Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Great Escape

My parents are both in a nursing home about 4 hours away from me and although Daddy is as content as can be, just to be there, it’s an entirely different story for my Mama. She has what my Daddy has always referred to as “go-itis”. If she gets the urge to go, she will find a way to get there......

I have a brother that lives nearby in the same city as the nursing home and ends up doing all the little errands and duties that Mama has for him. He is a saint in my book because he never complains but takes it all in stride and never lets anything bug him.

Not too many Sunday’s back, Mama called my brother, Micah on the phone and said she just needed to get out for awhile and could he come get her to spend a few hours at his house. Of course Micah didn’t mind at all and agreed to pick her up that afternoon.

Micah may have been feeling somewhat obligated…… which is how Mama prefers it to be. When Mama moved into the nursing home, she no longer could have her own car, so she gave her car to Micah, who needed another car desperately with his teenagers coming of driving age. So it all worked out fine that Micah would take her car.

So Micah picks Mama up from the nursing home on this particular Sunday afternoon to spend the day with him. One little bitty problem though, you see, Micah works shift work and had been working all night. Now he needed to sleep.

“Oh don’t worry.”, Mama said. “I’ll be fine. You just go ahead and sleep and I’ll just be here entertaining myself while you get some rest.”

After about 30 minutes, Micah was sound asleep…..and Mama got the “go-it is”. She decided she wanted to visit one of her friends. She knew she should probably at least let Micah know, so she stirred him just a little and told him where she was going to be.

“Micah, I’m going to visit Lois for awhile. I’ll see you later.”, she whispered.

You should also know that one of the reasons that Micah is so good about taking everything in stride with Mama is because he just lets her do whatever she wants, to keep her happy. Never even entered his mind that she maybe shouldn’t be driving.

So Mama gets Micah’s car keys and drives to Lois’ house……spends an hour or so there, chatting and and discussing everything under the sun.

And that’s not all…..then she decides she might like to go to the evening service at church… know, while she’s out and about and everything.

So she did. She drove herself to church that evening and then back to the nursing home that night. She then called Micah to let him know that she was back at the nursing home and she would get the car back to him tomorrow.

What she didn’t know was ………..that somebody told on her.

“Miss Emilie, you know you are not supposed to be driving a car around town.”, the Doctor told her.

“But I can drive just fine. I can drive. I can.”, she pleaded.

“I know you think you can, Miss Emilie, but you cannot be driving yourself anymore.”, he explained.

Tears began to well in her eyes, and she promised him she wouldn’t drive again.

“But I still think I did just fine.”, she reiterated.

* * * *

I didn’t know about the incident until after the fact……and it’s probably just as well. She would have never let me off as easily as she let that Doctor off. Better him than me or one of my siblings.

And I truly am sorry that Mama had to give up her very last amount of freedom. She has always had that control and it’s now gone. She is totally dependent on others to take care of her needs.

If we live long enough, we may all find ourselves in Mama’s shoes.


  1. That's so scary! She's so lucky that nothing happened when she was out! I think it's great though that she still remembers her friends and wants to go spend time with them. Hopefully next time she can hitch a ride with someone else though. I can imagine though if I were in a nursing home I'd be just like that :)

  2. That's the thing about getting older - we lose so many of our freedoms.

    Carla, I loved this. I think it's one of my favourite things you've written. I love that you left it ambiguous as to whether she drank coffee... or not, and then went to church.

  3. dozenroses.....
    Yes, that is VERY scary. But she has accepted it and has concocted several plans to get where she wants to go. She's the original Lucy and Ethel.

    I'll never tell what those two women drank that day over the kitchen table! LOL!

  4. My darling 93 year-old grandmother has been living with us for over a month now. The education I have had. (sigh...and smile) The frustrations, the fears...the idea that she simply never gets hungry--and the challenge I've had to entice her to the table. How she misses my grandfather. I can only hope to age with the grace and beauty she has. She's 4'6" tall...and she humbles me.

  5. Chantel....
    Thank you for sharing your grandmother with us. It's tough being a caregiver but can be so rewarding, as well. I commend you for your faithfulness to her.

  6. While my father had moved in our home, he needed to renew his driver's license, mainly for "proper" ID. The man could not make a step on his own due to severe back pain and would walk behind his wheelchair bent over holding on the arm rests to walk into the bathroom or kitchen here. (10 to approx 20 feet at the most. When we went for the renewal in this state, they wanted him to prove he could walk on his own and not wheelchair bound. With all the strength and determination of a proud man, he stood up and walked the distance without his chair helping. I nearly fainted that he walked what he did and got his new license. He did drive one time after a couple years living with us "just for the fun of it" and it certainly was a bit scary but what a huge grin on his face.

    Great story Carla and happy to see you writing more these days. I do hope to visit by as much as allowed me these days. Keep on writing! You are quite a creative writer.

    Jane from Ohio

  7. Jane.....
    Thank you, Jane. I love hearing your "Father" stories!