Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Losing My Mind

it is nearly noon in the old city of zefat.  i am going mad.  i have the two kids with me all week long.  yes, i was informed yesterday  that the clan took off for hadera for the entire week.  no one was left behind to help out with the kids.  somehow this is my problem.   i had the kids from 8:00 a.m. til 4:30 p.m. yesterday.  i was too exhausted to stand.

it is now 8:00 a.m. on wednesday morning.  i have been too busy and way too tired to complete my blog.  i think the baby turned off the computer while i was still typing.  she gets into everything.  she isn't even two yet, and she is a total terror.  yesterday i received several blows to my head from both kids.  this can't be great for me.  my grandson threw a plastic bottle that landed right under my left eye.  it still smarts today.  i didn't dare look in the mirror to see if it was black and blue. they truly love me to death.  they bite and pinch me and lie on my body all day long.

i ran to the social worker from my medical carrier yesterday for help in getting back the money i spent travelling to the hospital.  i waited an hour to see her and she refused to deal with me when i entered her office.  she had the nerve to claim that it wasn't her job.  she had helped facilitate reimbursements for dental and hospital travels back in march.  she previously encouraged me to bring in all the receipts that i could find. i gave her a detailed listing of all hospital visits plus all the receipts that i kept.  i gave her copies of all hospital papers, too.   this was back in june.  i've called her for the last three weeks, because i didn't have the energy to schlep to her office.  she returned one of my calls after hours, so i couldn't speak with her.

she had no idea that two months had elapsed since our last visit.  she didn't even try to call the manager to find out what was holding up the claim.  i told her that i felt that it was all a ruse for me to die so that they wouldn't have to shell out any money.  it was nearly 10:00 a.m. and my son was waiting for me to return home so that he could go to work.  i was already beyond frustrated.  i was steaming.  i waited for a few more minutes to speak to the office worker downstairs, but she kept me waiting for nothing.  she told me to speak to another worker.  i left the office in a huff.  the girl is vrtually, useless.  i wish i could file a complaint with someone.

i didn't have cab fare because my bank account was overdrawn and i couldn't get any money from the cash machine.  all i had was a couple of coins for the bus.  i had just missed the bus so i started walking home.  it was unbearably hot and muggy.  it is a good 20 minutes to reach home by foot.  i was really not up to it.  i finally flagged down a car and got a lift to the top street near my home.  i was a mess when i got home.  i couldn't stop cursing the social worker.  i know it was not my finest hour.  i was one hot mess!

while the kids were watching cartoons, i called the medical office and asked for help.  eventually, the head manager called me back.  apparently, the bogus receipts that the private driver gave me a few months ago, didn't go over well with the clinic.  they accused me of taking a tour bus for a trip instead of coming home from the hospital.  i didn't  have the driver's phone number so i tried calling my sister.  after all, she had arranged the deal for me.  no one answered, so i emailed her my predicament.  i'm out about $700.  anyway, i got an email back that she was in india.  i had an out of body experience right then and there.

i was totally in shock.  only my baby sister could go off to india and not let any of her siblings know.  of course, i worried that someone wasn't well over there.  then i thought that perhaps my niece was pregnant or had just delivered, without my sister letting me know.  i will never understand her.  she scrutinizes me over every detail of my life.  she needs to know everything that goes on and yet she remains a mystery woman to us.  i tried my best not to get angry with her.  i don't know why i find her behavior so hurtful.  i'm sure she is totally clueless.  this is how she navigates through her life.

the bank called while i was with the kids in the computer room.  i was convinced that they were trying to force me to take another emergency loan to cover the overdraft.  i couldn't deal with the caller while the kids were making a racket.  he was only offering me a code so that i could do online banking.  i simply hung up and told the man that i couldn't cope.  i don't think that at my age one can truly cope with little kids.  my daughter-in-law is working on friday, too.  that means i have to make the shabbat meals while i babysit.  that is very hard with the two of them.  i can manage with the grandson but the little one is into everything.  i didn't even try to clean up the mess yesterday.  there  are lego peices  and crayons everywhere.

i have been getting up every morning at 6:00 a.m.and washing the floors.  yesterday i made them eggs and potato latkes and tuna patties and chips.  the majority of this food went to cloey the pincher and myself.  the dog is on her last legs.  she is making a terrible rattling sound and shakes a lot.  i have no time or money to deal with this.  i am hoping that she simply dies in her sleep.  she is more snappy than usual and has tried to bite the kids;  not that they don't deserve it, for torturing her.  i am having the time of my life.  the kids constantly, pull off the bedding and run around the house draped in it.  the little one pulls off her diapers.  the big one pulls off his underpants.  i am constantly chasing them and covering them up again.   i am binge eating out of frustration.

i invited my male suitor for shabbat.  i was  planning on putting him in the upstairs apartment.  that would entail doing a lot of cleaning.  the wooden floors need washing.  luckily my good friend, who lives nearby, suggested that he stay with them.  she has a spare apartment.  he can go to shul with her husband and get the true chabad experience up here.  he can come back to me for dinner and we will meet up there for lunch.  i'll make a meal for the kids and they can serve themselves.  it's a chance for us to discuss some important issues.  that's if i am not totally brain dead by friday.

my son was less than thrilled about meeting him.  he reminded me to get a prenuptial agreement.  after all, the house belongs to him in the future.  i tried to explain that the house goes to him after i die and if i don't sell it before that.  i told him that if i need to go into an old age facility the house will pay for my care.  i do not expect  him or his wife to care for me.  as it is, they are killing me by expecting me to care for their kids. they simply do not have any other help and it is my problem, as always.  i'm expected to find a substitute babysitter.  why me????

i was so tired and frustrated and nearly broken, that i decided that marriage was out of the question.  it was too hard.  too many details.  too much hassle.  too little and too late.  i was better off alone with my two dogs and television set.  i  spoke to my sister in california.  she is the voice of reason in the family.  she told me to take it slow and to not count out anything.  yes, it is a process and can be methodically worked out.  my brother, the psychologist called to let me know that my fears and misapprehensions were normal under the circumstances.  his take on it was that i was normal.  normal for someone my age, normal for a cancer survivor.  normal for someone who has brain surgery hanging over my head, literally.

 my sister who is currently in india, thinks that i should rush into marriage so that we can spend the upcoming jewish holidays together. after all, this is an available man.  she thinks that she can find at least 10 women who would snatch him up right away.  why was i taking my time, anyway??  didn't i know that good men didn't grow on trees.?  is it any wonder that i'm losing my mind?  i need to go to the super but i'm way too tired. i need to go on a real vacation.  i'm actually looking forward to the 5 day stay in hospital after brain surgery.  maybe i'll get to stay in a convalescent home for a while. no dogs or kids pishing on my bed. whoopee!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Nothing Like An Old Fool

it is nearly 10:00 a.m. in the holy city of zefat.  i just came back from the dental clinic in rosh pina.  i hired a driver to take me there because i was under pressure to get back as soon as possible.  the clan wanted to do a day trip today.  the plan was that i would get the two kids and watch them until the parents returned from eilat some time tonight.  anyway, i got to the clinic at 9:00 a.m. and waited to see the head technician.  he told me to come back on sunday.  it would take about 2 hours to fix it.  i actually got confused and was outside for twenty minutes, waiting for the driver an hour early.   i was just about to call him to find out where he was when i noticed that it was only 8:00 a.m.

the first technician said that the clasp on the other side was about to break, too.  that's $50 cab fare each way and $50 to fix each clasp.  what a racket!!!  anyway, i ran like a banshee into the street to catch a shared taxi back to zefat.  i didn't call the original driver back because i was so pressed for time.  i got a mouth full yesterday from the moroccan safta about my ruining their precious day trip before 2 of the clan kids go off to another city for school.  my having to go to the dentist first thing this morning, wasn't any concern for them.  it was just another instance of my screwing up.

the fact that i never made up with anyone to take the kids on thursday was of no consequence.  i was asked by my son before he went off to eilat, if i could pitch in and help with the kids in case i was needed.  i agreed to that.  nothing specific was set up.  i was called yesterday by my son to ask if i could take my grandson for the day and then have the two kids on thursday.  i was exhausted from the previous day's journey and hospital visits.  i didn't give him a definitive answer.

like a fool, i called the other grandma to set something up with her.  both the house phone and cellphone were shut off.  i spent the entire day trying to reach her.  she finally called me in the evening.  i explained that i had to get to the dentist to fix my bridge and that i would be back by noon.  that is when i got  the mouth full.  she had set it up with her daughter who hadn't set it up with me.  no one ever speaks directly to me.  it's been years of this.  i'm fed up with it.  my son calls me from work to ask if i can help the daughter -in -law  downstairs.  it doesn't occur to her to ask me directly.

i know i over react to these things. my buttons are pushed and i react angrily.  the other grandma and my zefat sister are one in the same.  they have the same mot is operandis.  they both are last minute people who get the job done causing me the most aggravation. they really know how to push the old buttons of mine.  just when i think i've moved on i find myself sliding years backward.  there is nothing like an old fool!

i need to get to the supermarket but there is no way to shlepp there with  with 2 kids.  i'll have to go down first thing in the morning.  i'm expected to make shabbat for the kids again.  and now i have to go to rosh pina on sunday morning.  and i'l have a 2 hour wait down there.  i'm the cancer survivor and the one running around with the brain tumor.  doesn't anyone care?????


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Good News Rough Day

it is 3:30 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  i am still recovering from my all day trip to the hospital in tel aviv yesterday.  i hardly slept the night before.  i was exhausted from having babysat all week.  i got up at 6:30 a.m. and let the dogs out.  i put on the sprinklers and went to lie down.  the night before i had binged on ice cream and cheesecake.  i got up at 7:00 a.m. to get my medical papers in order.  i could not find the referral and payment voucher forms any where for the gyn oncologist visit.  i had been to town last week and spent hours waiting for the doctor and voucher to come in.

it is not like me to lose important papers.  i searched every nook and cranny of my house.  my sister decided to come with me to the hospital.  i told her that i would stop off at the clinic up here to get copies of the referral.  i jumped into the shower at about 7:30 a.m. and the water was just about a trickle.  i realized  that i had forgotten to turn off  the sprinklers.  what a waste of good water and money!  the grass is brown and balding in spite of the little water i give it.  i ran outside in a robe and saw the driver waiting for me already.

he had come a good 15 minutes early.  i skipped my shower and quickly got dressed.  i put in my denture and the acrylic clip snapped right off.  i was in shock.  it was too uncomfortable wearing it that way so i left without my 'teeth'.  thank the Lord, that i still have all of my front teeth.  never the less i felt, quite uncomfortable without it.

i got to the clinic and the referral and payment voucher forms were not on the computer.  the  young and inexperienced receptionist suggested that i go to the clinic in town.  i got irate.  i told her that i was on my way to tel aviv for a 10:30 a.m. appointment.  it was already late. a few other nurses and office ladies came out to help.  they know my medical history.  both doctors at each clinic were not present.  i went into a crying jag and said that i didn't care any more.  i didn't want another internal exam any way.  i told them that all i did was spend my money and time going back and forth to doctors for papers for doctors appointments and that i was tired of it all.

i could hardly speak in hebrew.  i said i wasn't crazy.  i told them that i hadn't imagined getting the papers last week.  and i ranted something about having a brain tumor.  one nurse came running out to give me a cup of water.  i just kept on crying and ranting.  the driver came inside to see what was going on.  he was under pressure to get me to tel aviv by 10:30 a.m.  it was already past 8:30 a.m.  and we still needed to pick up my sister.

an experienced office worker found a voucher from may that i hadn't used because i didn't go for my gyn oncologist visit.  i had gotten the radiologist to exam me with a female gyn doctor.  they had sent me appointments all summer long and i had refused to travel to see the gyn oncologist as long as i could hold out.  last week the dingbat secretary, that had scewed me up for months, called my sister and promised if i came in before my neurosurgeon appointment, she would get me in early to see the doctor.

we left zefat after 9:00 a.m. but we managed to get to the 10:30 a.m. appointment on time.  i did however, wait more than 1 1/2  hours.  we threatened to leave more than once.  the specialist did give me an internal and told me that it was looking good. he sent a pap smear to the clinic and hopefully it will come back clean, please G-d.  at the beginning of my treatment he told me that we were considered to be 'engaged'.  yesterday, he told me that we had a 'catholic' relationship now.  i guess he found someone he liked better.

i hustled over to the other side of the hospital in the blazing heat.  there were no cabs outside.  i only waited for about half an hour.  there was no change in the size of the tumor.  the neurosurgeon determined that it was most likely benign.  he warned me of the rare danger signs of a bleed and told me to come back in november to do another mri.  he feels that the longer i heal from the radiation, the stronger i will be for surgery.  he said that it was a long surgery because of the precision of the microscopic tools.  anyway, i'd be totally put out, so what was time to me?  he upped the anty.  now we are talking about a 4-5 day minimum hospital stay and a month long recovery period.   how fun!

i need to see the radiologist in september, and the gyn oncologist in november, do another mri and see the neurosurgeon again, too.  he's talking december/january surgery.  i can wait longer, believe me.  i am still mostly a -symptomatic.  i tried to schedule an appointment for the mri while i was there, but no could do.  i have to call them.  i was hoping to be able to do the oncologist and mri on the same day to eliminate a trip.  we shall see.  i still haven't been reimbursed for any of the many taxi rides yet.

in the meanwhile, i got proposed to.  the guy that i have been seeing, decided it was time to ask me to marry him.  please refrain yourselves from screaming mazal tov.  i didn't say yes,yet.  i went into sheer panic mode.  i'm not ready to commit.  i'd like to believe that the prospect of starting a marriage off with brain surgery, simply doesn't do it for me.   the picture of waking up all bandaged,  groggy, and possibly nauseous with the new hubby being the first person to greet me and let me know that i m not a veggie, also doesn't do it for me, either.   hustling to make a small wedding reception and having the upcoming jewish holidays together so that i can prepare a million meals, doesn't seem all that idyllic.  but all these excuses doesn't make it the real truth.  i guess i need more time to heal,  get stronger and really have total clarity that this is the man i want to spend the rest of my life with.  i'm just not there yet.  i'm not really ready for intimacy yet, either.  i don't want to keep this lovely man hanging but i can't rush into this, now.

my son called me hours ago to ask if i could take my grandson today and the both kids tomorrow.  i made an appointment to have my dental plate fixed in the morning.  i can't do it in zefat.  i need to travel to the clinic in rosh pina at 8:30 a.m. and wait for nearly 2 hours.  there is no way that i can take the boy to the clinic on the bus with me.  there is no way that i can take the boy to the clinic in a taxi, either.  i decided to take care of zelda first today.  that is a new thing.  i don't want to put off my teeth for anyone.  i'm the one with a brain tumor and i'm the one who spent  2 months getting radiation treatments for cancer .  i did try to call the other grandma to let her know that i could help out tomorrow after i return from the dentist.  her phone was busy all day long.  oh well.......

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Back To Normal

it is 8:30 a.m in the holy city of zefat.  i just went outside to take a glimpse of what the neighbors are doing on their house.  i saw a crew of workers come yesterday.  i heard a bit of noise but as it was pretty hot outside, i refrained from going out to snoop.  not that i really have the money to build, but  i was none the less, going to ask these guys for an estimate for stairs.  anyway, when i did slip out this morning,  i was rather surprised at what i saw.

i noticed that their pergola was down and there was three stories of scaffolding.  i didn't know if they were painting or adding jerusalem stones.  i saw my neighbor and started to ask when i finally noticed that the garden between our houses that served as a green wall was completely gone.  these jerks, without any permission cut down shrubs and trees.

i  spent friday morning cooking, baking and washing the floors.  i felt  pretty tired by late afternoon.  it was like i couldn't move at all any more.  it was hot and i probably over did it.   by the time my son came home from synagogue, i was too tired to serve.  my daughter-in-law came up with the kids and i kept up with them.  i rose to the occassion, as usual,  like i always did before i got sick.  my grandson didn't spend the night with me.  i think i looked rather pale, and my son suddenly became protective of me.  he kept on asking me if i felt faint.

i wasn't dizzy or faint.  i was just plain tired and tuckered out.   i think i went to sleep right away.  i was too tired to read.  my grandson came up about 6:00 a.m. or maybe 7:00 a.m.  i was too groggy to really notice.  i got up at once to give him milk and date honey and some cheesecake.  his father came up next, followed by his mother and baby sister.  my son started asking me again, if i was okay.  i guess, i was still looking a tad pale.  he even asked me if i over did it.  that must have been a first for him.  he's gotten so used to me putting out for them, that i think it finally got to him that i may not be as strong as i used to be.

the kids left today for eilat.  they will be gone until friday.  i volunteered to watch the grandson for a couple of days.  what was i thinking?? there are a group of teenagers at the other family, way more energetic, than myself to chase after a 4 year old.  after all, i did have the pleasure of his company almost everyday last week.  i had him for 14 hours on wednesday and 14 hours on thursday.  i also had my share of the kids during the fast.  i guess it's back to normal for me, being the shlepper.  i will have to take him back to the clan tomorrow before my concert.  i have to travel to tel aviv on tuesday to see the neurosurgeon.  i think i offered to keep him on wednesday and thursday, too.  what was i thinking??????

Monday, July 15, 2013

Feeling Well

it is 6:00 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  in another 2 hours we start a major fast.  this one is about 24 hours.  i went to the doctor yesterday hoping that he'd tell me not to fast.  although he is not a rabbi, never the less, he told me to at least start the fast.  i have been eating all day long.  i had eggs and toast in the morning, two glasses of milk, a tuna sandwich, sweet potato ravioli in cream sauce and two bowls of lentil soup.  quite frankly, i am too stuffed to eat anything more.  i will have a green salad and russian dressing for the meal before the fast.

i wasn't planning on preparing anything today at all.  the kids usually go to the in-laws for tisha b'av.  i asked my gal pal what to eat today.  she said pasta and bread.  i remembered making soup for the pre fast meal for many years.  this morning my son asked if i could watch the grandson.  poor kid has been cooped up all day in front of the t.v.  it is pretty hot and very humid outside.  way too hot for me to hang out at the little park.  problem is that they build these parks without any trees for shade.

i made him a bubble bath a little while ago.  he was going bonkers and hitting me with his tee shirt.  the bath chilled him out.  i even took a shower to cool off.  i managed to wet mop the floor while i was cooking.  i had to run to the supermarket this morning to get food for the pre fast.  i bought frozen sweet potato ravioli, pitas, cooking cream, and various veggies to throw into a lentil soup. i also bought a can of diced tomatoes for the soup.  i even baked a vanilla loaf cake.

everything is ready to go.  the salad needs to be dressed.  as soon as the daughter-in-law returns from work, we can feast.  i bought tickets for a concert next monday night.  the popular male singer, yakov shweki, is coming to zefat.  i took the kids to hear him a couple of years ago.  the next day i have to go back to the hospital in tel aviv to see the gyn oncologist and the neurosurgeon.  yes, a double header!  it will be a very long day, for sure. hours of travelling and hours of waiting.  i am amazingly calm.  i guess it's the heat.

i have put on nearly 10 pounds.  there went my svelte body.  i really have to cool it now.  i have to stay away from the carbs and sugar.  they're doing me in.  i seem to lose it on some days and binge all day.  i'm pretty inactive still, so i'm not exactly burning up the calories.  i seem to crave the unhealthy milk chocolate treats.  the 70% dark chocolate doesn't do it for me anymore.   i guess, i don't care what i eat anymore, either.

i went to town yesterday  to see the doctor and buy the concert tickets.  i was lucky to get the referral forms the same day, for a change.  i don't need to go back to the clinic next week.  i didn't want to speak with the social worker in person.  i wanted to save myself the trip, but i tried calling her and she didn't return my call.  i am impatiently, waiting to be reimbursed for all my travel expenses.  the amount is staggering.  i put in a claim for my sister, also.  they will only reimburse her one way.  whatever we can get is still helpful.

the store selling concert tickets wouldn't take credit cards or checks.  my account was overdrawn so i  jumped on a bus and returned to the neighborhood.  i actually asked for half price, for the first time.  they didn't even ask for i.d.  i went over to my friend's for cash.  i then jumped on a bus back to town to buy the tickets.  a half hour later, i was once again, back on the bus with the tickets.  mission accomplished!  i hung out with my friend until 5:30 p.m.

i felt rather well today.  i think being out of the house yesterday really was beneficial.  it's an hour away to the fast.  the kids have had their ravioli downstairs.  if they prefer to have the soup downstairs, it's fine by me.  i washed the floors because the bottoms of my feet were black.  i cleared off the dining room table. too.  i heard that drinking straight lemon juice is a sure way to beat the fast.  i'm having lemon in my water.  an easy fast everyone!  may the moshiach come now!!!!


Sunday, July 7, 2013

It's Hard To Say Goodbye

it is 5:30 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  my older sister just left for our cousin's home in yavne.  she returns to california tomorrow.  my brother left on sunday last week.  we had one heck of a reunion!  psychodrama til 5:00 a.m. every night.  most of the ranting and drama was done by me, zelda.  my siblings patiently stayed up all night to calm me down.  my buttons were being pushed at all times by our baby sister, who lives in zefat.

i did all of the cooking and washing up.  that's because, according to all of my siblings,  i am  a control freak. no one really wanted to go out or eat in restaurants.  my non -coffee drinking younger sister wanted to go out for a coffee in town.  the time was always wrong.  we couldn't coordinate the four of us  to meet during the day.  our younger sister would come at night.  i managed to hold my own for the first week.  i didn't join them on a day trip to amuca and meron.  i needed bed rest.  i completely shut down after my brother left.  i couldn't  get out of bed except to make meals.

my grandson was a handful, too.  he was put off  by my non hebrew speaking siblings.  he was at his most awful behavior all week long.  my siblings from america couldn't relate.  my brother the child psychologist, didn't put up a great effort to relate to this 'horroble four' year old. either.  my sister, the light sleeper, suffered the most when my grandson was around.  it was a lot of pressure for me to be a good and loving sister and a good and doting grandma at the same time.

after my brother left, i wasn't allowed to give over any more 'war stories', as my older sister calls them.  you all know how i love to milk a  story about my every day living here.  horror stories or 'war stories' are my medium.  they don't call me 'ranting zelda ' for nothing.  i admit that i am obsessed by my stories and rants.  i once went on one of my 'rants' to my friend's brother.  he lives in canada.  he couldn't take my rap.  he told me that if it was so horrible here, i should leave.

some people, just can't take a rant.  mazal tov on our finally catching the elusive rat on erev shabbat!  for weeks now, my son has been calling me downstairs to help in catching the rat.  we enlisted the pincher, who seems far more interested in killing pigeons on the third floor roof top apartment.  on friday, as i was cooking for shabat, my daughter-in-law called me downstairs several times to help catch the rat.  i was exhausted by the time my son came home from work.  i still had things to cook and a cheesecake to bake.  the rat was hiding in the tray underneath the fridge.  we finally had a good chance to catch him.  even the pincher stepped up to the plate and helped kill it.  this seems to be a family bonding time, catching and killing rats.

 i now believe that the he rat was a she rat.  i think she was just  a hard working mother rat, who started a family in our downstairs laundry room..  we have since caught a couple of smaller rats in the one trap that still works.  it is going to be a long hard summer.

i go to tel aviv tomorrow, to do another MRI of my head.  the neurosurgeon wants to have two pictures to compare the tumor .  i then go to see him again in another two weeks.  i am hoping that he will tell me that it isn't urgent to operate.  i am hoping to schedule it in the winter after all of the holidays and chanuka have passed.  this year chanuka starts on thanksgiving day.  i do not want to have an operation right now.  i hope that i will be able to put it off.  i am surprisingly, calm and not the bit , nervous about tomorrow.

we still have a pigeon problem upstairs.  i made a lot of progress but not enough.  the heat wears me out.  i cannot function when it's hot.  i can run up and down the stairs all day long, but walking distances, is still not doable.  i think i don't realize how fragile i still am until i'm back in bed.  i recently went on an over eating binge.  i gained over five pounds since the siblings came.  i need to chill out now.  i'd hate to get heavy again. it's all concentrated in the belly area.  i seriously, need to stop the ice cream and chocolate runs to the supermarket.