Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tuesdays with Elders - OPD

O.P.D. Old People's Disease. My cousin coined the phrase. The bottom line is control. You're familiar with the hand pulling the puppet strings on the cover of Mario Puzo's novel, The Godfather. Ma's hand was the inspiration and model for the cover design. Ma, bless her, is the puppet master. She pulls the strings, and we dance because sometimes it's easier to go along to get along.

OPD is also a tug of war. The Elders trying to maintain control and caregivers having to step in and take control. Roles reverse. Parents become children and children become parents.

The first major obstacle is when to take the car keys away. Once Dad retired, he took control of the car keys and Ma never got a chance to get behind the wheel. Dad had two fender bender accidents within a five year period. Both accidents were his fault, but he felt he was being discriminated because he was an Elder.

The Brother works for a major US car manufacturer and had taken care of the folks' cars. The folks were able to buy cars using The Brother's discount. The Brother took care of all the maintenance (oil, tires), taxes and insurance. Dad just had to put gas in the car. The Brother had just finished paying the high insurance premiums from the first accident when Dad had the second. This time, the little green car was beyond repair, mainly because it was over 10 years old and parts couldn't be found.

Even if The Brother could have gotten parts, the folks didn't have money to have the car repaired because Ma was pissing through their savings playing lotteries, paying psychics, and other scam artists. The Brother felt guilty about Dad not having a car. I told The Brother it was a blessing in disguise. We no longer had to worry when Dad got behind the wheel. We didn't have to stress about his safety or the safety of others on the road. Taking away his car keys and freedom would have been a major battle. I suppose the Fates felt sorry for us having to deal with Ma and her dementia so we were spared the drama. Dad still had his car keys. The car was still  in the garage. Dad didn't have the money to repair the car or to buy a new one.

Next week: Driving Mr. and Mrs. Daisy

1 comment:

  1. Ah, the role reversal. It’s quite a sobering moment. (Glad the fates gave you a break so you didn’t have to take the keys away.)