What a rough week.
On Wednesday while I was out in the van, Bill called to see if I had enough cylinders on board to deliver to a man on the south side. Since I knew one of my favourite ladies on the west side hadn't been feeling well and thus hadn't used her oxygen cylinders up, that left one delivery in that area.
I pulled over and called. In the last month, Mrs. Miller had hurt her foot and lay down more, Mr. Miller often forgot to put the empties out and always appreciated a call anyway. Two weeks prior, I had taken her a kit filled with soap and bath puffs from Jamie's store and as I was leaving, Mr. Miller shouted after me, "Make sure you say thanks to your daughter, too!"
The phone rang several times.
"Hi Mr. Miller! It's Kathy calling. How many cylinders will Mrs. Miller need this week?"
"She won't be needing any. She died an hour ago."
Completely unexpected! His voice was filled with shock, confusion and despair and after saying how sorry I was and making some cursory plans to pick up equipment, I hung up and cried for the next few minutes. I can tell already that I am going to have to keep tissues in my work van! After sniffling for a moment I called Bill to let him know and he was heartbroken as well.
Thursday dawned with the excitement of my second full time paycheque, but after checking online I realized that I'd only been paid for one week, the mortgage had already come out and I was left with enough to pay for haircuts (myself, Jamie and Em cost about $135, tips included) and maybe a few groceries.
Later in the day I was called to Mr. Avery's senior's residence to replace his regulator (the mechanism that brings oxygen from the cylinder into the tubing) and was looking forward to seeing him again. I'd met him the week before, changed out his cylinders and found him to be very friendly. He reminded me of what Tim Robbins might be like, if he were 90 and very frail.
When I arrived at 3:30, he was with a palliative care community nurse who must have mistaken me for a respiratory therapist, because she started asking me about his sats and pulsox and charts and information she'd been promised but which never arrived in time for this appointment. It was meant to arrive through the Hospital Respiratory department, not our company, but I was able to get a house therapist on my cell and get all the numbers she needed. I could feel a lot of tension and confusion in the room and that made me feel as though I would take the brunt of it and I was right. Apparently a recent diagnosis had forced his consumption of oxygen up and he's received a call from WCB asking why he was doubling up on cylinders. (What bastards by the way! Mr Avery suffers from the effects of inhaling asbestos in his working days) He must have been flustered by the call, by the nurses visit, and by the way he was going through oxygen.
"I need a new nose piece!" he'd bark out. "And some tubing. No! Not that long. Pull your hair back! Don't drop it! What do you mean?! Did you do that or not?"
Throughout, I continued with "Yes, absolutely! No problem. Okay, Mr Avery." I gave him two large cylinders free of charge.
As I was saying good-bye, he apologised and I smiled and said I'd see him Wednesday, then went outside and cried.
It's emotionally exhausting some days, which is something I wish that Em would understand, but at thirteen you can't really expect it. That particular day was a bad day for her to start something with me at the mall, particulary after we've spent the last month buying, buying, buying and she was whiny and insistent that it wasn't yet enough. It doesn't take long for that sense of entitlement to kick in for teenagers and I'll always put the kibosh on that! Still, I hope one day that Em realizes she'll avoid a world of trouble if she just watches her tone when she's addressing adults.
Tokyo ran way three days ago and we don't know where she is yet.
Now it's Saturday and we've all made peace again, although we're all worried sick about kitty. Bill and Em are bedroom cleaning and I'm blogging, after having made eggs & toast for breakfast. I have some chicken soup on the stove and I'm going to try my hand at cooking this hard bread that Bill says is such a Newfoundland delicacy. Today is the eighth anniversary of Dale's death, which is hard to believe! Time truly marches on.
Have a wonderful weekend.
disclaimer: all names and locations are changed to protect privacy.