What a strange day. I was woken by the surreal news of our beloved David Bowie’s passing (or perhaps trajecting to another planet) and wondered how Vernon would react when he heard. He had been a big fan—as had I.
My car had a punctured tire so I dealt with that between Kindergarten drop-off and driving to dialysis. When I finally got there, I told him the news, expecting some big emotion. But he told me nonchalantly that he had already heard it on the news. I shouldn’t have been surprised: Joe loves FOX and CNN and his TV is often left on in their room. However, I was impressed that he remembered—that’s retaining a factual experience for at least two hours!
Mentally, he still seems to be in this keen phase he has been in more than not lately. He seems very present but he also has fierce mood swings. If he can’t understand or express something quickly enough he can become very angry, as if a switch was flipped. It keeps me on my toes around him for sure. To be honest, I’m extra thankful that I’ve never been in an abusive relationship, for I’m getting an idea of what some people must go through with volatile partners—it can make you jumpy, to say the very least. Still, I’m in no danger. I know it’s due to his condition and his frustration. The frustration is still a good sign though: I believe he is starting to understand his situation. And the truth can set a person free.
The year wasn’t set off right; we ended up in hospital more than expected. So this Monday, I set about making some calls. I spoke to the people at UC Irvine’s hospital about the kidney transplant list. We got a date set for February 16th. I’ll attend a class for a few hours and he will show up with VIP (handicapped) status to fun some tests early in the patient queue. I’ll meet him there for his appointment. (We got to the head of the line there because we have a few people who have shown interest in kidney donation.)
I spoke to the new case manager at Mesa Verde about Vernon’s doctor situation. She assured me the new doctor had tried to meet up with Vernon but he’s always at dialysis when he shows up. I can’t hold that against him, I know it to be true. I wish I could meet Vernon at the care home than dialysis, then maybe some intentional daily progress could be made.
After getting the new doctor’s number, I gave him a call and left a message. I also left a message with another lawyer I’ve recently been referred to. Justine’s gymnastics lesson was only an hour long so I had to squeeze in as many calls as I could. (Shame, but I’m only missing a few cartwheels, I tell myself.) I’m learning to keep a notebook with me, not that it always helps.
Dr. Kavorian called me back within ten minutes. I’ll admit I was impressed with that. We spoke for about 20 minutes staring with his swollen arm. He told me had met with him before but as he had to wait for him from dialysis, he’d gotten information about him from those who live with him: the CNAs and Joe. I told him about my trepidation over opiates and the like and how I’d been pursuing a more natural approach as much as possible. He seemed to agree with me and suggested Valproic Acid that he thought might help with Vernon’s mood stabilizing. It is used to treat seizures as well as bi-polar but it could be something to try on at least a temporary basis. Vernon is very sensitive, so I’m researching it now. I liked that he used the words “compassionate” when I told him about some of our alternative ideas. I haven’t met him in person yet, but I now feel I can have conversation with this doctor and that he is on our side, so that is good. I should have made that call earlier, if just for a couple weeks peace of mind.
I got taking a picture of Vernon at the dialysis center as was immediately shut down. So no fun pics of Vernon today.
But in honor of David Bowie’s passing, I pulled Maki aside tonight for a tribute-time. We listened to his music and made portraits. I can’t help dragging him into this day with me. He is 14— he knows enough about Bowie to know he was important to his parents and he knows enough of his music to appreciate it, despite the retro-camp.
I’m always surprised/impressed with what comes out of Maki’s heart and head. He was going for energy here and he nailed it. Here is my grown up, civilized version:
I don’t even know what song to post here, but I feel that I should, so I guess here is one. (Life on Mars is my fave but I don’t know which is Vernon’s favorite…everyone loves Space Oddity.)