Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Same Story - Different Chapters for This "Deli" Member

Jim, a fulltime RVer, shares his experiences. It's a good bet your experience is similar. Does your loved one tell you one thing and others another?! Please read on...

It is both refreshing and sad to know we are not alone in this. Our original plans for full timing were South in the winter, North in the summer, with a couple of months each year (spring and fall) with family to keep up on what was happening all around. Our "North for the summer" has now became Northern Arkansas for the last two summers, where we are playing parent to my almost 84-year-old Mom after a heart attack. She still lives by herself, but my older brother and his wife need a break, so we take the summers.

How much longer she will be able to live alone is anyone's guess, because she refuses to exercise. All her doctors say is get out and walk, it will relieve much of your back pain from arthritis and probably will make you feel much better all over. She says she does not like exercising, and is not going to do it. No less than two doctors have told her she will become an invalid if she continues to sit in her recliner and do nothing. She even hired a woman to come in once a month to clean her house from top to bottom, instead of doing a little each day and letting that be some exercise for her. We understand there are some tasks she needs help with, but she just doesn't want to do anything, except sit in a chair.

My brother is three and a half years my elder, and we are quite different in a lot of ways. I enjoy opening doors for ladies, and always do so for my darling wife, and Mom when she is with us. He does not, unless everyone is at the door at the same time, then he does the gentlemanly thing and holds the door. Because I open doors, and insist Mom wait for me to help her out of our one-ton four-wheel-drive truck, she thinks he also should do the same thing. Just this week, he took her to Wal-Mart. Her back was hurting so bad she could hardly walk, but she beat him to the door at Wal-Mart by a considerable distance, stood just outside the range or the automatic doors, waited until he caught up, and when he asked if something was wrong, she said "Well I waited for you, because I am so short these doors don't usually open right for me." My brother, being the card he is, told her to just walk on up to them, because what she lacked in height she had in width, which did not set well, even though it was said in fun. Mom is about four foot nothing, and weighs only about 130 lbs, but being that short she is by no means skinny. She also likes to hand us her check book and wants us to go pick something out for her and buy it, so she can sit on the bench up front and gab. We make her go get what she needs, of course we go with her, but it is exercise whether she wants it or not. *LOL*

She has complained to her doctors for about five or six years that she thinks she is getting diabetes, because as she puts it, my Dad had it before he died. My brother, doctors and Pnut and I have told her diabetes is a blood related disease, not something you get from being married to someone for 47 years. Well, now after five years of wanting diabetes, she has very mild diabetes, and is now taking pills for it. We have all explained it is mostly about carbs, not sugar, but she insists she only eats sugar free cookies and pies, so she can have all she wants. It is a never ending battle.

Her big deal for the last few years has been to tell her kids all different stories, trying to see which one gets the most attention and sympathy for her. Of course she still does not realize what she has told whom, and has no idea we all talk to each other. Her preference is for someone to come over daily and take her somewhere. She sees no problem with the price of gas - of course she has never driven a car nor bought a gallon of gas. She has one neighbor lady who has a car, and says she regularly gives her a dollar for gas when they go somewhere. WOW! - a whole dollar! She complains about having to pay 75 cents to ride the Seniors bus to Wal-Mart or any other place in town she desires to go.

I learned several years ago to listen, sort everything quickly and dump the impertinent info quickly out the other side. I smile and nod a lot when she is expounding on something for the umpteenth time, and remember that I too will be old and crabby some day (probably), if I live long enough. Six to eight months each year is still wonderful and we are seeing may places we have wanted to see for a long time. I never do, nor will I ever begrudge helping out with my Mom, and only wish my Hero and Father were still here to be with us also. He is not since he passed away from lung cancer and pneumonia in 1988, and that ship will never again be docking in this world.

For all of you out there that are giving assistance to family members, there is a special place in HEAVEN for you, because from looking around this world at present, there are very few who will take care of family, but simply farm them out to some nursing home and could care less how they are treated and who is looking after them, as long as they die quickly and leave everything for them to divide up and squander.

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