I have been spending more time helping out my parents during Dad’s recovery from his broken hip. This past Sunday I made the 2 ½ hour drive North to hang out with my Dad while Mom was running the church Christmas craft fair. Six or seven hours is too long for him to be alone. His dementia makes it difficult for him to remember whether he has checked his blood sugar, ate his lunch, etc.
I arrived about 9:30 am and Dad was at the kitchen table working on word puzzles. He was glad to see me and we spent the next hour talking – mostly Dad talking about the things he remembers from his younger years and me listening.
Mid-morning Dad was ready for a walk. He checked his blood sugar which was high enough for him to be all set until lunch. We bundled ourselves into our down jackets, boots, hats and mittens, Dad using his new walking sticks for balance. We walked by the workmen digging a hole to put a piece of new water-line in the street. (A bit nuts if you ask me given that temperatures have already been down to 0◦F!)
When we turned down the side street the wind hit us full in the face prompting Dad to snap the top snap in his coat to keep the bitter wind from blowing down his neck. We kept going down the street, Dad telling me stories about many of the neighbors whose houses we passed. We turned onto the bridge to walk across the river. The wind gusted even stronger chasing us off the bridge before we got a quarter of the way across and we made our way back home. Dad is up to about a third of the distance of the walk he used to take before he broke his hip; pretty darn good just 11 weeks into recovery.
When we made it back home, Dad asked if we could go over to see Mom and the craft fair (a pleasant surprise!). After getting his fingers warmed up from our walk we got ourselves and Dad’s walker in the car. We surprised Mom and the other church ladies when we walked in the door. Several of Dad’s lady church friends were very happy to see him since they haven’t seen him much since his fall in September. The socializing lifted Dad’s spirits too. It was great to see all the happy smiles.
We spent the rest of the day eating lunch together, taking an after lunch walk (bundled up more warmly this time!) and playing cards til Mom returned. We then played one more game of cards with the three of us before I made the 2 ½ hour trek back home.
A day of building memories to cherish and remembering that half of life is showing up.