Thanksgiving Confessions of a Reluctant Chauffeur ©

Here’s a still timely article from 2010

They say that confession is good for the soul, so here goes. All during Thanksgiving week I’ve been a “reluctant chauffeur” for my step father-in-law. His wife, my mother-in-law, is usually his very capable and willing chauffeur, but this past week she is recovering in the continuous care wing of their living faculty after being released from a recent stay in the hospital. So instead of her driving “Mr. Daisy”, I was driving him wherever he needed to go including two or three trips a day to the care center so he could be by mom’s side. After a few days of this schedule I became a reluctant chauffeur.

But then about the middle of the week I observed something from close up that I’ve seen many times before but never really paid that much attention to. That was the loading of several wheelchair-bound passengers into the lift-equipped mini-bus at their living facility. The driver was quite patient as she loaded them one by one onto the bus and then strapped their wheelchairs securely to the bus floor. Each passenger then patiently waited while the rest of the fellow travelers were lifted onto the bus, wheeled into place and their wheel chairs strapped down to the floor as well.

As I stood by observing this routine for several minutes I realized how selfish my attitude had been toward my chauffeuring responsibilities. All I had been thinking about was the minor and temporary inconvenience to my plans and schedule. But as I began to compare my circumstances with those of all the passengers on the bus, here’s what I realized:

  • I can still walk and even run when I want to

  • I can still drive myself when and where I want to go

  • I don’t have to wait on someone else to put me in a wheelchair

  • I don’t have to wait for someone to load my wheelchair on the bus, and

  • I can go to Publix, even if everyone else on the bus wants to go to Wal-Mart!

As I observed and pondered the lifting, loading, strapping, and waiting procedure to run the simplest of errands, I began realizing anew what an incredible blessing good health and strength are. And, I began feeling a bit ashamed of my selfish attitude toward my chauffeuring responsibilities for the week.

And finally, my reasoning came full circle to this: Chaffering my senior step father-in-law was not an interruption in my schedule. It IS my schedule just as much as taking my kids to school or to their ball games used to be.

So here’s the challenge for the week: If you’ve been a reluctant senior servant this week, try to mentally trade places with them and consider who has the better end of the deal. Then trade the frown on your chauffer’s license for a smiley face and enjoy the ride….I guarantee you’ll enjoy it more (and so will you senior passengers)!

Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..see you next week!

Bill Milby, CSA, is a Certified Senior Advisor and a Director of Visiting Angels® of Macon, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at wmilby@visitingangels.com

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