. “27? That’s nothing! Larry is only 30.” She was very satisfied that there were no obstacles to her matchmaking plans. I didn’t have the heart to tell her Larry’s real age. Although, I thought to myself, if Larry was 30 then he would have been 10 when he had his son Mike- yikes! As I left Lorraine that day I promised I would consider going on a date with Larry, confident that by the time Larry visited her later that day she would have forgotten all about her schemes and I would be in the clear once again.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


First Thanksgiving without Grandma. In a word: bittersweet. Grandma was the ultimate hostess that I could not conceive of a holiday function without her. I think it helped that my parents hosted it at their house. I went over early in the morning to help cook and clean, good daughter that I am. I also didn't want my mom to be alone while she was getting everything ready. Yes, my dad and brother were in the house but there are some things they just don't understand. All my aunts, uncles, and cousins made it- close to on time even. My mom prayed for us and then my Grandpa spoke before the meal. Very few eyes remained dry. I think Grandma would have been proud to see us gathering together. Somehow we keep moving forward. It was good to take time to focus on the blessings in our lives. God is still faithful, loving, and true. Life may be different but He never changes. There are still many things I am thankful for, including this very holiday. The food was amazing! The conversation never ceased (partially because my family is full of talkers. Shocker.) Two year old Kelli kept us all entertained and we even played team Scrabble. All in all, a success.

The next night my family put up the Christmas decorations at my parents' house. I put up the Nativity scene as usual. My mom and I did most of the work, also as usual. After the tree was finished we gathered around with mugs of eggnog to discuss the coming season and what our hopes and prayers are. I hope these traditions continue in the years to come. Is it really Christmas without eggnog? I don't think so.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Interesting dreams from the last few months

*It is late at night. Michael Myers (the killer in the Halloween movies which I have never seen making this even more random) has kidnapped me. But he doesn't know it's me because I am an undercover agent. I am brilliantly disguised as a dog. Not someone in a dog suit, I look like a real dog. There were a few other agents similarly disguised but Michael did not capture them; he might have killed some of them, I wasn't too sure. We were mixed in with real dogs so he kidnapped some of the real dogs too. He doesn't know that I'm an agent. He is driving me and the real dogs in a van. The drivers seat is on the right side of the car (are we in Ireland?) and he is holding on to my hand/paw as I am laying down on the passenger seat. I just keep telling myself to be very still and pretend to be asleep. Meanwhile I am trying to figure out where he is taking us and how we can escape. I'm not scared but when I woke up I was pretty unsettled.
*I am Hugh Hefner's 4th girlfriend. We are traveling through Europe and are at one of the stops, walking up a lane to a fancy castle. Holly, Bridget, and Kendra are still his girlfriends and we are still taping episodes of their reality show "The Girls Next Door." Apparently as Hugh's latest girlfriend, I don't have to sleep with him but I get all the other perks of having a sugar daddy. This does not sound like a bad deal at all!
*It's interpretative dance time. I am leading some other people through an interpretative dance but this dance has purpose. Through our dance moves we are showing someone how to break out of a lifesize eggshell. I'm not sure if this guy is trapped or not but it seems important to show him how to get out while having fun at the same time.
*There are a bunch of us traveling together. I think we're in college and it's part of some traveling performance so naturally there is a long bus ride involved. I am struggling through a hotel/dorm with my suitcase and weekender tote and I can't remember what room I'm staying in and Jill won't answer her phone to tell me what the number is. Luckily I run into some other friends and they know where the room is. When I get in the room, Jill realizes her phone was on silent. Then it seems like we're there for a college reunion and the fact that Jill and I didn't go to the same college doesn't seem to matter.
*While I am wandering through a chic kitschy kind of shopin Geneva which I appear to own, I am given the inspiration to write a children's book. Since I've been considering writing for some time, when I woke up I wondered if this was divine inspiration and promptly did nothing about it.
*My roommate's boyfriend told me he was going to kill me but I wasn't worried. I knew that I could outsmart any plan he would come up with. My only reaction was, "Oh, crap! How am I going to tell Donna this?"