Nice term, right? Wikipedia uses this definition: The Sandwich Generation are a generation of people who care for their aging parents while supporting their own children. Ahh, another baby boomer phenomenon! (nice pic, don’t you think. can someone name that meat for me, please?)
While I am happy to say I am not caring for my parents, I have certainly been helping to navigate their healthcare issues for the past few years. More from a support, research and admin point of view, as I am lucky to have very competent, educated parents. But the simultaneous pressures of aging parents and growing children has become a national dilemma that those of us who are lucky to still have parents at this age face day to day.
As you can tell by now, I like to find the humor in any situation to help me get through it. I have certainly been challenged over the past few years. Hmmm… which story to tell? How about this one:
My dad, the bionic man who is the healthiest sick guy I know, was going in to have his pacemaker upgraded. We liked to think of it as Harvey 2.0. My brother came up to lend support and stay with my mom. Upon arrival at the hospital, my mom is in tears. I figure she is worried. “Oh no”, my brother says over his shoulder while guiding her through the parking lot, “Dad just closed her fingers in the car door.” You MUST be kidding! But, alas, it gets worse. He turns around again to say “And she slipped in the shower and I have not yet assessed her injuries”. My first reaction was, “I left you with them for 24 hours and this is what you come up with?” Luckily he, too has a sense of humor.
Fast forward to the end of the day. We now have mom in the ER, she has broken her rib, hand was just bruised but they admit her to find out why she is falling. Dad? He is in recovery. Bro and I are huddled by the vending machines in the only cell phone zone in the friggin’ place and I watch him point and say, “There goes dad!” I turn to see my father in his gown (butt covered, thank goodness) with an IV poll searching for my mom in the ER. (where’s poppa?) Of course, while I am on a ridiculous business call (…yes, of course I heard your details of revision 19 of the brochure we are doing. no i am not distracted).
Did I mention my kids were home, dinner was not on the horizon for anyone and the poor dog is crossing her legs? And that by the end of the 5-day visit my brother was calling the local liquor store by its first name?
Sandwich indeed! (BTW mayo gives me indigestion)
For those of you who have your own brand of this story (and sadly this is just one of mine), I feel your pain. But we all have to realize how fortunate we are. Hard to understand this sometimes, but we truly ARE the lucky ones. Yes, there are hard times. But my kids, at 15 and 19 actually have all 4 grandparents.
And that my friends is a gift.