Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Do you have back-up?

"If it's not on the calendar, it isn't happening." I came up with this mantra when the kids were growing up and they were pretty good about it. Too bad it doesn't always work.
Like any busy family our life revolves around scheduling extracurricular activities, appointments, meetings, family gatherings and special occasions in between the usual work, school and home happenings. Now that the needs of my two special seniors are ever increasing, the little boxes on my refrigerator sized calendar are barely holding up. I've tried the color coded markers, cute little mini-stickers, hand drawn emoticons and so forth only to end up with a colorful mess of eye-popping scribbles. Last minute changes end up getting covered over with too large sticky notes that tend to fall off just when you need to know what time the window guy is showing up tomorrow, but we manage.
For me, it's about more than just getting Nana or Grampa George to the specialist they were scheduled to see eight months ago. When one has an appointment, the other simply cannot be left alone, nor can they always come along or so my gynaecologist’s receptionist suggested at my most recent checkup. Sure we double up any appointments we can. Matter of fact, our favorite podiatrist, Donna, gives us group appointments and we try to get our seasonal flu shots as a crowd. Even so, we do run into the occasional glitch.
As the luckiest woman on the planet, my husband is not only handsome, smart and romantic; he'll also step in as 'Seniorman' to hold down the fort when I'm not there, sneaking out of his home office to dispense medications on time, serve an easily re-heatable lunch and deal with the occasionally complex changing of an empty toilet paper roll until I get back. It's when both of us have carved in stone appointments that things get rough. Whenever possible, the kids pitch in, skipping school or work to be here when we can't be. And they no longer need the lengthy play-by-play lists I used to leave them to keep everything on schedule at home. (Not that they ever did, that was just me micromanaging, but don't tell them that.)
Worst case scenario, the appointment becomes an 'outing', wrapped around lunch at any place that opens early and serves Nana's favorite French Onion soup, hold the cheese. I've come to learn how many people can comfortably squeeze into a three by four foot examination room without spreading shingles to all other occupants, including the doctor. I've been able to seek out the washrooms in most medical buildings in and around Toronto and feel that my constant requests for the washroom keys have brought back the 'no key necessary' policies in some of these buildings. I've also changed my mantra to "If it's not on the calendar, then it certainly should have been!"

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