Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Sometimes, Things Are Put in Perspective


Wesley Chapel, Florida


We rarely have time for any fun when we’re back in Tampa, and this time is no exception.  I have been busy trying to  find some ways to help my mother with her daily life.  She will be 85 this month and is needing more assistance.

We signed her up for Meals on Wheels.  It’s only $4.75 a meal and she gets a nice hot meal delivered every day.  It takes some of the pressure off me and my brother.

After the last outing to the doctor, we decided to get her a “rollator.”     She’s pretty stable at home, but when we take her out of the house, she’s pretty wobbly.  I found a brand new rollator on Craig's List for only $60.   That’s one nice thing about living in Florida….lots of cheap stuff for the elderly.

Amazon.com  Hugo Portable Rollator Walker with Seat  Backrest and 8 Inch Wheels  Blue  Health   Personal Care

We’re considering getting her one of those lift recliner chairs that gives you a boost when you get up.  Unfortunately, there aren’t many in the furniture stores that you can actually look at.  They can be ordered but who wants to buy a chair without trying it out first.

I recently became aware of the possibility of an additional financial benefit for Mom from the VA.  Many of you know Howard and Linda from Rv-Dreams.  

Howard recently wrote up an extremely helpful blog post about elder care, with links to many resources.  Read about it HERE.  Much of his post was geared to benefits for veterans and their spouses, but there is some information for elder care.

My Father was in the military during wartime, although he was never in combat.  When he died Mom was able to have his death considered to be service connected, so she got some additional financial benefits.

After reading Howard’s  blog, I learned that as a widow of a Vet, she may be entitled to some additional compensation for “aid and attendance”.   Of course, dealing with the VA is going to be a challenge.  I’m trying to get my ducks in a row if she should need to be moved to an assisted living facility in the future.  The average cost of assisted living care is $3700 a month.

So…..that’s what we’ve been doing, mixed in between annual doctors appointments for us.


Something happened yesterday that really brings home what is important and what isn’t.

Last week, when we went over to the beach, I bought a cute pair of crab earrings from the visitor center gift shop.  They were only $12, but I liked them.

Yesterday, we went  to Walmart.  I wore my new earrings for the first time and Al even complimented me on how cute they were.

While shopping, Al noticed one earring was missing.   We felt pretty sure I lost it in Walmart, so we retraced our steps in the store with no luck finding the earring.  We even went back to the truck, but still didn’t find it.  We kept looking as we finished our shopping, but had pretty much given up hope.

I was a little upset, but kept reminding myself it was only $12 and I could buy another pair if I wanted, but I really liked those earrings.

As I was looking down towards the floor, I looked up one aisle and noticed a man with two artificial legs standing next to the freezer cooler.  As I looked up, I also noticed he also had a prosthetic arm.  Wow.  That stunned me.  This guy had three missing limbs.  I assumed he was the Marine from Tampa that was injured by an IED while in Afghanistan in 2011.  A few charities got together and built him a special custom built home, and he was all over the news a year or so ago.  It appears he is doing pretty well and I was glad to see him standing there grocery shopping like everyone else.

Boy, that puts the missing earrings in perspective, doesn’t it?

He was standing tall and straight on metal legs.  It stunned me and immediately brought tears to my eyes.  

I saw no wheelchair.  He was walking and functioning with three prosthetic limbs.  I was surprised at how tall he was and that he had such great posture.

If I hadn’t been looking down at the ground for my earring, I might have never noticed. This man was functioning so well with so little.

I found Al and told him about what I saw.  We decided my lost earring was not important at all, but almost as soon as those words came out of my mouth, I looked down and there was my lost earring.  It was in the same area that  I had already searched twice.   I think the Marine was my good luck charm!


  1. What a lovely story...Merry Christmas!

  2. Good info about the things available for the elderly - and that rollator might be nice for my 92 year old dad in the future. What a story about the earring and the Marine. Really nice to hear he's doing so well (and was the good luck charm in finding your earring!).

  3. My mom bought a similar rolling chair for my Dad. It was nice to have when he was in his final days and having problems walking. Great story about the earring and gentleman with the prosthetics. It definitely puts things into perspective.

  4. I hope you thanked him for his service. A very humbling experience.

  5. I've seen and met quite a few young vets who were amputees at Bethesda Naval Hospital and Walter Reed Army Hospital. Many of them had the major concern of how fast they could get back to their units. Real heroes!

    Good luck dealing with the VA, they do work but very slowly. Be very persistent and keep a good paper trail of every conversation.

  6. PS: This is a free forum by vets to help others in dealing with the VA. They were a huge help to me.


  7. A really wonderful story Karen and a perfect title. I've been down that road with my father, the assisted living, the rolling chair and the vet benefits. The cost of his assisted living increases every year and as he needs more and more assistance.

  8. I believe in serendipity ... and your story fits my notion of serendipity perfectly. Thanx for sharing.

  9. I l.o.v.e. that ending!

    Some thoughts on what you said. A medical supply store might have the lift chairs to try. Sometimes they are attached with independent drugstores.

    I don't know if you know Hubs is a double lower extremity amputee or not. No one ever knows that about him when they first meet him. Prosthetics have come a long way in the last 45 years!

    The best recommendation we would have for help with maneuvering the VA system is to give power of attorney for battling with them to your choice of veterans service organization. Was your dad a member of any of them? In Hubs case it's the DAV. If he has any problem with anything or questions that's the first place he goes. They have representatives offices at regional medical centers. It's possible your mom could live in a soldiers home. Here there are no female homes, but in such a retiree full state as FL it may be a different story. I would check it out. But then I don't know the percentage of your dads rated disability either.

    Contacting her congressman may be of some help too if you have all the paperwork and verification of what she is entitled to and are being denied in any way.

    Good luck! And we're always here for questions!

    1. Thanks for the great info. I did know your hubby was a double amputee. Good info!

  10. Many of us need to be reminded occasionally just how blessed we are to have heroes around us that have sacrificed so much for all of us. Yes, it does put things into perspective. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Our lives have patterns of meaning invisible to our everyday minds. Deeper stuff is always going on, and all we need to do is pay attention. You paid attention, and learned something wonderful, had a beautiful reminder of what IS important...and found your earring to reinforce the beautiful lesson.

  12. Such a beautiful story. Putting things in perspective sometimes and a reality check is good for us.

  13. SAM's club has the lift chairs usually in the Pharmacy department for about $500, just got my dad one, they are ok, work well, has vibrator and heater also. The heater is nice - dad tends to get cold easy so its a bonus.

  14. What a sweet story! Thanks for sharing, Karen. Things are just that...."things," aren't they.

  15. Great story about keeping our problems in perspective!


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