Life’s One Emergency…But Don’t Panic…Provide “Shelter from the Storm…” (Bob Dylan)

When you’re nearly 90 years old, as Mom will be in December, life becomes an emergency. Yesterday the whole left side of her mouth hurt and so I knew to go immediately to the oral surgeon. Xrays showed a lot of decay on at least 4 teeth. This wasn’t a surprise, her general dentist has been monitoring this area for a few years. As the oral surgeon tapped on each tooth, she found the one that was truly (we hope) causing the pain and removed it. Mom was a trooper because she had 2 needles and I know the 2nd needle that goes into the roof of the mouth is very painful. I’ve experienced much invasive dental work the last few years and know the scene well. After we returned home, I had mom drink water since she only had one glass in the morning and I’m always concerned about dehydration. I make mom write a tally mark on the home-made daily medication chart that I make up every week for her. Anyone out there with elderly parents, this is very important. You can easily monitor their medication and amount of water they’re drinking on a daily basis.  Then I made some fresh decaf for mom since she loves that and gave her a yogurt so she could then take her antibiotic, which she will be on for a week. As of last night, she had no pain and I hope it continues. I’ll go over early this morning. I am not rushing into making appointments with the oral surgeon for the other 3 teeth in the same area until I have to. I consulted with our general dentist yesterday afternoon and he advised me to wait…yes….those teeth do need to come out, but she’s going to be 90!!!!   He suggested I wait until something bothers her again.  So, that’s the route I am taking. It’s hard taking care of one’s elderly parents, there’s so much decision-making and self-doubt. Am I doing the right thing?  I always want to do the right thing by mom and hopefully I am.

Today, in 1974, Bob Dylan laid down the track, “Shelter From the Storm” on his wonderful album, “Blood On the Tracks,” definitely one of my favorite all time albums! I saw Dylan live in 1971 at George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh at Madison Square Garden.  Mom has given me “shelter from the storm” all of her life. I love her!!!








8 thoughts on “Life’s One Emergency…But Don’t Panic…Provide “Shelter from the Storm…” (Bob Dylan)

  1. Love your headline: Life’s one emergency … but don’t panic. I think one of the enduring feelings I get from Dylan’s body of work is a sense of optimism.

    He seems often to say (to me): “Don’t worry, it be all right. We’ll be all right.”

  2. Ilene, I hope your mother is doing well. Mine is a bit younger, and still so stubborn she can be … interesting … to deal with. She seems to get through the big things — kidney dialysis, and now recent pelvic fractures — but goes wild with frustration in pulling on slippery slacks. Guess we’re all odd mixtures of strength and frailty.

    Remember when we learned what were deemed the basic human needs — food and shelter? Who knew a roof might be only the beginning. – Linda

      • Ilene. I live 90 miles from my mom, but I’ve spent much of the summer with her. She’s back in her home now, but possibly not for much longer. The sad irony is that as we age, we have more and more to face in life, even as we have diminishing strength and energy to deal with all of it. I’m not sure how anyone gets through it ‘gracefully’. I expect to snarl and swear a lot — but then, that’s my default approach! We do what we can, and do our best to help and care for one another. Otherwise, we might just as well be buzzards. Or billionaires. – Linda

      • I hear you, Linda. You’re a good daughter!!! I’m sure you’re doing the best you can by your mom. It ain’t easy! My mom always says, “Growing old sucks.” Hang in there!!!!! -Ilene

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