Are you tired of receiving phone calls from people and places you don't know for things you're not interested in? I hit my limit during one of the six times my mother was in the hospital from mid-June to end of September at Death's door. My cell phone wouldn't get reception plus I prefer to heed signs posted especially in the ER regarding No Cell Phones Allowed.

Sleep deprived, eating a weird combo of food, coffee, more coffee, slightly soured milk and Lorna Doones plus having flashbacks to my Dad's final hospital stay, my husband's string of hospitalizations, plus my own brush with the Reaper put me over the edge. Slumped against a cart that held a stack of clean gowns, with my sweater for a pillow, I got two phone calls from Russia at 4 in the morning.

When my mother was no longer turning blue every 5 minutes and somewhat stabilized, I explained why she was in the hospital because she asked several staff members and no one answered. (As far as I knew the consensus was her Assisted Living had withheld crucial meds causing her an almost assisted death, and not for the first time. Don't get me started on family of origin's reaction to this...)

Giddy to the point of exhaustion, I also told her about the phone calls from Russia. She looked blank then asked, "Who do we know in Russia?" She started going through the laundry list aloud of possible family members who might be in Russia for some reason unbeknownst to her. I said, "Mom, it's okay. Everyone is sleeping; no one we know is in Russia. Probably just a telemarketer." She soared from comatose, literally, to outrage, all 90 lbs. of her. I kissed her forehead, turned down all the awful lights, and cranked up the TV volume on a Nature Meditation channel. She was asleep in seconds.

Fast forward several months and here's how I tried to solve the unwanted phone calls problem: Put a very abrupt message on land line with hysterical but effective results, keeping the the speaker on for maximum satisfaction. Learned how to add unknown numbers to reject list that plague my cell. I'm not saying this has been 100% effective but measurably better...

Although I recall most of the numbers of people I do want to talk with, I still glance at Caller ID on both phones before picking up. Last week I was expecting calls from doctors so when an unfamiliar number showed up and I saw Scam Likely where the name or place usually is, I laughed. All day I couldn't stop thinking of some poor unfortunate person whose parents were trying to be creative in naming their baby.


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