Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Independence

The past 2 days I've really had a glimpse of independence...or rather, independence lost. And it's very much on my mind.

You've read previously about my wonderful godparents. Yesterday, I traveled an hour's drive to pick up Uncle Johnny and Aunt Patsy by 6am to get him to his 6:30am carpel tunnel surgery. Here's a former robust man who has always been there for me, barely able to walk with a walker. Not able to use his hands much. Hearing pretty much gone. After the surgery, Patsy and I helped him get to the car and then into their apartment which meant navigating 4 small steps. But no walker because he couldn't lean on that hand. It was way too snowy, being in the SnowBelt east of Cleveland, so the wheelchair was of no help. Patsy has never driven a car in her life. Now, here they are, 87 and 79 and no relatives but me. And no travel outside the home unless someone drives them. No shopping on the spur of the moment. What a major contrast to the life they lived just 6 months ago when Johnny could still drive.

Today I took my "dad" to his doctor's appointment, listened to his various health concerns. Decided it was time to face the moment of truth....his birthday is next week and his driver's license expires. So off we went to the MVB. I called ahead to my friend who own the place and she was waiting for us. We had talked previously and I had told her to do him/us no favor when he came in for testing. He either passed the test with flying colors or he could not be given a license. My mom always worried about not passing the test and not being able to care for Roger. On the way, we talked about how he would feel if he didn't pass. What he would do with his car. Naturally he said he would be devastated if he didn't pass even though he's realized that he really only can drive down to my house or just up to RiteAid. The car? Oh he would never sell it. He would just keep paying the insurance on it so we could drive him around in the car he loves so much. Well.....

He passed. With Flying Colors. The whole time Marcia is looking at me with eyes and a wave of her hand that said, "I'm sorry...but he's passing perfectly well." He was overjoyed. A driver's license for 4 more years even though Marcia reminded him that that doesn't mean he will be driving in 4 years, that much can happen to change that privilege, and then continued on to remind him to behave, not to be naughty and drive any other place. It's good to have friends in important places, with important words of advice.

So he got his picture taken, picked up the Handicap Placard for his car and we came home.

So do I appreciate the moments of independence I have, in all the areas of my life, as they happen? Am I cognizant of how blessed I am, even tho I am in my 60th year? Will I remember that when I have to give up my driving privileges that I will do this voluntarily? I sure hope so. But at the same time, I need to be pay closer attention to those whose independence have been limited and reach out and find ways to make their lives rich.

1 comment:

Lin said...

you are an angel to give so much service to your aging relatives whether related or not. it is difficult for older ones to loose their independence-i went through that with my mom who was a danger driving and we convinced her to stop driving at age 88. she was a menace to other drivers and herself. it's good to be independent but difficult to accept needing others as we all age. i visit teach elderly ones in fact we are among the youngest in our retired community. it takes patience and love to serve them.

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