Here’s Finn running around looking all Dog and happy with his walker yesterday. While he enjoyed running around in the sun, I drove my sister to (another) cardiac appointment. It was in Danvers this time.

The doctor was distractingly handsome. Don’t you just hate that? I once had a colonoscopy, of all things, done by a blue-eyed gem who looked a lot like Paul Newman.

The Danvers doctor was named Silver — even that’s glamorous.

He gave clear advice. Took his time. Answered all our questions. So, that was a boon and while the news wasn’t great, it wasn’t terrible, either.

Getting there and back didn’t go so well.

For starters, the phone wasn’t telling me where to go. What? Why not? For once, I was relying on that annoying voice (“in two miles, take Massachusetts 62 West to Maple Street”). There I was driving on unfamiliar streets looking in disbelief at my phone. Not exactly safe.

I’d turned off the podcast from the ride up because it was bothering my sister, not realizing that meant the map audio would go silent, too (duh — Blue Tooth and all).

All the while my sister was telling me which way to go. She has a good sense of direction — much better than mine — and this was her turf, but still, she hasn’t driven in ten years and there was no reason to assume she knew the way.

I wanted the google directions dammit!

It took a few frustrating miles and a detour into a parking lot to figure it out.

Meanwhile, my sister had for some reason taken my sputtering at the phone personally. The seat belt alarm was chiming every few seconds (she’s too big to buckle in) and then there was the clinic’s practice of cancelling an appt if you’re 15 minutes late.

Kinda stressful.

Wheel chairs were lined up at the door and I knew to look for the extra wide.

A slight rise from the curb to the glass doors posed a challenge. Wow. Was this really only a two percent grade? After last week’s appt I had a mild case of tennis elbow and didn’t want to injure myself.

We managed. Heard the pros and cons of ablation. Next steps for evaluation lined up — some more discouraging than others.

Getting her out of the confining space where she’d had her EKG took a little doing, however. It’s one thing to push a heavy wheel chair. It’s another thing to pull one.

“Don’t bother with the brakes,” she said as I parked her on the sloping sidewalk before running off to fetch the car.

Seriously? On a slight slope leading into the driveway — don’t use the brakes? Umm. NO.

Being powerless can make a person take charge where they can. I try to accommodate.

Driving back to N’s apartment, I decided to go by highway and because I thought I knew the way, ignored Google Maps. To be fair, I couldn’t hear the annoying chorus of “recalculating” because my sister needs to have the AC blasting on high and all the windows open to be comfortable. I ended up overshooting the exit by MILES.

Ever notice how different things look coming from the other direction? Perspective is everything.

Meanwhile, N wanted me to stop and buy her some booze (NO). Then she wanted to stop at the Homegoods, because it’s “the best one and we’ll never come out this way again”. (Yes we will and NO)

This from a person who doesn’t want to have to get up out of her chair to buzz me in (after the pissing in the casserole dish incident — don’t ask — I made sure to get my own set of keys).

This from the same person who grocery shops in a motorized cart and is exhausted for days after. The time when she could lean into a shopping cart for support is long gone (or not yet returned, depending on your point of view).

But to be clear: I was the unreasonable one. Obnoxious, even.

One way to feel in control, by the way, is to make your helper feel like shit — bonus points if you’re related.

Then, just as were looping back toward her place after that long detour and a speck of relief emerged, she demanded a tour of downtown Salem.

(NO). Now I’m really awful.

Mind you, I still had to drive home — a trip that runs from 40 minutes to two hours, depending on who the fuck knows what. As you might imagine, we were both pretty done in by then.

So I dropped her off. Her aide would help her for the rest of the afternoon. And I would go home and eat chocolate. Watch TV. Take care of some tedious financial stuff. Learn about the Supreme Court’s three disastrous decisions and actually feel a shot of genuine gladness that the stressful occupations of the morning had prevented me from hearing any news for five hours.

And now? Back to writing. Ha!

14 thoughts on “Accommodations

  1. Mo Crow

    (((Dee))) Old Man Crow asked Siri to speak the lyrics on his next song, Motorbike Racer, I am not a big fan of Siri but it works surpringly well, perspective is everything as you say!

    1. deemallon

      When you need directions to go somewhere new, there’s nothing like it (“her”). She and Rod singing together? Now there’s a concept!

      1. deemallon

        I didn’t even notice the typo. It’s one of those ones where the brain supplies the missing letter.

  2. Tina

    This post made me laugh and cry. I have two daughters that could easily be you and your sister down the road. I wonder .. were you ever close? What is the age difference? Oh I could go on and on with questions but none of us can for see our future or the futures of those we love. But .. but .. but

    1. deemallon

      Close? We kind of are now but with the need flowing in one direction. There were ten years when I didn’t talk to her at all. She’s two years older than I am.

  3. Kathy

    Bless you, bless you, bless you. Caregiving is undoubtedly one of the most exhausting experiences ever – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Bless you! Reading your post brought back a lot of memories… I think you’re an amazing sister and kind soul.

    1. deemallon

      Well I have hung in there. As for kind? Definitely not always.

      Who does it remind you of?

      1. Kathy

        I took my dad to all his medical appointments for the last six or seven years of his life. I was lucky, he was a total sweetheart; but you described so well the search for the wheelchair and pushing the wheelchair up the ramp and backing the dang thing out of places. The whole appointment thing is exhausting, isn’t it? For them, it’s kind of a nice little outing. For the caregiver it’s an all day affair of driving and stress and being accommodating and patient. Again, I was very fortunate, he was sweet natured and easy to get along with, thank goodness. But it was definitely one of the most exhausting, difficult experiences ever. I don’t think people quite grasp that until they’ve done it. Take care of yourself. Blessings to you!

        1. deemallon

          Yes! It’s an outing for my sister (and one of so few — no wonder she wants to piggyback another stop), you got that right. Your dad was lucky, too, BTW. Fortunately, my sister has an aide and they can take a taxi together sometimes (the aide is not allowed to drive her), so I’m not on the spot for every single appt. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Today, I am staying close to home in spite of a plan to attend Boston’s Keep Families Together rally. My joints hurt, it’s gonna be 97 degrees, and there’s a lot of hoofing it and public transportation involved. It’s hard to say NO. Enjoy your day!

  4. Saskia

    the sharing of how it actually IS….thank you for this, in the very least!!!!!
    ‘the things we do for love,’ the stuff we manage for our family, and sometimes friends, boy oh boy, where’s a medal? anyone??
    you are brave and good and kind and loving, despite what you might feel and think on the inside Dee; it’s what you DO that counts, and what you do is you help your sister whenever she needs your help

    1. deemallon

      I wish I could believe all you say. She needs endless amounts more than what I give so part of the balance is letting that be the case.

      1. Saskia

        ah yes, I hear your critical self…..of course it’s a balancing act, but that also means you cannot be the only one carrying the entire load!!!! for balance there have to be others as well


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