David in a recent photo, 2013
The problem with no longer writing every day or even twice a week is that you forget how to write or even how to find the keys on your laptop. That coupled with the vision issues that come with age and one is almost fumbling in the dark.
Lately, I have had much to remember as the requirement that I keep track of everything I has fallen on me.
David seems in a constant panic of one kind or another… “Is it time for my pills?, where are they?, where are my glasses?, where is my hearing aid?, where is my cane?” (we each own three canes and they are everywhere). I’m not complaining mind you, merely reporting.
Yesterday he said he didn’t remember it being this difficult before. (he’s had three joint replacement surgeries). You were younger, I remind him (only age 78). “You were in an in-patient rehab for two weeks after you left the hospital where you spent almost a week. They don’t do that anymore. You can thank, Medicare, or the ACA or the Baby Boomers, or that we are all living longer, or the doctors, drug companies,or insurance or hospital corporations…. who knows. Despite all of the above, you are doing fine and on your way to good health again,” I tell him.
The result of the huge shift in out-patient care from institutions to the home means more and more falls on the family where it always was. The difference is that both men and women are caretakers these days.
When I visited the grocery store this week, I ran into neighbor Cathy W. who told me she had seen Kathy F. carrying ice to my house and asked about David. “I’ll be happy to walk the dogs,” she said.
Kathy F. brought a casserole over noon yesterday, a chicken dish I make occasionally for David (I gave her the ingredients the day before). She even gave David a hug. Everybody loves David, and he must enjoy the attention of all these widows around the neighborhood. I am grateful for their help of course. He tells me I am worse than a drill sergeant because they are nice to him and I insist he do things like his stretches on the stairs. Then I tell him he can go home with one of these other women.
Brother Dunstan came by the day after the Pope’s mass at the Basilica here in Washington, DC. The day of the mass, Dunstan had texted us from inside the church that he had a great seat between two Spanish nuns. Dunstan brought more holy water from Lourdes to bless David’s knee again. It must be working because he gave up his walker on day two.
When my daughter had children, my Dad accepted that he was a great-grandfather. Stepmother Nell who looked and sounded like Aunt Bee on the Andy Griffith Show but behaved like the witch in the Wizard of Oz, said fiddlesticks, she wasn’t having any of that.
Well, David has been a great-grandfather for some time now which makes me something too, however a little bird told me that I might be in for a surprise of my own…stay tuned.