Sunday, January 09, 2011

fun times off the sidewalk

Long term care certainly needs a toolbox of resources such as in the upper right hand corner of this blog. Yet in reality, eventually you both are going to find yourselves where the sidewalk ends and accepting that long term care becomes more about connecting the dots between moments in time.

When playing in the snow becomes more wheelchair friendly through a gift of a Buggy Bag wheelchair lap blanket from one friend then that snowballs into a unexpected visit when another friend who happens to be driving by the park pulls over. Children of the North Wind seem to find each other.

Watching Patti laugh so hard that tears run down her face and she can barely catch her breath transcends a movie outing. To be able to quip in my best Robert Di Niro impression, “Are you ready to be the god focker?” for days afterwards and watch Patti dissolve into laughter, I could hug the writers of “Little Fockers” and of course Patti's brother for the gift of movie passes.

Sure I could discover a wheelchair smoker’s apron but when a friend sends a gift of packets and packets and packets of exotic flavored hot chocolate,  well … there is simply no place that can compete with home right now for Patti’s favorite wish for ‘a ciggie and a hot chocolate’.

Yes, and even after all this time sometimes I still stumble into awkward moments. Picking Patti up from her care facility for an outing she was still wearing her knee orthoses for MS knee contractures and fuzzy socks. Removing the orthoses while talking out loud to myself I remarked “we need to get some shoes on, in case” and paused. Realizing both how dumb my ‘in case’ was and how long the pause was extending I could only sheepishly smile up at Patti. We both laughed as Patti completed my sentence, “in case I want to kick somebody” and agreed fuzzy socks were just fine.

Moments in time are the why. And why is the keystone of caregiving.

It is not impossible to dream that where the sidewalk ends you will find a little help from your friends.

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer 


  1. It seems to me that those special moments in time which you shared with us are a bit like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.


  2. I just love Patties smile and can almost hear her laugh. Hot cocoa would make my day also.

  3. So glad that your friends seem to intuit your needs. Have fun!

  4. Yes it is those moments of laughter, that all remember! Good for you

  5. Thanks for sharing your story. I thought you might want to know that the Visiting Nurse Service of New York has a contest right now called "Celebrate Caregivers." You can win an iPad or an iPod. Check it out at and spread the word! Thanks, Stav


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