Sunday, 27 November 2016

How to help old friends

I have a dear friend; she and I have been friends since we were 13, I introduced her to the man she married, and we stayed close even when we lived far away. 
We knew each others family (I had a crush on her older brother, but nothing came of that) we went to the same school, the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Halifax, danced at the same Teen Club and shared many of the same friends.

She and her husband, Jean-Guy, had some hard times: Jean-Guy had two heart transplants, their only daughter died young, leaving her two children to be raised by their grandparents, and her husband died at 64. Dave and I were there for many of these times.  After his death, she became ill herself, and has been mostly bedridden for 7 or 8 years.

As a part of her illness, her speech became difficult to understand, and because I'm hard (read hard) of hearing, we don't spend as much time together as we did.  Dave took over the place I'd had in her life, and has been with her on at least one day out of every seven, doing her shopping, attending her doctor and hospital needs, lawn-caring, banking and helping with maintenance of the house she's lived in for over 40 years.

She needs to be somewhere where she can be cared for but she is not ready to accept that, and continues to live in the main floor of her house, which she's had adapted so that she can walk, with difficulty, while holding onto bars on the wall.

Last Thursday she had 3 falls during the day, and on the last one, she fell into or on top of her wheelchair, leaving her scraped, hurt and helpless.  She has an alarm, which for some reason, she didn't use.  She called me, and with the help of my brother I could hear that she wanted me to come over but from her voice and the calls to God and the Blessed Virgin, I could tell that she needed medical help, which she didn't want. Dave who wasn't reachable, has a key to her house, but I don't and she was upset that whoever came to help would have to break down her door. I finally made her promise to call the paramedics, but she didn't and instead called someone who drives her to hospital and doctor appointments when Dave isn't available.  Luckily, he called the paramedics, he had a key, and off she went to hospital.

I hate it that my second thought after hearing she was sore but doing well in hospital the next day was to be overjoyed that she would now have to accept her situation and that we would help her move from her house to a care facility.  She did accept it, for a few hours anyway, but now refuses to go anywhere but home.

When I think about it clearly, I know that we are assisting her in her determination to stay in her home.  When I see her, I remember her pride in her place and know how much she worked to get that house and make it exactly what she wanted.  Dave and I try to be as practical as we can, and when that's done, we talk about how we can't understand why she is so determined (but we say"stubborn").

Boy, could I ever give someone else in the same position some good advice!

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

On this 15th of November

It gets harder and harder to write posts, which is very weird because I have so many random yet compelling issues I need to work through. Having said that, I caught myself wanting to make a list, and here it is:

  • nothing I can share
  • little I can fix
  • much that I can mull over to keep from making decisions

Thursday, 10 November 2016

When will I learn?

I remember writing a post a few years ago about my dilemma.  If you wake up at 3 o'clock, do you have a cup of coffee to start your day or a glass of wine to finish it off?

At that time, I almost always chose, in vain, to have a glass of wine, and maybe a Pirouline biscuit.  Then I would read for a couple of hours and go back to bed around 6.  This of course, only added to my time-management problem because I'd wake up around 9, starving, but unwilling to consider breakfast as an option.  
I'd do all the houseworky things I needed to do until I felt I'd punished myself enough to have coffee, which I would have loved to have had in bed had I not just arranged all 5 of the sparkly cushions in that very place.

Looking back it seems nothing like a dilemma and everything like a privileged yet guilt-ridden life.

I'm at it again.