Tag Archives: Wheelchair

I see….no wait, I don’t see……

Last week I took my friend, Lisa, to the eye doctor. This is the Scheie Eye Institute, a very prestigious hospital dedicated to eye care.

We’ve been there many times over the last five years. Our last visit was six months ago and now we were back for a follow-up visit. But something was new.

When we arrived at the Institute, as usual, we went to the front desk.  In the past, the front desk checked you in and then you waited to go to an attendant at a numbered station to confirm your insurance, appointment time and any other preliminary questions.

As we approached the front desk on this day, we were told to immediately go over to the standing computer terminals and check ourselves in.

Now the average age of the patients in this rather expansive waiting room seemed to be about 79 years old. I have no doubt that the senior community has many computer savvy members, but not everyone can adjust to any computer that is thrown in front of them.  As one who continues to discover that ‘user friendly’ and ‘intuitive’ are really just adjectives for “get me a 12 year-old over here, stat!”, I was certain that many of these patients were struggling with this new set-up.

Add to that,these computers were at standing stations. I would say at least in an unscientific review of the crowd…. and by that I mean looking at them,  half of the patients were in wheelchairs or using canes or walkers. Standing at a computer terminal would be, at the very least, uncomfortable, at most, impossible.

One more thing.

You may recall this is the Scheie Eye Institute. So……this is a place where people go who are having trouble seeing.  You know, eye patches, eye surgery, eye pain, eye problems.

Based on my knowledge of the scientific method, which I learned from my kids when they had to study fourth grade science, this new system may experience a few glitches.

Hmm. Something's Fishy!
Hmm. Something’s Fishy!

I will say this, Lisa and I were laughing hysterically for hours, even on the way home when we just kept saying but it’s the Scheie Eye Institute!

That’s all it took to make us giggle, ’cause………….

“You Just Have to Laugh…….”

©2016 Cathy Sikorski

Send in the Clowns…..Don’t Bother, They’re Here

I’m thinking about asking the wheelchair repair guy if he wants to do a comedy act together.

Before I left the country for 2 weeks, I called the wheelchair repair guy (let’s call him Mike, well, because that’s his name).

“Mike,” I said, “the wheel on my brother-in-law’s chair is torn to shreds. It makes the chair bump around like he’s driving the post-Apocalyptic pothole roads from the Winter of 2015. And he’s inside….on carpet. Please get it fixed ASAP.”

“Okay,” said Mike.

The problem here is, I believed him. I knew it would be fixed, eventually.  I just hoped that with a two week lead and a few well placed reminders by my assistant, it might be close to being done when I returned.

Mike obviously spent the time shopping for a big red nose.

When I noticed my brother-in-law bumping down the hallway on my return. I sighed that exasperated sigh that we all save for just such an occasion. My exasperated assistant let me know that she even contacted Mike with the very complicated schedule of when the chair was in use or my brother-in-law was resting in bed. This was due to the fact that Mike reminded her, no one can be in the wheelchair when it is being repaired. There was even a nice little 4 day period where BIL was in the hospital, so no one was using the chair. My assistant gave that little nugget to Mike as a bonus, if he wanted to send his guy over there at ANY time of the day or night.

I called 15, 16, 18, 19 and 21 days after my first call to find out why oh why, Magic Mike can you not get your sh*&%t together and get this chair repaired? Are you practicing your own comedy routine? Are you shaping up your abs for your next film role? What is so damn important that it takes 21 days to get someone out to fix this one little wheel?

“Hello, Cathy?”

“Hi, MIke, is the chair finally fixed? You said someone would do it on Monday or Tuesday and now it is Wednesday.”

Faster than Mike. Smarter too.
Faster than Mike. Smarter too.

“Oh, no, someone has to look at the chair first, determine what parts are needed, get insurance company approval, and then physician approval.”

We’ve gone from a comedy routine to a cartoon, as steam is now exploding out both my ears.

“So all those times you said you couldn’t come because he couldn’t be in the chair, was so that you could just look at it? Let me ask you something. Couldn’t someone just look at  the chair even if he is in it?”

“Well, I guess so. But you said he was in the hospital.” How this even makes sense, I don’t know. But I’m pretty sure “Who is on first.”

“Mike, we don’t let the chair go to the hospital with my brother-in-law. The chair has proven it doesn’t know how to behave itself in public places, so when he goes to the hospital we make the chair stay home, by itself. That’s why every time he goes to the hospital, we call you to let you know no one will be in the chair for days.”

“Oh. Well, we looked at it so it will get repaired when all the approvals come in.”

Twenty-one days to look at it. I wonder if I can start sexting pictures of the wheelchair in compromising positions when I need it repaired in the future, so that Mike can definitely say they looked at it?

“You Just have to Laugh………..”

© Cathy Sikorski 2015


Winner, winner, Jack Daniels for dinner? If only…………..

The beauty of sharing a sense of humor with the one you are caregiving for is beyond measure.

My brother-in-law has been in and out of rehab and the hospital for 8 months now. It has been a rocky road……and not sweet, like the ice cream. But he has turned a miraculous corner and although, still in rehab for a few more weeks, I have confidence that he will finally be returning home and will be relatively healthy for a good long time.

Since he has come so far, he is finally taking an interest in his daily life and activities that eluded him while desperately trying to get healthy. And he’s funny again. He is entertaining his healthcare workers, and any one else who walks in the door, which, of course, I love.

On my trek to see him yesterday, I took my Mom and husband as we were then going to have dinner with a friend who lives close by the rehab center. It takes us an hour to get there, so we decided to take advantage of being in our friend’s neck of the woods.

A half hour before we left, there appeared some calls and one message on my cell phone from the rehab center. The nurse stated that my BIL had a few lab work issues, but if I didn’t get back to her today, we could discuss it tomorrow. As I was on my way down there to see him, I thought: Okay, no big deal. I did return her call, but she was gone for the day.

When we arrived at his room, his bed was stripped and  his wheelchair was empty. That is always a panic button for any caregiver. Where the hell is my brother-in-law????? At the nurses’ station, the nurse tells me that they sent him to the ER because his hemaglobin was so low, he might need a transfusion.

“You couldn’t leave a message that he’s at the hospital, that I just passed on the way here, so I could stop there first?”

No answer.

Off we go to the ER and they usher us into his room. There he is joking with the nurses, and, feeling relieved that he seems okay, I say, “well, yet another hospital we get to check out. Whoopee!”

This is how I know he’s ever so much better overall: “Well at least, it’s  not a Friday night!” he says.

Classically, for the last 8 months, we have gone to the hospital without fail on a Friday night. I told him my husband was getting jealous of our date nights.

jack-daniels-551052_1280Then he turns to the nurse and asks, “can I have a Jack Daniels with that Percoset?”

Then he goes into a litany:

“So now I’m going to miss my dinner. I told them at rehab, “hey, what about dinner?”. Then I come here and I’m asking them, “where’s my dinner?” But no, no dinner. And you know they’re going to screw around, and no food or drink until they decide what to do with me. And then they are going to  tell me I’m fine, because I feel fine, but then what about my dinner?”

onion-rings-274123_1280See, all of this is a sure sign that all is well in brother-in-law land. If his focus is dinner, dinner, dinner…………….he’s in great shape. You caregivers know what i mean.

In the spirit of kind caregiving and true sympathy to his plight, I say:

“Well, okay, now that we see you’re okay, we’re going to take our friend out to dinner! See you  later!”

He bursts out laughing. Yay…………

“You Just have to Laugh………..”

© Cathy Sikorski

Is your Plug Male or Female……..

Today’s tale is a bit vulgar….but I find honesty to be the best policy.

As my faithful readers know, I, with no training or inherent skills, have become a wheelchair repair expert over the last few years. I was able to get a different BIL (code for brother-in-law) to transport the humungous wheelchair to the rehab center, so disabled BIL would be able to get out of bed every day. By the way, there is no service, or transport that will take an empty wheelchair…well….anywhere….you have to find your own way to get it there.

One day, I’m walking down the hall of the rehab center and the physical therapist is manually pushing the electric behemoth with my BIL in the chair.

“What’s up?” I ask her.

“Oh my God, I’m so glad you’re here. No one can figure out how to get this operational.”

Because it had been a month since my BIL was even in the chair, and memory issues are a part of his disease, he was of no help either. In 2 minutes, I had everyone  operational and instructed for the forseeable future.

Then we went home.

I stayed with my BIL for about 6 hours that day. As happy as he was to be back in his apartment, he was feeling insecure and squeamish and not ready to be alone. I arrived home in time for an 8:00 PM conference call.

At 9:00 PM my phone rang.

“Hello, Cathy, this is the caregiver.”

“Hey, what’s up? Is he okay?”

“Oh, he’s fine, no problems. But we can’t plug in his wheelchair. It seems like a piece of the plug is missing that connects to the battery. So we can’t charge the chair.”

UGH. He needs that chair. He needs to be out of bed and as upright and mobile as possible to have a life where he goes to meals, talks to friends, plays SODUKU on his computer.

“Okay, I’ll come in the morning and look at it.” I must’ve been very tired. I’m still not a wheelchair repair person, what was I going to do?

Before I left the house, I called the wheelchair repair people, who told me the only thing they can do is order an entire new charger which would take 3 weeks.  When I asked what he’s supposed to do in the meantime, wheelchair repair guy thought for a minute or two (really??? no one has ever asked you THAT before?) And told me he could look around and see if they had a loaner charger, but that would take a day or two.

As I set my hair on fire in protest (only in my mind) I went over to my BIL’s apt. examined the plug and set off for the rehab center. I checked his room, as they had just cleaned it, we called down to housekeeping, I went to the nurses’ station, therapy rooms, front desk and had the social worker call the ambulance transport to look for it. No dice.

I went to my book club and my French Class. Mai oui…..I do some things for my self!

Then I returned to his apartment, there was the charger plugged in. But as my engineer BIL told me, truthfully, it was smoke and mirrors. It wasn’t charging at all. I showed the plug to him and hoped he had some brilliant insight. Nope. So I said to him:

“Well, you know what Nana would say?” She had a fine adage for problems when something would just not fit into a hole.

“Yep,” he nodded, “put a little hair around it.”  Yep, that’s what she always said.

Luckily BIL is a fiscal conservative and only used 3% of his power that day.

We then had the brilliant idea to call some local durable medical equipment providers and one dear soul sent me to Interstate Battery. As I was leaving with high hopes and the battery, my BIL said:

“I don’t know how to tell you this, but as an old man would say, I think you’re pissing up a rope!”

So with those axioms under my belt and a big huge 24 Volt battery in my arms like a newborn. I went to a big, ol’ manly grease monkey, full-of-testosterone battery warehouse.

And this is where the Good Samaritan works when he is not out on the road rescuing.

Keith worked for thirty or forty minutes to rig this battery charger so I could use it. The first thing he asked me is if it’s a male or female plug. I considered my Nana’s advice, but that didn’t lead me to any conclusion. I suppose I should have been able to deduct the answer, but I panicked and just looked as cute as I could. In that environment, I was a shoe-in.

By the way, there was never a missing part. It had been so abused over time by pulling it out by the cord that it basically pulled the charging plugs too far down into the casing.

Keith told me he has a few friends in wheelchairs and he sees this all the time, where they can’t get timely repairs and no one seems to care. He told me to just ‘Pay it Forward.’ I told him I try to do that, and he said, “well then, now it’s coming back to you!”

Sometimes…..”You just have to SMILE….and laughing never hurts, either.”

© Cathy Sikorski 2015

Best Notify My Next of Kin…This Wheel Shall Explode….Absolutley Fabulous

The frustration level of caregiving is equal to the dropping temperatures here on the East Coast, which is at a 100 year low.  Pretty sure that’s true.

Finally after spending 6 months in rehab, my brother-in-law was finally home, healthy and enjoying his meals in the dining room with his best pals. Then the flu hit his facility. On Christmas.  But five days in the hospital with the flu, double pneumonia and a urinary tract infection did not keep  him down. Home on New Year’s Eve, he was ready to get back to his normal life.

When he, his neighbors and his caregivers all noticed that he was precariously listing to the right, they called me.

Now this wheelchair has been a problem for several months. A new set of footrests were installed and ever since then, the wheels get stripped. After the second time this happened, I told the repair people to really look at the problem.  The footrests were major culprits and needed a good talking to.

Here we were again only 60 days after new wheels were put on the chair. My brother-in-law looked like he was practicing for a circus act, as he sped down the hallway with his hair blowing in the breeze at a 45 degree angle.

When his caregivers called me, on Sunday, I was firmly ensconced in a charming little Italian restaurant 150 miles away in NYC. Of course, it’s adorable that they think I can actually fix the wheelchair.  I would have to have extra wheels, a special screwdriver, and actual mechanical knowledge. No wonder I have a God complex.

Monday, bright and early I call for repair assistance. I beg. I plead. I offer candy, money and my first born, whatever it takes to get this chair fixed ASAP, since he just got back to a semblance of a real life. What usually requires two weeks, will take two days. Okay, we can live with that.

Two days later, I arrive at my brother-in-law’s apartment for the 10:30 AM appointment. I’m psyched. Chair will be fixed. Man can get in chair and have meals with friends, all will be well in the universe.

10:30 comes and goes.

11:00 comes and goes.

“Hello, wheelchair repair guy, where are you?”

“He’s just a bit late,” they tell me.

11:30 his caregivers arrive to get him dressed to gently place him in his newly fixed chair. Except that it’s not.

12:00 comes and goes.

I have to call again. Why would they call me? I’ve only called them 10 times in the last 48 hours. It’s not like they have my phone number or know that I am waiting for them.

“Hello, wheelchair repair guy, where are you?”

“He got caught up at his last job, he will be there as his last appointment of the day. Sorry, i hope that’s okay.”

Sure. I only have to now order his meals to be delivered to his room, if it’s not too late. I need to reschedule all the caregivers because their duties will now change, since he is in bed and can’t get in his chair. I will have to go to the dining room and tell his dining buddies that they don’t have to set up his place, his tea, and his special condiments like they do every day because they are kind and amazing. But sure, no problem, you just show up when it works for you.

What I say is, “okay, just get it fixed, today.”

Miracle of miracles, I come back early in the evening to find BOTH wheels repaired, the foot rests changed and the chair ready to go. Too late to get my brother-in-law in his chair. But he says, “hallelujah” when I tell him he will be out and about starting with breakfast tomorrow.

On my way to a business appointment the next morning, I’m feeling quite smug as I know my brother-in-law is already at breakfast and I got the chair fixed in 2 days!

My phone rings. I answer with a happy lilt in my voice.


“Hi Cathy? This is the caregivers. Larry doesn’t feel well. He refuses to get in his chair. He has a temp and should probably go to the ER.”

You just have to Laugh………….

©2015 CathySikorski

A Caregiver Confesses…………

Not every day in a caregiver’s life is worthy of a pat on the back. Last week the visiting nurse called me with her weekiy update:

“Hi Cathy, all is well with your brother-in-law,but I’m calling today as his advocate.”

Uh-oh. What does that mean? Immediately, my hackles go up. I don’t actually know what hackles are, if I have them or when they go up and down. But I do know that some red flag is waving behind my eyeballs, and I have become defensive before she even says her next sentence. And here’s why. I am his advocate. Not you. First, I am a professional advocate. Second, I am the one who goes to bat for him almost on a  daily basis. And third, if you are telling me you are advocating for him to me….that must mean you are about to tell me what I’m doing wrong.

“Okay,” I say calmly, “what’s up?”

“Since you’ve put him back on bed rest, he is frustrated and really angry. He doesn’t want to be in bed most of the day. He needs to be in his wheelchair and out and about with his friends. He needs to go to the dining room for every meal and have that independence.”

And here’s where I’m not so happy with myself….but this is only the first part of my confession.

“Let me tell you something (not a good way to start an open-minded conversation). He  just returned home from 10 months in and out of the hospital with 6 of those months straight in a nursing home.In just four days after being home, he began to have bed sores again and problems with open wounds. I feel pretty certain that he does not want to go back to either of those places and so since I know that bed rest was the only solution, I instituted that. Within 10 days of you seeing him, those wounds have significantly healed and he is almost able to return to his normal routine.”

“Well,” she replied, “I’m sure that’s what he needs.”

“I am not trying to make his life harder. Quite the contrary. But I will be sure and let him know that you have advocated for him.”

“Okay, thanks and Happy Thanksgiving!” she said as she got off the phone at breakneck speed.

The Thanksgiving remark sort of slapped me back to reality as well. I was feeling less grateful for her help and more needy of explaining my part in this Passion Play.

And then I misbehaved.

I went over to my brother-in-law’s apartment to discuss his advocate. I waited until the next day, so I could explain to him that I’m not a monster, I’m not insensitive to the fact that lying in bed most of the day is boring, not fun and makes for a long day. I only have his best interests at heart, and I don’t want him to end up back in any place but his home, where he is as happy as he can be.

When I arrived, he was watching TV in his chair.

“Hey,” I said, “your nurse tells me your mad at me.”

“Yeah,” he said, “I don’t want to be in bed so much. ”

And this is where all my sensitivity training, my caregiver’s heart and I’m pretty sure my 26 years as a Mom comes in to soothe and explain how all my hard work for him is truly in his own best interests, that I love him and want him to be healthy and safe and happy and that sometimes that road is a little bumpy.

“Get over it, ” I said.

I thought he would just have to laugh…..and guess what…he actually did………

©Cathy Sikorski



It’s Electric!

I have a great bunch of gals in my book club. Everyone of them is in or has been in some stage of caregiving. What are the odds? Really high, actually.

With permission, I’m repeating a story one of my book club buddies relayed at lunch.

We finally released my mother from rehab a few weeks ago. She relies on oxygen now for easier breathing. At 93, she conceded to use a wheelchair most of the time, as she has trouble with her legs and her balance. Sleeping has eluded her for years, so I am watchful most nights, worrying about her wandering. Any night that we all get sleep is a grace from God.

Out of the blue, I get a call from the electric company:

“Ma’am, this is the electric company.”

“Yes, what can I do for you?”

“Our grid is showing that you have a dangerous connection in the street outside your home. We need to come check that and repair it if necessary.”

“Okay, we’re here most of the time. When can you come?”

“We will be there tomorrow at 2.”

I’m thinking: Wow, tomorrow? That’s really efficient. Either this is a bigger problem than I think or this electric company in New Jersey is so much better than the one where I live in Pennsylvania.

Tomorrow arrives (even though some say it never comes) and so does 2:00. And then 2:30. And then 3:00 . You guessed it. They never show up. I chalk this up to just another utility, service call, cable company, washer repair man….you name it, not showing up like they said they would.

Since they initiated the call, I figured they would get back to me some time.

At 1:30 A.M. the phone rings at my mother’s house. I jump up to answer it so that it doesn’t wake my miraculously sleeping mother and the hired caregiver we have to help at night.

“Hello, ma’am?”

“Yeeeesssss?????” I say, barely cognizant to have a conversation.

“This is the electric company. We are outside your house and need you to go throw the main switch in your basement to turn off all your electric so we can work on the problem out in the street.”

Okay two things here:

1. Really? 2 A.M.???

2. Of course that’s the night my mother sleeps through the night, as I sit on the stoop in my p.j.’s and watch the electric repair guys.

Oh caregiving.

P.S. They told me they couldn’t fix it that night and would put a temporary blah-blah in and come back in a week or two. I mentioned that my mother was on oxygen so electricity was kind of critical. The next day the manager came in his truck, checked the problem and said it would be fixed that day (not night, day) as no elderly person should be worried about electricity. So that’s kind of cool.

(Retold with permission from a great caregiver and good friend who still has a sense of humor 🙂 )

“You just have to Laugh…………”

Cathy Sikorski

The wheels on the bus go round and round….

Wheelchairs break.  ( See:  When Wine and Wheelchairs do Mix)  To fix them, you call a wheelchair repair guy. The first time I did this, it was because the joy stick was not working properly.

“Hi, this is the repairman. I’m at the apartment.”

“Yes,” I said, ” I’m so glad you’re there.”

“Yeah, well, I’m not allowed to work in the chair if the guy is in it.”

“But it’s only the joystick,” I said. “He can’t do anything if his chair doesn’t work, and unless you are going to lift him into his bed, you can’t fix it.”

“I’ll have to come back when he ‘s not in the chair.”

“Okay, when will that be? Can you tell me and I will make sure he is in his bed at that time.”

“No,” he said, “you have to call and make an appointment.”

Round One: Wheelchair repair guy.

The next time it was broken, I made sure that my brother-in-law wasn’t in the chair when they were coming.

“Okay,” the new wheelchair repair guy said, “we can fix it, but we have to take it with us.”

“I sincerely hope you brought another chair with you,” I said, “because you can’t strand him in bed until you get the parts you need. ”

“Ummm, yeah ok, we got a chair in the van.”

I rush over to his apartment, there sits a 1957 circa barely electric wheelchair for a person of very small stature. He looks like he’s practicing to be a contortionist.

Round Two: Wheelchair repair guy.

Last week the wheels became so stripped from bumping into the footrest that I called them to replace the wheels.

I made sure my brother-in-law was not in the chair. He was safely tucked in his bed watching TV. I made sure they knew exactly what was wrong with the chair so they could bring the requisite parts. I made sure they had my cell number to call in case of any problems. And I emphasized that he needs this chair. Period.

Okay, I admit, at the time of the wheelchair repair appointment, I was at my book club discussing The Burgess Boys and how messed up the world is. I see a call come through on my cell, but it didn’t ring and it’s the wheelchair repair guy.

“Hello, is everything ok?”

“No, ma’am. I have been knocking and knocking on the door but no one answers.”

It was so very hard for me to remain calm.

“Well, sir. I can understand that. You see, it’s your company policy not to allow the customer to be in the wheelchair when you are there. So in order for that to happen, he is confined to his bed and cannot get up and answer the door. A Catch-22 wouldn’t you say?”

No answer.

“Why don’t you just knock, and then go in? Okay?” I tell him.

“Well, I guess this one time. We’re not supposed to go in, if no one answers the door.”

This is a wheelchair repair guy.

Round three: Wheelchair repair guy.

Yup, I just can’t win.

“You just have to Laugh…..”

Cathy Sikorski

Death by Desk

Just before I was to leave for four days, return for one, and then leave again for four days, one of my hired caregivers calls:

“Hi Cathy,” she says with trepidation.

“Oh no, what now?” I say.

“No, it’s fine, really. It’s just that your brother-in-law needs a new desk for his computer.”

Okay, I’m thinking, that can probably wait for a week or so. It is an old computer table, sort of the pre-IKEA era, where you bought these cheap wood-like substances and put them together and hoped they lasted a few years. Way before laptops when your computer was a piece of furniture that needed a piece of furniture.

“Okay,” I tell the caregiver, “no problem, I’ll come do some measurements. When I get back I’ll get a table over there ASAP.”

There is a bit of silence on the other end of the line, for just a shade too long.

“Hello?” I say.

“Oh, I’m sure that’s fine,” she says, ” I’m just worried about death by desk.”


“Well, you probably have to see it for yourself, but he was so happy to be back at his computer after recuperating in bed for two months, that I think he just got a bit carried away when he needed to move his chair and go to lunch.”

“Ummmm, Okay. Well, I can go over there today and check it out and then we will decide from there. How’s that?”

“I told him I had to ask you first if he could have a new desk.”

“It’s fine. Of course, he can have a new desk. Let me just take a look.”

As it turns out, I have an old pre-IKEA desk I needed to get rid of, so I measured that first and went to my brother-in-law’s apartment with tape measure and confidence that death by desk was a bit of an exaggeration’

When I get there, he’s sitting at his desk on the computer and seems fine. “So what have you been up to Speedy Gonzales?” I ask him.

Sometimes I think he goes too fast and furious in his motorized glee  because his dexterity and hand control are more difficult due to the MS. But truly, sometimes I think he kind of really enjoys speeding around in that wheelchair wreaking just a tiny bit of havoc. In the old days, I’ve seen him drive a car and a lawn tractor and a bit o’ the race car driver was always a part of this guy.

I glance around at the side of the desk obstructed by his wheelchair and there are the pieces of the three drawers strewn all over the floor. I begin to take measurements and I see the other supporting side is knocked out from the grooves at the top of the desk that would keep it together. I’m wondering if he is actually holding up this desk on his lap.

“Yeah, you can’t sit here until I get you a new desk. This is dangerous! How about if I just get you a very sturdy table? You don’t use these drawers for anything, and that way you would have lots of room underneath for your chair, and you wouldn’t be knocking the supports or drawers with your chair when you wheel around at the speed of sound?”

“No,” he says, “I would like a desk just like this one.”

Okay, first of all, they don’t make these dinosaurs anymore. Second, I’m not buying and putting together a piece of crap so he can play demolition derby when no one is looking. And third, I actually do care about his safety and do not want death-by-desk to become our new fun game like in The Deer Hunter.

I’m on my way to get a good sturdy table, I’ll tell him I’m looking at vintage shops for a desk just like the one he has.

You just have to Laugh…………

Cathy Sikorski

Go to Girl and Go Go Gadget

Invariably, on the day you need to be in your car for 8 to 10 hours, that is the day, all hell will break loose.

My go-to Girl!
My go-to Girl!

My go-to girl is my amazing 85 year-old mom. Weird, for a caregiver, I know. But she is a former nurse and raised six kids, so she knows her stuff. She pours all the meds for my brother-in-law, she helps me out in every pinch and she loves going to the ER with me. So when she calls, I answer…immediately.



“Yes, Mom,” I say on my handsfree car phone as I’m driving 65 miles an hour down the turnpike on my mission to hit as many major cities in the metropolitan area for various necessities on Easter weekend.

“Um, I’m at L’s apartment, and his wheelchair stopped dead. Can I release it and push it down the hallway to the dining room so he can go to dinner?”

“Wait, no, you can’t push it. You are 85 for crying out loud, that wheelchair weighs a thousand pounds without the big guy in it.” (See When Wine and Wheelchairs don’t mix….)

“Look, Mom, since he had the wheelchair fixed, there’s a button on the back that sometimes disengages his controls. Can you see the button on the back?”

“No, I can’t get behind him, he kind of stopped weirdly in the middle of his room, and I can’t get behind him.”

I can’t really figure that one out, but okay, I’ll work with what I’ve got here.

“Okay, can you stand on his right side and look behind his head area. That’s where the button is. See if it’s red or green.”

“Oh, ok, yes ok it’s green, wait, now it’s red.”

“It sounds like it’s cycling through. Just turn it off and then back on and then see if he can use his own controller. And stand far away, he’s been known to take off like a bat out of hell when we are trying to figure this out.”


She fiddles with it a few times and it doesn’t seem to work. I’m still stuck between 5 eighteen wheelers on the turnpike and going nowhere near L’s apartment.

“Okay, Mom, I’m gonna’ call for reinforcements to come help.”

“What? I can’t hear you, you’re cutting out.”

“I can hear you perfectly,” I say.

“Well, I can’t hear you,” she says as her pitch rises in frustration. But of course she could or how would she know I said that?

“HANG UP, I WILL CALL YOU BACK!” Because somehow I think yelling is the answer.

My reinforcements are hard to find, so I call her back to say I’m working on it.

“Hello, Cathy?

“Yeah, Mom, I’m trying to get you help.”

“Oh, that’s ok, I was waiting for your call to tell you that as soon as you hung up it started working. He started to drive toward me, and that seemed ok, so he went to dinner.”

Ummmm…you couldn’t call me?

“Ok, well that’s good, thanks for the update.”

“Oh and Cathy?”


There’s a big hole in the wall where his headrest got imbedded into it when he went too fast in reverse, so we’re gonna have to get that fixed.”

You just have to Laugh……

Cathy Sikorski