Spoiled rotten — 020211

It’s me.  I’m spoiled rotten.  Let me explain.

Six years ago, I became responsible for my parents’ well-being.  I personally enlisted the help of medical professionals, lawyers, assisted living facilities, hospitals, government agencies and NGO’s.  I was able to maintain communication and relationships with all of these hard-working people by phone and e-mail from my home in Minneapolis.

I’d call so-and-so’s office and make a request.  Or I’d call a hospital ward (before my arrival) to get an update.  Or I’d e-mail the attorney asking for something.  You get the idea.

Here’s what happened.  They called back ! I don’t just mean that a staffer called back; I mean that the doctor or lawyer or the overworked county official called me back ! This simply doesn’t happen in the big city.  But it does happen here in Greensboro, North Carolina where my parents are/were retired (Pop passed away last August).

Lisa and I moved to NC about fifteen months ago.  Shortly thereafter, we met a nice lady who’d just opened a lovely café.  After not seeing us for a few weeks, Marcia called us to see if we were okay.

I was stunned at first; couldn’t figure out how to behave —  that’s how unusual it was to me.  But, over time, I did acclimate to this level of responsiveness and caring from the good people of Greensboro…much to my delight and with plenty of appreciation.

I bring this up for two reasons: 1) to heap praise on a city, and on a community of  professional caregivers, and 2) to criticize myself for expecting too much.

I write lists of things that need doing and who should be doing them.  I’m good at communicating my desires and usually get what I need not because I crack a proverbial whip, but because I have relationships with each of the people with whom I’m dealing.  They know I care about them as much as they care about my mother.

Such was the case a couple of weeks ago.  I brought my little bucket of ‘to-do’s’ with me to Piedmont Place and told the various folks there what I wanted.  Then, after several days, I checked back to see if these things had been done.  To my astonishment, they were not.  I shook the tree again, waited a couple of days more, and – nope – still not done.  Privately, I began to feel like a child who was not getting his way.  Two days ago, I arrived at PP again and – voilà! – almost all done.  While I was there, the head maintenance guy hunted me down, and together we solved another issue.

The moral of the story: You can’t always get what you want; you get what you need (with a nod to Mick and the boys).  Caregivers, administrators, staffers, workers of all stripes have jobs to do and, often, not enough time to get those jobs done.  I have to adjust my expectations accordingly, and I must hotly pursue only those things that are truly urgent.

We, the community of caregivers, are repeatedly counseled to take care of ourselves.  Good advice; and quite necessary.  Perhaps my story serves to demonstrate that the professionals who get paid to take care of Mom should also be taken care of.  They are people, too.


About FredMarx

Old enough to have wisdom; young enough to learn.
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