Happy Birthday, Mom

Anita Henson

Happy Birthday, Mom

Anita Henson
November 12, 2019 was Mom's 90th birthday and it turned out to be quite a success.  After months of planning, Dad was able to make a final decision on the place, time, and invitations.  It wasn't easy for him and he needed help especially after falling at the final location for the party.  He had driven himself to the location, parked in the handicap zone, but instead of taking the elevator, he climbed a flight of stairs and upon reaching the top, fell face first on the walkway to the door.  He managed to come home safely bandaged but he hurt his knee.  I saw him struggle for days after and it had to affect him significantly after for making decisions.  This planning was a little too much for Dad.  With the help of my brother and I, Dad  was able to make the final decision a week before the event.

Dad had asked his friend to play at Mom's birthday (he's a musician and a golf buddy who gives golf lessons) but when he changed the venue, he forgot to mention it to him.  I hired him when he called and Dad him-hawed about hiring him.  I know he had a lot to think about and he is getting more forgetful especially after he fell.  I told his friend I would hire him, Mom would love to have him and is looking forward to it.  I paid him when the event was over.  Dad just came to me and offered to pay to ease his mind and thanked me for helping out with the party.

It was a small family reunion, my daughter from Tennessee and all her sisters but one attended.  Dad invited some of their mutual friends and everyone had a good time especially Mom.  My daughter left saying she may never see them again and was glad she could make it.  Mom had a big bash on her 80th and two years earlier, everyone in the family attended his 90th.  This 90th birthday for Mom was a little smaller, and future birthdays will be close friends and family.  Mom woke up giggling and smiled all day.  It was a restful day, knowing they had to stay up late  that night.

I was the busy one, running to the airport, checking my daughter into the Sleep Inn where my brother and his wife were staying, placing balloons up at the entrance gate, and texting everyone with the directions, while they sat quietly in the den watching a movie.  My brother was home and he kept a watchful ear while I was out.

We went to the eye doctor the day after her birthday.  Eyes were dilated and the floaters weren't anything to be concerned about according to the doctor.  The brain would adjust and eventually they would go away.   She has a scratch at the back of her retina in the left eye and we have to watch for any changes to her vision in that eye.  Eye drops every six hours and a prescription for glasses were ordered.  I was relieved.  Mom still can't read a book, but we are looking for books in large print.  She loves biographies and there is a limited selection at the local library.  My brother is going to look for one today.  While Dad is playing golf today, we'll look for some readers at the store which the optometrist said we should gradually up the strength to 275 from 250 until her glasses arrive.

Adding to this busy week, Mom was given the opportunity of a caregiver to relieve me.  My parents don't want a stranger coming to help so I asked the Outreach liaison if I could qualify as their caregiver and my brother could relieve me.   Yes, was the answer.  We are both in the process of filling out the application.  We will be paid for taking care of Mom, and when Dad is ready, the transition for my brother will be easy.  The Outreach program will send a caregiver weekly to help and train us if necessary, so Mom and Dad can get used to the person when they eventually need one in the future.

With all the stress involved in the last three weeks I have learned that I have to stay healthy mentally and physically to help Mom and Dad.  Everyone in the family sympathizes and understands what a difficult job this is.  My daughter stayed at the house for a few hours and was amazed at how much her grandparents had changed wondering if they would remember her if she ever came back.  She, my brother and his wife (a nurse) witnessed first-hand all the work involved.  It was great to see my daughter again and I will go home in 5 days to see my husband again for one full day.