I have had the honor and privilege of meeting some of the most amazing and interesting people in my life – whether it be at work or at play. Here are some of my observations that I will share from time to time. Don’t worry…names are changed to protect the shy, innocent and everyone else too. This is just about real people surviving, growing and often inspiring others. Their challenges are significant. How they respond is often amusing, sometimes even amazing.
Meet Mr. Resourceful… He is 86 years old, a widower of many years and lives alone in a home he has known for over 55 years. By the looks of things, it hasn’t been updated since he moved in. It is small and always clean. He has someone come in a couple days a week to help out with that.
When I look at Mr. Resourceful he reminds me of Santa Claus. His white hair and white beard certainly give this away. His stature does too. He is tall and has a round belly that moves when he laughs.
He walks about 10-20 feet with his walker before having to sit and his standing tolerance is 7 seconds. How do I know? He counts this regularly. When rising from his chair, he takes a bit of time to stand up though he never gets all the way straight. Years of wear and tear on his knees, hips and spine have led to arthritis and other degenerative changes. He is no longer a surgical candidate due to other medical issues. He wants to stay in his home.
He uses a wheelchair for appointments and other outings. He relies on others to pick him up at his home and drive him to where he needs to go. There is always someone to help him get to where he needs to go. You get what you give don’t you think?
He is sharp. When asked when it was that he last took his medicine, he looks it up in his log he keeps on a daily basis. “Why that was 6:30 this morning. I took one.” “When do you go to the doctor again?” Out comes the log, “Next Friday, 1:00pm. So-and-so is taking me.” Impressive.
I call him Mr. Resourceful because nearly every piece of furniture in his home is placed for a reason. His kitchen chair is on wheels so he can roll around in the kitchen and make a meal and transport items to different parts of the room. His cabinets are stocked within reach with what he needs on a daily basis. His chair is mostly parked at the kitchen table (the table is not on wheels thankfully) and is strategically located between the table and kitchen sink/counter. You see, he pushes himself up to stand with a lot of arm support on these stable surfaces.
He has an ottoman in his living room. It is an old stool with a wrapped-up sleeping bag strapped to it. It is just the right height and positioned just far enough from his chair so that he can stand between it and the chair and also rest his legs on it when seated. How do I know this? I started to move it one day. “Don’t move that! It’s right where I want it.” I should have known, Mr. Resourceful. “My apologies.”
I asked him if he was an engineer when he worked. “I was an expediter. Do you know what that is?” I responded, “You did things fast?” He replied, “I had to be efficient, too.” Efficient he is. This is how he is still in his home.
Mr. Resourceful is kind and giving. He told me of overhearing a family at breakfast the other day in a local diner. He enjoyed hearing the laughter of the children behind him and how they talked to each other during their meal. He left before they did and anonymously paid the check.
“I’ll keep living this way until I can’t,” he told me. “I’m not done yet.” I believe you Santa. I believe in you.
To your health,