Saturday, February 11, 2012

A New Version of Phone Tag

DOB was moved to a nursing home 2 weeks ago after falling twice in four days. When she goes down, she goes down so hard she bounces, and the following days she is sore and bruised like, say, a victim of senior abuse, which I hasten to add, is not what is happening, mainly because it’s completely unnecessary when she’s doing such a good job of that on her own.

It was either a nursing home or rent a forklift so we could return her to her vertical position without calling the EMT service for what is graciously called “lift assist” every time she uses her walker without watching and catches the edge of an area rug and keeps lumbering forward unknowingly, gradually bending the rug it up until her next step lands on it, toppling the whole edifice over like an unbalanced crate of rocks and spilling all over a loading dock. 

I should also mention that she is now also too stupid to figure out how to answer the cell phone she’s had for about 5 years. So, it’s always entertaining when TCG phones her to check in because he’s too lazy to drive the 1.5 miles from our door to hers and actually visit her.

TCG: Hello?
DOB:  Hello?
TCG:  I’m not coming today be—
DOB:  Hello? Is anybody there?
TCG:  Push the speaker button, it’s the one with a picture of a little green sp---
DOB:  Hello…. I can’t hear you yet… (Electronic beeps as random buttons are pushed)… hello?
TCG:  Can you hear me now?
DOB:  Hello?
TCG:  Press the little green speaker button, and then turn up the volume by using the little button on the side near the t—
DOB:  I thought the phone rang but nobody is here. Hello?  I’m not he—(phone cuts off as she finds the disconnect button).

Repeat this same conversation twice, but turn up the volume on TCG’s end in the vain hope she’ll figure out how to put the phone to her ear and hear his step-by-step instructions about using the speaker. I should mention she has to use the speaker function because she’s forgotten how to hold the phone to her ear.

Then TCH calls his Senior Deadbeat Sister in PA who calls DOB multiple times daily, sometimes even connecting and having what passes for conversation with her mother. I get to hear the entire conversation because TCG thoughtfully puts all his calls on speaker and mutes the volume on the news program I’m trying to watch.

TCG:  Have you talked to mother today?
SDS:  It took five attempts before she discovered the speaker button…
WISIMH:  Surprisingly, exactly where she’d left it.
SDS:  …but yeah. She’s too sore to get up today.
WISIMH:  Surprisingly, exactly like every other day.
TCG:  The new “senior friendly” phone I ordered her should arrive today or tomorrow. Then I go to AT&T to get the sim cards switched, and she should be up and running with her new phone the same afternoon.
WISIMH:  Which should be a laugh riot because a new learning curve is always something that DOB responds well to. Think how well she has mastered the procedure to disconnect calls on her current phone.
SDS:  I’ve asked them to put a landline in her room by her bed and they just don’t do it.
WISIMH:  Possibly because your whinging and argumentative attempts to care for your mother via nagging disrespectful phone calls to “the help” somehow always fail to win over the people you try to abuse into doing what you mistakenly think is their job. But I could be wrong. Maybe they just don’t give a crap either.

TCG:  (To me) And this is easier how, than having her in the back room?
UCC:  Certainly, because I don’t give a crap what happens any more. (Which is perfectly safe to say out loud because TCG is chronically unable to listen, particularly after he asks a question for me to answer. He is usually too busy interrupting whatever I’ve started to say.)
WISIMH: And, plus I don’t get bothered by her son who is too lazy to walk back to see her in person when she doesn’t answer by the third call, and thus don’t have to don my Hazmat suit to go to her room and check in person to see what entertainment she has planned for my day. (Note: it always takes at least two calls for her to find the phone and begin the fumbling/answering process. His general rule is only to become concerned when the third, fourth, or fifth call is missed. I shit you not.)

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