2017 was not my best year – and I know others who struggled through it as well. So far, 2018 is much better.
As some of you may know, I am also the primary caregiver for my elderly mother. Mom just turned 83 and is in an assisted living facility nearby. She has her two elderly cats – the vet pointed out that the cats get older with every visit, so while they are old, no one knows exactly what their ages truly are.
Even though she is in a facility, she still has needs. They try to feed her, although they don’t try very hard. She is celiac, so she can’t have any gluten (wheat, rye, barley, malt). And my mother is not very assertive with the staff. She complained that she was getting very small portions and I told her that they are assuming she is a typical old lady who “eats like a bird,” so if she wants more, she will have to ask. Finally this week she had something she liked, so she asked for more and was surprised when they brought it.
Meanwhile, we shop for groceries to keep her microwave and fridge stocked with the things she likes and can eat. We also keep her supplied with cat food and treats and kitty litter. Stop by to maintain the litterboxes. And bust her out on weekends.
Last weekend, I made arrangements with my best friend, Kerri, to drag Mom to the lake. Mom is in a wheelchair, so it gets interesting. (“Interesting” is Minnesota code for “I don’t like it.”) Bless Kerri – she enlisted two younger, strong healthy friends who were willing to try to get Mom out on their pontoon boat. Figured out we could wheel her down to the public dock, and then my hubby and Kerri’s friend lifted the wheelchair over the tie-out bars and onto the deck. Once we got Mom situated, Kerri handed my hubby the sunscreen, which he promptly sprayed directly into Mom’s face and all over her glasses. Kerri stopped him, smoothed the spray over Mom’s face with her hands and cleaned up Mom’s glasses.
The highlight of the trip happened while we were tied with another pontoon at the party cove. Kerri’s friend, Julie, saw the driver of the other boat, Mike, near the exit gate, so she ran across the deck and grabbed Mike and pulled him off the boat and into the water. The lake was somewhere between 20-30 feet deep where we were moored. And then we found out that Mike could not swim. Mike’s wife, Wendy, went ashen. Julie got behind Mike in the water and pushed him and held him up against the boat. Two other men pulled him back on deck. Julie was mortified. As she said, no one would guess that someone who spends the majority of life on the lake would not know how to swim. All’s well that ends well. His phone and wallet were in his pocket and had to be dried, and Mike is fine.
We went back to Kerri’s glamper for dinner and then took Mom home. When we asked her how her day was she replied, “It’s better than the dining hall.”