When Responsibility Calls

Back when Covid was first making its appearance and creating fear among the masses, I was working. I had been told often how I would have a job, how I was essential, until I wasn’t. The day I was told my lay off was permanent I was blindsided. Every emotion known and a few new ones flooded through my system. Confusion, anger, disbelief, betrayal. Though I accepted the loss of my job, for a while I held onto the ‘when things pick up we’ll call you back’ comment. It did not take long though that the realization of why my job loss came to be. I had a bigger responsibility. My parents.

The fact that my parents are still with us is a great blessing. They are up there in age and there are many things they are no longer able to do like they once did. We have extended family living around us, so I in no way take care of them on my own. Due though to the fact that the others either work or have their own families to take care of, a large part of the responsibility falls to me. I accept it gladly. I am also thankful for the Lord making it possible that I could do this. Without His help, I would have had to return to work. Instead after the unemployment ran out I took early retirement.

I’ve been here to take mom shopping when need be, or to go get things for her when she doesn’t want to go. I’ve been their Uber driver, personal assistant, secretary, Door Dash, listening ear, and what ever else is needed at the moment. It is not an easy assignment. There are times when being patient and understanding is a struggle. There are times when the instructions I tell mom to take deep breaths, I have to give myself.

All of which brings us to yesterday.

My dad had an appointment for his physical. I drove mom’s car because it is easier to get in and out of for them and it isn’t making all of those notification noises with lights lit on the dash. We get to the doctor’s office and I help them get out of the car, then go and park. Once inside we wait for his appointment. One thing to mention, last Sunday morning dad had fallen while walking out his back door into the carport. His ankle had turned several interesting shades of blue and purple. When they finally went back, they mentioned his fall. After the physical and after the lab work, they took an x-ray of his ankle. It was broken. Since his doctor feared he would not be able to get into an orthopedic office quickly, we were sent to the emergency room.

And the weirdness and long wait began. I knew it would when I helped them out of the car at the door then went to park the car…and there was nowhere to park. On my second trip around I happened to turn the corner to one car waiting on another to leave. While we waited someone approached another vehicle and there was my parking spot. When I got into the hospital, mom and dad were in line to check in. The lady at the sign in desk was the only one the entire day who was less that friendly. Her attitude did change when she saw my mother’s face, and probably mine, at her comments. Once dad got his lovely bracelet, we took a seat and waited.

He was called back for vitals, then brought back to wait. Finally he was called back for them to look at his ankle, then was brought back to wait. Then they took him, and I followed, to get new x-rays. Which seeing the images was amazing, but still this was dragging. Mom and dad were tired and hungry. I don’t recall the exact time, but I sent a text message to my brother asking if he was anywhere close if he could bring something for them to eat. Something he was able to take care of for us. I knew the hospital has a cafeteria, but I wasn’t leaving them not knowing when the next time would come for them to take him for something or other. My brother did bring hamburgers and fries, there was a drink machine near where we sat. The fast food place did not include napkins but near the vending machines were the restrooms, which did have paper towels, better anyway.

Finally, we were taken back to an emergency room. Up to now, all of the medical personnel who had been attending dad had been wonderful. The nurse in the emergency room was amazing. He was kind, he was funny, he was attentive. He took dad, who this entire time had been riding about in a wheelchair, to the restroom. When he returned, I asked if they possibly had a warmed blanket. My mother had been complaining about being cold almost the entire time we had been in the hospital. When I asked she was saying no, until he brought it and I draped it around her. Her words of not wanting to be a bother quickly changed to words of appreciation.

When the doctor arrived he talked with dad, wondering why we had waited so long to bring him to the hospital. Since his fall had been on Sunday morning and here it was Wednesday afternoon. We explained that we had no idea it was broken as he wasn’t in pain. He had thought it merely bruised until it was x-rayed and the break discovered. He checked dad over carefully. I did not blame him nor did I feel offended. He had to make sure there was no elder abuse or neglect taking place. Once he was satisfied, he said they were going to put a splint on his ankle and we needed to get him to see an orthopedic doctor he was sending him to within three days. Then back to his personal physician for a follow up.

After another relatively short wait, a member of his team came in to place the splint. I did help a bit since another set of hands were helpful. Once the doctor made a final check the kind, funny, attentive nurse brought the release paperwork. He then helped us make our way through the maze of the hospital back to the front and out the door. He helped dad from the wheelchair to a bench while I went for the car.

We got home right around four in the afternoon. From nine-thirty that morning until four, we had been in one doctor’s office or another. Dad having one test or another. It was a rough day for all of us. I got them inside, walked their dog and brought in their mail. When I helped smooth out dad’s bed because he doesn’t like wrinkled sheets, mom made a comment to me. She said that she appreciated all I was doing and that some day she would make it up to me. I told her then, she and dad had done so much for me, that I would never be able to make up for that. She doesn’t know, that for me, this is not merely a responsibility, being about to be here and take care of their needs, is a blessing and a joy. Yes, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that there are times it is rough. There are times I need a mental health day. Otherwise, I will be here and doing the very best I can, when responsibility, and love, calls.

 I will also admit that I told my family, that God forbid we have to do this again, I will do things differently. While I do realize that yesterday they were very busy, and maybe they did the best they could. Still, I will not tell them the doctor sent him. I will tell them he is in pain. I will not let them know anything about his having already been seen. I know they take the worst first. I know they take those brought in by ambulance first. I don’t want to prevent the really in danger help, but I don’t want my elderly parents to remain sitting all day, uncomfortable, cold, emotionally reaching their limit, because he isn’t in pain.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention this. I also know, that there are families who are dysfunctional. I know there are parents who did not take care of their families as they should. I know, that in today’s society, a lot of families do not live close as we once did.  I know the health of some make home care impossible.  I know all of the things that would make it difficult in the least, impossible at the worst, to take care of parents as I am able. I am very grateful, that I am able to care for mine, though I would never judge those who cannot.

Here is how I see things. Not just with my parents. As a Christian, I know we are instructed to take care of the elderly, the children, the widowed, the poor. All of those who are in need, we are to give care. I think, we should begin with family, and work our way outward. Caring for friends, neighbors, the individual on the street, those in need. The hungry, the cold, the ones who need warm clothing. We need to be ready and willing to answer, no matter who it is, when responsibility calls. For taking care of each other, actually is our responsibility.

Life is an amazing journey. We never know what awaits around the next bend. No matter what, may we be ready and willing to take on what comes.

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About rebecca s revels

A writer, a photographer, a cancer survivor. An adventurer of the mild kind, a lover of the simple pleasures such as long walks and chocolate. A Christian unashamed of my faith and a friend who is dependable and will encourage readily. Author of three self published books with more waiting to find their way to paper. An advocate of good things, a fighter against wrongs.
This entry was posted in adventure, encouragement, faith, family, healthy, inspiration, life's journey, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to When Responsibility Calls

  1. pkadams says:

    Sigh, I’ve had many of those long Emergency Room waits and it is exhausting. Caregiving is a hard job, but I do believe God blesses us who do it ungrudgingly and with love towards those who need us and for God’s glory. My own mother is 81 and has been very independent , still working and driving, but I feel that the day is fast approaching when I will be spending more time with her until she leaves us. I hope you have a good day today and get to enjoy some time to yourself.

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