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Every year at my job we have a raffle dance in the summer. Our clients really look forward to the party and even though it’s always on Friday, which is my day off, I drive in and help with whatever needs to be done. There are a few jobs that I perform every year, but in the last few years my boss has given me a pass on anything more strenuous than taking photos, and even that has been a strain.
It is interesting to look back on the previous years to gauge my health progress. In the first few years of helping at the raffle dance I was much more active, and was able to help through to the very end of the evening, and usually one of the last to leave. In 2011 I recall meandering around and taking photos, and begged off soon after the event was over. Last year I was just not feeling well at all, and actually asked to be excused before the event even got started.
Guess what happened last night?
I helped to serve drinks and food, took photos, plus danced with several of our clients. Yes, I said danced. And that means I had plenty of energy! Our agency provides rehabilitation services to adults who are blind and visually impaired, and we also have some young adult clients who are mentally challenged in addition to their vision problems. These young people often live in group homes, and who knows where their families are because they are dropped off by their caretakers. You can see them sitting there, tapping a foot to the music, but there is so much going on that they are not comfortable making their way to the dance floor. And so they truly depend on one of the staff to invite them and guide them to the dance floor. I do recall dancing with clients at our last dance, which is Christmas, but was pretty much worn out by one dance. Last night I danced for many songs and had a great time.
After that, it was time to clean up the room. By now I should have been about ready to keel over. But nope, I helped clear tables, wiped tables down, put chairs up on tables, helped to move tables into place, took out a bag of garbage and used the big dust mop on the whole room.
And I still had energy to spare, which is good since I had an hour drive and it was 9:30pm.
That’s pretty good, but it gets better.
Let me share with you the beginning of my day. I got up at 6:30am because I’d planned to go to my mom’s house to help her with her blood draw. We are trying to help her figure out what is causing her extreme anxiety and noise sensitivity. I suspect it is hypothyroidism, but in doing some research it could be hyperthyroid. At any rate, we have had the requisition for the blood work since January and she has just been too nervous, or didn’t sleep well the previous night, or something has stopped us from following through to do the blood draw.
My mom is a trained phlebotomist, and I have drawn blood from our goats and so I thought between the two of us we could accomplish a simple little blood draw. Oh boy. What a mistake to be so confident. We tried, and we tried. And all we really accomplished was making two ugly bruises on my mom’s inner elbows. I felt so devastated and sobbed with frustration as I knelt beside her bed. You see, my mom hasn’t left her home for almost two years. She had a minor fender bender just prior to that, and ever since then she has not been the same. She was very active, driving herself everywhere but she became so nervous and the noise sensitivity got so bad that she had to start to wear not only ear plugs, but also gun ear muffs. Those are the ear muffs you wear to protect your hearing when shooting on a gun range.
After two failed attempts on my part, my mom decided to try her own skills. We think she got the needle into her vein but no blood appeared in the tube (we were using a butterfly needle). Finally, I asked my mom if she thought she could go to the lab to get her blood drawn there. She told me she couldn’t. Just like that. Simply no.
I told her that she was so calm when trying to draw her own blood that I thought she could do it. She told me later that it hurt her heart to see me crying and so sad, so she decided that she was going to try her best.
We got into my vehicle, and my mom just cried and cried, she was so scared. I had her take deep breaths and we did several deep breaths together. Finally she said for me to go ahead and drive. We got to the laboratory and I left my mom in the air conditioned vehicle while I went to find where we had to go. When I got there, I explained to the lady my mom’s situation, and also that we had tried and failed. She was extremely kind and caring, and even offered that there was another lab close by that was on the first floor. I went back down and told my mom, and she wanted to try, since we were already there.
My mom made it into the building, and into the elevator. The sweet lady took us in immediately, and she was so wonderful, she was truly an angel of mercy.
My mom was astonished that she was able to get her blood drawn, and I was so happy that she took that first step. Now we wait for the results and figure out what to do next.