Yesterday Trish and Rachel decided to go and get their nails done which left me and Robert here at the house. Being Robert is pretty much inside the majority of the time I decided that we would go and do the weekly grocery shopping at our local big name store. I’ve done this before with him and found that because he can’t work the motorized wheelchairs that the store offers, Robert just holds onto a carry basket, then there are two cloth bags hanging off the back and depending on the number of items we add as we’re walking through I might need to grad a second carry basket, which today I did. This was a different type of shop in that Robert received for his birthday several scratch off California Lottery tickets and ended up winning $16.00, so this was burning a hole in his pocket. All the way to the store he kept saying that he needed more, Word Search books and socks. Really Socks? He prefers the over the calf, white sock which for some reason they did not have in stock. Second stop the book department and yes they had exactly one, large print word search and Robert was not going to let it go. The word search was in one hand and he held the basket on his lap with the other.
The very next aisle was all the Halloween decorations and costumes. I happen to mention them and Robert right away wanted to look at them and followed that with, “That’ll be fun.” As we went through the kid’s costumes and an aisle of decorations the third aisle was gold. This aisle displayed hats made out of various shape of 1″ foam. He’s eyes locked onto a large Pirate hat, OK it’s going to be best to just show you instead of me sitting here trying to tell you about them, here they are,
Everywhere we go Robert is always saying to everyone, “Have a good day, God Bless You” and no matter where we are he always making friends. Today was no exception, not two or three aisles later he did it, he made a friend. This guy didn’t really speak much but Robert made sure to keep me in the conversation and made sure my camera was ready at every turn because he want to see the photos right away. We found out his name was Mr. Skel E. Ton, he happened to be on a low-fat diet the day we meet. I have to say Robert laughed so much it was to the point of a laugh I’ve never heard out of him, so true and heartfelt, one from deep inside which made me laugh and start cracking jokes which then I realized we had other customers looking around the corners at us and they were busting up. I’m just not sure if it was with us or at us? Who cares, we were having a ball, but as they say it all must come to an end and that’s when we hit the food aisles. Well for any of you non-caregivers or even you folks that are new to caregiving, you may be asking yourself, how in the world do you go through a grocery store and shop with someone in a wheelchair? I am going to show you two different ways of doing it, either one will work it’s all up to your caree and how much work they want to do.
If you’re thinking that caregiving has to be all sterile, tiring, all work and no play, just look at the photos above. We may not laugh and joke all the time, but every once in a while we take off the gloves and have a good laugh. Here’s hoping you all have a very Scary Halloween.
Richard is a trifecta caregiver, along with his wife he cares for himself, with Chronic Back Pain which he’s had for 21 years. He cares for his brother in-law, Robert who lives with him and who has dealt with Epilepsy his entire life. He also advocates for his mother who has various cardiac related issues, severe hearing loss and other medical issues. You can read about his experiences with chronic pain and how he deals with his mothers and brother in-law’s issues on PickYourPain.org or at Caregiving.com. He is also involved in several of Caregiving.com’s support groups and chat rooms, he is co-host of an internet based radio show about caregiving. Richard is also a patient adviser, board member for Intake.me which is working to improve the intake process at medical facilities. Richard has three adult children who despite them having to deal with his medical issues, he says, “They have turned out better than I’d hoped for.”