Monday, February 9, 2009

Skinnying Down

Last week was a monumental week. It began on Sunday evening when my mother told me that my father was sick and he had forgotten how to walk, could not swallow pills, and she could not move him. My father has Alzheimer's but he was also running a fever. His mental and bodily functions were impacted. We did not know if it would last. It was a shock on my mother who was not ready for such a drop in abilities. His inability to take pills was a medical emergency. She had called paramedics. They live two hours away from me. The paramedics said his vitals were good. She declined to have him transported to the hospital. It was his mind we were worried about. She nursed him through the night and he was able to take his pills in the morning.

I came down on Monday. I shopped for her and bought supplies for the elderly. Things we did not want to acknowledge she would need. I also bought supplies you'd buy for children, like liquid medicine for aches and fever, and for hydration. He took them well. I brought the kids. We all did little chores and anything we could to make my mom's life easier. I cleaned in my dad's room and gave him his "grape juice" - actually children's pedialyte. I spent time with him. I cleaned his room, I sat with him while he drank his juice. I showed him pictures of people he no longer remembers in words. But he liked it. He does not have to know who everyone is. My daughter said his mind may remember somewhere but not in the language we speak. He does not know what daughter means but he says I am his friend. That's good enough for me, maybe even better.

It was emotional. On the way down and the way back I cried. I had to tell the kids that I did not know what was going to happen. If Dad did not improve this could be the beginning of the end. It also could result in moving him into a nursing home - something we all dread. It lifted my mom's spirits to have us there. It lifted his as well. With the fever gone his functioning improved. He was walking and drinking and taking his pills. But he slept quite a bit. I drove them to the doctor. He had pneumonia but not very bad. We came home that night. I have not felt the same since. It was a huge reality.

Two days later we had the Big Meeting at work. All employees at this location. Some 150 plus people. We were told that there was a new plan. If it is approved it will mean entire departments will be eliminated, and then some departments will be moved away. Whatever remains here will be "skinnied down". In plain English it means job loss for most of the people. Possibly even me but maybe not. I am another story. We were told of severance pay and things related to losing your job. I have not felt the same since. It was another reality. The end of an era.

I am not freaked out about my job or lack thereof. There is time. The timeline of events gives me about 4 months before the end if there is an end. Plus I get at least 4 months of pay. So that's 8 month until the paycheck ends. I was asked about moving which is a good sign, but I am not moving now. I want to be near my parents. I did say I was open to staying on if I could remain in the same location. I'd love to work from home. As far as employment, endings are beginnings. But there's plenty of room to be nervous in today's jobless environment. When I see headlines about job loss I now feel a part of it.

In my department everyone is looking for a new job already. Some have been told they will lose theirs for sure. I have not been told that. But I will know more at the end of the month. I may be part of the skinnied down department that stays. My boss used the "skinnied down" description in our meeting. I like it.

I've been skinnying down for a while now. So it's time for more skinnying. Skinny down the budget to allow for more savings. Skinny down my commitments to make room for my parents and the most important stuff. Skinny down my thoughts to promote inner peace. Skinny down my priorities. I am all for the skinny down so long as I am not the fat that gets lost in the process.

Sort of takes my breath away to think of last week.

PS - I lost a pound.

More will be revealed.


Anonymous said...

Dear Cindy...
I lurk on your blog...but your post today really touched me. Last February (o8) we found out that my Dad had esophagial cancer, he passed away in october (08). I was lucky at the time, I was not working...I only live 15 minutes away from him and my stepmom. My two teenagers and husband "let me go" so to speak so that i could spend every moment with him and my stepmom that I could. I helped them everyday...and yes I went and bought pedialyte, depends...held a urinal for him in the end...all things I never even imagined. My point is, I was lucky I could be there and I miss him everyday...and my heart goes out to you and your loved ones. I will continue to read your blog and my thoughts are with you...
Dancingly, Denise

Vickie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bea said...

Friend Kim recently lost her job of twenty years. Was a shock as nurses are NEVER laid off. She got severance pay for a few months. Took her three months to find another job. She panicked for the first month, and then got down to cases. "Cases" was not only looking for employment but also figuring out a new way to live her life.

All the things she is learning you have already learned. The past years have been preparation for this new level of "skinnying down." As we skinny down our priorities come clear with none of our baggage getting in the way. Then we get to figure out how to live in and with our priorities. Your love for you Dad is a priority. Congrats on honoring that. And on losing a pound. I am praying for you.

Laura N said...

Cindy, as I read this post I am struck by how much peace there is amidst the turmoil. You are an amazing soul. I've no doubt that whatever life has to offer, you will respond with grace & hope. Of course you'll grieve & of course you're only human so you may feel scared and sad and any other myriad of emotions that are tough to experience.

But you, my friend, have done the tough work ahead of time & will come through these challenges stronger.

I wish we could bottle that & give it to the rest of the world. It's hard-earned stuff, though--not for free.

Big hugs.

minnowspeaks said...

Thank you.