Friday night I took mom out for fish and chips. She had asked about them a couple of weeks ago and even though I know she forgot, I didn’t. Last night was perfect because my husband was heading out to his daughter’s for the evening. It would be just mom and me. My treat.
The restaurant is only about 1/2 mile from the house which is close for this area. It took longer to get her out the door, down the couple of steps, and into the car then it did to drive there. Mom has had a walker for a year or so but her balance lately is getting very unstable. She hit her shin on the shower chair the other day and I almost lost her backwards in the kitchen even before we could get out the door last night.
It is going to be fine, I assured myself. The handicap entrance is on the side of the building right where the booths are. Up the sidewalk and into the building. I can do this, it is going to be fine.
Well she insisted on walking her own way instead of where I needed her to go. By the time she got around the car she was looking at a big step up onto the sidewalk. I had to direct her, by taking the walker in one hand and her jacket sleeve in the other, to where it was a little less of a step. Telling her the whole time that the step is too big for me. Meanwhile one of the customers sitting in a booth saw me struggling and ran outside to help. (the beauty of a very small town)
We got her up the step and he held the door so she could maneuver the walker in. Of course she stopped right where she was so he couldn’t get back in. I had to tell her a couple of times that she needed to move. I probably sounded like I was yelling at her but that is what I need to do in order to get her to react. She finally realized she was standing right in the way and moved over. I then had to do something that scared me. Leave her standing there so I could move the car out of the way. YIKES! It was ok. I got back in there and she had stayed where she was.
There were no booths left and the tables were all way to high for her to sit at. I thought this was all for naught we were going to have to find someplace else to eat. I was so wrong. The girl behind the bar told me to wait and she would bring out a low table and some chairs. I think it was actually the cook who brought out the table and both waitresses grabbed a chair and brought them out to us. I was almost in tears. Again the beauty of small town.
So we both had a huge plate of fish and chips. Mom had a coffee and I had a ginger ale. It was not crowded, but it was loud because an acoustic musician was setting up to play. The service had been lightening fast and we would be done almost before he was set to start.
Some guy was mulling around from table to table grabbing a seat and talking to everyone. Not sure who he was but everyone was talking to him like they knew him. I don’t get out much so he is probably a regular and I just never saw him around town. He sat down across from me and started talking to mom and I. She of course introduced me as her sister Jane. I shook his hand and said “hi, I’m Ann” He soon got up and let her continue eating.
After we were done I realized I would have to leave her again so I could get the car. I told her a couple of times to just stay there and I would be right back. I practically ran out of the place to get to the car. I jumped in and turned the key. NOTHING! Oh my God. Not a good time for the starter to act up. I tried again. NOTHING! I tried not to panic, the car does this occasionally. I took a deep breath, moved the shifter up and down, and tried again. WoooHooo it turned over! I backed out of the spot and realized it was now snowing. Good thing we only live around the corner.
I turned the car so that mom’s door was at the walkway and ran back into the restaurant. The wandering man was sitting with her. He was being nice, but I know mom is not a social person. Especially with men. She looked uncomfortable.
He waited while she stood and zipped her jacket. Then he held the doors for us and we proceeded out onto the walk. Mom didn’t know which way to go so I yelled straight, go straight. Didn’t she turn her walker and head right for the huge drop off. I must’ve sounded like the most horrible person around. I yelled at the top of my lungs. “NO! STRAIGHT GO STRAIGHT!” She kept moving to the edge. It seemed like an eternity, but I managed to get to her and grab the walker. I pointed in the direction I wanted her to go and yelled “STRAIGHT, I want you to go straight” She just laughed and turned down the walk. My heart was going a mile a minute. I just wanted to get her in the car then into the house.
The man helped us down the walk and held the car door for her to get in. I thanked him profusely and told him to have a great night, that we only lived around the corner and would be fine.
Home, we made it in with me only having one more scare. When mom decided to start up the stairs without me being beside her.
I could have used a stiff drink when I got her settled with a tea, but I had a sleepy time tea instead. Not that I needed any help getting tired. I was exhausted from the outing.
I couldn’t wait for it to be time for her pills so I could go to bed.
She picked that time to question whether I wanted her there or not. She ended up laughing when I told her “Don’t worry I’ll throw you out when I don’t want you here anymore.” I felt awful as soon as the words came out. That will be the one thing she remembers if I have to put her into a full-time care facility. This is so much harder than I thought it was going to be.