Thursday, June 02, 2011

Walking the Walk and Pushing the Chair

In just under a week I return to the UK. My mother is doing very well and should continue to improve. But I  am worried that she does not have enough self-motivation and confidence to make herself  to continue in the direction she is at the moment so successfully going.

Self-motivation at the age of 92 is not so easy. The balancing act of 'insistent' encouragement when soulful eyes beg you to give in and use the wheel chair and you know that what is needed is to make the effort with a walker can be tricky. This sweet and angelic little old lady searches for any sign of weakness in my resolve to move her forward. "Please, I'm so tired", she says.

The majority of the time my resolve does not waver. "You can get to the elevator, if you walk your leg will limber up -- you know you can do this."

She agrees albeit reluctantly and successfully. We arrive downstairs and make it to the 'pub' for coffee and pastry, sit a while and chat to others and then make our way back. Lor 'unchtime comes and she walks all the way to the dining room. I have the wheelchair with me -- I realize it's too much for her to make her wend her way through the corriders to pick up her mail and then manage two long corridors to her apartment.

What worries me is what will happen when I return to the UK. I think I should have committed myself to an additional 3 weeks. So since this is not the case, I'm trying to figure out how to keep her going forward. The staff here is wonderful as is the visiting nursing staff and I have tried as much as possible to keep them aware of my concerns -- but will they be immune to those woeful looks? Healing is about so much more than th physical.  I am so surprised to discover how impatient my mother is -- she who would always wait patiently for my always late father to pick her up -- sometimes in sub-zero weather now expects her broken leg bone to be painless two months after it happened! I can't wonder, though, how would I be now if I had the same injury? Would I be any more patient than she? Would I be so kind and sweet to my nurses and aides and so apologetic for 'bothering' them? How would I like to have some smart-ass child pushing me when I'd rather just do things the easier way?


  1. Hello, I dropped in for a visit from Vagabonde's blog, and found myself reading back posts to catch up on your mother and you stay in the U.S. It can be difficult when the distance is so great. My own mother is 88 and lives in her own home in NJ, which is about a 6-hour drive from our home on the VA eastern shore. I hope your mother continues to improve and that you will be able to return home and have your concerns eased. Please do feel free to drop in for a visit around our blog anytime.

  2. G'day Broad. I think your mum has greatly appreciated having you there and hopefully she will continue to get better when you have returned home. Maybe a good pep talk during your last week there may help,tell her your concerns and that you will be worried about her, but it's a tough call and it's doubly hard when you live so far away. You have done the very best you can and I applaud you for that. Take care. Liz...

  3. A worry for you, Broad, after you've done so much to encourage your mother and facilitate her recovery. Do you not have siblings who could come and stay with her, even if only for a week or two at a time, to continue your good work? Mind you, I can sympathise with your mother;s desire to take the easier ay. Recovering from a broken bone is hard work, especially at her age.

  4. Never really easy to reconcile the passing of some ability to easily do things or heal more rapidly. I suspect I'll be a nasty old person, as I have never been one to accept help graciously. Good for you, though, for being such a good and attentive daughter, and one willing to make someone do a slight bit of work for future gain, while still worrying in your heart of hearts about her comfort and security.

  5. You and your mother have done so well with her recovery, certainly not any easy thing at her age. Your encouragement to test her limits has been so helpful. I hope the people caring for her also encourage as much independence as possible when you return to the UK. On the other hand, whether she is in a wheelchair or on her feet, her sweetness while in pain and discomfort is commendable. We should all hope we could be as gracious when we're elderly and in pain.

  6. When I'm in my 90's, if I get to be in my 90's, I hope to be patient and cooperative. But, I doubt that I'll succeed. I'm already noticing my patience waning.

  7. I'm just off to see to mother's concerns before she has knee replacement surgery.
    She is 95,has just had hip replacement surgery, and her doctors feel that with the two operations she has at least ten more years of a good quality of life
    Her helpers have been tough...but she's a tough old bat herself and determined to succeed.
    She's a triumph for the U.K.NHS and a triumph for her generation.

  8. Thank you all for your kind and considerate comments. @fly: Good for your Mom and good for the NHS. Determination and Will Power is what it's all about...


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