Monday, July 04, 2011

Independence Day

Happy 235th birthday, America! Hope you make it to 236!

We still have not had the celebratory reading of the Declaration of Independence. We've been a bit messed up on our schedule today. Rachel had to work at 8, so I dragged her out of bed to do that and drove her out there, leaving her with my phone as the place where she works has no land line. I then went to the home of our friends to check on their dog, who had run off yesterday while they were out of town.

When I made it home, one of the cars was missing. I was informed by the children that Dad had left to go get Rachel "because she was sick." I knew she'd lost her voice but I didn't think she was really sick, just voiceless. Turns out that the lady she works for didn't want Rachel around her mom (who is 94-years-old) because she was worried that her mom would get an even worse case of what Rachel has.

I called the lady and asked if she wanted me to come over and take over for Rachel. It was raining cats and dogs here and the lady's business is running a gardening school so I didn't know if she'd take the day off or not. Turns out she was going to go to work anyway so I came over to clean house, do laundry, and watch her mom.

Her mom is a remarkable woman, especially for her age. She gets around very well with a walker and has the sweetest disposition. Usually. Today she was not at all pleased with me. I couldn't understand what she wanted so she finally got out of her chair and dragged me down the hallway to turn on the light in the bathroom. After which she said, "24/7!" and sat down again.

Audra suffered a stroke 25 years ago. You can see it somewhat in how she holds her right hand and sometimes in her right foot and the right side of her face when she's really tired. She has trouble remembering things and communicating some things. Looking back, I realize that she had flipped the chair side lamp on and off a few times, probably in a futile attempt to get this dummy to turn the bathroom light on as she wanted it. But because she could not tell me in words that I could understand, I didn't do what she wanted.

Independence. Audra has a certain amount of independence. She wanders around the house and does what she wants to do, most of the time. She's not immured in a nursing home. She sees her family every day. But she's still somewhat dependent on other people and when those people fail to understand her needs, it must be exceptionally frustrating. I felt so badly for making her suffer that this morning. I think I did as much as I could do but it still wasn't enough.

Don't really know where to go with this so I'll close. How's that for independence?

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