Caregiver duties wrap up for now

Being on active duty as my mother’s caregiver/spokesperson is wrapped up – for a time.

I hope.

How long this period will last is one of those unknowns dumped on us by life. Although only in her 70’s, her health is nowhere near the robustness of her parents who were taking trips, still living in their house, and making weekly treks to mow their son’s lawn.

I always imagined Mom’s journey would run on similar lines. Strong genetics. However, I should have factored in the fact that life lobbed many emotional projectiles at her. She’s coped as she could, creating a soft-colored environment in her home, buying dozens of “pretties” for the joy of it. Seeking quiet spaces and focusing on collecting reams of ancestral data.

So the cycle of active worry and care ends for a time. Life seems changed since November when Mom’s being unable to manage to walk and care for herself, pitched her and myself into a flurry of lists of agencies to contact for help, and visits with and from health care providers.

What alterations will stay, I wonder?

The final visit with a home therapist is scheduled for later this week and the focus will be on helping Mom learn how to use the bath bench that arrived by mail last week. I hope – I will encourage her – to use it.

The prescribed walker is still hanging out unused in the living room. Sometime soon I’ll be faced with hauling it back to the local Lion’s Club where we got it.

A Meals on Wheels volunteer showed up yesterday morning with another bag of food. I deliberately retreated to my room so I wouldn’t have to watch Mom struggling to slot the culinary offerings into the freezer, filled already with her treasure trove of frozen meals. The service with freshly made meals will continue. And the frozen meals will stay . . . .

Later in the day, Mom and I tackled the challenge of finding her a supplemental dental plan. Mom dialed the number but got overwhelmed by the automated instructions. She handed me the phone and I switched it to speaker mode so we could both hear.

A male representative came on line and I explained what my mother needed. He lavishly praised me for the great job I was doing for my mother – with Mom hearing every word.

I buried my face in my hands. Those words were sweet to hear – but Mom was trying to speak for herself.

Will she be able to do that more now as part of the changes? I really don’t know. Being able to advocate for ourselves, voice what we want, need, think is such a basic part of life.

So here we are – and I’m hoping for calmer days ahead with Mom relishing her life – and me, her daughter, being glad she can do so.

© 2017 by Mary Louise Van Dyke. All Rights Reserved.

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