Posted tagged ‘aging parents’

Assisting Aging Parents – Who, What, When, Where, How, Why?

September 7, 2010

I recently rushed down to Florida to help take care of, and maybe say goodbye to, a father who might be dying.  On one level, of course, we all of us are dying and might be doing it soon.   But the possibility of his end seemed to be not so philosophical, more, possibly, immediate.

My mother who is both staunchly independent and optimistic (especially when it comes to belief in her ability to get my dad through any setback) was anguished.  (Me too.)  Getting here sooner rather than later seemed imperative.

But the body is a funny organism.  Thankfully, my dad’s seems better right now; and the possibility of what might be, or not be, is again a little more remote.

Some family members, religious, attribute the improvement to prayer.  I’m glad enough of prayer, but also think some stern, but cheerful, cajoling (of my father, not the Almighty) may have had something to do with it.  Whatever – something has triggered a re-pivot of mind which allows the body to hang on again.

Typically, what complicates everything, aside from the worry and sadness, is practicality.  Helping aging parents feels, at times, like the reporting of a news story–full of who, what, where, when, how.  Who can/will help?  What can they do?  Where can I find them?  When will they come?  And then, most importantly, how will we get the sick person, and especially his wife, i.e. my mother, to accept such help?  (Why is it so difficult?)

The very qualities that may help long-term survivors survive make them nearly impossible to assist.   You find yourself arguing endlessly with that stubborn making-the-best-of-it-on-your-own endurance – a characteristic that you value in yourself and almost anyone else.    (And, truly, secretly, in them too.)    (Ssshhh…..)

Snuck Dog in A.M. Hotel, Enjoying Fly-Free Ointment

September 2, 2010

After Application of Fly-Free OIntment

I am sitting in a hotel room with a dog nestled against my bum.  She is a great dog to sneak into a hotel room because she is little, quiet, and extremely well-behaved.  She is also very old, which is perhaps what has caused her to throw up twice during the night, luckily with enough warning (i.e. an abrupt standing up) for me to get her into the bathroom in time to avoid soiling either hotel carpeting or bedspread.

Thankfully, she does not seem seriously sick.  But it’s made for an extremely alert night, for me at least, who as sneaker-in-chief, feels responsible for any canine effluviance.

She’s sleeping comfortably now, while I feel a little tired.   But, as is popularly noted, there’s always something. Yesterday, it was a suddenly sick mother (88); the day before, a fallen and head-bruised father (87); and now in a few minutes’ time, the moving of a daughter back into college, a wonderful and fairly independent daughter but one with a great many clothes.  (These are not particularly fancy clothes, but have the advantage of allowing for extended laundry avoidance.)

Each of these events is capable of causing a manicddaily type like myself as much fretting as the neck of a bass guitar.  But this post is not meant to be a litany of woes, tasks,  or even of a zillion telephone calls, but rather, a lesson in enjoyment.

Don’t wait for the unalloyed when there’s goodness in the alloyed (sunny day, delightful daughter, snuggling dog, sweet husband willing to drive.)  Do what you can, more than you can, but don’t hinge your happiness on immediate or right  results.  Forget about rows of orderly ducks, fly-free ointments.

Wait a second.  That’s an idea–fly-free ointment. Conjure up some and rub it all over yourself.  Don’t forget to glom a bunch on the inside/underside of your forehead.  Then let yourself just glide, even for several whole minutes.