Wednesday, May 19, 2010

when life gives you bop bags

Technology of family memories can be more than sight and sound … your mind travels.

Twenty-two Easter’s ago, Patti’s out of town family and friends threw her a baby shower. Due to 9th month pregnancy restrictions a video taped message from Patti, a video camera and I attended as Patti’s surrogate. … Wow! We were pretty high tech for those days.

Multiple Sclerosis changed forever family dynamics. Watching a clueless me from 1988 open a gift of a diaper bag was so strange as that very diaper bag would basically become my BFF after Patti's first major MS exacerbation.

Now back in real time I was again acting for Patti, this time as her advocate at her Care Plan Review at her care facility. Surrogate … advocate … time travel can get dizzying.

Sitting down with department heads from nutrition, activities, nursing & therapy, and care aides I sometimes wonder if I was that effectively schizophrenic as a home caregiver. Did I pause long enough for the voices in my head to actually plan Patti’s daily nutrition, activities, nursing & therapy, and care? If I found a ‘day in the life’ home care video 22 years later, would it show me cargiving or running around chasing will-o'-the-wisps?

It has always been sacred to me that Patti’s self-determination and values are intrinsic and undeniable, yet I have been acting in Patti’s best interests longer than I have ever really ‘known’ her. Weird.

Life lacks a roadmap from help to beneficence to care to advocacy? 

Then again the unbeaten path is rarely boring. Above all beware the trap of paternalism, such as “leave the advertising alone”. As we were exiting Ironman 2 at Cinema Center, Patti discovered from her wheelchair perspective Despicable Me inflatable bop bags in the lobby. When she additionally discovered they were whomp-activated to laugh and giggle and bounce back to bop her … well, the absolute happiest brawl I have ever heard broke out. 
when life gives you bop bags …

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer
web site: 


  1. too cute with the bops and Patti bopping them :)

    you need to write a book, Patrick. You commitment to Patti and providing the best quality of care for her and best quality of life available for her should be chronicled in my opinion.

    I think the baby shower was the cutest of ideas! I bet it was one of the most interesting ones the guests attended :)

    bet you guys enjoyed Iron Man 2. I heard it was pretty good!


  2. Hysterical, love Patti, doing the bop!
    Know you had a great time at the movies, saw the movie and loved it also.
    Love to you and Patti


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