Sunday, December 24, 2006


"I know you're tired, Mom. I think you've experienced some kind of 'event'...

...I'm not sure what kind but probably cerebral. I noticed, this morning, that your right eye is wider than usual and you're having a little more trouble picking up your right foot than usual."
    "I like the way you put that, an 'event'," she said.
    "Well, that's why I had you smile this morning before you bathed." Whenever I ask her to smile, she knows why I'm asking and usually gives me an exaggerated, thin lipped version, which tells me all I need to know. As well, her speech wasn't affected by whatever "happened".
    "Yeah. Don't worry about it. It's happened before. It'll happen again. No reason to go to the doctor about it. They'd just exhaust us in the ER, try to talk us into an observational stay, wrack up lots of medical charges for tests and, finally, tell us, 'nothing seems to have changed, it's probably a TIA.'"
    She laughed. "The old TIA trick," she said.
    I laughed. "Yeah. No reason to bother about this. They wouldn't change your treatment or anything. You've had these before, you'll have them again. I'll probably recommend to your doctor that we up your lisinopril dosage [with which I've been intending to experiment and finally started last night], but you're on plenty of anti-coagulant supplements, so there's no reason to put you on one of those medical ones. It's just one of those things that's happening to you because you're old, Mom."
    "Well, in that case, I won't get any older."
    "Good idea."
    This is why I'm letting Mom sleep in, today, even though she retired, last night, earlier than has been lately usual. I managed to keep her up until close to midnight, but it was a minor struggle past 2230. "I know you're tired Mom," I remember telling her, "your body's reconnoitering because of the 'event'. But, we don't want to add insult to injury, so I need to make sure you're minimally hydrated, which has been hard, today, since you had such a long nap." She did. I didn't worry about that, either. I knew what was going on.
    I noticed, last night, a feeling of peace embracing me after I'd explained all this to Mom, then continued about my late night choring duties. I stopped for a moment to analyze it. I think this is what happens when you've journeyed with An Ancient One for a long time, as I have with Mom, closely observed all her changes, minimal and maximal, seen That Ancient One through everything, including the intimate stuff, like bathing and boweling, that one usually only attends when someone is very young, monitored this and that, achieved a level of involvement in The Ancient One's life that is intense but accepted and comfortable. You don't get crazy, anymore, when you notice an "event". You don't panic and call on the Med Squad, because you know that'll be an unnecessary adventure and they'll come up with nothing that will be helpful to them or you. You change your monitoring a bit, help a little more when Your Ancient One is moving, pull back on keeping them awake in order to give them plenty of room to incorporate the event and its wake...and, as I did last night, you smile; and nod; you realize this is one of the benefits of Advanced, In-Home Caregiving, that you are protecting Your Ancient One from the enforced ignorance of the pros, who would either not have noticed, thus not have tightened their monitoring and possibly have precipitated a fall or applied agitating harassment to keep The Ancient One performing at Institutional Standards, or who would have noticed and gone overboard in their research of The Ancient One's body, thus agitating The Ancient One...
    Days like yesterday are the reason I continue my journey with my mother. People get old. Bodies break down, often easily and incrementally. No reason to get excited. Every reason to relax, enfold Mom a little more tightly, for a day or so, in my literal and figurative arms, enjoy her company, let her enjoy mine, and, as well, sit back and enjoy the ride.
    I expect that, after an easy yesterday and an easy today, she'll be rarin' to go at 0600 tomorrow. I told her that if she feels, for any reason, at any time, that she just isn't up to the trip, we can cancel at a moment's notice.
    "It's Christmas. No chance of that."
    This is her desire and intention. I'll do everything I can to make sure it is also her reality.

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