Two weeks ago today Ms. D my elderly neighbor lady and day care for my basset hounds and one of the biggest influences for me getting into woodworking and taking on the restoring “This Old Crack House”, fell in her home and broke here leg in three places.
She had surgery. She had rods, pins, and screws placed from the knee down to the toes.
We moved her to a rehab nursing home two days after surgery.
Other than an older brother who lives 1000 miles away and is suffering from cancer there is no other living immediate family.
Over the last ten years we have become her family. Our block, her church and a few others are all she has left.
She has taken on the role of the, cheer leader, lunch lady and advice giver over the years since our moving here to the neighborhood, that she has lived in for 67 years.
At her insistence every Saturday and Sunday mornings along with several other days in between she has taken it upon herself to bake rolls, cup cakes, other assorted goodies along with lunch, to serve all of us who have been involved in not only the rehab of “This Old Crack House’, but what ever wood working projects that were going on in the shop.
This has been going on for years.
Any effort to discourage this is met with stern looks, sharp tongue and cold shoulder.
I have tried to explain 500 times she doesn’t have to do this.
Every time she sternly lectures me with the” I know I don’t have to do this, I want to lecture”.
This is followed by the snide comments only a stubborn German lady would make. One of her favorites is “have you been inhaling too many fumes and finally gone plum nuts?
Followed by that look.
I never answer her question.
This exchange is Immediately followed by her suggested menu for lunch she wants to cook for all of us that day.
This is a weekly argument.
She always wins.
Being in the nursing home is hard on her.
She calls several times a day to see how her “kids,” my basset hounds are doing and other trivial things like, are you eating right?
Because she lives alone and at this point is unable to care for here self yet, she has to remain in the nursing home.
This is killing her.
Besides she had no way to get into her home being in a wheel chair, even if we could have got home care nursing for her.
That was until yesterday.
One of her biggest fears is to end up in a nursing home, for the rest of her life.
She won’t come out and say this.
I can tell it weighs heavy on her mind.
She says she tells the nursing home staff that her life is at home not here. She tells them she’s not I’m not ready to go yet.
They nod and say they understand. But they point out that her home isn’t set up for handicap access.
It will be.
Several of us who have benefited from Ms.D’s company and good food have gone to work to be sure that her home will accommodate her. We also don’t want the nursing home to have a excuse to keep her for any length of time beyond what is necessary.
So far we have poured several yards of concrete to widen all her side walks so she can get here wheel chair up and down them with ease. Today we were going to build her a handicap ramp, so she could get into her home.
The next project will be to build her a handicap bath room access.
Yesterday,my brother in law and 80 something year old father came to help me build a handicap access ramp into her house.
My father who suffers from Parkinson disease and has had recent back surgery insisted he come to help us and in his own words “would assure we would get the job done right” came to help build this ramp for Ms. D.
I tried to convince dad that he didn’t have to help, and he could just sit and watch us.
I got the look and the lecture.
He said, “Just because I don’t buy green bananas anymore doesn’t mean I don’t have anything to offer”.
“I’m old, not helpless.” he said.
“Besides I know if I needed a ramp, Ms. D would make the lunch for you guys so you could do the job”.
I lost another argument.
For the day he was in charge.
He was in his glory.
We let him be there.
I asked why at the end of the day why he didn’t come down more to my shop, not to work but just hang out.
He said, “You never invited me”.
One thing for sure, his body maybe slowly going, but his mind and tongue work just fine.