The Thoughts of a Frumpy Professor

............................................ ............................................ A blog devoted to the ramblings of a small town, middle aged college professor as he experiences life and all its strange variances.

Wednesday, August 03, 2022



My elderly mother-in-law is becoming significantly more "forgetful" than even just 2-3 months ago.  And, unfortunately, her back issues make her mobility more and more "sketchy" even with the use of a cane or a walker.  My wife and I are fearful that she may not be able to live in her home any longer as she is on the verge of needing supervision.  This is a VERY, VERY difficult, as she is extremely adamant about staying in her home.

My wife and I have been discussing three potential options:

1.  My wife, for the conceivable future, could end up staying overnight with her Mom, but this would only work if her siblings would also agree to help to stay with Mom during the times my wife would need to leave the house for work.  Unfortunately, that is a BIG if with those siblings.  Also, the daily hour commute to and then hour long commute from work to my MIL's home would be quite taxing for my wife.  And, I would also miss her tremendously as well.

2.  We could have my MIL come to live with one of the siblings.  For similar reasons as in #1, this would likely mean that Mom would come to live with us.  This could be good, but the risks and difficulties include that even our first floor has several different step-up or step-down changes in floor level that would be very challenging and dangerous for my MIL to try to navigate with her limited mobility.  We also do not have a bedroom on the first floor, so we would likely have to change our family room into a "bedroom" of sorts for Mom. Luckily, if we did this, the family room has doors so it would be more "bedroom-like" in feel for her.  There is still the very, very big challenge also of how to have her have supervision during the day when we are at work (again, my wife's siblings are sadly not predictable).  AND, there is the very, very difficult process of convincing Mom to leave her home as well.  

3.  We could potentially find an "assisted living" place for Mom.  This *seems* like the best solution in terms of safety.  It also would be a place where there are community spaces where other residents aggregate and do things so it could be a very good area for Mom to get more socialization options as well.  But, this idea may be the hardest of the three in terms of Mom and the resistance she will have to leaving her home.  

* * * * * 

PCS - back to 6.  It is funny to think of "6" as being a bit of a relief.  I still think about pipes and pipe tobaccos many, many times each day.  I still have the interest and desire to smoke my pipes.  It is just that the INTENSITY of the "yearning" or "desire" is not quite as harsh. When I move even further down the PCS scale to say, a “4” or less, I actually have some periods of time in a day where I actually am not really thinking about pipes and pipe tobaccos at all.  

* * * * * 

My friend who goes by "Unknown" mentioned he was surprised that I was "surprised" at my Pavlovian & Skinnerian absent-mindedness in reaching towards my pocket for a pipe that wasn't there.  I can understand his point.... but I think what I was meaning more was that I surprised that after all these long four plus years away, the pattern could still be elicited.  As he also mentioned, I have on occasion, carried a pipe around with me, but in those cases, it was done with a more purposeful intent.... to interact with the pipe, so as to attempt to quell some of the sense of loss. 

* * * * *

Ran only 13.7 (~22km) miles this morning.  I had planned last night that I would run 15 miles (~24km) again today, but, I overslept a bit, and I could not fit all the miles I wanted to in.... before I needed to head to the U.  I did not hit the pavement running this morning until 6:45am.... far later than I had planned... and just a little bit TOO late to to get in all 15 planned. 



Blogger Margaret said...

Such a dilemma indeed. I'm in a similar position with my mom; she can still manage (with help) but barely. My brother tries to be helpful but he still works and has two kids at home so he's busier than I am. Hope you can figure something out!

Wednesday, 03 August, 2022  
Blogger Pat M. said...

Is there perhaps an assisted living facility nearby where your MIL could spend just daytime hours for a while? She could enjoy the companionship, get involved in activities, and form some friendly connections that might then make it easier to convince her to sell her home and become a full-time resident at the facility.

I remain amazed that you can write of running more than a half-marathon yet use the word "only" in the sentence. Between that and the comments about caring for your MIL, one might suspect that you possess most of the discipline and persistence that can be found among your siblings and siblings-in-law.

Your comments also make me wonder about your PCS. Do you find that when you are deeply immersed in thought and activity having nothing to do with your pipes, your PCS drops in a commensurate manner? Or is it almost the reverse -- that when you are "in the zone" and being yourself at your most natural, you find yourself coming closer to old habits like reaching for a pipe?

Wednesday, 03 August, 2022  
Blogger Forsythia said...

It is SO difficult to work out a solution for an elderly parent that suits everyone. The assisted living option is the probably the way to go. With the money she got from the sale of her house, Mom financed the construction of an addition to our house. It sounds as if we found a "happy" solution, but, truth be told, she was never happy here. She often said she wished she had moved into a retirement home in her home town.

Wednesday, 03 August, 2022  

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