You know, a little bit squashed. Trying to raise our children. While taking care of our aging parents. And work to make a living. Add in everything else that goes along with. Little wonder there are many days when I feel like toast.
Apparently, we've been studied. Poked and prodded. And some have gotten quite creative with their definitions:
So. Mom came back from her trip over the weekend. She had spent three weeks out west at my brother's. I picked her up at the airport, having decided that we would get a hotel and spend the night in the city since we both had doctor's appointments there the following day.
Traditional: those sandwiched between aging parents who need care and/or help and their own children.
Club Sandwich: those in their 50s or 60s, sandwiched between aging parents, adult children and grandchildren. OR those in their 30s and 40s, with young children, aging parents and grandparents.(Term coined by Carol Abaya)
Open Faced: anyone else involved in elder care. (Term coined by Carol Abaya)
Tell me, how much can a person actually 'age' in just three weeks?
I don't know but this person deposited with me by the flight attendant was not the mother I knew. Something's been up with mom, not quite right, for the past year or so. I suppose its longer than that actually. She had always looked very young for her age and been very independent. Then she fell and broke her wrist a few years ago. Shortly after that she ended up in the hospital with other health issues.
And overnight, she changed. In her physical appearance. Her voice. Her physical abilities. Almost out of nowhere. It was scary. It still is. Even though mom is only in her 70s, she had always been very young for her age. Now she seems very old for her age. We had a geriatic assessment done shortly before she went away and they said that it was an early form of dementia. They will do neuropsych testing next week and they should be able to tell us more then.
Anyway, I picked her up at the airport. Even though she gets wheelchair assistance when traveling, we've never had to even consider using a wheelchair to get from the luggage area to the car. I guess maybe I should have this time. She fell. Twice. Outside. In the parking lot. At night. Did I mention that I was by myself with her? And that it was dark?
Yeah, it was a little disconcerting. Especially since there was no way that I was going to be able to pick up that dead weight myself. Thank God for Good Samaritans. I saw a man walking and called for him, asking if he could get us some help. He came over and helped mom up. I guess I should say, picked mom up. We got her across the roadway and she went down again. So he picked her up again and we got her sitting on one of the concrete abuttments. He suggested that I get the car and bring it to them.
But I was a little hesitant to leave mom with this stranger. No matter how helpful he had been. Before I could really contemplate this dilemna, an older couple appeared out of nowhere wanting to help. So I left mom with the three of them and got the car. Eventually we got her strapped in and said our thank yous.
You know those emails that like to circulate about guardian angels and some people being angels on earth? It sure felt that way that night. First the young fellow, then the older couple who appeared literally out of nowhere.
We continued on our way. Got a hotel. Made our appointments the next day and eventually got back home again. But it wasn't just Mom falling ... 'just', as if that wasn't bad enough. She was a lot more confused than 'usual'. And really not herself. I am hoping that it was just the traveling that threw her off so bad. And then being back home again, things will eventually get back to normal ... or what passes for normal around here.
Because if not ... I'm not sure what we will do. I certainly don't see how I can take Mom out alone if she is going to keep falling. Nor do I see how it could be safe for her to stay in her own little house if she stayed so confused. But they say traveling and airports and such can be very aggravating for someone in mom's condition. So I guess we will wait and see what happens.
In the meantime, we soldier on. Or, we will anyway, after a nap. For me, that is. Not her. But I was just wondering ... Are we having fun yet? And if I had a crystal ball, would I really want one?