Thursday, July 03, 2008

caregiving: "almost" as normal as ice cream on a summer night

Caregiving can sometimes ‘feel’ as normal as ice cream on a summer night. Well, almost …



”Rakestraw's Ice Cream Company Store has been in business for over 100 years. Come here to enjoy 40 flavors of hand-dipped ice cream … Nobody dips the dips like Rakestraw's Dips!!!!” (


… it occurred to me how much caregiving can be like the Verizon Wireless commercial with the “network” behind the customer.


Obviously we needed to own our wheelchair accessible rampvan to even be there. CVM Dodge service team keeps it working and the PATF loan made it possible.


A call ahead to Patti’s care facility insures that her Depends and clothing are freshly changed and ready for an outing. Multiple staff members are involved.


Multiple Sclerosis related symptoms of dysphagia, mental confusion, and lack of hand coordination require adaptation. A cone is obviously out of the question, and cups are just too challenging to juggle.


I simply pick up a pint of fresh hand packed ice cream and we make the couple minute drive home to enjoy. "Deer Tracks" is Patti's and Megan's favorite flavor. Probably the same as "Moose Tracks" elsewhere depends on whether moose or deer wander through your ice cream.


At home I place a bib on Patti disguised as a chef’s apron. Patti’s lack of hand coordination and dysphagia can create a mess bordering on food fight art. A dear friend, Jean Faul, makes these for Patti.


Of course the table conversation is always priceless …


Megan: “Mom, can you possibly eat ice cream any louder?”


Patti: “I can’t help it if things get stuck.” 

Patrick: “What did I just tell you to do?”


Patti: “I don’t know I forget.”


Patrick: “CHEW! Don’t inhale!”


Patti: “‘Oh yeah, you did say that.” (noticing her dish is empty and ours are not) “Where is MY ice cream?


Megan: “You just inhaled it, and very noisily!”


Patti: “Then I want a ciggy. I’m tired and want to go to f#cking bed”.


Patrick: “Can we finish our ice cream?”


Patti: “You eat too slow.”


Caregivingly Yours, J Patrick Leer 





(also available in Blogger edition, Caregiver Blog: "Caregivingly Yours")


  1. Priceless.... LOL

    And what is Patrick's favorite ice cream??  


  2.  Love moose tracks and I am probably noisy also, LOL.


  3. LOL Patrick!! too cute!! I don't blame Patti; I would have inhaled that ice cream too! its nice when different people work together to provide a nice enjoyable time for Patti and you and Megan :)

    Happy Fourth :)


  4. ....a neighbor suggested we try "moose tracks"...........that was a double chocolate whammy! LOL   Go Patti!

  5. Thanks for inviting us along for the ice cream challenge (winks)....Have a great 4th hon! (Hugs)Indigo

  6. hope your 4th went well:)


  7. I do love those Verizon commercials... and after reading all those who are behind you to help make your life with Patti's "as normal as ice cream..." I appreciate the comparison. What a team! I can relate to that as a teacher. For some special children, a team of several professionals interact throughout the year, weeks, and days to make education accessible and 'normal' as possible. Appropriate is the legal word used, but it goes deeper than that. People who have the 'normal' lives often don't realize how challenging it is for the rest of the population. And only a handful (percentage wise) of those who are aware are actually part of the greater picture to help make daily living closer to normal for the challenged ones. I don't have the facts, not looking at data, though... maybe you do? So glad you had a frozen respite on a hot summer's day! bea


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