Last week my Dad was back in the hospital again, this time with pneumonia. He should be coming home today IF all the tests check out properly. He had just begun getting back on his feet, using his computer to read and listen to music, making jokes with the nurses and feeling frisky, when he fell in the middle of the night, and progress was reversed. Again.
Because of an original fall in September he was tightly watched, with numerous alarms attached. For a man who's always been in control of his world and inventive about making things work, this was more than he could take. Having only one arm hadn't stopped him from figuring out years ago how to clip his own fingernails, so he's pretty capable, and by golly if he wants his little toolkit he should have it. At least in his opinion, although we don't know for sure what it is he's going to fix.
After a visit to the neurosurgeon to address the consequences of removing the alarms a plan had been put together with the agreement of LRH and he was ready to "get out of jail." Until that mid-night fall.
Those who had or have had parents in nursing homes are familiar with the story, one I link to the issue of transition from care recipient to caregiver. It's not like talking to your children about having to obey rules and being compliant, because he still sees himself as a fully capable adult. The conversations are at times a little tense, and sometimes I know he's smirking behind my back, just like I did to him 50 years ago. He's figuring that what I don't know won't hurt me, but he has more people reporting on him than we ever had teachers reporting on us. As it should be.
As frustrating as this relationship is becoming, a lifetime of memories have become the source of solace, and a longer lifetime than others may know. Many of our classmates lost their parents long ago. Or there's the example of my grandson's girlfriend, now about age 21, whose father disappeared from the family a couple years ago, and whose mother died from cancer this fall. There, indeed, is a load to bear.
Makes a person think about all the energy and creativity that we had but didn't appreciate in our youth, and now may pine to replace, knowing that we can't. Call it "coming of age" perhaps. We'll never have it all - except the transitions. On to the next phase, right?