Only four years ago, my parents were independent

“Do I have the poise?”

The other day I confused the word insure with the word Ensure (calorie booster for the elderly). These things are happening to me quite often. I’m not hearing as well as I used to. Recently, I heard another friend say, “I have to pick up some Poise.”

Well I jumped in and said, “Me, too! My mother needs some Poise, also!”

The woman had said “TOYS,” not Poise. It was for her grandchildren.

I guess, as we get older and are part of the “Sandwich Generation,” our thoughts turn from being previously about our children to things associated with aging. It doesn’t escape me that instead of pushing a stroller, I’m now pushing a wheelchair! So that is why I’ve chosen this title. DEPENDING on me represents those “Depends” diapers, and it also represents the fact that you can’t imagine how many people are depending on me!

Unfortunately, although I have two brothers, a lot depends on me with my parents. Perhaps that is more the burden of being a daughter; I’m not really “ENsure.”

I sent the following message to my brothers in an effort to “keep them in the loop” regarding my mom. I also wanted their support, because it was recommended that my mother have surgery to remove the screws from her last shoulder surgery. The last surgery she had was where she ended up on a respirator. Although removing screws is considered minor surgery, understandably, I have a lot of trepidation around it.

I was the baby in my family. My brother Norm is on left, next to Howard.

Message to one of my brothers:

On Mar 3, 2010, Judy wrote:

Mom just called me because she was wondering why it’s taking so long to get that second opinion. I think she is doing better, but I am concerned about why they ordered oxygen for her just yesterday.

I know you want mom to have the surgery, but she wants to proceed more carefully than last time – Can you blame her?

Honestly, I am working right now and it would be helpful if you could arrange the second opinion. Can you talk with mom more about it? I am not faulting the surgeon, however, he wasn’t too savvy about mom’s respiratory problems when he rushed to do that first surgery.

Even with a shoulder block, mom is very fragile right now. Also, she’s not complaining as much about the shoulder pain. She is doing more therapy right now. The doctor didn’t allow for range of motion until recently, which may be part of her problem of “frozen shoulder.” Maybe with more therapy she’ll be better.

We were told she absolutely needed the first surgery because the bones where shattered. Well I spoke with one of mom’s friends. And she said that she fell and had her shoulder shattered. She opted not to have the surgery and is doing fine. Remember, they didn’t even see the shattered bones initially on the x-ray, so it couldn’t have been so horrible.

All that being said, I’m not a surgeon. I’m just not going to rush mom into this!

Love, Jude

It is almost lunchtime and my mother called to say, “Honey, I want to see that doctor in LA that my friend recommended.”

I told her:

“That’s great, mom! I think it’s such a terrific idea. I’m with you 100%. It’s difficult for me to transport you – you can’t get in my car, and the wheelchair is too heavy for me. Why don’t you see if my brothers can arrange it?”

My mom said, “Honey, great idea. I’m not very good at asking, but I will.”

I got off the phone wondering if she would.

Asking for help was something I’ve only recently learned to do.

I was there every single day when my mother was in intensive care. I haven’t had a job in so long (or a vacation). I needed to work on an art assignment, and taking my mom to this appointment was additional pressure.

It’s never too late to try something different. I actually don’t think my asking is going to make anything happen. But it does feel better. I hate to disappoint anyone, especially my mother.

“Last Night”

Last night, Michael weighed the dog, Killer, on a postal scale! It was a funny sight to see. Killer weighs all of 3 ½ pounds! That dog is so small the bird could kill him. Unfortunately, it turns out that Killer is not as silent as I thought. He does have an annoying yappy bark. When he’s upset, he sounds like a soprano coyote.

Thank goodness there wasn’t any cat vomit to step on today. I came into the kitchen and I heard meowing coming from my studio. I always close the door to my office. I don’t want any cats in there at night. I don’t need extra cat hairs on my printer, scanner, tablet, or computer! Well guess what? I locked the cat inside my studio, last night! OOPS! Here I was trying to keep them out, and instead I kept one in! That smell this morning could be yesterday’s puppy poop or now it could be something the cat left for me.

Speaking of morning smells, today it was the horrible odor of burning cat hair. The cat was waiting on the counter for her wet food, and her tail got a little too close to the teakettle. Fortunately, the cat wasn’t hurt because I patted it out quickly. But the smell of burning cat hair was simply awful! My poor son walked around all morning with a towel over his nose and mouth.

It was time to drive my daughter to school. I said one of my usual silly things to her. Because she had volleyball tryouts, I asked her if she wanted to take Motrin before she left, as a “preventative.”

She gave me one of her “withering looks,” because it was an arthritic, older person’s idea! I guess I forgot that she doesn’t have those “old bones” like I have. I always take “preventative Motrin” when I play tennis. Otherwise my bunions on my toes might bother me.

I have to thank one of my children for those bunions. Someone (emphasis on one) of my children dropped a piece of ice on the floor about 12 years ago. It melted, and I slid across the kitchen floor when I hit that little puddle. My toe was twisted a bit, and the bunion developed soon after that. It became contagious and spread to the other toe, as well. (I guess maybe I can’t blame the fall then!)

Speaking of bunions and bare feet, I have a confession to make. Yes, I like to be barefoot – just like my kids. I know I shouldn’t do this. I had to go to the ATM right after I dropped my daughter off. I bemoan the fact that it isn’t a drive through. So there I was in bare feet, a bathrobe, and the worst part – without a bra! I did park and wait to make sure I wasn’t next to anyone.

I came home and I pushed the button to go into the garage. The stupid part was that I pushed the button twice. I was zooming into the garage as the door started to come down again!

I was going way too fast to stop. I simply accelerated and zipped in hearing a slight thump. Whew! That was a whole lot better than the time I backed out with the rear door up. There is still a half moon hole in the wood frame at the top of the garage door. I wish I had the time to patch it and paint it. Michael forgave me, thank god, but he would be upset if I’ve done something else!

I went upstairs to get dressed. Now that annoying dog named Killer is dancing around me. He has just run off with one of my socks. I thought it was cute, until I tried to get it back! Well it is finally time for me to go to work.

I have less and less time to write now that I am working. I keep saying, “I’m going to disappear for a while.” I just can’t stop. It has been so much fun doing all this, even with the more tragic recurrences of memories.

© Judy Unger and http://www.myjourneysinsight.com 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About Judy

I'm an illustrator by profession. At this juncture in my life, I am pursuing my dream of writing and composing music. Every day of my life is precious!
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