Monday, January 24, 2011

Interview with Mickey and Esther

How long was this stay in California?

Mickey: Been here more often than not since September, for 6 weeks the very last time. In September I was worried about mom, she didn't seem to want to do as much for herself as she had at the start of the summer.  Then she'd more active, when we went to Costco together she'd always want to ride around on the electric scooter.  And She didn't have the same sense of humor she'd had before.

Things stayed like that pretty much through November. Mom would say things like "You don't care about me, I'm not first on your list."  Once I went out and came back at 11 at night, and she asked me where I'd been, asking in a way that told me I was on the outs.  It felt like I was a teenager an she'd put me on restriction.

But the last few weeks there's been a complete flip-flop. For example, now she wants to go for walks with me and Mia.

Esther: It's nice to have Mia around.  

Yesterday I took my power chair into the piano room, then walked back into the living room entirely by myself.  I mean entirely, without my walker, without anybody following me to make sure I was OK. That's a big change in me, wanting to do stuff, and being confident enough to try it.  I could even do without Heidi, Gale and I could handle the mail.  But I don't want to let her go when she's having such hard times.

Another change is that I'm learning to accept thing as they are. For example, I've accepted that Mickey left his job at Costco, and it's up to decide what comes next.  Maybe he'll go back to Costco, or maybe he'll do volunteer work or develop a hobby.

What accounts for the change?

Esther: Maybe it's just that my blood counts are better, my hemoglobin and the rest of it.

Mickey: Talking to Jodi helped too.  That's the counselor we've been seeing together on and off for about three years.

Esther: One morning Mickey got upset with me.  I told him I'd had a bad night, that my hands were hurting, and he said "why didn't you wake me up?!"  I said I didn't want to disturb you, and he said that's what he's here for.  He made me promise to call him if it happened again, and once I did.

Mickey: She's more willing to ask for help, but she needs to do it less and less.

Esther: In the evening, Mickey takes a nap after Pearlita leaves, and we've gotten into the habit of talking or watching a movie when he wakes up.  That's often our best time together.  Last night we watched "My Big Fat Greek Wedding."

Mickey: I liked that movie, there was a lot of life in it.

What was the best part of the stay for you?

Mickey: It was good for Mia.

Esther: You see, that's what annoys me about Mickey, he never says what's good for him, always for somebody else.

Mickey: The best thing was being a helper to my mom.  Significant others come and go, but parents and children are forever.  

How did you enjoy the current events group?

Mickey: I like Richard the moderator.  That guy David says the same stuff over and over again.  He's not Jewish, and another woman in the group wanted to kick him out.

Esther: He may not be Jewish, but he has a Jewish attitude.  I think Mickey likes the exchange of ideas, the disagreements.  I like the way Richard handles himself, the way he can dip in into his fund of knowledge to answer question.  I've also become more aware of the way different generations look at things.  My generation was shaped by hard times, people were out on the street.  I wonder how today's college grads will feel in 10 years.

Mickey: People in the group are very concerned about social security, medicare, Kaiser coverage.  I'm not that worried.

Esther: We're more worried than the younger generation.

Mickey: You went though hard times, but more was available after the war.

Esther: Now it might not help much, having another war.  We already have two.

Mickey: One thing that bothered me about the group was when they talked about the Arizona shooting.  Some of them thought they should put people away if the seemed like the might be potential trouble makers But that could mean jail for a lot of gentle souls?

When will you be coming back?

Mickey: Between the 10th and the 14th, for an indefinite stay.  My goals will be to help mom, and get a job. Might be going back to Costco.  I hope Sasha will be able to come down here for visits.

Esther: My goals are to be more independent, to do more on the computer.  To free Mickey to get a job, if that's what he want.  Or maybe he'll want a volunteer job instead, or to develop a hobby.

Mickey: It's not so much that mom needs somebody here to do for her, but she needs somebody to reassure her in case something happens.  Like the other day, she went to set down on her massage chair, and he accidentally sat down on the controls.  She was very upset until I came in and figured out what had happened.

Esther: I enjoy having somebody to talk to.  And one more thing.  I've been very, very happy to see the big change in Gale.  If she continues to work for me she'll do more and more, even though she may never be able to give me a shower.  Now she fixes my lunch, and can help me in the bathroom.  I'll still need her to wash the dishes and clean the house, but her work won't be cleaning so much as taking care of me.

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