Let Me Count the Ways


Let Me Count the Ways

wood-691632_640I feel like I count the ways my parents will meet a terrible demise.

It's not my dad's bladder cancer spreading or another internal bleed beginning for my mom that will do them in. It's their decisions or their lifestyle that will seal their fate.

Like today. I think my dad driving to his doctor's appointment will be the end. They have an appointment with his ostomy nurse, which I made for them last week. My dad's ostomy bag springs leaks too often, which means my mom changes his bag every-other-day or so. I spoke with his ostomy nurse last week and made the first appointment I could, which happens to conflict with a podcast I have scheduled for today. But, no worry! My sister has Mondays and Fridays off in the summer and she graciously accepted when I asked if she could drive them today.

My dad had other ideas, refusing her help because it's too far for her to come to drive them. UGH! Of course, they don't tell me of this decision. Luckily, my sister gives me the heads-up. So, they'll head off this afternoon into a route full of trucks and congestion and reckless drivers.

Or, like when they first moved into their apartment and I realized how hard it is to access their apartment. Visitors buzz from the lobby; the buzzing leads to my parent's cell phone ringing, they then press a number on their dial pad to give entry. When there's a medical emergency, who will answer the cell phone? They stiff defer a decision about a personal emergency response system so I envision them trapped in their apartment while the firemen struggle to enter. (I am stopping by the fire department today to ask how they'll enter my parents' apartment in case of an emergency.)

Or, like last week when I came face-to-face with another potential tragic departure. They love the outdoor spaces off their rented apartment -- two terraces, one off the living room/kitchen and one off the den. My mom began hunting for a table and two chairs for their terrace off the living room almost as soon as they moved in. Last weekend, my sister and her kids helped them buy and set up the set. On Tuesday, I stopped by their apartment and stepped on to the terrace to admire their furniture. Oh, my. I immediately thought, They are going to trip and fall and flip off this third-floor patio and land right in the middle of the busy street below. Sure enough, seconds later, my dad tripped over the door frame on his way out to join me. "We have to be careful when we come out here," he said.

I do what I can. I suggest safer solutions, I offer safer alternatives, I make safer plans, I remind them of safer procedures. I suppose it's best I don't count but rather take some comfort in knowing that they live fully while they can. I push away the thought that their fuller days take years off my life because of the worry.

The truth is that the life I want for them -- safer, less risky, smaller -- is not the life they wish for themselves. Interestingly enough, the life they want for me -- a 9-to-5 job, husband and kids -- is not the life I want for myself. So, I must let go. I must let them choose while they can because I know how awful it is when someone tries to dictate choices to you.

We all just have to live while we can.

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I like your your feelings & thoughts expressed towards the end of your blog.\r\nThey make a lot of sense and show concern for their well being, compassion, respect.\r\nYour folks are blessed to have a daughter as you.