Inherit the Wind. Or the Whirlwind?


Inherit the Wind. Or the Whirlwind?

water-79919_640I've been conversing with a fellow member of about situations we have inherited from our carees who can no longer "fill us in on the back-story"--the crabgrass, the bills, the undocumented accounts, the dying car batteries, the endless mailings from AAA and AARP, the urgent subscription notices from The Mayo Clinic Newsletter. In spite of my best efforts, I keep bumbling along, and still feel like the CEO of Idiots "R" Us.

In caregiving we either jump in, or fall in, or get sucked into things we didn't ask for, like a giant Hoover vacuum cleaner attached to an endless Black Hole. I don't recall this topic addressed here, or recently, but I can't imagine we're alone in this conundrum. Especially in South Florida where there are so many caregivers, and the service providers are polite enough, but you can still see behind their patronizing eyes they are thinking, "Here comes another Loser. Why didn't you know the answer I needed?" Maybe I'm just too sensitive, or too easily embarrassed. I'm throwing this out to The Masses because I'm sure you're going through it, too:

To the air conditioning repair man: No, I don't know how to get into the attic. Or which breaker turns the AC off.

To the cable repair man: No, I don't know where the cable box is, what kind of service we have, and why there are 69 millions errors on the set top box you gave me.

To AAA when they come to fix the tire: No, I don't know if we have a spare, or if it's half-dead, too.

To the service station: No, I didn't realize it was six years ago the oil was last changed in this car.

To Pep Boys when the battery is dead: No, I don't know if this has a warranty.

To the Financial Adviser: Oh, I thought I had all the papers you were looking for to prepare the taxes. What did I miss?

To the Homeowner's Association: No, I didn't realize I can't hang my bathing suit in my garage, or I needed the future color of my driveway approved by the Board.

To all the various doctors and practitioners who ask me now to fill out Health Questionnaires: No, I really don't know when my mother had her last period, or her first surgery, or what my grandmother died from. I wasn't around to watch!

This is the BEST ONE: To the ophthalmologist who perfected the eye surgery my mother endured to correct her Fuch's Disease: No, I didn't realize my mother was operated on her LEFT EYE, not her right. I've been taking her everywhere and had three pairs of glasses made to correct her problem and I'm so glad to hear from you that after all this time it's her LEFT EYE that had surgery. Yeah.

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That's brilliant, Chaya. You hit the nail on the head that it's \"the school of caregiving\" and we have to keep getting back on that school bus. Yep, we didn't know that before but we're ready to learn it now. Exactly right. And I'm so proud of you for all the things you've learned to do. I can't say I'd be brave enough to even think about attempting any of them!


Jan, I can totally relate. I'm constantly amazed at how much practical stuff caregiving involves. And I'm embarassed to admit that I tend to throw bills providers sent to the wrong insurer into a pile, and how much I relied on my husband to deal with \"manly\" things like fixing fuses, etc.\r\n\r\nOn the other hand, after 4 years in the \"school of caregiving,\" I now can:\r\n\r\n1. Lie under Sam's bed with a screwdriver and flashlight, loosening and tightening connections till the bed controls work. (Warning:.dangerous, don't do this aline).\r\n\r\n2. Rescue a pigeon with a broken wing in the backyard. (With no car at present, took a cab ride to a wildlife rehab center in the woods).\r\n\r\n3. Buy,, start and run a generator, open an oxygen tank, suction Sam's trachea, unjam the laptop, fix the feeding pump when alarming, handle our finances (except tjose insurance claims), and help keep my husband alive.


Thank You Jan for this blog. I can totally understand this. .. although I am living with Elly, my grandmother in the only house that I have ever known her to live in. I do know all those \"housey\" questions because I just realized that I have been caregiving for over 15 years for my Grandparents!!! Prior to that, we have helped Grandpa do projects around the house and yard beginning when I was a pre-teen so I have an advantage that most grandkids do not! I would include magazine subscriptions in your list! Elly gets checks back from some magazine subscribers because they can't accept her renewal for 2020!!! I had a list on a note in my phone until I upgraded and lost that note!!! Loved your Post, it's Real Life!


In all the topics we've covered, we've never really talked about this--the complexity of the life you inherit. \r\n\r\nYou are so wise, Jan. I love how you look at the specifics of your day and then make it global--we all can relate. \r\n\r\nI have often thought of this from the other perspective. I live with my parents and have lived with them for a long time (too long, truthfully). I understand their nuances, their quirks, their schedules, their priorities. I have felt grateful for knowing this because if I were thrown into caring for them, I would be overwhelmed with trying to understand their lives. I think of my siblings, who know more because of me, but wouldn't know enough without me. Interesting. Now, I would never, ever recommend anyone live with their parents for as long as I have but there is that silver lining. \r\n\r\nThank you, Jan, for reminding me of my silver lining. :)