Aging Parents vs.Vacations Plans–continued from yesterday

 I Need Your Help

These 4 words pull people we’re speaking to into our sphere of concern. They become partners with us as we search for solutions. They feel they need to help.  And thus, they almost always respond by giving all the help necessary to get the problem solved. Suffice to say, when we think we’re going to a possible parent’s deathbed, we need help.

And so, in the wee hours of the Italian morning, the airline personnel seemed to go out of their way to get me to my destination in the shortest time possible.

Fortunately I had a Plan A–someone to meet me at the airport should I ever need to make the quick trip back. That part of the plan went like clockwork, which is why it’s one of the “necessities” in yesterday’s post. Many years ago I spoke with my brother and a very good friend about their flexibility should I need to fly back on the spur of the moment. My brother was there, at the ready.

When we got to the house our frail, semi-asleep mother could barely keep her eyes open, and was in no condition to appreciate the new Italian sweater I brought–or anything for that matter. But I knew she was glad I was there.

With a list of Mother’s doctors and an updated list of her medications always in my wallet, (another necessity as many of us know), I was ready to communicate intelligently with her doctors. Turned out medication– too much and some unnecessary–caused the problem. So simple, yet so emotionally and physically draining for everyone involved.

What did I learn? Planning ahead for emergency situations is just plain sensible. When stress is high it’s comforting to know we don’t have to worry about certain things and we do have some control over others. When coming a distance, having someone who cares and shares our concerns there to meet us is welcoming and supportive. And keeping essential information at hand makes communication with professionals more effective and efficient. Last but not least, when the unexpected happens and we can’t do it alone, I NEED YOUR HELP are important words to remember.

I also learned we have good friends who we had to suddenly abandon in Italy. They survived and so has our friendship.