Thursday, September 16, 2010

Elided previously

Things I've been mulling over before typing about them: my mother's heart health crisis and Katy's first piano recital that did not go so well.

Mom went to the dog shows over labor day as per usual. This year Token, the small standard poodle, has pretty much opted out of obedience training. She likes the training actually but is not happy in the ring and Mom has decided there's not much point in showing her. Some dogs love to perform and some would rather not, thank you. Risa the plenty big curly coated retriever is the other contender. She's headstrong and not reliable but young yet so Mom has had high hopes. They went unfulfilled over the holiday weekend because Risa didn't pass even one of her classes. It's Utility, the most complicated class with directed jumps and scent articles, so this isn't unprecedented. But it is disappointing. When Mom was telling me about this she mentioned that she'd had some weird chest pressure when she was walking the dog over the weekend too. She was trying to shrug it off. I asked her not to forget about it but ask her doctor. Then on the holiday Monday she had it again, worse.

She said she felt better when she didn't run and then when she didn't walk fast. By Wednesday she told me she was "gliding" - moving carefully and smoothly so as not to feel the pressure. On Thursday she saw her doctor, was sent directly to the heart center and admitted for the night. They told her it was classic coronary artery disease. The next day they did a cardiogram, injecting dye to see exactly which artery was blocked and they placed a stent to clear the block. She was in recovery that afternoon and called me. I was very glad to hear her voice and surprised that she didn't need someone else to call. They kept her one more night and then sent her home. A doctor told her the artery had been 98% blocked.

She's been tended by her friends and neighbors who live on her street. They are kind of a tight bunch of senior citizens. I'm so glad they're all taking care of each other. I asked Mom if she wanted me to move my trip up a week but she said she would be okay and would be happy to see me on the 18th as planned. My brother is going to come down that weekend from Denver too. "I guess he's worried about me" she says. Yes, I think so.

Mom says it felt very surreal to be in the hospital being told she had heart disease and was to have a surgical intervention. I've also had trouble believing all this. As RB said, she's the thin, active one with the low blood pressure. But menopause put an end to the low blood pressure and her activity level doesn't come with any aerobic exercise beyond walking faster than anyone else I've ever known. We're all susceptible to heart disease if we live long enough.

Mom is recovering slowly from the procedure (they go in through a groin artery and access the coronary arteries from there). I'll see her in two days. Whew.


Katy had her first piano recital and was totally unprepared for the experience. She had been taking piano lessons for all of 8 weeks and had never seen a music recital before. I didn't try to explain it much. She was bored with her piece (Over the Rainbow) by the time of the recital and had stopped practicing it. I didn't nag much because I have more important things to nag about.

On the evening of the recital I insisted that she wear shoes which was perceived as unfair. I had suggested she play through her piece earlier but that was rejected. When when it was her turn, she played the first line or so and then blanked. Even though she was looking at the music, she was very conscious of being in front of an audience and couldn't continue. Her teacher swooped in and joined her on the piano bench and they played the rest together. Katy went back to her seat (a row ahead of us, by herself) and sat stock still until the end of the recital when she came to me and melted down. She was very embarrassed. Several people came over to speak to her and tell her that she'd done just fine and tried to help her feel better. She had a hard time accepting comfort. I tried to get her thinking about the next time and how we could help her be better prepared. Her teacher and I talked to her about the next recital and what she could perform then. I left feeling stymied. Just like with her overreaction to criticism, I felt that I knew exactly the shame she was feeling. And my insight didn't help me to help her.

I looked up music teacher tips for recital preparation. A few days later I talked to Katy about what we'll do differently before the next one. (I think it's good to focus on the next time, getting back on the horse.) I also talked to her about how everyone feels uncomfortable when performing or just before.


Last night it rained buckets and Katy was out running around with her best friend. At one point she asked to borrow my umbrella. They weren't leaving the complex so after exacting a promise that she would bring it back unharmed, I let her take it. When she got back half an hour later I asked for the umbrella and she froze, then her face crumpled and the wails began. She ran out to look for it but couldn't find it. She came back crying and stammering about how she "didn't mean to lose it!" I was annoyed for a bit. After a few minutes I got over that. I told her that as her daddy says, no one was hurt or bleeding, it was just an ugly old umbrella.

I said she was acting like making a mistake made her a bad person. We had talked about the restaurant routine of announcing "I made a mistake!" to cheers. And I said that I remembered feeling like she does but that I had learned better and I wanted to be able to learn from mistakes without feeling like they were the end of the world. And I believe she got it. I said we'd have to figure out how to help her practice making mistakes so she could get really good at it. It felt as though we'd gotten over a hurdle. We'll probably need to go over it many more times but it's a relief to know we could get there.

Katy's friend Maria found the umbrella and brought it back to me shortly thereafter.


amenaneri said...

Well, I'm glad the "I made a mistake!" suggestion may have made a difference for Katy. Performing can be hard, but can be awfully fun, too.

What a shocker about your mom. I'm glad she got herself to the hospital in time for the procedure before she had a heart attack, but wow. Give her my love.

Have fun in NM!!! I'm so jealous! And yes, I love the Sunport. So beautiful.

The Subtle Rudder said...

Sorry to have fallen into a bloghole...I'm back, and so damned relieved to hear your mom's okay. My dad went through scary heart stuff last spring, and there's nothing to make a big girl feel like a terrified little girl than to have one of her parents sick and in surgery. My dad had stents years ago, though, and they're all still perfect and doing what they're supposed to, so it's a great strategy. Just have to keep up with how all the other vessels are doing.

And man, can I relate to Katy. I remember my kindergarten teacher writing "does not accept criticism well" on my report card, and oh, how true it was. I'm better at it now, I think, but it was so derailing back then, and I felt I had no mechanism to manage it, no way to make my face stay even or to keep the shocked sobs inside. Some of us are just a little sensitive, and we have to find ways to keep trying, even when we make mistakes.

Have a great may be there already.

Lucy said...

Oh my heart goes out to Katy. Trouble is it doesn't really stop, you just get a little bit more used to living with it. At least when you're still a kid you can hold out hope that it'll all be sorted when you're groan up. Still, don't tell her that! Seems like you're walking the tight-rope of how to help her handle it pretty well, and it's good that the umbrella came back!

I hope you're mum's on the mend, all very worrying.

Lucy said...

How did I manage to type 'groan up' instead of 'grown'? Still, it has a degree of appropriateness come to think...

Nimble said...

Lucy, why do our brains come up with those crazy homonyms? I'm a good speller and very visual with my word memory (for example, I can't remember someone's name until I know how it's spelled) but I guess the sound of a word trumps spelling in the brain's deeper organization.

Bee said...

Even though we know our bodies are going to start their inevitable decline, why does it always feel so SHOCKING?! This crisis is already weeks in the past now, but the news is hitting me fresh. I'm so sorry; I hope there will be a happy intervention on your mom's health.

As for Katy, I suppose the "lesson" (while painful) has been learned. When it comes to certain activities, a bit of preparation is essential!

I was interested in the exchange betweeen you and Lucy about homonyms/spelling substitutions/insertions. Like you, I've always been a good speller -- and a strongly visual learner -- but I've noticed, in the last year or two, that I make weird homonymic (made that up) spelling mistakes from time to time. It's puzzling.

Nimble said...

Hi Bee, yes my mother was particularly shocked and felt quite betrayed by her body. I think that's wearing off now. She's been going to a cardio-rehab exercise program and has met other people there with multiple stents and bypasses. Maybe that makes it seem more real and less personal.