The Ancient One hates doctors, but every now and then, she just has to go to her doctor so he can make sure she's still alive. Frankly, he doesn't care whether she's alive or not because it's all about the numbers for him...get 'em in and out and don't take too much time with any one 'number.' THIS will be covered in another post!
Getting a couch-ridden, agoraphobic 85-year old out of her house takes planning. We have to plant the seed that she has to go to the doctor a few days in advance so she can mull that over, plan her outfit, change her bathing schedule and mentally lock in the idea of physically moving.
Because we know The Ancient One well, we decide that she'll go in the wheelchair instead of the walker because if given a choice, she'd choose the walker which would add an additional HOUR to the trip. We try not to give her too many choices anymore because of our own nerves and mental health.
SalGal was new to piloting a wheelchair with an actual person in it, and she got a little carried away. As I was getting the car warmed up, she poured The Ancient One into the seat and proceeded in a forward motion out the door. Everyone who has used a wheelchair knows that you proceed forward in a reverse mode so as to have a modicum of control over both vehicle and passenger. After kicking their way out the door, she didn't really think about that one step down and as they proceeded forward, The Ancient One nearly bounced completely out of the chair and onto the walkway before either of them figured out what was happening. Mother was terrified before she'd even made it to the curb!
After piling both wheelchair and The Ancient One into my sedan, off we went. Upon arriving at the doctor's office, the reverse procedure began to take shape while I then parked the car. SalGal had begun to really enjoy the novelty of wheeling someone around in a wheelchair wondering just how fast she could move it and how closely she could take the corners. By the time I met them in the waiting room, The Ancient One was bug-eyed with fear and exhaustion and SalGal had a bit of a gleam in her eye.
Because The Ancient One likes to order things from catalogs just so she can chit-chat with the order takers over the phone, you can imagine how excited she might be to have the captive audience of a doctor sitting a few feet away. She batted the few eyelashes she has left at him and told him that there wasn't "a thing wrong" with her as he scanned her chart. This is a conundrum that I KNOW some of you caregivers out there have come across. It's startling because you KNOW that your parent is falling apart, yet they go mute when asked about their health by the one person who can do something about it.
It's left to the adult children to let the doctor know what is going on. I have this thing where I always call doctors by their first names. I like to do it, because most doctors consider themselves one step below The Almighty. I told "John" what ailed our mother. He didn't seem the least bit interested, but was happy to prescribe any and every drug she might want. As The Ancient One began to tell him one of her 'stories,' he ahemmed, cleared his throat and stood to leave. SalGal and I looked at each other in acknowledgment of how much we both wanted to shoot him for being so rude. Of course, we wanted to shoot The Ancient One too for thinking that she could entertain the asshole doc with a story that SalGal and I had heard approximately 2,367 times.
After our streesful visit to the doctor, we took The Ancient One to Starbucks for a latte as her reward. On the entire journey home she regaled us with her version of how our appointment had gone, how much she liked the doctor, how cute he was and how he reminded her of one of her old beaus in college....and off she went into another story we'd heard a thousand times. We could only stare at each other through the rear view mirror with our knowing smiles...hoping that the next field trip with The Ancient One would go a little bit better.
Okay, I'll admit I got a little carried away with the wheelchair but it was really fun and I think mother secretly enjoyed it. That woman in the elevator whose ankles I clipped with the 'feet-sticky-outy-thingys' was just an alarmist and a screamer. I hate screamers. I just thought The Ancient One might enjoy what to her would be the equivalent of a roller coaster ride. She did do a little screaming herself but I think it was from excitement and joy. When I rounded that corner in the parking lot at about five miles an hour her arms went up into the air just like when kids are going down on a roller coaster. Come on...she was having fun. It was her fault when she whirled %180 degrees around that tree because she reached out to grab it and it twirled her. It was not easy for me to gain control of that situation but due to my exceptional strength and coordination I was able to right the wheelchair just as The Ancient One was about to go completely sideways onto the tarmac, wheelchair and all.
All I need is a little more practice and all will go smoothly. I will take her out again to the street tomorrow and practice. I'm sure she won't mind and we will go down to the stream where I accidentally crashed her Jazzy Scooter. She will enjoy seeing the ducks and we can make a good run down the walking path at the park.
Bet I can get her going fast enough to make her hair go straight back. Last time it only went straight out in all directions and come on KK - you had to laugh. Her bug eyes were pretty funny too. Don't worry, she'll get used to it and beg for more rides,