Monday, June 4, 2012

thin ice

after years and years of "dealing with" old folks
in my work at Home Instead Senior Care
I thought I had become a quite patient
decent person
able to apply a sense  of humor when needed
which seems like all the time at least most of the time

their crankiness and pleasantness
switch channels faster than I can handle a remote
some get stuck in their OCD behaviors
others seem liberated to the point of true freedom
to be the best of humanity

it is strange to see myself in them at times

I have a new client and she is in her mid-80's
and she loves loves loves people
and they clearly return the favor
she is filled with stories and has a passion
for making connections between people.

after meeting her one time last week
I came back today to find that she had researched
about Gary's family
Class of 1972
whatever and her family came up with ways they knew
Gary and his younger sister

thank God I am from Connecticut for this reason anyway
I bet she could find something on me that I wish she wouldn't!

actually she did find something on me on the local level here:
she knows a former teacher who knew me and my boys
from their elementary school days...
I was the white-haired mom
with the two little boys, one in a stroller
who took out books on dinosaurs from the school library
even though he could barely talk

so the sweet side of old folks comes out in this lady
and I think that I would like to be like her if I get that old
I gave her a copy of my book today
and she was thrilled and could not wait
for me to meet her artist son-in-law who came by
to pick up her trash
what an amazing man!
He loved my book
my little sweet old lady loved seeing yet another
orchestrated connection between people
she will weave this story in with her countless other woven

and then recently I have been short-fused with the cranky types
I don't exactly get angry it is more like exasperated
"I am NOT driving fast. The speed limit is 25 and I am driving 22."
Too fast. (Whatever!)
and then with my OCD mother-in-law
I kind of ran out of my humor reserves
when she took f  o   r    e      v       e        r
to shop while I was waiting
it made me nuts, screws loosened, unhinged

it had already been a long day with a cranky old guy in the morning
and I had tried to raise the experience up in as many creative ways as
then m-i-l to the hairdresser to get her hair lollipopped
and that took another forever before the other forever

she gave up driving thank God
and was not really happy or willing to do it
oh what am I doing?
it only escalates the agitation to recall a day of frustration
but I have to admit this one out loud to get rid of it

I shocked myself in the grocery store when I went into the store
and I looked in her cart
after searching the store
after over an hour and a half
to see how little was in her cart!
I said something like:

"Jesus Christ, Sally, (I have never ever said Jesus Christ like that before EVER)
is that all you've gotten on your list?"
I tried to sound like I was joking but who knows, I was edgier than that probably,
"You could have killed a chicken yourself
and planted and harvested those grapes in this amount time...."

she looked at me and laughed sort of
and this other old lady in the aisle burst out laughing
and I just thought I must be losing my mind
right here in the public grocery store aisle
for all the world to witness

senior caregiver loses her cool

I then grabbed her list and realized she was only halfway through
and I could just imagine her getting always the third box back
or 20 minutes with the bananas
and so I decided to just go back out to the car and read a
National Geographic in the hot car
I didn't have errands to run
and I was wasting gas driving around and dangerously
putting myself in situations where I might be tempted
to spend money which is a big no-no

it bothered me that I walked on such thin ice
with humanity
yes, I am grateful that we could buy her car from her for
yes, the city of Columbia should be grateful that she is no longer
driving on these roads
I said I would help out
so help out

maybe I just got tired of being stretched

putting the mirror of my own impatience in front of my face
shows me that I am needing to grow a better heart
and the sooner the better

yesterday I was in great form at the nursing home
making Uncle Don laugh
and singing up a storm with him and Bryan
the m-i-l was a half-step behind it all
and I need to be ok with that

I will make an appointment with my therapist
and talk this stuff out
there is usually more to it than meets the immediate eye

thin ice
without skates on


  1. Hi Sis,
    Just a friendly reminder that though we can all use work on our patience, you should cut yourself some slack, too. I know you strive to be patient, loving and kind at every turn, and you do a great job! That said, you're human, and I'd encourage you to be as kind to yourself as you are to others. I'm sure you'd be understanding if someone you knew had a momentary lapse of patience, so I hope you'll chalk this up as an understandable human reaction and learning opportunity. Record, process, and move on. No extended self-flagellation, okay? :o)

    BTW, I'm "preaching" what I've been trying to learn and put into practice myself. :)

    Love you bunches,

  2. Dear Sis,
    We all have our days when our patience escapes us and runs the other way.
    your doing just fine, but I tell you I had to laugh when you went in the grocery store, I am still kind and patient with yourself, I generally start counting to my self and taking deep breaths....we all have our moments...hugs and love you

  3. thank you for kind words...
    I do not like blog writing if I always try to control my image:
    Gloria the cancer survivor who lives in a lovely, loving state of mind ALL THE TIME. forget that. and on the other side of that, I do not put it all out there because privacy helps with some aspects of my life. a balancing act that I hope is still honest in the giving and the living...

  4. Oh Gloria...
    Having been here for my Mom's last few years, I can so identify with your struggles to be patient. I wasn't very successful in doing so...but it sounds like you are doing a good job by even attempting to be patient. Hang in there & know you have the support of your family & friends who love you. I find hugging a kitty helps bunches!