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The Only Driving She’s Doing Is Her Family Crazy

, , , , , | Related | September 25, 2020

My grandma manages to hurt her back; I’m not sure exactly what she did but the end result is a laminectomy. Before she agrees to surgery, she tries trying to manage things with drugs. Because she is on painkillers, I am living with her to handle most of the big things like driving — for errands and taking her to and from work — etc.

I’ve just lost my job when things happen, which is why it is easier for me to drop things to go live with her, but after being with her for a few weeks, I get hired on at a new place. When I get the notification for the interview, I explain the situation and they are willing to work around things to a point, and my mom says that she’ll be willing to switch off with me since it is the summer and her job is off for the season, so she’ll be there when I’m not.

I end up getting the job and my grandmother decides that it is a good time for her to stop taking her meds. I walk into the office and hear this:

Customer: “Well, [Grandma], how’re you doing with things?”

Grandma: “My back is still a little stiff. But my granddaughter got a job, so I haven’t had a pain killer in almost twelve hours and I feel great!”

It is only like six, maybe seven hours since I know she took a pill. I don’t say anything to her because she has this annoying habit of automatically dismissing anything I say, but I go back outside and call my mom.

Mom: “Hey, how’s it going?”

Me: “Do you know what your mother’s trying to do?”

My mom heaves a heavy sigh because she knows it’s not good.

Mom: “What?”

Me: “She’s apparently decided that because I’ve gotten a job, she needs to no longer take her meds. She can’t turn her neck and she still can’t move all that fast, but apparently, she thinks she’s going to be driving sometime soon. We told her the plan, didn’t we?”

Mom: “We did. All right, don’t say anything; I’ll take care of it.”

We end the call and I wander back inside. The customer leaves and I settle into the chair I’ve been using. I’m reading my book when my grandma’s phone rings and she puts it on speaker.

Grandma: “Hey, [Mom], are you excited that [My Name] got a job?”

Mom: “I’m always excited when new opportunities pop up for her. Are you still taking your medication?”

Grandma: “Well, I stopped. I need to be able to drive myself since [My Name] will be at work.”

Mom: “Did you check with your doctor before you stopped taking your medications?”

Grandma: “I just stopped. It’ll be fine; I’ll try and drive tomorrow.”

Mom: “No, you will not!”

Grandma: “But—”

Mom: “No. You can’t turn your head without turning the upper half of your body and that’s too slow to react in driving situations. You have not been told to stop your meds and you don’t need to. [My Name] and I already discussed this and we talked to you about it; when she starts working, we’ll switch off so I’ll come stay while she’s at work, and then she’ll be there the rest of the time.”

Grandma: “But you guys just moved and you need to set up your house.”

Mom: “Half of our stuff is still in a storage pod that’s not going to be delivered for at least two weeks. And we don’t have to unpack everything immediately.”

Grandma: “Well, but [My Name]

Mom: “[My Name] can make her own decisions and we’ve already discussed this. You do not get to go making your own medical decisions and taking yourself off medications.”

Grandma: “I know what I’m doing. I was a nurse.”

Mom: “Thirty years ago!”

Grandma: “But—”

Mom: “No, Mom. You are not making adult decisions here. You need to take your medication and stop going cold turkey. Your doctor prescribed them for a reason. [My Name] is still able to drive, and she and I have worked things out. I know you want to drive, but that’s not possible right now.”

Grandma: *Heavy sigh* “Fine.”

Mom: “Thank you. I’ll see you in a few days.”

Grandma: “Bye.” *Hangs up and turns to me* “Did you say something?”

Me: “Me? Nope”

She only works a half-day normally, so things finish and we get in the car to head to lunch.

Grandma: “You know, my back is bothering me, so I’m going to take a pill. I’m proud of myself for making it more than twelve hours, though.”

I didn’t bother pointing out that it was still only like nine hours, if that. My mom and I managed to juggle the rest of the summer, and just before schools started back up in September, my grandma went through with the surgery. Luckily, she was able to drive just fine afterward… at least until the stroke, but that’s a story for another time.

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