by DeLora Frederickson
Austin Tx to San Miguel de Allende, GTO, MX
No matter, what life keeps rolling. After being down here for a week I knew it was time to go get my Mom and bring her to her new home. She was excited and ready to make the move but I knew how much work I still had to do to get her down here. Although we had already cleared out her one bedroom apartment this teeny tiny 84 year lady still had plenty of stuff that wouldn’t be making the trip south of the border.
I booked a flight for a 4 day stay in Austin. My anxiety was front and center and I was worrying about so many details of the journey:
- Who would get us to the airport with her 2 big suitcases, wheelchair and walker?
- Where would I stay in Austin and how would I get around?
- I had to sort her stuff and then take trips to goodwill and to get her paperwork shredded
- Be sure to make the trip out to the VA to pick up her last batch of pills
- Pack all her stuff into 2 big suitcases
- Manage two suitcases, wheelchair with her in it, walker and my carry on through the airports
- Get her on off the planes – especially in Mexico where they have stairs to deboard (which she can no longer negotiate)
- Maneuvering immigration and customs with the bags, her in the wheelchair and my not knowing
- Getting her on and off the van in Mexico (she can’t hoist herself up that high)
I was doing yogic breathing, mantra (focused prayers) and drinking lots of water. It was overwhelming!!
Here is a little back story. Many months ago my Mom had dug her heels in and decided she wasn’t going with us. She wanted to move to Iowa to a nursing home up there. She reasoned that was where she grew up and made her best friends and memories so it would be where she would be the happiest now. I knew this was NOT happening. First off, if you haven’t cared for anyone in the “system” in the US yet let me tell you one thing for sure – you have to be on top of EVERYTHING for your loved one. Any facility she was in (and she has been in ALOT of them) I would visit at least once a day if not twice. Iowa was too far to manage her health care. Secondly, all those friends she reminisces about are in the same shape as her or dead. In fact one of them called me because she wanted ME to tell my Mom she couldn’t come up there and expect her to do anything to take care of her, like I needed her friend to tell me this! We went round and round about this. I wasn’t sure how I would get a stubborn little woman down there but I knew it was happening. I saw Xanax in my future – I will leave you wondering if it was for her or me or both of us.
Months passed (it was just over a year from when we decided to come to when we got here) and one day suddenly she was excited to go and on board with the change. I don’t know what it was but I was so grateful for the shift. I guess I will chalk it up to the meningiomas (5 last time we had a mri. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meningioma).
Getting ourselves and the cats and the stuff down here was a big enough effort but I knew I couldn’t really relax til I got Mom down here too. So off I went leaving my Beloved and our two precious furry ones to await my return.
The trip to Austin was smooth and easy. And thanks to C & J for the comfy place to stay and use of the truck for the errands and all in Austin. It was doable with minimal stress.
Shirley (my Mom) was cooperative about getting rid of the last non essentials. I took care of all my tasks and even got a haircut!
Of course throughout the time in Austin I was still playing out the details of actually getting her down here.
One by one the worries melted as everything went effortlessly on the adventure of a lifetime.
- Elmcroft – her assisted living facility – drove us to the airport in a wheelchair accessible van…ahhhhhh
- First stop to check in – a great United airline employee assisted me and moved our seats so we sat together on all three flights…ahhhhh
- Mom dragged the wheeled carry on alongside of the wheelchair and then carried it in her lap during our walks from gate to gate…ahhhhh
- A nice flight attendant ordered an aisle chair for my mom for when we arrived in Queretaro, MX (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quer%C3%A9taro_City). Shirley wanted to make sure they were good looking guys when the flight attendant told us the aisle chair had been ordered. An aisle chair is a tiny version of a wheelchair which fits down the airplane aisle. My Mom can walk with assistance so hadn’t needed it to get to her seats BUT in Queretaro we had to walk down stairs to get off the plane. So, she was strapped down into the aisle chair and carried down the stairs by 2 guys. It took about 30 seconds. All that worrying – for 30 seconds of nothing! …ahhhh
- After getting her into her wheelchair in Mexico a helpful flight attendant pushed her all the way through the process of immigration and customs as I handled the documents and then picked up the bags and we went through customs. Done in 5 min’s…..ahhhhh
- The van driver was out front with a sign with a list of names. We waited for 3 other riders, he wheeled the bags out, I rolled Mom out. She stepped up into the van with our assistance and off we went into the night…ahhhhh
The last obstacle was a giant accident on the main road back to San Miguel de Allende. It was so bad I had seen it from the plane and it completely closed the road. The driver was on top of it, turned around and took us a different direction. However, an hour drive turned into a 3 hr drive. We arrived at Casa Cienguita (http://casacieneguita-assisted-living.com/our-home/) at 11:30 pm. The owner/director, the dr, the nurses, the office manager ALL were waiting for us. They welcomed us with smiling faces and so much warmth. They had made food for my Mom – which she gobbled right down. I stayed overnight with her in her room and planned to unpacked her the next morning.
We woke to the sounds and smells of breakfast being made down the hall. We had a breakfast of papaya and coffee and headed back to her beautiful brand new room. I began unpacking her clothes and stuff. The staff was so helpful. I speak pretty good spanish and some of them speak a little english so we were able to communicate just fine. We were both so exhausted I headed home to nap and Mom was asleep on her bed before I walked out of the door.