Thursday, February 13, 2014

It Takes A Village

If anything ever happened to my dad, I don't know what the heck we would do!

My dad returned last night from a 7-day trip to Colorado. Although it was a break for him from his responsibilities with mom, it wasn't a restful trip for him. Over Thanksgiving break, my Uncle (who is married to my dad's baby sister) was in a serious accident when his truck rolled on black ice. Though he was lucky to even be alive, the accident has left him paralyzed from the chest down. As you can imagine, that brings about major life changes for my Aunt, Uncle and their family.

Shortly after the accident, my dad told me that he'd likely be making a trip to Colorado to help prepare the house for my Uncle's return (this was before the subject even came up with my Aunt). Their entire house has to be remodeled to accomodate his wheelchair and my dad specializes in bathroom remodels. For the past 5 or so days, he has been working alongside his brother and my cousins to ready the house; in particular the bathroom. Of all people to have an excuse not to go, my dad would be the one. But he didn't even give second thought to it (other than making arrangements for mom, of course). Yep, he's a pretty awesome guy. Now you know what I mean when I tell you he is one of the most selfless people I know!!

I will tell you this...I am sure glad he's home!! We've survived the week, but let me tell's been an adventure. For one thing, mom was very unhappy about having people at her house 24/7. We worked it out to have some wonderful ladies from church stay with her during the morning hours until she went down for her nap. Other family members went over to check on her in the afternoon until dinner time and then my sister, her husband, my husband, myself and even my teenage girls took turns spending the night with mom...just in case there was an emergency in the middle of the night. It wasn't necessarily an easy task, but we were all happy to help out dad and, in a round about way, help my Aunt and her family.

Here are some fun highlights with mom from the week. She:

*Hid from my sister in her bedroom closet
*Escorted my husband to the front door and pushed him out (on his night to stay over...I was leaving for home with the kids and immediately after she locked him out, I unlocked the door with my key and let him back in)
*Walked in on my brother-in-law (in the guest room) while he was changing, and in his underwear, and started a conversation with him
*Escaped outside during naptime to sleep in the trailer
*Darted outside, abruptly, to go on a walk while the teenagers were babysitting (they had fun chasing her and coaxing her to stay in the neighborhood and not up to the store)
*Woke my brother-in-law up in the middle of the night to tell him to be quiet (he snores loudly)
*Yelled to my brother-in-law from inside her room (when he knocked on the door to let her know he was there) "You can't come in. Only Bud can see me naked!" (I'm still laughing about that one)

One of the worst nights was Monday. Mom was itching to go to the store. Of course dad stocked her up with plenty of bread, peanut butter & jelly, milk and "Slim Fast" before he left, but if there isn't triple the amount of what she needs to get her through the week, it isn't enough! She had been calling me and pestering me all day to take her to the store. When I arrived Monday evening, I tried to convince her that she didn't need to go; to no avail, of course. Mom wouldn't let it go and I was afraid she was going to be unruly for her caretaker the following morning, so I figured I'd leave the kids with my hubby and take her. I reiterated, over and over and over, that I wasn't going to buy her medication. Like most everything else, mom either didn't hear or couldn't comprehend what I was saying. Of course she made a mad dash to the medicine aisle where she ripped open a box of Sleep Aid. After unsuccessfully trying to get it away from her, I figured I would make it disappear at the check-out stand. Not as easy as it hovered over the box of pills, waiting until he rung it up so she could put it in her purse.

But I had a back up plan. I had chosen Mike's check-out line and he was my ally. Mike's dad passed away a few months ago from FTD and he's one of the cashiers who helps keep tabs on my mom when she comes in. He knows just what we're dealing with. Mike took the medicine away and put it behind the register, thinking he could just distract her. No such luck. Mom came unglued! She attempted to reach behind the register and retrieve her medicine. I finally told Mike just to ring it up and give it to me, which he did, and I put it in my purse. But that didn't help either; mom tried grabbing my purse and pushing me out of the way to get ahold of her medicine. Mike remained quiet and calm and told me to just pass it back to him. He was ready to be the bad guy I suppose. I tried to explain to mom that I didn't have enough money for the medicine (to which the guy behind me offered to pay for it). For some odd reason, I thought she might be able to understand that! Nope! She started yelling at me that I wasn't supportive of her, and then she yelled at Mike that he wasn't supportive and caused a real big scene. As the two customers behind us checked out, I kept trying to gently pull mom's arm away to lead her to the car as she yelled at me,

"Owe! You're hurting me! Stop!"

Just as I was about to give in and go back for the medicine, embarassed at the the many eyes that were watching us, mom finally threw in the towel and admitted defeat. Not quietly, I might add. She grumbled the whole way to the car and made sure I knew that she wasn't happy with me. I've learned to not take that personal anymore.

Like I said, I'm glad my dad is back :) I know mom is too. She had a hard time understanding where he was and why he was gone so long. Even when we explained that he is states away, in Colorado, she demanded that he come home that night.

"No he shouldn't be away from me so long, no. I miss him too and I'm going to need milk too, he told me he was coming home Thursday" (dad meaning next Thursday) "so he should be home now too."

The past few days were especially confusing,

"I feel like he's divor-icing me, he's been gone so long".

I suppose long trips like this won't happen very often; it was a special circumstance. I learned this week just how dependent mom is on my dad. He is her security and it's been kind of hard for her to be without him.

Of course I can't forget to mention that there was a plumbing emergency while dad was gone. That was the point that mom really lost it!! I will share that story next week but first...I'm off to Arizona to be with my sister-in-law this weekend as we welcome their baby boy, Zach, into the world!!! I'll be taking both mom and dad with me so they can meet their new grandbaby.

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