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When COPD Comes Before Dad: The Challenge of Getting Around
I so wanted my dad to go with mom and I the other day to the soccer match at Yankee Stadium. “Dad, I’m buying a ticket for you to two matches – you can’t miss it – especially AC Milan vs. Real Madrid.” I figured this last part might get him since Real Madrid is a challenger to Barcelona’s team where Argentine Messi is the star, the modern-day Maradona.
“No, Liz. Don’t spend the money.”
Yes, he is frugal. But I knew his real reason for not wanting to go: he can’t get around like he used to. He finally said, “Liz, you know it’s hard for me to keep up and I don’t like that you and your mother have to slow down because of me. Plus, I can’t go up and down those stadium steps.”
His COPD, coupled with the physical injuries he sustained from his 20-year blue collar job, keep him from getting around like he used to in the good old days. The truth is, at 83, what more could I expect?
Yet, there I was, insisting: “But you have your walker; I can get you a wheelchair seat; you can take the elevator…” And there he was: “Yeah, but; no, it’s too complicated; I feel like a burden for you guys; I can’t keep up; Thanks, but please, don’t get the tickets.”
Sadly, it gets harder and harder for him to get around. Traveling hasn’t been an option for him in years. The most he can handle are quick getaways with mom, by car. I have come to accept that he cannot enjoy going to events or places like he once did. At least he has his walker, his extra set of feet to help him stay as mobile as possible. Suffering from arthritis, and pain in his shoulders, legs and back from his hard work as a building superintendent, I hear his daily complaints of being in pain “here, there, and everywhere.”
Yet as mom and I left for Yankee Stadium the other day, there he was, cozy in his chair, ready to watch the game on T.V. As if reading my mind, he said, “Liz, you know I’m more comfortable here. Go! Have fun. I’ll look out for you guys on T.V.”
As luck would have it, the cameras did span our section on the big screen. But only my sunglasses made it. And of course, dad missed it.
Follow Liz's story on Twitter: @lizunga