In spite of the fact the entire visit consisted primarily of one doctor appointment after another, I had a terrific time with Mom. She felt good. Do you know how long it’s been since she felt good? And after she got her cortisone shots in her knee and shoulder, she felt even better, able to move without pain.
Most of her appointments went well. Her blood count is great, which is always a big worry for a person with one kidney. The kidneys produce some sort of something that helps you maintain strong blood, and when one is gone, the other has to pull double duty. Several years ago, her red blood cell count got out of whack, and only recently has it been back in the normal range.
One of the things she credits for feeling better in general is coconut oil. Remember the huge scare about it several years ago? Apparently it was considered so insidious, so evil, the food police took it off the market–a big loss for fans of movie theater popcorn. No other oil can produce that wonderful, slightly sweet flavor. But Mom had heard some TV doctor singing its praise and bought herself a $9.00 jar of it. She uses it on her skin to soothe the eczema (there’s a kind you can buy that barely has a scent–otherwise, she’d smell like a sunny beach during spring break), she uses it on toast instead of butter, and she fries her eggs in it when she feels confident enough to cook.
I have to admit, it really seems to have done her good. At her third appointment, the doctor agreed with her that the coconut oil could very well be what is making her feel better, but it was at this appointment we discovered the woman with consistently low cholesterol had numbers going through the roof–bad enough to earn a prescription for Lipator.
Back when coconut oil was considered a bane to the health, the difference between good and bad cholesterol had yet to be explored. I remember that “coconut oil myth.” It was assumed that coconut oil makes the cholesterol level skyrocket. Now, you can look at the label and see that the oil doesn’t have cholesterol. One little footnote I remember, and I haven’t seen it since, is that coconut oil has something in it that acts as a binder for cholesterol, so even though the oil itself doesn’t have it, it makes whatever cholesterol-laden products one consumes elevate the level. Who knows if that’s true, but the oil is the only difference in Mom’s diet, which is notoriously bad anyway–but what other conclusion is there?
Still, Mom has a way of over-indulging. It may be that if used in moderation, the oil wouldn’t affect cholesterol at all. The benefits of it are so great, I’d hate to see her cut it out of her diet. So, God bless the chemist who created Lipator.
Her high cholesterol isn’t the only thing that rocked me this past week, though. Although Mom is feeling better than ever and is doing great for a woman in her eighties, I’m beginning to think she’s surrounded by people with pea-sized brains. The lady who gets her groceries for her is forever buying the wrong product or telling her, “They don’t carry that anymore.” Thursday, I went to the store she shops at on a mission to find two things: hot dog chili and a certain brand of Mexican TV dinner, because the woman had told Mom the store didn’t carry these items. Well, yeah. They do. This isn’t the first time I’ve caught the woman trying to pull the wool over Mom’s eyes. But on her behalf, she seems to be honest in other ways. She’s never stolen from Mom–taken advantage of her a time or two, for which she caught The Wrath of The Daughter–but otherwise, she’s been pretty good. But her ways are enough to make this red-head show her classic temper.
A different nurse from Mom’s usual came to her house last Monday before I got there. Her job was to get Mom’s meds ready for the week, because Mom can’t see what’s what anymore, to draw blood for the series of appointments she had, and to give her her shots–Allergy and B12. When Mom’s blood count was low, she also had Procrit injections. The serum is still in the fridge in its little yellow box labeled “Procrit,” right next to a tinted plastic medicine bottle holding a vial of B-12. Guess which shot the nurse gave her?
I about came unglued when I heard that one. What part of P-R-O-C-R-I-T looks like B-12??? Fortunately, the shot won’t hurt my mother, but really–can you believe that?
I ranted about these two incidents enough to make Mom give me that stern-mother-look. “You need to control your temper.”
“It is under control, Mom,” I replied. “You noticed I haven’t called the nurse to tell her where she can put her needle.”
Anyway, after one of our errands, we came home to find a silver sedan with dark, tinted side-windows parked between Mom’s house and the neighbor’s. Motor running, some guy in the driver’s seat. There have been two rapists in the neighborhood in the past few years who have preyed on old women–a fact that has unnerved me many, many times–so trust me, I wasn’t going to let that silver sedan sit idle. I wrapped my keys between the fingers of one hand, and with the other clamped down on my cell phone–predialed to 911, all I had to do was press “send”–marched straight up to the driver’s side window and knocked. When the window came down, I discovered there were not one, but two men in the car.
“Mind telling me what you’re doing here?”
He said something along the lines that he was there on business with the guy in the backseat. The guy in the backseat lowered his window. He had a computer and all sorts of equipment back there.
“What are you doing here?”
He worked for some company I’d never heard of–and there are a lot I’ve never heard of, so, I don’t know what to think of that. He said he was testing the 4G signal strength in the neighborhood. He even turned his computer around so I could see the nonsensical charts on his screen.
“Do you have any ID?”
No, of course not. The company hadn’t sent him his badge yet.
I don’t know if he was testing signals or stealing them, but I was an instant away from pressing “send” on my cell phone when he said, “We can move on if you’re uncomfortable.”
Oh, yeah, buddy. Best thing to come out of your mouth yet. “Please do.”
They drove out of sight, and I jumped into my car and followed the direction they went, because I wasn’t bright enough to get the make, model, and plate number of their car. Fortunately, I never saw them again. Believe me, though–when we locked the house tight and went out to lunch, I was praying like crazy we wouldn’t find the house broken into when we got back. We didn’t.
Ordinarily, Mom’s neighborhood is quiet and safe. It was where I grew up, where Daddy took his “heart-healthy” walks, where some of Mom’s best friends lived. Sometimes, as neighborhoods age, they become attractive to less savory folks, and an element of danger fouls otherwise sweet air. I’ve always promised Mom I’d never make her move unless there was just no way around it, but praying for her safety in her own home is turning into a full time job.
BTW: MSB has already fussed at me for playing Daring Donna with the bad guys. Yes, it was dangerous, and I was stupid to approach a vehicle with two unknown men in it. Be warned, children, do not try this at home. I am a qualified idiot, well-trained to do stupid things on a whim and enter situations dangerous enough to make my guardian angel’s wings quiver. I rarely know what I’m doing, but I do it well, thanks to the hedge of protection my sweet mama prays around my foolish self.
Again: Do not try this at home!