Monday, April 30, 2007

Got My Aunt Moved!

Success! In one very long day -- spanning 560 miles and 12 hours, Jackie and I drove to Sweet Home, Oregon to move my aunt "Tod" up here to live closer to us in a residential care facility. The drive was relatively easy -- no traffic tie-ups and no close calls (my gosh, people were behaving on the roads yesterday! No maniacs at all!), but getting Tod to leave behind anything was nigh unto impossible. We only had one KIA Sorento SUV to get stuff into, and knew that even stuffing that to the brim, it would never all fit into the studio apartment she has, but we did stuff it and bring her up. We unloaded everything and placed it all within easy reach on tables or in high boxes, so she can go through it and realize all the stuff she has that she no longer uses, and the amount of space she has in which to store it. I told her, "Go through it and hang and place your absolute favorite things away first, because you will see when you are getting to the limit of the capacity of this room, and then the rest will have to go out, and we'll take it and donate it..."

Jackie and I both have to work all week, but Jackie has Tod all set up for dialysis and doctor appointments, and we'll both stop by today as we can to see how she is progressing. I may have dinner with her tonight at 5:30...

I think she's really happy so far! She is relieved to be up here closer to people who give a rip about her. She said twice on the way up to each of us, "When I got sick a couple months ago, it was awfully scary to be far away and all by myself" and "I don't want to die alone." Universal sentiments, I'm sure! Two reasons WE wanted her closer. It's hard to advocate for someone when they are a state away!

She is quite frail but I was amazed at her ability, with just a little boost, to get herself in and out of the SUV four times. And she walked a lot yesterday, because after we got her settled in (as best we could) she agreed to go to Jackie's for dinner. Now, that's HUGE! You can't usually blast her out of her home, but I think she is really, really glad to be close to relatives again and it not going to let the opportunity pass the way she has for so many years in her life.

Jackie's youngest grandchild Jamie Lee was all over her before and after dinner, and that lit Tod up. Jamie is irrepressibly irresistible -- just an absolute charmer -- and she ran her small almost-three year old hands through the texture of Tod's recently permed curly hair several times, asked to climb into her lap, and traced the folds of skin in her neck with her fingers, just grinning and delighting in her. Older people don't get enough tactile stimulation (do any of us?) so Jamie was "just what the doctor ordered," and I think Tod will be back for more of that!

It's good to have her closer. Phil made her a banner that reads WELCOME HOME, TOD and she will awake to that this morning. I placed four of her favorite pictures on her walls (not too high, not too low, to her exacting specs) and I think she will find her surroundings (except for the many boxes still needing to be unloaded) very much to her liking. She looked tired but very, very happy!

I have to run off to work now, but wanted to remind you why I have been absent from this blog.

1 comment:

Alison said...

Welcome back! Glad you had a safe journey.