This is my first blog post. There are so many whimsical and clever blog posts out on the internet, and even though I’m neither whimsical nor clever, I am nevertheless destined to write about adventures we have had in addressing Mom’s advanced age and dramatic reduction in physical mobility.
In October of 2016, I visited Mom in our hometown of Arlington, Virginia, and as soon as I got into the house, I said “I’m here to take you to Des Moines back with me.” Mom replied no – something like “Don’t be ridiculous!” or equally open to interpretation. She might as well have said “I’ll think about it” as far as I was concerned (more on my dominating, controlling, and oppressive personality in a later blog post). She won and I returned to Des Moines at the end of the week without her.
Thanks totally and completely to my brother, Mike, and only Mike, Mom decided to take a short trip to see us a few weeks later (November 2016). Today Mom appreciates Mike’s efforts to get her packed and to the airport more fully than ever before.
I don’t know how he did it. I guess the two of us collaborated on flight arrangements but he did the heavy lifting. He doesn’t live really close to Arlington, maybe about 2.5 hours away. He also has a busy life. More importantly, I don’t know how he convinced her to come “visit” us, but Mike is the one person in the family who truly does not take “no” for an answer if he is so inclined.
Somehow, he got down to Arlington, packed Mom (light enough to work with her goal of a very short trip but heavy enough to be realistic for what we all hoped would be much longer). There was medicine to pack, important medicine, so before the day of travel, Mom drove to pick up the refills (which might very well have been the last time she drove a car). She needed to pack vitamins, clothing, shoes that MIGHT be suitable for Iowa winter, or at the very least, shoes suitable for walking stability (my version of suitable has been labeled as vastly restrictive and unnecessarily unfashionable). But Mom had packed most of it herself, so all Mike had to do was get her to the airport, ummmm, with her mostly unable to walk but determined to do so anyway, and, oh, the dog, and, you know, dog food and such.
Preparations to take B.B., Mom’s 10+ year old Maltese (who has cancer and incontinence along with a limitless need to bark), would have required a discussion between my brother and Mom about whether a leash was needed and how best to transport the dog. Mom didn’t think the dog needed to be in any type of carrier and certainly didn’t believe in a dog leash. But, she was certain she could carry the dog in the dog carrier to and from the plane and later out to the baggage claim area or on the dog leash, whichever we all decided upon together. More on Mom’s actual ability to walk, much less carry anything, in a future blog post. Bottom line, the biggest consideration in preparing for Mom to travel to the airport was the dog’s comfort and happiness. I’ve asked Mike to describe/recall the story of getting Mom and B.B. prepared for air travel, which I’ve pasted here below:
insert Mike’s story
When Mom arrived in Des Moines, I snapped the above photo which captures the moment pretty well, because I believe it clearly documents the fact that B.B. was happy in spite of the cruel dog carrier in which she was traveling.
I don’t remember how I was able to successfully convince her to use her cane to walk, and to let me carry her luggage and B.B. in the carrier, but we did manage to figure that out together. And then there was the security guard who took his job very seriously, by announcing with great disdain over the loudspeaker the presence of the very illegally positioned car out in the front of the tiny airport with virtually no other visitors at 11:30 pm. He had all kinds of words of good advice for me for the next time I needed to pick up my Mom from the airport. She decided to stop and have a long conversation with him and thanked him for his trouble (I did not roll my eyes although perhaps he should have been considered the gracious one, for not rolling his eyes at me and my highly illegally positioned vehicle).