On Thursday I took my shortest scheduled ride in nearly 2-years yesterday — just 24-miles. I had just a 2-hour gap between my last client session and an appointment for my mother to get her first COVID-19 vaccination. Obtaining a vaccination appointment here in Fallbrook was a big deal and I didn’t want her to miss it.

I got mom to her appointment on time. The nurse offered me a dose also, since I’m mom’s exclusive caregiver. I gladly accepted. We’ll return in 30-days for our second round of the Moderna vaccine — and we’ll be one small step closer to a reconfigured normal. Through most of my ride though, prior to our vaccinations, I reflected quite a bit on mom’s year of confinement. 

I got a lump in my throat thinking about the old woman who, just one year ago, stepped into a pandemic. I got a few lumps more, thinking about the much older woman who will now attempt to step beyond it. Mom, 90, has lived through the Great Depression, World War II, the polio epidemic, and now this. Hard to imagine, but COVID is the one which has impacted her most, despite that she’s been kept in isolation — or perhaps because of that.

Mom’s had a safe year. If nothing else, her life has been comfortable during the pandemic. If she lost anything, it was her schedule of regular activities — which was also her conduit to all human connections. Prior to the pandemic, mom had reasons to leave the house every day, reasons to speak, and reasons to listen.

Two days a week she took exercise classes at the local community center. She also participated with a meditation group at our library. She and I ate lunch out several times a week, and were often invited over to the homes of my clients for lunch or dinner. We regularly walked at Oceanside Harbor, after feeding the seagulls our leftover fish ‘n’ chips. All of those activities were good for her. Then one day, they just disappeared.

Also prior to the pandemic, I took her to one of the local markets every day, put a shopping a car in her hands, and gave her an hour to walk up and down the isles, just to look at things and say hello to the people she saw along the way. It wasn’t exactly step aerobics, but it was daily exercise and socialization — which I had no way to duplicate once the stay-at-home protocol began.

Mom’s loss during the pandemic has been the cognitive and physical stimulation all those activities provided her. Though there’s no way to measure those losses, it’s clear that she’s a different person than she was a year ago. Of course she would have continued to age without COVID, but I suspect her decline wouldn’t have been as steep.

In a month mom will get her second dose of the vaccine, and following proper protocols, I’ll begin taking her to restaurants and markets again, but on a limited basis. I’ll be taking somebody though, who can’t walk as far, who can’t process as well, who can’t remember as much, and who won’t recognize anyone she sees. 

My mother will be living with collateral damage from the virus. Her life may have been spared during the pandemic, but her physical and cognitive health have been compromised forever. And everywhere around us, whether we see them or not, there are tens of thousands more just like her. Please keep your eyes and hearts open to them. They’ll need our patience. 

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This week by the numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 7

Miles: 191

Climbing: 8,400’

Mph Avg: 15.7

Calories: 11,000

Seat Time: 12 hours 07 minutes

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from Ozomatli. Enjoy…!

11 thoughts on “Mom’s Gap Year…

    1. Thank you, Deb, for taking the time. It’s not lost on me, that you’re also playing the part of grandmother, mother, and daughter during all of this. I’m sure it’s wearing thin.

      Wishing the best for your folks…

      Like

  1. The cognitive loss is a tough one to handle and probably tougher for you than her. As you said, inevitable but not helped by the lack of stimuli. Sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Robert. The hard part is knowing it can never be rebuilt. After she gets her second round of the vaccine, I’ll be able to take her out more, and that’ll be good for her, but she’ll never get back what’s been lost.

      Again, tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people living with the same result.

      Like

  2. I think the older generation is so used to “getting on with little fuss” that people (myself included) falsely believe everything is fine when, at times, it is not. This was sad to read, but I’m so grateful you wrote it.

    I do think quite often about how much has changed and I haven’t been half as affected as people in other parts of the country. I’ll gladly live with record low temps if the trade off is that I can still watch some great kids play the sports they love…and see my parents healthy and happy.

    Liked by 1 person

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