A LIFE LESSON, again….

Spring, April 2013

This lovely photo of my daughter’s beloved cat, Loki, who lived to be 19 years young, reminds me today that one should never stop taking time to ‘smell the roses’ along the path of life.

Visiting with my brother, who is six months into life at a retirement facility and requiring help with day-to-day existence because of Parkinson’s, has awakened this awareness yet again. It’s so easy to slip into lethargy, depression, hopelessness, and it’s terrible to watch someone dangerously close to that edge.

If a person has stayed a cock-eyed optimist through life, through thick and thin, there is a better chance of avoiding this black hole that threatens to swallow my brother.

Yesterday, we both had a rare taste of his ability /  lack of ability to function in the outside world. He needs a hand-hold to walk, or a walker. It’s difficult to figure out how to get up off the chair at Timmy’s, and it was good I could be there as a ‘spotter’. There isn’t anything to hold onto, no arms on the chair, and the table will probably tip if his weight depends on it for the push upward.

Visiting the washroom while out in public worried me.  That was avoided because he is able to last several hours, a talent I would like to re-acquire!! BUT in the event of needing to use the washroom, it would have presented very real problems. Unable to go in with him, hoping he wouldn’t fall while in there, slip on a possibly wet floor, not be able to get his pants back up, is a partial list.

Our trip to Shoppers Home Health was eye-opening as well. We looked at scooters, walkers (the 4-wheel kind with brakes, a seat and a basket), and tested canes. He needed to sit except to test a walker and a couple of canes. Being presented with these actual pieces of equipment will perhaps lead to a clearer idea of what possible independence can still exist for my brother.

The next phase of work to try and help will be to look for volunteer drivers, or visitors. It’s a tall order because talking about sports or the weather doesn’t interest my brother. He would rather get into science or math, inventions, building, electronics etc.  There isn’t any stimulating conversation where my brother lives, it seems that the whole population is beyond that, sad to say. The staff can’t possibly spend the amount of time needed to fill that gap. Both my sister and I live too far away to be there regularly.

What is glaringly obvious and the hardest part to swallow is that not having nurtured a cock-eyed optimist outlook through life has left my brother unable to cope.

So, friends, if nothing else, learn not to brood. Find a way to see the up sides of your day and your life. Remember to be thankful for everything,  no matter how insignificant. Train your brain to be positive!!  But that’s another subject……..

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