It was evident long before we got to Dr G’s by the way Miss Cathy was acting that it was going to be an ‘off’ day (and I didn’t need to check the cutlery drawer, either).
The ride to his office wasn’t so bad, no rumpling through her purse or rambling about the weather (and thanks to a slight increase in her Lexapro) she’s not as jumpy during the car ride-but that’s probably due more to the fact hat she’s being chauffeured around while she sits in the back seat like her fictional movie contemporary ‘Miss Daisy”.
Anyway, I noticed when we arrived that she was slower than usual getting out of the car, which is hard to imagine since she’s usually moving about as a fast as a turtle and just as interesting to watch.
So, instead of hanging back to see her wrestle with unbuckling the seatbelt I walked ahead, went into the doctor’s office, dropped my ‘Cathy Clutch’ on a chair, signed in for her, then went back to the door to see where she was (or if she was a heap of little old lady bits piled on the pavement).
When I cracked the door open I spied her about fifty feet away from the steps to the entrance at a turn in the sidewalk. For whatever reason she chose to (try) to walk around a garage can (placed near the edge of the sidewalk) by going ‘nearer’ the outside edge of the sidewalk where the concrete was cracked and the slabs were starting to separate exposing some of the sand foundation instead of walking toward the center where it was smooth and unobstructed…that’s “my” Miss Cathy, give her a choice and chances are this is what you’ll get-the road less travelled (because it’s usually under construction).
From the look on her face I could tell she was determined to navigate the crack (as well as the turn) in the sidewalk, the last time I saw her concentrating this hard she was at the ‘Live Casino’ pulling on a slot machine.
She always has her cane with her whenever we’re out in public (never uses it at home) because she’s afraid she’s going to fall.
She was picking at the sidewalk with it as if it (the sidewalk) was moving or there was a snake that she was trying to spike.
At the same time she was engaged in a sort of time lapsed back and forth with her feet, slowly lifting one then the other, tentatively reaching out with her foot before putting it down and starting over with the other in her attempt to move forward, brow furrowed, like a runner trying to navigate a hurdle that’s suddenly been raised on the track.
You might be wondering ‘Why didn’t I just go help her?” or for that matter, why didn’t I help her get out of the car?
Well, the simple truth is that she exercises (her body and her mind) so little that I feel I’d be doing her a disservice by stepping in to help (especially if she’s in a position to help herself).
And I do so much for her already that I have to be careful to draw a line somewhere before total dependence.
Besides, I always check to make sure she’s physically not in danger.
I’m like a parent hiding somewhere that their child can’t see but are able to watch as the young one (‘old one’ in my case) walk out into the world alone (or so they think), I’m there (just out of site) watching to see that she gets to where she’s going (safely) and I’m always there to lend a hand if she needs one.
And more often than not Miss Cathy, left to her own devices, has that steely determination, just like that athlete during a track and field event, to jump her hurdle(s) or in her case, ‘step over a crack in the sidewalk’ and finally cross the finish line, which that day happened to be four steps up to the physician’s door.