Sunday, December 30, 2007

Dealing with Mom...

It's been an interesting few days with my 85 year-old mom. As with most folks her age, she is dealing with some physical issues - one of which is confusion. She now gets flustered when presented with situations which should be routine but are not to her anymore. This has led a conundrum about her driving.

We knew she was starting to have trouble even driving to familiar places when, a few weeks ago, she failed to arrive at her church. She got confused on her turns and ended up driving back home. She remained adamant, however, that she could handle going to the bank, the grocery store, and church. She said that she was familiar enough with those short trips to be trusted not to get lost anymore.

But on last Thursday, Mom went to get a haircut. I had quizzed her about it two days prior and she insisted she knew the way to the shop. Well, she got confused and proceeded to drive for hours...finally pulling into a service station near North Garland High School, a long, long way from home. I had gassed her car two weeks ago, but now the tank was almost empty - an indication of just how long she had been driving around in utter confusion.

God sent an angel to rescue her in the form of a kind lady who noticed that Mom seemed to be confused and flustered. This lady got my sister's cell number from her and called Marybeth. And Marybeth came and led her home. Even a day after this, Mom still insisted on keeping the keys.

My siblings and I knew that intervention was mandatory despite her efforts to retain this last bit of independence. I had decided that if it came down to it, I would simply go get the keys, the title, and the car and remove it her premises. But today, prayers were answered. Mom has decided it really is time. She will allow us to sell the car. I won't have to do that dirty deed after all.

I would hope that should I ever be where Mom is now, I would accede to my children's wishes immediately and hand over the keys. But I've learned that things I decide at the present can change decades later. In the wonderful decade of the '70's, I was young and healthy and able to go on three-hour training runs. I just knew that when I reached my 50's, I would still be fit and able to go on long runs. Well, here I am, practically sedentary because of a bad knee and hip. So I better be careful of issuing strong proclamations about how I'll act when I'm 85.

1 comment:

Lynn Leaming said...

Seems like us and so many of our peers are going through the same thing. It is so hard to watch our parents work so hard to hold onto their independence. I understand it more now from my own fight the past two years. I wish there was an easier way to help them transition through this most difficult time. Thankfully your mom is blessed with a loving son to help her along the way.