Monday, March 24, 2014

Last Week

I want to remember the week of 3/17/14. Second week of my kids 2 week spring break, road trip planned for Thursday to Albuquerque, NM. Visit family, the zoo, aquarium, etc. By Tuesday, the trip would already have to be pushed back a few hours, maybe even a whole day. Working in home health, flexibility is key and this particular week was no exception. A days worth of not locating patients, several with medical appointments, on the same day, left me frustrated, flustered on the verge of a full-blown temper tantrum. A couple days later, a flat tire, and with no other therapists to cover for me, I somehow convinced the kids to have a stay-cation instead. Luckily, Grandma, who was coming with us decided she'd go ahead and take them along with my grandmother. 

These events weren't particularly important on their own, but together they made for some interesting reactions and interpretations. The one important event was my grandmother's 85th, on Wednesday the 19th. She is my only living grandparent, whom I've been the closest to. In the days leading to her birthday, I spent time talking with her and in a way interviewing her. I asked if she'd let me record our conversations, she agreed. She is the epitome of strength. I admire her and love her dearly. One day, I'd like to write her story, a best I can and hopefully as close to her recollection taken from the recordings. It won't be for anyone other than myself and more importantly for my kids. God willing she will be with us long enough for them to remember her later in their lives. She at 85, they 6 and 8, it is safe to assume the opposite. Even so, I hope to share the amazing life she lived. Not a fancy life but a humble and hard life, by our standard that is. It was she who sacrificed so much, leaving Mexico to provide for her children that allows me to sit here, a Mexican-American woman, writing on a fancy iPad, in English, putting to use the education accessible to me based on geography and legalities. The rest we will leave for another day. 

Aside from my grandmother turning 85, this week I discharged two of my oldest patients 93 and 98. I enjoyed their company so much. It is my job to help patients regain as much independence as possible, yet I can't help feeling I take more away from working with the elderly and infirm. I love what I do, but there are times when it is "a job", which is exactly how this week started. With things not going by the schedule I envisioned, my job was getting in the way of my personal life. And on the day when this sentiment was at its peak, I found myself in the presence of a person who's whole life did not go as planned. A mind in tact, imprisoned in a non-functional body. Legs that can't walk, arms that can't reach, hands that can't grab, a mouth that can't chew or speak. There I was, standing on my two legs, in front of this man in his wheelchair, when just a few minutes before bitching about how my whole day went to shit, my trip would have to be pushed back, I was hungry, had a headache, blah, blah, blah. I wish I could discuss in detail what, in essence my signature can provide for this man. What I can say is it will slightly improve his quality of life and the thought of it brought him so much joy. His face lit up, eyes widened and in his unclear, mustered voice, annunciated "Thank You".

I couldn't help but feel the days events happened as they did for a reason. It wasn't how I would have scheduled, it wasn't my plan, it wasn't on my terms, or my time, but it was the right time. An eye opening time. A reminder of what my purpose is, a reminder of all I am blessed with, of all I am capable of, a reminder to be grateful for having a job, a job that allows me to provide for myself and kids. A job that allows me to provide services to people who cannot care for themselves entirely. That allows me to witness the resiliency of people society deems less fortunate. A job that allows me to witness unconditional, undying, love and devotion. A job that provides opportunity for humility and reflection. 


  1. "This world is swept away by aging, by illness, by death.
    For one swept on by aging no shelters exist.
    Keeping sight of this danger in death, do meritorious deeds that bring bliss.
    Make merit while alive.
    When the world is on fire with aging and death, one should salvage [future wealth] by giving:"