just an ironic little ps to add some perspective. this morning i was trying to think of more productive ways to kill time, when the phone rang. it was my neighbor, just a little younger than my mother (80s), who is mostly paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. her mind is still smart and active, and she still practices psychology. in fact, she was one of my shrinks when i was young. she had tried to set me straight, at my parents’ request, back when i was about to make a big mistake in my life. (i went ahead anyway, of course.) now, decades later, we often have productive conversations about hindsight and the current situation. too many ironies there to even get into.
anyway, she had again fallen and needed help being transferred, and her assistant as usual wasn’t being too effective. also, being so paralyzed, she’s like a dead weight, and can’t do much to help. somehow once again between all of us we got her re-situated in a wheelchair, possibly throwing my back out in the process.
because i’m here all the time, elderly neighbors have figured out that i’m the one to call for help. it reminds me once again that i have it relatively good compared to many folks, who even with home aides are often helpless and dependent. if i had to lift dead weights every day, i’d be incapacitated myself. some of these hired assistants aren’t much more useful. when it comes to common emergencies, they have no idea what to do, even though they supposedly have the training. i found this to be the case when we briefly had our own aides for dad, before he had to be moved to a facility. half the time i was showing them how to do what it was their job and training to know.
also, how humiliating must it be to have a brilliant mind but be utterly dependent upon help to do the most basic activities. and that’s with resources to acquire all the latest disabled gizmos and 24/7 assistance. my neighbor has always been a progressive, independent thinker, and still manages to engage in her profession from a wheelchair, appearing calm and professional. but behind the scenes are all the very real struggles to perform the simplest tasks.
so i suppose i’m not entirely useless. i’m the default setting for oldster rescue operations, when no one else can get it right. and some time was not entirely killed. who knows what i’ll get to do next?