Contingency Plans Rarely Work

So many family caregivers are the only support option for the carees we serve. While other family members usually exist, they tend to be too far away, too busy, or too something else to be of value when they're really needed.

The other day, I was handing Lisa a cup of coffee. I was standing and she was seated on the floor leaning against the sofa for support. It turns out that there's a tiny spot on my right ankle that, when touched by neighboring bones, causes the ankle to collapse. I found that spot by accident, if you'll pardon the pun. About a millisecond later, a similar spot on my right knee made itself known to me, and I toppled like a lodgepole pine at harvest time.

In the ensuing quarter-second, semi-successful efforts to slow my fall and miss Lisa on my way to the floor sprained my wrist, elbow and shoulder on my right side, so for the next couple days I'm restricted to emergency lifts only, mostly in the bathroom.

Bless his heart, my 82-year-old step-dad has offered to assist me with lifting duties, which is help I'll accept when I can. Just not my emergency lifts.

I'm almost 60, so I've been thinking a lot about how to handle my duties if I hurt myself. I had various people in mind to take my place or assist with this or that, but since I'm not fully incapacitated, I'm reluctant to use them if I don't have to. My attitude on this would change radically if I'd broken my leg or arm, but I didn't.

So Lisa and I look forward to the next week or two in compromise mode. If she doesn't need to come with me, she'll stay home on the floor and save me a lift-and-shift into her wheelchair while I run the errands without her. Like most of our compromises, this one will work in the short term. Like most of our compromises, Lisa doesn't like it much. Like most of our compromises, this one leaves our contingency plan untried.

For the next week or so, we'll be focused on making sure I don't get hurt any worse while we address Lisa's anger management and powerlessness issues. Wish us luck.

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