Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tuesday with Elders - In the Beginning

Retirement was quite rosy for my parents. They had time to pursue their interests. Dad was heavily into town politics, became a town meeting member. He also enjoyed the Senior Center, joined the glee club and eventually became the glee club director. The group would travel to surrounding towns performing at other senior centers or nursing homes. He also sang in the church choir.

Ma enjoyed gardening, crafts, and  cooking. She didn't like going to the Senior Center because she didn't like hanging with "the old ladies." She also indulged in lotteries like Publisher's Clearing House. She used the small amount she got as her union pension. She "won" jewelry, kitchen gadgets, and other small prizes. The activity seemed harmless enough.

All that came crashing down in 2003. Dad had gone to the Senior Center. Ma (85 yrs old) was enjoying a warm, November day raking leaves when she had a stroke. She was found 2 hours later by one of the neighborhood girls coming home from school. The girl ran to get her mother who was a nurse. Dad came home from the Senior Center to find the ambulance in the driveway.

At the hospital, she was stabilized and in the wee hours of the morning, she underwent surgery to repair a brain aneurysm. The stroke had effected her balance and her mobility. With therapy, she was able to get around with a walker which she only used when she wanted sympathy or was going shopping or visiting. Around the house, she cruised furniture and walls like a toddler. She was a tough, old bird and made a remarkable recovery.

Dad became her primary care giver with me and Himself picking up the slack or giving him a needed break. He wasn't happy doing the cooking, cleaning, or laundry. If I offered to clean or do some other chore, Ma would yell at me that I had my own family to take care of. She had told me when they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, she had waited on Dad for the first 50 years, and the next 50 was her turn. She wanted Dad at her beck and call.

Dad was waiting for Ma to make a full recovery. He wanted her back in the kitchen making ravioli and eggplant Parmigiana. He couldn't seem to grasp those days were over. Poor Dad wanted to soar with the eagles, and his wings were clipped.

Next week: OPD


  1. Like they say, ‘getting old ain’t for sissies!”

  2. The new normal, a term we became quite familiar with when my Mom was sick.