"Logan," read the text message we received from Jeri and Phil on Tuesday morning. They arrived back in Boston at 3 a.m, missing the massive computer snarl that would shut down airports all over the country later that day.
Laurel posted photos on Facebook from their New Year's celebration, so they were all safe and sound in Santa Barbara again.
I didn't expect to hear from Ned, who lives only 20 miles away, but assumed he and Marta were just fine.
My kiddies had come to join us for the holidays and are now back home again and life returns to normal. I can stop worrying.
I worked at the hospital, taking a "holiday shift," which means I didn't work from 12 to 4, as I usually do, but from 10 to 2, so I covered part of the morning and part of the afternoon. Things were so quiet I question the need for an information person over a holiday.
But that doesn't mean it was without incident. I am less and less efficient until later and later in the mornings these days and so I found myself racing out of the house at the last minute, which meant that I was half way to the hospital before I realized that I had left my ID tag at home. Too late to return for it, so I just hoped that would not be a problem (fortunately, it was not)
There was a problem right a way. Since I was the "morning person," I had to set up the desk, which meant I had to go to the Auxiliary office to get all the stuff I needed. It opens by a key code, the number of which is written on my ID badge. Fortunately I remembered it correctly, but the morning person also has to pick up the daily list of which patients are in the hospital, which is left in the mail room, which is also opened by a key code and since I never have to go into that room, I didn't have a clue what the code was.
I figured I could get by without it because it is a print-out of the database page on the computer.
BUT the last time I worked, in early December, I got a message saying it was time to change my password. I did, but if I wrote it down somewhere, it was with all the important notes on my old phone, and I lost all of those notes when the phone crashed. I have about four passwords that I circulate, changing bit of them when I use them. Sometimes a capital letter, sometime a symbol like @ or !. One includes a year, and sometimes I change the year. Pretty simple to remember.
But NONE of them in any form would get me in. In the meantime, however, I remembered that the codes for the two rooms were in what they call the 'finder binder,' the book which has all the information you need to know to work as a volunteer. So I was able to get the print-out which was good because before I finally got into the computer someone was there asking what room a certain patient was in.
I finally called for computer help and in order to help me, the help person needed to talk with a full time Sutter employee who could verify that I am who I claimed to be. There was nobody at all around (all day) except the security guards and fortunately they are full time Sutter employees, so this guy was able to let the computer helper know I was legit.
He reset my password to "Sutter12" which I would then change when I got in. But the computer didn't recognize Sutter12 either. He had me try it again, it didn't recognize it again, and told me I had too many unsuccessful tries and I was now locked out.
He reset my whole account and I was able to get in using Sutter12 and I changed my password, as instructed, but the screen it brought me to was not the screen I should be on, but the screen which showed a blanket of live cams for the birthing center. Sigh.
Back to computer help and he got me onto the right screen and I was good to go.
That was my entire first hour!
Next, I was supposed to call the person who is scheduled to work tomorrow but it is a new person who is not in the directory and I didn't know where to find the telephone number. (I finally found a second directory which had new people in it).
Otherwise it was a fairly quiet day. I was reading "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court," which "my friend" and I had discussed at Logos the last time he was in. A woman who was looking for a friend's hospital room saw my Kindle and asked what I was reading and seemed very surprised to learn I was reading Mark Twain.
The last hour went slowly and I was very sleepy, but was glad when 2 p.m. came and I could close up. Only when I went to record my hours on my time card, nobody had set up time cards for 2017 yet, so I have to remember to do that when I work next Friday.
From there I went to Atria to drop off my mother's laundry, which I had washed. I told Walt that I really should write an entry called "The Loneliness of Dementia," which would be entirely too depressing an entry but I've been thinking about it a lot lately. She had people around her most of Christmas and that was very nice but now that things are back to normal again, it's mostly just me again, and Ned, bless him, stops by now and then too.
Her stepson, who used to have dinner once a week before she moved to Davis, started trying to come every couple of weeks and now he comes every month and a half or two months ("It's a long drive," he tells me, forgetting I used to make it in the other direction once or twice a week in the years before she moved here).
My cousin's daughter used to come 3 or 4 times a year to do her nails (she's a cosmetologist), but I think she was only up here once in 2016. Her good friends from Hospice of Marin, with whom she worked for >20 years used to come up for lunch, but they don't come any more.
Face it: she's no fun to visit any more (except maybe for Ned, who is determined that things will be FUN...and makes them that by the power of his personality!) But she can't remember a lot of people she used to, and she can't remember anything for longer than a few seconds, plus, most of the time she is sleeping (today she told me she almost never naps any more!) and always wakes up feeling terrible. She often says she has been sick to her stomach all night and has been throwing up and then has to clean up the floor (not true). So it takes a long time to talk her out of not feeling terrible, but if you get her to her chair to sit, she eventually starts asking about the weather and "what have you been done that you haven't told me about and I should know" and then "what are you doing tonight?" and often "are you going dancing tonight?" and then back to the weather again. Wash, rinse and repeat until I get tired of it (almost exactly an hour) and then say goodbye. If I tell her I'll be back in two days, she gets upset because she needs to see me every day. If I go early in the day and say I'll be back the next days she is upset that she will be all alone all afternoon.
I feel so sorry for her because I seem to be the sum total of her non-mealtime activity and it makes me angry with myself that I sometimes don't visit her every day because I just don't feel like it.
I usually come home feeling totally worn out, though I really haven't done anything but sit and listen to her for an hour. I almost always need a nap when I get home.