Payback Time: Helping parents with health concerns

While I feel totally blessed to be a member of “the middle generation”, enjoying the benefits of supportive parents at the time I am raising my own children, there are moments of pause when I realize I really need to be looking out for them.  Most of the time when my parents are having a routine test or blood work, I am happy to hear they are taking care of themselves and leave it at that while we wait for the results.  Inevitably, though, we get some reports which indicate more testing needs to be done.

That is when the realization that they are so far away kicks in. I want to be there for them and give back all the support they have given me over the years. If it were not for all the advances in communication (email, cell phones, Skype), I would want to jump on the next plane to see them. Instead, I take advantage of the internet and try to learn something about the test and the possible conditions that could be indicated.

That is where the danger comes in, though. It is one thing to educate yourself about the possibilities, it is an entirely different beast to self-diagnose. That is when we start to make random connections between what we read and what we think may be happening. Before long, the symptoms we never noticed we had are starting to appear. This is how our mind goes into the dark places.

From my part of the planet, I try to keep a straight head and stick to the facts, knowing my mom or dad will do all the wild interpretations for me. It is my role to offer rational thinking and patience while we wait for more information from the doctor. During the waiting period, I rarely discuss the possibilities but rather talk about daily events as a distraction. I think they appreciate my efforts at calming them and helping them stay focused. And I try not to dwell on those ideas in my mind.

However, I always seem to have a contingency plan in my head: what I will do if and when I am needed and what would constitute that need in the first place. I check my calendar to see what an emergency trip would require changing. Obviously it is the old balancing game, weighing your priorities- children, parents, husband, job, self. Why did I just list myself last? I guess that’s how life is in the middle generation…

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. stmarco7
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 22:02:07

    You touch on so many interesting ideas in this post – the dangers of searching google about health conditions (and finding horror stories that take you to that dark place), the balance of staying calm and becoming informed, and remembering to include “self” among your priorities with all you juggle. You were busy this morning! 😉

    Like

    Reply

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