Everything in its time — changes to accomodate Dad’s needs

St. Vincent dePaul came to my mom’s house yesterday to pick up Dad’s old recliner that he can no longer use and a few other items. I can’t remember exactly what the problem was with the recliner. I think Dad couldn’t get up out of it. So Mom started sitting him in a wing-back chair for their regular evening television time in the family room. Only now they’re not in the family room anymore. They’re in the living room because the family room was too far away from the bedrooms and everything just works better if Dad doesn’t have to walk or be moved too far. One day, maybe a year ago, my sister Carol and I moved their big T.V. into the living room and rearranged things for them.

Mom has since replaced Dad’s old recliner with a lift chair that seems to be working out pretty well, as long as Mom can manage to get Dad into it straight and far enough back so that he doesn’t fall out. One of his symptoms of Alzheimer’s is that he is not comfortable turning his body around, or backing up. In fact, I think it’s safe to say he actually seems scared of that type of movement. So getting Dad into any kind of chair has its challenges.

Anyway, St. Vincent dePaul was supposed to look at the computer desk with the hutch in my parents’ bedroom to see if they would take it. I was pretty sure we would have to at least remove the hutch. That’s what Mark and I had to do when we donated our roll-top desk last year. It’s a mute point because St. Vincent dePaul came at 8:15 am, about an hour earlier than Mom was expecting them, and Dad was still asleep in bed. They didn’t look at the desk.

Getting that desk out of their bedroom has been a goal of mine for probably six months or more. I moved the computer out of there early in January, and Mom cleared everything out of the desk, but the desk has continued to sit there taking up space. It’s kind of large with a pull-out side that converts it to an L-shape desktop. I figured it was going to have to be dismantled.

I am happy to say that yesterday I got into my dad’s tools in the garage and was able to separate the desk into three main parts that my sister Carol and I, with the help of Paula (Dad’s home health aide), moved into the garage until Mom can find someone to take it. Carol and I cleaned the dust that had accumulated behind the furniture and rearranged Dad’s chest of drawers and Mom’s dresser, making room for a hospital bed when Mom is ready to take that step.

It felt really good to get that desk out of there with all the reminders it sparked of Dad sitting there working on his computer. I’m glad it’s gone. It looks like a new room now for a new time.

Mom opened Dad’s side of the closet while we were in the room organizing and cleaning. I just glanced over for a moment and saw all his clothes neatly hung: his sports coats, dress pants, button-down shirts. Now he only wears pull-on shorts or athletic pants and t-shirts. He never wears shoes. Seeing all of his clothes hanging there, and his shoes neatly arranged on a rack, brought a glitch to my stomach.

Everything in its time.

One step at a time.

22 thoughts on “Everything in its time — changes to accomodate Dad’s needs”

    1. It sounds like you are already in this, Carl, and doing fine. It does make it immensely easier on my to share the responsibility that will come with siblings. Especially the decision-making parts, although right now my mom makes the decisions. I hope that will always continue. For some people it does. Maybe this will be the case for you.

      You will rise to the occasion. I’ve no doubt.

  1. This is such a moving post, Christine. I can’t imagine how this must all make you feel. Also, love the conclusiion of this post–the movement from shoes to “one step at a time.” Well done, my friend.

    1. Thank you Kathy. I try not to think about how it makes me feel. Call it denial if you want. I call it survival. It’s a pretty tough thing to face straight on. It helps to only take one day at a time. One decision at a time, and trust that we will be able to continue to manage things that way.

  2. I know the feeling, Christine. A journey that’s a one-way trip. I get that stomavch glitch, too. I like your last line. Everything in its time.

    Life is a one-way journey. Sometimes we get confused about the destination. It’s good. When we by faith see far out into an unending and joyous adventure, it’s all good. Everything in its time.

    1. I know you can relate to all of this, Carol Ann, from a much closer position, being the spouse.

      In the year or two before he died, my father in law used to say, “If heaven is such a great place, I don’t know why people are so afraid of dying.” He made his peace with it.

      But it takes a good deal of faith, I suppose.

  3. Those lift chairs are a great help…my MIL really loves hers.
    I know change is hard…one day at a time, one step at a time.

    1. They are great, aren’t they? We got Mark’s parents each one several years ago. I think it made the difference between Mark’s dad being able to sit in a recliner or not. He got stuck in one at our house one time and our strong young-adult boys had to lift him out.

      For my dad, it’s a little trickier. His mind is not always on task, and he likes to fiddle with things. Mom keeps the controller out of sight and reach behind the chair. Our fear is that if he had the controller, he would play with it and would unintentionally lift the chair up and not be ready to stand on his legs in time. The muscle to brain communication has really slowed down and is unreliable at times.

  4. It sounds like you’re getting your head wrapped around what must be done. I’m glad for that and glad that you’re still sharing with us how hard this journey is.


    1. Yes. I’ve got my head wrapped around it, getting my mom to accept it is another thing.

      I’m never sure how much to share, but I’ve brought people on this journey with me and I think there are readers, some who are in similar situations, who want to know, or find support in it.

  5. Thanks, Christine. A successful writer writes from the heart. We feel your heart in these posts about the journey your family is on. I have also noticed how many are on this same road, or have been down this road, who visit here. I’m glad you were able to get the desk moved. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, and lean on us when needed.

  6. Beautiful post.
    My father-in-law has had to move in with us as a result of time’s relentless march, so this post was especially heartwarming to me.

    1. That’s one of my biggest challenges, I think. I always like to try to plan ahead. I think it’s a control issue. I’m learning in this case it’s the only way to go.

  7. There is so much more to this than moving a desk, and that comes across in the way that you seem to write from the soul.

    Yes, one step at a time is really all you can do.


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: