Grandpa has been pretty good lately because he’s been taken off most of the medicine he was on when we got him. That’s right, praise God, Grandpa is almost drug free. He’s just on three pills now, so he is completely lucid and for the most part very reasonable.
Besides being very close to the Lord, which is so necessary for fighting off depression in old age, Grandpa looks to me to meet his emotional needs. This is normal for someone who is 93. It goes with the territory of being his daughter and caregiver. His radar is always out and looking for “Jill!” Whenever he comes in the room, he says, “There she is!”
I don’t mind being his main emotional support most of the time, but I’m also, from past experience, keenly aware of being manipulated.
So today when Grandpa came down to eat lunch, I continued working on my project which is getting Claire’s Pebbly Brook Farm Stories ready to go to print. These really should have been published a decade ago in paperback (we did an audio), but who’s keeping track.
My back is turned to Grandpa because my computer is next to the windows across from the dining room table. I didn’t turn around to say “hi” because I was in the middle of looking up punctuation on Grammar Girl to make sure that I was using the ellipses right (you know those three little . . . that you find in stories and emails and Facebook posts?).
Anyway, Grandpa comments, “You’re always working!” and he giggles that nervous little laugh he makes when he’s being naughty.
“Yes, I’m always working, Grandpa!” I say. “The opposite of working is being dead. Which do you prefer?” I ask.
“That’s true,” he admits.
Grandpa goes back to eating . . . Suddenly he begins to choke.
“I need a knife,” he says. “I need to cut this sandwich up. The bread is hard!”
In-between editing, I made Grandpa his lunch and the only bread we had left was some sandwich thins which had been in the freezer for a while. I figured he would have a little trouble eating them because he wears dentures, so I slathered them with mayonnaise and added tomato hoping it would soften them up at little. They were semi-soft at best, but not soft enough.
I got up and got Grandpa a knife, and asked him if he wanted me to cut his sandwich up.
“Oh, you’re too busy!” he said testily.
Just then, my manipulation alarm went off!
“If I was too busy, I wouldn’t be taking care of of you!” I replied.
“That’s true,” he said.
“Listen dad, you’re eating lunch in my office (even though it’s the kitchen, dining room, and living room all in one). If you want, I can come down to your bedroom and eat three meals a day while you’re working on your book and tell you you’re too busy!”
Bingo! The dawn of recognition! I see it register in Grandpa’s eyes . . .
“I used to be too busy before I got you Dad. You slowed me down quite a bit, and I’m glad!”
I turned back to the computer and begin reading Grammar Girl again.
Grandpa finished his lunch, and as he always says before he leaves the room, “I’ll see you later!”
“I’ll see you later, Grandpa,” I returned.
I told grandpa before he left the room, I don’t want to talk about work anymore. “It’s off limits!” I said.
“Okay,” he agreed.
I’m still not sure if I’m using these darn ellipses right . . . but I think I got my point across!