Since L.’s birth in 2014, I’ve gradually assumed more and more responsibility, parenting both up and down the generational ladder. I’m the only child of parents who had me relatively late in life — my mom was 37 when she had me, a condition doctors still refer to as a “geriatric” pregnancy. The pandemic has taken a difficult situation and made it laughably impossible. How do you help care for someone — help them getting dressed, take them to doctor’s appointments — from six feet away?
The answer is, you don’t. I am terrified of getting them sick — both are over 80, Mom is on immunosuppressive drugs, thanks to decades of rheumatoid arthritis, but I don’t feel I have a choice. And how can I keep their granddaughter from them, not knowing if they will survive this crisis? Will their final interaction be mediated by FaceTime or Zoom?
After two months of isolation, my parents need to see their doctors. My husband’s job involves back-to-back video meetings, which L. constantly interrupts. So with L. in tow, layers of N95s glued to my face, I drive my parents to doctors’ appointments. Dad needs surgery, which requires a night in the hospital.
Recovery simply means a movement toward preferred ways of living one’s life. Based on a conventional medical perspective that you may have...