For the past couple days I’ve been taking care of my mom at our house while my dad had surgery and regained some strength. My mom has multiple sclerosis and is confined to a wheelchair. She can stand only briefly, and precariously, to move to a chair or such. She is also a very headstrong woman who has spent most of her life being strong, taking care of herself and others, and doing things her way. She has yet to reconcile her personality with her relatively new reality.
Yesterday, I went to pick up Anna and Will from school and left my mom at home for about an hour. When we returned, my mom was not in the living room. Anna and I searched through the house, calling her name, as I envisioned my mom sprawled on the floor somewhere unconscious. As I passed by a window, I caught a glimpse of silver hair and red jacket. There was my mom outside in the backyard in her wheelchair, seemingly carefree. Let me point out that there are no ramps leading out of my house… there is, in fact, about a six to eight inch step down from every door. The questions “how” and “why” filled my head.
When I asked my mom why she was outside, she said matter-of-factly that Lucy (our boxer mix) wanted someone to play with. While I’m sure that was true, I’m also quite certain that Lucy could have waited a little while. My mom explained that she had stood up and pushed her wheelchair down the step and then gotten back into it. I still cannot imagine how she managed it, after having helped her for two days. Somehow I succeeded in getting her back into the house without dumping her out of the chair. It was all quite a stunt!
I took my parents home today, with new insight into their lives, with sadness and sympathy for them both as I better understand what they go through every day. I wish I could do something to make it all better. My mom told me to pray that I never get the way she is. She hates needing to be helped, and makes her and my dad’s lives both more difficult because of that. I don’t know what my point is in writing this – except to share my frustration that some problems are not easily fixed.