Warning Order

“A preliminary notice of an order or action which is to follow”

A Warning Order usually does not involve the commitment of resources or forces. It is intended to gain your attention, to reorient you toward a potential future task.

During my military career I received many Warning Orders, more than a few Prepare to Deploy Orders (PTDO) which do involve moving and packing, and several “WHY AREN’T YOU ALREADY ON THE PLANE!!!…” orders.  In the last case, the response, “because you just told me two seconds ago,” while technically correct, was never acceptable.  This Friday I received a Warning Order.

Friday was Doctor Day.  My dog, my mom, and my daughter all had scheduled appointments. I wanted to get mad at someone for scheduling this all on the same day… except that someone was me. It must have made sense at the time. I just hoped the Vet didn’t poke my daughter in the wrong place, my mom didn’t bite a nurse, and they didn’t try to give my dog a lolly pop.

The dog’s Vet visit went entirely smooth. Dog-Dog is now fully inoculated against thermal nuclear war or kennel cough, whichever comes first. My daughter had a good therapist session. A significant achievement since we were coming off of mini crisis the weekend before and had already made one unscheduled urgent Dr visit for this week.

Mom has not been herself. The staff and I have both noticed it. Her energy level is down, she’s weaker, she increasingly incoherent, she’s starting to refuse food or drink.  So although this was a scheduled Dr appoint, I was about to bring her in anyway. @G-J once talked about how we live with realities others would find incredibly strange. One of those realities for me is praying for a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). A UTI would perfectly explain Mom’s symptoms and it is relatively easy and quickly treated. Mom has had them before. The Dr ordered the appropriate tests but we’re all hoping that a UTI is what this is… because the Dr then went on to use the “F” word.

Feeding Tube.

@Denise just did a post and BlogTalkRadio program on End of Life discussions. For my family the Feeding Tube is a red line. It is a decision point.  For me it means summoning immediate family and contacting extended family. As the person with the Medical Power of Attorney, I’m in the middle of what will happen.

Now the Doctor didn’t say Mom needed a feeding tube, he was just thinking out loud, reviewing the possible options and courses of actions.

I also know my strong reaction was directly related to the fact that my Dad died just four months ago and during his decline I had to navigate the feeding tube issue. Because of that experience, the use of the word brought an “elephant into the room;” was Mom dying?

Of course not and to be fair, that isn’t what the Doctor had said. However, it was important for me to state so out loud and in front of the Doctor, “Mom hasn’t stopped eating or drinking, she’s merely reduced her intake.”

This was serious but not a crisis. There are numerous intermediate steps we can and will take. Still the Doctor’s comments were my Warning Order.  Coupled with recent events involving my Dad, the doctor had captured my attention and reoriented me. I’m praying for a UTI.


After a day like Friday, I knew I wanted a treat so on Saturday, inspired by @Sunshine=Sometimes, I did a virtual IHOP visit and treated myself to a frozen IHOP entree. I think S=S is on to something here.

IHOP @home
my IHOP @home

Categories: Caring for Parents and Kids

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15s Comments

  1. Profile photo of


    Dear Jo,
    I do so hope it is only an UTI for your Mom!
    Your post made me smile as well? :) I made you like IHOP? They are great but I cannot imagine you just FOUND IHOP!!! :) Man! Jo? They’ve been around for ages! So sorry about your dog and your daughter too. Doctors’ visits upon doctors’ visits are not fun! Just energy draining! Honestly!
    Let us know what goes on okay? Take care, Jo!

  2. Profile photo of


    Dear Jo,
    On the side? I want to thank you personally for your duty in our country’s military service. I have nothing but absolute respect and admiration for any of our men and women in our country’s uniforms. Thank you for preserving the freedoms for which I so often take for granted! {{HUGS}}

  3. Profile photo of Denise

    Oooohhhh Jo, this post! Wow! I love how you apply “warning order”–I can’t think of a better description.

    I, too, hope for a UTI (but one that clears up as fast as a snap of a finger). Please keep us posted and let us know how you all are doing as you can.

    I loved the IHOP stop. !!!!!

  4. Profile photo of ejourneys

    Jo, I’m praying for a UTI, too! Saying what you said gave the doctor information, so that was a good thing. I’m glad dog and daughter appointments went well and hope that your mom has simple, quick healing ahead. That virtual IHOP stop is perfect.

  5. Profile photo of Trish

    Jo, I understand about planning things for one day – it seems so logical and practical at the time! Then it’s a bit stressful on the actual day but you did great. Has the doctor figured out the issue yet? Good for you for clarifying exactly the eating/drinking issue. “Reducing intake” is an important distinction and it was great you spoke up and made that clear to the doctor. You’re a strong advocate and, unfortunately, an experienced caregiver so you know how important it is to be clear on these things. Sending hugs – now, pass the syrup. :-)

  6. Profile photo of G-J


    The day you posted this, I was thinking of you. I was frustrated with my husband for a stupid reason and suddenly thought of you and how you would love the opportunity to have your wife do something that would frustrate you. It reminded me to be grateful for what I have. Thank you, Jo.

    Aren’t UTIs the weirdest thing after a certain age? I remember one time when my dad seemed to have instantly developed dementia, with a complete personality change that included pounding on the table and demanding his lunch! Although she ordered a test, the hospice nurse instantly ordered the antibiotic for a UTI when I told her about it. She was right. I hope it is a UTI in your mother’s case as well.

    I’ve been meaning to ask you, how are you and your son doing?

    • Profile photo of G-J

      That’s great news, Jo! Thanks for sharing!

      What grade is your son in? Mine is now a junior and testing for his driver’s license in a couple of weeks. He’s taken the PSAT and does not like all the e-mails and letters he’s receiving from colleges. He has let me know that he is planning to stay in our state for college.

      • Profile photo of Jo

        My son is also a junior but already has his license to drive which translates into my license to grow more gray hair.

  7. Profile photo of

    Hi, Jo. I am a military spouse and freelance writer who is doing a story for a military-affiliated publication on the “sandwich generation” and how military families and veterans are being impacted by the demands of caring for elderly parents as well as their own children. I would love to interview you for this story. Please contact me via my website or LinkedIn:


    LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/andreadowningpeck

  8. Profile photo of

    Hi, Jo. I haven’t heard back from you. Could you let me know whether you have seen my post on March 6? I would love to interview you for the story I am writing.


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