365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles
Day 112. Saturday, July 16, 2011
The doorbell rang. It was dad, grandpa and grandma. Dad wheeled grandma inside the house as she sat patiently in her wheelchair.
The grandma I have always known has always walked. She’s always dressed fashionably. She’s never been old. So the sight of a wheelchair takes some getting used to. Who is this elderly person?
Her health has recently worsened. She and grandpa are in town visiting a new doctor.
I offer grandma some water. I reach for a glass and mom corrects me saying grandma can’t hold the round glass I selected. She advises I give her the square shaped glass.
Right before dinner, grandma needed to use the facilities. Grandma’s elderly condition is new for everyone. She’s always been independent. But now the simple task of dealing with personal needs is a multi-person process—particularly because no one in the immediate family is a health care professional. Since this was her first time visiting the house in her condition they were trying to figure out which bathroom would be easiest for her to maneuver in. Our bathrooms aren’t designed with the elderly in mind—there are no hand rails. My uncle suggested she use the portable commode that they brought with them but dad said that the guest bathroom should work out ok.
It was a very involved process. And the concept of a portable commode was something that has never been on my radar.
Understand that the Smiling Daffodil is a very private individual. Admitting vulnerability, accepting help or being cared for when she’s sick are not her first choices. I recovered from my wisdom teeth surgery by myself, for example. Just watching the scenario unfold from the sidelines was jolting to me.
I was really struck by the family unit. The family unit has a bond of trust, respect and dignity for its members in the best and worst of times. There are moments of vulnerability—as in this case when grandma needed help to get to the bathroom. My uncle, aunt, cousin and grandpa each helped her in the measure that they could without being squeamish or uncomfortable. It was simply a task that needed to get taken care of—and they helped her out of love.
You’re probably wondering what Dale Carnegie principle I used in this scenario. The principle is from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Count your blessings—not your troubles.
I don’t often consider the many challenges that come with being elderly. I’m the one that hates all public restrooms and pretty much any restroom but my own. I had not thought beyond the germ factor to the real challenges—like not being physically able to take care of oneself and having to rely on others for help. And I’m very impressed with how my family is stepping up and helping grandma with care, concern and love.
My lesson to you—don’t take the smallest blessings for granted and be grateful for your family. They are the ones that will be there for your best, worst and vulnerable moments.