It’s the Little Things That Help Get You Through

Things have been a bit upside down in our family for the past few weeks with it seeming like everyone in the family was taking turns coming down with the flu.

First, it was EJ and me during the last few days of our visit to Nevada. Sadly it caused us to cancel visits with friends and some of our sightseeing plans but we got through it with the help of a wonderful hubby/papa who made sure we were never without crackers, ginger ale, and tea during our worst days.

A treat of hot chocolate is even
better with whipped cream

No matter how miserable we felt, it was nothing compared to finding out my mother-in-law had taken a fall in her apartment that required a trip to the hospital. Thankfully she wasn’t too badly hurt aside from a couple of stitches on her finger and a bruise on her cheek but there was more to come. 

Then, only two days later, she came down with the flu (even though she’d had her flu shot as she does every year.) As with many folks her age (she’s 98), my tiny mother-in-law easily becomes dehydrated when faced with this type of illness, and this time was no different. Our daughter took one look at her and realized she would need medical treatment. We were still on the road in Utah, heading home so she called and let us know what was going on.

I have to say we are so fortunate to have responsible daughters who step in and take responsibility when they are needed. Thankfully, her husband was home to care for the baby while she headed up to the hospital with her grandma. Her eldest sister joined her there as soon as she could get someone to cover her shift at work. (And her employer arranged for a driver to get her there.)

Thankfully things were a bit more under control by the time we arrived home but there was still much to do. Since MIL had a room to herself we were able to bring her little Christmas tree in to brighten things up. 

Now that she was allowed visitors some of her friends and neighbors came by for a cup of tea (hubby kept her well supplied from Tim Hortons downstairs at the hospital, much nicer than the “hospital food” tea!) 

Her friends convinced her to allow us to turn on the TV set for her as well (she had been worried about disturbing others with the sound no matter how many times we assured her it would be fine.)

One of her neighbors brought MIL
eye drops when she ran out

Once she had other visitors, hubby was able to take a bit of a break and get out of the hospital for a real meal. It had fallen to him to do hospital duty since he still had vacation time and everyone else either had work and/or childcare responsibilities.

We had another unexpected circle of support, our friends, and contacts on social media. It may seem like a small thing but a little note of encouragement or the sharing of tips on how to get a senior to eat when they don’t like (the aforementioned) hospital food really helped bolster our spirits. (FYI “sneaking in” a treat from McDonald’s is a popular option and worked for us!)

EJ is happy his great-grandma
is coming home this week

So we are now well past the crisis. My mother-in-law is heading home to her tiny apartment this week. Homecare and house cleaners will begin their regular visits once again and she can get back to her knitting and to tending her houseplants (we managed to keep them alive while she was in hospital!) Life is back to (our) normal but with a difference.

I’ve been reminded of how important the little things can be, a kind word, a listening ear, sharing the burden even if only the tiniest bit.

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