Saturday, December 18, 2010

Define Careful and Safe, Please.

I love my dad's hair. It always stands on end. Always. Drives Mom crazy.

My post-stroke Mom.....ah, geez.

We are all so happy with her recovery that we are giddy. Especially Dad. She's home and she's in charge. Of everything.

So her therapists told her that she could do whatever wanted - as long as she was careful and safe. Hoo, boy. These are seriously dangerous words to direct to my mom. SeriouslySeriously as in not giving a minute's thought to hopping in the car today to clean our elderly parish priest's rectory.

"He hasn't had his sheets changed for a week and a half!" she exclaimed. My mother wouldn't consider housecleaning anything but a careful and safe exercise. I think most people would think that hefting around a vacuum cleaner and tackling dishes and laundry would be pretty taxing, but no. Not seventy-six year-old Mom. She would consider shoveling the driveway or mowing all the farm's lawns as vigorous activities that would require safety and caution, but never anything as mundane as housework. Her ruler for measuring the difficulty of physical tasks is not even close to most people's scale.

I did try to tell her rehab team this. But they looked at this petite little woman who was sitting quietly in a wheelchair smiling innocently at them. And cheerfully promising to abide by whatever activity restrictions that they felt were needed. They collectively decided that Mom was capable of self-monitoring her limitations.

Boy, did she have them snookered.

After she related her activities of the day, I wanted to tell her to just take it easy, for crying out loud. It's only been almost two weeks since she was in ICU getting clot-busting drugs pushed through her IV. And by the way? Her lazybutt daughter sometimes goes a whole TWO weeks without changing the sheets, if she doesn't feel like doing the laundry.

But I didn't say a word, because these are the traits that make her Mom. First of all, she wouldn't listen to me anyway. But even if she did, adding a big dose of guilt isn't conducive to anyone's recovery, mine included. It's possible that I inherited my contrariness from my mother, because I know that when someone tells me, "Slow down. Take a rest. You don't really need to do that!" I feel the hackles on my neck rise and inevitably I do more than I should simply because someone told me NOT to. Nyeah!

Ah, well. To be honest, if my mother became a docile, nap-taking, sedentary woman, I would be really concerned.

Go get 'em, Mom.

1 comment:

annie said...

I had to chuckle because your description of your Mom is similar to my parents' M.O. Both are of a certain age and should monitor their daily activities due to many health issues, but no one listens. I think that their generation were very hard workers since their childhood and don't know when or how to slow down. Maybe that hard work keeps them in decent health, and when they stop, it won't be a good sign. Good luck!