It turned out to be an interesting day, to say the least.
Ellen and I had planned to look for a sofa--preferably, a sleep sofa--for my living room, do a few other chores, then go to The Olive Garden for dinner.
However, when El came, she said Greg's brother, Frank,* had called her from Minnesota, asking if she'd try to contact their mother, Rory, who was sick with the same malady (my husband used to call it "the trots") I had. Her landline had been busy for hours and she wasn't answering her cell. El couldn't get through either and, of course, we immediately agreed we should go up to Santa Barbara to see if there was a problem.
It takes about forty-five minutes to get there and while we were on our way, Frank called again to say Rory's neighbor, Carmen**, had taken Rory to Cottage Hospital*** and would we meet them there. We did, and found Rory in a wheelchair in pajamas and robe--pale, but coherent--and Carmen in the emergency room. We thanked C. for her help and she left.
Rory had already been evaluated, of course, and while we waited--a bit more than two hours--I reflected how medicine has changed. When I was a girl; in fact, even when I was thirty years away from being a girl--if you got sick, you called your doctor and if it was warranted, he or she admitted you to the hospital. The emergency room was for sorry indigents and accident victims bleeding from the head. Well, those days are gone, that's a cinch.
Anyway--or "anyways," as my friend Joan W. (RIP) used to say--the upshot was that Rory was taken to a room, hooked up to wires, given a chest x-ray and so on, generally experiencing what I did last month at Ventura Memorial. Throughout the day, Ellen had been in frequent touch with Frank and also with Greg, who left work early to meet us at the hospital. Rory seems to have a variety of problems, including some heart involvement, and she was admitted as a patient.
While Greg stayed until she got to a room, El and I left--in a pouring rain--and went back to Rory's condo, which she said was "a mess." It was, but not quite as bad as I had feared and we cleaned up as best we could. El loaded and ran the dishwasher, fed Hershel and took him out to relieve himself, plus eliminated his "relief"on the living room floor. I cleaned up a much as possible the main bath, which was icky, all right. Rory's soiled bedclothes were rolled up on the floor, as was a pretty, multi-colored "straw" rug. The bathtub had a soiled towel in it and there was other evidence somebody had been uncontrollably ill here. Rory had told us to throw all of it away and we did. We didn't have too many trash bags, but we managed to get most into what we had.
Greg came in after seeing his mother comfortably in her room and we all went to The Natural Cafe for a late dinner. He went back to the hospital after and El took me home. Got in about 8:30 and watched Forensic Files for an hour before turning in and sleeping like a log all night.
*Frank is an oncologist at the Mayo Clinic.
** Because Carmen is a caregiver, I was somewhat puzzled that she could afford to live in a condo identical to Rory's next door. I discovered that for many years, she had cared for the owner, an elderly woman with no relatives, and had been left the condo in her will. Greg said that wasn't too unusual in Santa Barbara and that Carmen had been mentioned in other wills, also. I think that's very nice, but Ellen was incensed that the old lady didn't endow an animal shelter, instead. (I THINK she was joking.)
*** Cottage Hospital is about as far from a "cottage" as you can get. It's huge, brand new, built in a quintessentially California (whitewash, adobe roof, oak, wrought-iron) style, and when you walk in the front entrance, you'd swear you were in a five-star hotel.