wings and things

A Sunday drive

on April 2, 2014

Going for a drive with Anthony, which I now do quite often, has proved to be a great success. If I am doing errands in town, I take him with me and he sits in the car while I do banking, post office, grocery and other jobs. He loves sitting in the car and watching passersby and it is a way of being together that doesn’t entail the heavy lifting of him in and out of the car except for when I collect him from the nursing home and take him back.

By lifting, I don’t mean lifting the whole of him but, in order to get him out of the car, I have to help him twist around, then grab my hands, then we do a 1-2-3 attempt to get him standing up. Then he can usually walk with the walker but sometimes not so I have to get the wheelchair. (I have now bought one that can be folded one way or the other). Getting him into the car is easier; I just use my bum to push his bum into the seat, then I lift his legs in if he can’t, then I get into the driver’s side and sort of shove him over because he has become very crooked and leans over to one side. Then I put his seatbelt on and we’re off!

I have decided to do this more frequently, rather than bringing Anthony home or taking him out to eat, or visit people, because it is so much easier on my back than the constant transfers necessary in those sorts of outings. On Sunday we went for a long drive down to the small, picturesque town where he was brought up, Balingup, and I learned a bit of a hard lesson in that I suggested we go to the pub there for a drink and some fish and chips. Ants was more mobile than usual so he managed the walker, very slowly, in and out of the pub, but once seated, he kept nearly falling off the chair because he leans so badly to the right. I had to sit on that side of him and keep pushing him upright (not particularly gently I might add!)

Here is our conversation while we ate fish and chips:

Me: Sit up for God’s sake!
Ants: You’re so rough, Jules.
Me: Wipe your moosh – you have fish all over it!
Ants: Give me the dribble rag.
Me: You had it – argh, it’s on the floor!
Ants: I have to go to the loo.
Me: What? Oh no!

After a very strenuous and slow trip to the loo with me, we got back to our table to find the fish and chips cold of course, but the beer was good. By then, however, I just wanted to get Ants back to the nursing home because I could see he was faltering (like clockwork 3pm), but he didn’t want to go.

Ants: But I’m having a good time.
Me: Too bad – I have to get you back before dinner.

It took around 20 minutes to get Ants out of the pub and into the car and we were off again! But then another problem – our thermostatic incompatibility – occurred.

Ants: Jules, I’m freezing. Put the heater on.
Me: What? It’s boiling in this car already!
Ants: Is there a blanket?
Me: Okay I’ll bring one next time, wrap you in it and put you in the boot (trunk).
Ants: You’re so sexy when you get mad.
Me: Get your hand off my knee – I’m driving!

So for the hour it took to get back I had the heater on Ants and my window open so I didn’t suffocate or sweat (I am avoiding perspiration at all costs due to the stupid pompholyx).

Long story short: I got Ants back into his room at the nursing home and comfortable in his chair, put the ABC channel on his TV and then told him I was going home and would see him the next day.

Ants: Where are we staying in Balingup?
Me: No, I’m going home to Bythorne.
Ants: So where am I?
Me: Wattle Hill – the nursing home.
Ants: Who is going to look after me?
Me: The nurses.
Ants: But they always kidnap me.
Me: No that’s just your Parkinson’s confusion – nobody is kidnapping you, Ants!
Ants: Are you sure?
Me: Yes, you’re safe and in good hands and I’ll see you tomorrow.
Ants: Give me a hug.
Me: Okay, and I love you so much babycheeks!

I got home around half an hour later and Ming asked why I was so exhausted and, when I told him about the day, he suggested that, from now on, I just do the drive thing and not get Ants in and out of the car so much.

Ming: I don’t get you, Mum. Why do you keep bothering?
Me: Because he’s my husband and I love him.
Ming: But this is not good for your happiness – you deserve it way more than Dad!
Me: Why?
Ming: Because he’s old and you’re still young!
Me: So does that mean you deserve to be happy more than I do because you’re very young?
Ming: Of course!

Okay – a few lessons learned here (I think!) One thing for sure is that our car is going to accumulate a fair bit of mileage in the coming months!

Happier days:

58 responses to “A Sunday drive

  1. I’m exhausted just imagining what you need to do… but I know why you do it of course…Diane

  2. Sonel says:

    When you love someone you will do anything to make them happy. You brought a smile to my face with all the conversations. πŸ˜€

  3. I love the family picture πŸ™‚

    I suspect Ming’s reasoning might change……in time.

  4. susanpoozan says:

    You are such a good person but don’t wreck your back that will do no good to anyone.

  5. You have to adapt as you are doing Julie. If you damage yourself, then you won’t be able to take Ants out so why not take a picnic and eat without getting out of the car.

  6. A fair bit of mileage and many things added to the boot for those other needs as and when (wheelchair, blanket, …). Have you a big boot?!

  7. Lovely photo Julie … and it’s good to know your’e young today … what happened to “the old girl”?

  8. mimijk says:

    I love the family photo!! I can also hear those words coming from one of my boys too…I think Ming is older than his years in many ways – and I think it probably gets to him sometimes too. He loves his dad and mom and is trying to find his way. So be it. You are in the middle, though both of these wonderful men are on your side too – in their own way.

    • jmgoyder says:

      It’s all good, as they say, but it is hard for me to see Ming withdrawing from Ants. This is perfectly normal of course but still a bit heartbreaking. Ants doesn’t realize so that’s good. Thanks Mimi xx

  9. You’re certainly doing your best to give Ant some enjoyment away from the care home. We tried it with my mom, and I can so relate to all the things you’ve related here, even down to the visit to the loo and the cold fish and chips. πŸ™‚ *hugs*

  10. I am so happy for you and Anthony …that you can still have the outings, what wonderful memories for you. Ming without realizing may be preparing for the inevitable ending we will all face but for him seeing it everytime he sees his Dad and it hurts him, so he is backing away. Love the family photo how happy you all are there. Have a beautiful blessed day my friend.

  11. Not sure I agree with the age:happiness theory presented by Ming! Hugs to you Julie!
    Diana xo

  12. though i don’t agree with his reasoning, i have to say i agree with ming that you deserve happiness. what he doesn’t understand is how our happiness can be tied to those we love. ah youth:) please do take care of yourself or we shall have to designate a “caregiver” for you:)

  13. I find Ming’s logic hilarious :D. I understand Ming because when my aunt in France slaved away taking care of my uncle at home, the entire family asked her the same question and her response was that he would do the same for her and she loved him. We, meaning all of the young cousins didn’t get it, my mother and the older married faily memebers understood her devotion much better. You are a peach Jules. I love the picture!

  14. FlaHam says:

    Julie, I am forever impressed with t he love you and Ants share. To love and be loved lie that is a present from God. Even as the years and disease takes its’ toll on Ants, the love has not lessened a bit. I know you are going to do everything in your power to enjoy it as long as it lasts. Please take care, Billl

  15. diannegray says:

    The car drive is a great idea if he loves to just sit there and wait while you do what you need to do. Getting him in and out must be very hard on your back 😦 You’re doing such a wonderful job, he’s a very lucky man πŸ˜‰

  16. Many of my writer friends talk about the weird-writer aspect of seeing all of life as “material” for writing…. it can engender a kind of guilt, or a kind of detachment about our lives.

    This piece of writing is touching on two levels–the personal and the artistic. I’m sorry that you’re going through all this, but it’s incredibly fascinating, riveting material. I’m hooked on the story…

    Is that callous? to see life as good raw material for writing? I don’t know. But I do believe that you’re making something wonderful, uplifting and honestly human out of your difficult experiences… and I greatly admire you for doing that. Plus, you do it with compassion and humor, which in my opinion, is basically heroic.

  17. My Heartsong says:

    That getting in and out of the car and the restaurant scene sounds like a comedy but know how hard it is on the back. It is admirable how romantic you two still are.And Ming? That is a funny comment!Drive -in movies are a thing of the past here but I could see you both doing that sort of thing.Enjoy the travels.

  18. My Heartsong says:

    Yes! That is a great family photo. A treasure.

  19. Vicki (from Victoria A Photography) says:

    I think your idea of just going for drives is brilliant.

    So much easier on your back, the pleasure of each other’s company and you both get to enjoy the outing. You may well find it even more enjoyable because some of the time you have to concentrate on the road and you won’t be so aware of the ‘gaps’ in conversation.

    and I kind of ….agree with Tracy Lee……I find it riveting too.

    You have this amazing ability to combine storytelling with the most difficult of lives challenges.

    Warmth and Humour are so uplifting and downright inspiring in the position you are placed. V xx

  20. I admire your sheer devotion to your beloved. πŸ™‚

  21. What did I learn from all this? We talk the same language: “Wipe your moosh”. I love the photo. And, you! πŸ˜‰

  22. Judith says:

    When John’s mom was in a nursing home for twelve years, I collected her every Thursday for a long ride. She was mobile, thank goodness, but rides were the best way for both of us to be happy at the end of the day. Sounds like a great way to enjoy Anthony and your time together.

  23. Threaten to cut him out of the will if he doesn’t value your happiness more. πŸ™‚ Kids!

  24. Denise Hisey says:

    You are living proof Love is a verb.
    What a beautiful story, so real and touching. I enjoyed it very much.

  25. bluebee says:

    This made me smile, specially Ants’ comment about when you’re mad πŸ™‚ He’s still got spirit in spite of everything. Love finds a way.

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