Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Changing of the Guard

Grandchildren Molly, and Eric after coloring Easter eggs while Mom watched.

Well, Christine has been living with Mom and Dad for the past three years and has been an immense help, but in my opinion, she is worn down. She has and continues to help with Mom's care, the cleaning, shopping, organizing, and errand running, but all this time she has been growing up more every time I turn around. Last spring she graduated from college and landed a couple of jobs she absolutely loves---part time at the library at MSSU, and part time with the Joplin Museum Complex. She belongs to more clubs and civic-type groups than I can name and she also has become engaged and looks forward to a wedding next year. She works as many hours as possible, and often stays the night with friends in Joplin after work, rather than driving back down to Mom and Dad's. I understand. It's not a picnic. And she has more than fulfilled anything I could have ever asked her to do, (and she still does.)

But still, Mom and Dad need a lot of help.

Once again the Lord provides and surprise, surprise, my niece, Molly, (Allen's child), who is 20 or so has moved in with them now. They are officially a family of four. Molly is very different from Christine and is a real change of pace. Where Christine is a neat freak who insists that the world be in perfect order and would clean all day if given the opportunity, Molly is much less intense. She enjoys cooking with a variety of herbs and spices, lots of vegetables, and makes cooking combinations that I have never heard of. She will, no doubt, turn Christine's clean counters into space for bowls and bowls of creativity. :) Molly also loves to grow her own food. Boy, does she have opportunity there! She's been digging around all weekend, "turning that place into a real garden" Dad says, and also helping him plant potatoes. She's one of those "organic, vegetarian" types who actually eats food that is good for you and has flavor. Dad has called me a couple of times just today to tell about the wonderful rice, black beans, kale, and who knows what else dishes that Molly is preparing. He says, "It takes her all day, but its the best stuff I've ever just can't stop eating it!" He also raves about Mom eating twice the amount of food since Molly came than she was before. He says, "Molly keeps putting it down her, and she keeps eating it." He's amazed, because getting Mom to eat has been a real stressor for him. And I know when Christine comes home after working long hours, she will be SO happy to have Molly and dinner there when she gets home!

So, Christine will catch a break, Molly will get some land to garden her little heart out, Dad will have company, (and have a garden to be proud of), and Mom will be eating her fiber. It's a win-win-win-win situation. I cannot possibly express the thankfulness (and a little bit of the guilt), I have felt with both girls stepping up to the plate and offering their best skills for their grandparents. You can't force a kid to do that, and I am so very proud of them both! Thank you, Sweeties!!! I don't know what Mom knows and doesn't know, but I am confident that if she sees (or could see) and understands (or could understand), she would be the proudest grandma on Earth!

a chair....with wheels

When I mentioned the idea of a "wheelchair" to Dad he ducked his head and said they didn't need it. Somehow the idea of Mom in a wheelchair just seemed like one more step down the ladder, I guess. Still, Mom twists her ankle and "melts" into the floor often. She also loses her balance and is quite weak. She's been using the dining room chairs for the same purpose as a wheelchair, to scoot from here to there so she doesn't have to get up. It's painful to watch, though, because she moves about a half inch with each effort.

Dad absolutely can't take her anywhere, so I told him I'd check into a chair "just to get from point A to point B....a chair....with wheels." I met a great lady at the elderly appliances store who did all the Medicare paperwork and had the "transport chair" ready at no cost and no pain to us. The disease is bad enough, but to have to deal with Medicare, too, would be unliveable. Anyway, after this angel of mercy's quick tour we decided a transport chair would be the best choice. I have learned that a "transport chair" is exactly that---not to be wheeled around by the owner, but just with four small wheels to be pushed around. It folds up in a snap, has foot rests that easily pop on and off, is only 31 1/2" across at its widest point, and weighs nearly nothing. And it's in candy-apple red! ZZZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMM!! ZZZZZZZZZZOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!

I took it down to my doubting father and we put her in there for a spin. She acted like she it was Christmas morning. Much like a little one in a walker, she easily learned to push herself backwards and with a little practice can go forwards as well, and turn a 360! Although she gets hung up cutting corners too close sometmes, she smiled and smiled and smiled! That made all the difference in Dad's opinion and he has been fine with it ever since. He thinks she gets more exercise now than she did before she had it because she is always scooting around the house. One morning she got all the way out of bed and into her chair before Dad even noticed!

Of course, we get her up and have her walk often, but that can be kind of a big deal. If she wants out, she'll help herself out, but if she doesn't, she won't try at all and is dead weight. She really likes the chair! Now I need to build a ramp. It was nice to be able to wheel her outside to sit in the yard the other day in the sunny, wonderful weather, but on the way back in, she lost her footing on the step and sank to her knees. It was quite the trick getting her back up again and took both Dad and Allen lifting and me holding the door to do it! Anyway, she now has a wheelchair, and it has made her more mobile and happy than she has been in some time. Yeah!

after Christmas

I haven't written because I've been mad about deleting a video of Mom at Christmas before I got it posted here or saved. I have it on Facebook, but don't know how to get it from there to there. I've been aggravated.