As many of my readers know, I have an ongoing side story of having to take care of my elderly in-laws. Luke, as seen above, just got out the hospital yesterday and wanted to go right away to the commissary (grocery store in the nearby Marine Corps base). Luke is a cantankerous old man with a mind about as graceful as a Sherman tank. He was a Green Beret in the 70s and 80s and had risen to the rank of Master Sergeant which is a big deal. He dutilessly likes to ignore doctors’ orders, and just carries on doing his own thing regardless of the outcome.
Today he was yelling from down the stairs wanting to go the commissary and my wife who is at her wits end with him gave him a piece of her mind about his non-compliance. So by default, I took him to give my wife a bit of respite.
As we arrive at the commissary, Luke immediately bypasses the security check, goes through the back door and grabs a scooter shopping cart. I look at the security personnel who know him (he has been going to the commissary just about daily for the past 20 years) and tolerate his shenanigans.
Luke tears through the isles at about 20mph on his scooter (slight exaggeration, but not). All the other servicemen just let him do his thing because he is a Master Sergeant. After four wheeling around the store a few times, he plucks a few items off the shelves, and then bypasses the long queue of shoppers and goes straight to next available cashier. Nobody minds and seems to be amused at his rule breaking. After all, he does this every day.
Luke seems to prefer me as his caregiver probably because I don’t yell at him. Often times I am summoned to give him therapeutic car rides in the middle of the day when I am working at home. Luke has a very pronounced hunch in his back which I feel contributes (if not causes) his achalasia. That is a condition where the esophagus is so tight that as a reflex, every thing you eat comes right back out. In his last hospital admission, they had to botox his esophagus to loosen it up to allow food to pass through.
So to relieve his hunch, I put him on an Iyengar chair sitting on the edge, place my shin over the back of the chair seat an into his spine, and pull the sides of his shoulders back. He says this gives him tremendous relief.
It gives me relief too, as what ever frustrations I have towards him are displaced by pulling his shoulders back and jabbing my shin in his back 🙂 Hopefully we can avoid another ER visit this week…