This was going to be such a great run of posts. My urban life sans grocery stores. Then life got in the way.
My mother in law, we’ll call her C, is 85 years old and lives alone in a small town on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Seven years ago she was living with us, quite accidently, due to a string of unfortunate medical problems (a drug resistant staph infection, two strokes, one long leg bypass, and a hematoma on her kidney just to name a few) and while we wanted her to stay, she was going to have nothing to do with it. So my husband went back with her, arranged for folks from the county to come in and provide weekly visits, and housekeeping services. He brought all of her medical records along and sat with each of her doctors so everyone was up to date on her medical history, reluctantly he got her a new car to replace the ’84 Toyota stick shift she’d been driving. I got her bills and prescriptions organized. We got a POA to give us decision making authority. We got her a membership to the YMCA so she could go and walk every day (essential to managing the severe peripheral vascular disease that has been threatening to take her legs from her for the last decade), we did everything we could so she could return to an independent life. And it was working…or so we thought.
When I posted that I was dealing with a family issue and would return soon I had no idea that I was dealing with the end of that chapter of her life.
It started with cataract surgery which for most people is simple. And had the eye surgeon known about her medical history and had taken the appropriate measures it would have been. But somewhere along the way, and without our knowledge, C changed doctors. And her new doctor either didn’t know of how extraordinary her care needs were, or didn’t care, because none of that information was passed on to the surgeon. So, of course, that simple surgery went wrong. An operation that should have taken 1 day to perform and recover from took 3 weeks. And all those services we’d put in place were gone too. Turns out that if C didn’t like someone who was replacing her original visiting nurse/housekeeper/aide she’d just cancel the service then lie to us about it. And while we were scrambling to figure out what happened with everything we’d put in place, and trying to find replacements from 3000 miles away our worst fear came to fruition.
C was driving along a main road and had some sort of “incident” behind the wheel. She sideswiped one car as she crossed the median and drove into on coming traffic hitting a car head on. Fortunately, the top speed in her small town is only 35mph. C was the only one to suffer any injuries and aside from whatever rendered her incapacitated those were minimal. She returned to her home last Thursday. Just not alone.
That’s right, C can no longer live alone. C can no longer drive. And C still refuses to leave her little town in Maryland or the house her youngest child (my husband) was born in. Fortunately D has a sibling who was able and willing to pick up and leave his life in Texas behind to care for C in her home. So once again D traveled back to “the shore” to get C settled and to get services in place for both her and his sibling while I manged hospitals, insurance agencies and police as we all prepare for this next chapter.
Needless to say, staying out of a grocery store has been the last thing on my mind. So maybe you’ll find it as surprising as I have that I still haven’t been in a grocery store. We’ve eaten out a few more times than normal (twice a week instead of once), but we’ve stayed true to ensuring the food was whole, local and organic whenever possible. As a result, we’ve found some great new places which I hope to post about soon. But mostly it’s been our CSA’s and the milkman that have kept us going. You’d think that feeding my family while working full time (on a flex schedule), being a full time home-maker with only 21 hours of child care a week, and managing everything regarding C’s care from 3000 miles away would necessitate regular visits to the local mega-mart. With over 30 grocery store free days behind me I can very assuredly and gladly say that we’re both wrong.