Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Day Out with Mom #23: Adjusting to new realities

"Hello?" Mom answers the phone. "I can't hear. Is this Tom?"

"Hi, Mom. How are you?"

"I can't hear. Is this Tom?"

My brother picks up the living room extension. "Mom, you didn't have to pick up in the bedroom. I was heading for the living room phone."

"I can't hear, Pat."

"I know, Mom," Pat hollers. "Come out here, and I'll put you on the amplified phone."

"I've got laryngitis and went to the doctor," Mom says. "I've been resting."

I tell her that's always best.

"Dad tried to stand on his own and fell," she adds, "but he's OK."

"Were the aides were with him?"

"No, when he was in his room alone."

I tell Mom I'm glad Dad's OK and think that his falling helps reinforce Mom's understanding that Dad is too feeble to come home. We are lucky to have that reinforcement without the pain and suffering of injury.

Grocery shopping and trips to the doctor are going well. The household routine is going well. My mom and brother are working together--probably even better than before my brother broke his leg.

I remember when I first arrived at my parents' mobile home seven months ago--twenty hours after the phone call from the social worker. Three strangers were in the mobile home, my parents sitting with these strangers, my brother in the hospital. Deer caught in the headlights, shocked by the sudden turn on events, at the mercy of the world--that was my first impression and turned out to be an accurate one. The look of relief on the faces of the social workers was my second impression.

After a stay of six and a half months with my family in California, I am now helping my family via internet and phone, also planning on regular visits every three or four months.

It's working and will continue working right up until the moment it stops working--which can be at any moment. I suppose that's the way it is every moment of our lives. The boundaries of "what works" tighten with infirmity, though. My parents cannot manage their lives alone. My brother and I provide "the Kepler boys" assistance.

It isn't always easy, but I know it is much more difficult for many others--children and parents. I'm good with "it's working for now."

It's important to find the good in every moment.

Right now, mine is to hear my mother answer the phone with her independent/dependent response: "Hello? I can't hear. Is this Tom?"

Blind, deaf, and a few weeks away from eighty-nine years, Mom still puts the "S" in spunk.

Copyright 2013 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved


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