Tuesday, October 20, 2015

My View #127 - Oh! Help!

If you get help when you need it, wonderful. My family has come to the rescue, my Samaritans. I am so grateful for all of them.

When you are very old, having been a very active person, it is hard to swallow your pride and have them there, to look after you. But that is the rule of life, and if you live alone and they come to help, you be very grateful. My family and friends have given me their love. A big thank you to all of them.

With love,
Mom xoxoxo
August 19, 2008

I recall this episode well. I was at home in Seattle when Mom called and told me, "I don't think I'm going to make it to my birthday." Her birthday was two weeks away. She sounded weak and ill, so I telephoned my daughter, Michelle, in Vancouver Canada, and asked her if she could meet me on Vancouver Island, and within minutes, I was on my way. From Seattle to Vancouver Island is a five hour trip, depending on border traffic and ferry traffic, and then there's an hour+ ride to Mom's place from the ferry terminal at Swartz Bay. Michelle and I hooked up there and drove to Duncan together.

We found Mom lying down, her colour not good, voice frail, skin parchment dry. I checked her refrigerator which was nearly bare, so the first thing we did was get some liquids into her. Ironically, my brother who lived nearby, seemed unaware of the crisis.

Mom perked up with some water; I made her soup, and slowly we graduated to more substantial meals. She was starving. 

I noticed repeatedly when visiting her that her meals would not fatten a sparrow, but when I made meals, she ate larger quantities. She weighed about 90 pounds and was slowly losing weight each year. Mom refused the assistance of Meals on Wheels, and despite our entreaties, refused to consider moving to an assisted living facility where she would receive nutritious meals each day.

Michelle and I made some meals that we froze for her and stocked her frig with enough food for a few weeks.  Within two days she was a new woman. 

Mom mentions her pride. She could not make the mental adjustment from being a helper, to needing help. "I feel so damned useless!" was her frequent complaint. I suggested that she was not alive to help any longer, but to inspire others, with her writings and her long life. She liked that idea but was unable to internalize it.

I'm glad Michelle and I were there to help her. It was the beginning of a year of frequent emergency trips, the beginning of the end.

-Ann