In the past few months, I've realized that my not having raised any children has put me at a distinct disadvantage for caring for my aging parents. Make no mistake, my parents aren't in need of full-time care, but there are many things that I have tried to start helping with because they should be able to take it easier as they get older. The list of things they have reluctantly relinquished to me is quite short but I'm hoping these small things will ease the way for when we have to tackle the really BIG things.
That brings me to this morning.
My mother is in Texas helping my sister. When she was preparing to leave, her only instruction for me was, "Make sure your father eats." Easy enough! That's already one less instruction than given in Gremlins and we know how that turned out. Oh! That's right........they had two simple instructions to follow and they failed miserably. Still, I only have the one instruction and I'm a pretty decent cook, so I've got this!
......or maybe not.
Last night I asked my father what he wanted for dinner. He said, "Oh, I've already eaten". Well, the first night is going smoothly! He's an adult and he's already fed himself. I think to myself with an imagined fist pump, "Sweet! This is going to be cakewalk!" I make myself some dinner and that's the smooth end to day one of making sure my father eats.
This morning as I'm preparing to leave for work, I hear my father come in from taking the dog out. He has no idea that I'm in the next room and I hear him talking to the dog. [By the way, talking to the dog is a totally common occurrence and in no way illustrates any diminished mental capabilities.]
"Well, Mollie, if Papa passes out are you going to be able to help him?"
[Silence from the dog]
"You can bark for help, right?"
[More silence from the dog]
Since Mollie doesn't seem willing to help, I step into the room and he looks up at me like a 5 year old who got caught doing something.
"Ummmmmm......did you tell Mollie you thought you might pass out?"
"Oh, I'm just feeling dizzy", he said.
"Did you stand up too fast?" I ask trying to determine WHY he's feeling dizzy.
"No, I was feeling dizzy before I got out of bed."
Well, that makes it better........NOT!
Since he will be home alone once I leave for my workday [except for Mollie, who seemed reluctant to offer her best Lassie impersonation should he pass out or fall down a well], I decide I need to wait until the dizziness subsides so I don't come home to him passed out on the floor with a bump on his noggin!
I ask more questions trying to determine what's causing the dizziness and my fact finding leads me to this question:
"What did you have for dinner last night?" [Remember, the easy first night when he told me he's already eaten dinner? Wait for it.......]
"Excuse me? You had popcorn for dinner? What did you have for lunch?"
"I didn't have time for lunch yesterday."
And, there you have it! No lunch and popcorn for dinner. I send a text my first client and tell her I'll be late so I can make my father some breakfast. As I start to the kitchen I hear him say, "I can just drive to the donut shop and get some breakfast."
Seriously?!? You just told the dog you might pass out and you think you should get in your truck and drive? This must be the equivalent of what a baby might say if he could talk as he crawls towards the electrical outlet! "I'll be fine! You go on to work! I'm just going to crawl over and lick this electrical outlet".
Needless to say, I made him some breakfast and left him with instructions to EAT LUNCH!
Only one instruction! How hard can that be?