The Attack of the Refrigerator
By Jody Worsham Nov. 2010
All rights reserved for a Whine Cellar
If you live to be 90 there are going to be some challenges. Our ninety-year-old mother is an avid sports fan. She played professional basketball in the 1930's and to this day when she watches games on TV, she dresses in her favorite team's jersey, has the team throw emblazoned with their logo across her legs, and her Diet Coke in the team sanctioned koozie.
She insists on having more clothes than will fit in her assisted living closet. My sister and I asked her why she needed so many clothes. She said "People talk if they see you in the same outfit during the same month." "Mother, most of these people can't remember what they ate for breakfast." "Well, I can: toast, scrambled eggs and bacon." We bought two of those rolling laundry type hangars to cram into her tiny apartment. Every outfit must have a matching pair of shoes and jewelry. The jewelry we could handle, but finding orthopedic shoes in every color in the rainbow was something else. We resorted to spray paint.
Most of these challenges we have managed to handle but the attack of the refrigerator caught us both off guard. My sister was 2,000 miles away when the nurse at Mother's assisted living facility called her. "Hum, your mother fell. She's alright. She will be a little sore….the…uh…refrigerator door… fell… off…and…uh…your mother fell …back." "WHAT?" "Thedorfellofftherefrigeratorandknockedyourmotherover….but she's ok."
Fortunately Mother did not suffer any broken bones, however, when my sister called me three days later it was Houston, we have a problem! Our mother had decided that the refrigerator was out to kill her. No amount of logic, reasoning, or physical evidence of rusted hinges would convince her otherwise. The refrigerator was out to get her. She took everything out of the refrigerator and placed it on the kitchen cabinets. We talked with the facility manager about getting another refrigerator. My brother-in-law has been checking the hinges daily but still Mother is convinced that somehow during the night when no one is watching, the refrigerator will sneak up on her and do her in.
My menopausal sister was at the end of the chain our mother was jerking, but I knew just what to do. There are certain advantages to being a Medicare mom. It has only been three years since my five-year-old was in the terrible two's. There is a definite connection between the Terrible Two's and the Nerve Wracking Nineties. There was only one solution. Get her mind on something else.
Mother had commented recently on how clear a flat screen television was at some restaurant where my sister had taken her. We had decided then that we would get her a new super large TV for Christmas. Santa is going to make an early delivery.
I had ordered the TV on line and had it delivered to my house so we could surprise Mother. With this newest challenge, my sister told Mother she was getting a new TV, a really big clear one. She would be able to see Dirk Nowitzki up close and really good. She would be able to read the scores at the bottom of the screen without having to get up and walk up to the screen, like she would need to check any stats on a ball game she was watching. In that respect, her mind was as sharp as it was when she was twenty. That was all that was needed. Her mind was now on Dirk Nowitzki.
That was on a Wednesday. I told my sister I would bring the TV and the cabinet to Mother's on Sunday. "NO, I can't wait that long. I'll make the three hour drive today; in fact I'm in the truck now headed your way. I think there is a game tonight and she wants her TV NOW". My sister made the three hour drive to my house in record time without getting a ticket. We loaded the TV, the cabinet I had refurbished to hold it, the chocolate cookies I had made, and she was off on the return trip. Total time as my house 8 minutes and 13 seconds.
Later that night I called my sister to see how things were going. "Great! The refrigerator is no longer a threat. Mother has stopped relating the story of the Attack Refrigerator to anyone who walks by her door. She has her Mavericks jersey on, her throw blanket, and her koozie all ready to watch the game tonight AND she even opened the refrigerator and put the cookies you made inside without using the Grab-it stick we got her to pick things up off the floor." This was real progress. "So the refrigerator is no longer an issue?" I asked. "Not the refrigerator. We'll have to see what challenge tomorrow brings."
Todays' challenge met and conquered, now on to the next. When your mother is 90…that's a good thing!