This, that and role reversal


My mother is approaching 82 years of age. She’s still spry, but, with neuropathy in her feet, she’s slowing down. My husband and I got her off the stairs, moved her into a ground floor townhome, an attached two-car garage (where she won’t have to walk from her detached unit), and as we were doing so, worried, how long until we move her again. Oy, such is life.

However, she surprised me and seems very happy, and independent in her new place. But now she’s developed macular degeneration, and that’s a concern. It’s under control with specific disease-specific-developed vitamins, she eats spinach every day, and we see her doctor every three months. I watch her as she reads the eye chart (she does well), and her doctor approves her “driving form” every time we go to an appointment.

I’ve turned into the “test” daughter when we’re out and about, “Mom, read those signs to me.” She does—100 percent correct. “Mom, what does that license plate say?” She reads it to the letter. I do ask that with her condition she check her graph every day, and not drive anywhere other to the grocery store to church, to bridge, and to places in which she’s infinitely familiar. Please, please, please don’t drive to Denver (70 miles away) or get on I-25 where traffic is heavy. This is my number one concern.

One of the hardest things you can do to a person is take away their independence, their self-respect and their self-worth. And my mother is so very, very worthy.Irma

So, the other day, my mom tells me that her friend (also elderly) hit a bicycle. My first reaction is to gasp and think this could have been my mom. “Was anybody hurt?” She replied, “Well, the bike wasn’t too well off” – meaning that there was a human being attached to said bicycle.

I know good and well, some family member will be taking my mother’s friend’s car away very, very soon, not to mention the legal ramifications attached to this serious situation, and I begin my lecture, “Mom, you need to be so careful….”

I make her nervous. I make me nervous. Selfishly, I want her to retain her independence as long as possible. When she can no longer drive, my writing schedule is going to decrease exponentially.

My mother is a good driver. As I say I give her tests when we’re together, I’ve driven behind her when she’s taken the vehicle to be serviced. She’s so careful. A lot more careful than many on the road these days.

I keep reminding myself that my kids may have to make that decision for me one day, so I’m taking it one day at a time. But I’m not looking forward to eventualities. I also hate role reversals and this and that. But I still have my mom, and that’s the real blessing.