Senior Living Advice: Learning lessons from my grandson’s perspective


By BETH DOW, Home Helpers of GA & AL

The older I get, the more I let things irritate me.  I seem to – more often than not – lose perspective and allow a small thing mess up my entire day … or week.

If you watch the news or just scroll through Facebook, I think you will agree that many of us have lost perspective.  We let small things and/or maybe not-so-small things, dictate too much of our life, our thoughts and our enjoyment.

I recently got a lesson on perspective from my five-year-old grandson.  He loves his cousins who live in Baton Rouge, family vacations and anything to do with water.  So, you can imagine a five-year-old’s excitement when the day finally came to begin our trip to join his cousins at the beach for our family vacation.

He is a great traveler, but this five-hour trip was long.  Excitement and anticipation were at an all-time high.  Somehow, we managed to reach our destination within five minutes of his cousins.  We get to the condo, unload, somewhat unpack, and get dressed ready to hit the water.

That’s when it happened.  Less than one hour from arrival, my grandson’s finger had been slammed in between two massive sliding glass doors.  For loss of a better term, his finger exploded.

We took him to the local emergency room.  They were wonderful with him.  His finger was broken, cut, the nail bed had been severed and his bone exposed.  They tried as best they could to get him comfortable from the pain and finally had to sedate him so they could surgically remove the nail bed.

We were then told that we were going to have to go to the Mobile (Ala.) Woman’s and Children’s Hospital. There, a pediatric orthopedic doctor could determine if the removed nail bed could be reattached or if they would need to make a new nail bed.

It took us an hour to arrive in Mobile, nail bed in hand. They rushed us back, referring to us as the “transplant” and they took the container holding the nail bed from me.  Once again, the ER staff was phenomenal, but it took a while for them to get control of the pain that my grandson was experiencing.  At one time he had three nurses holding him down as two ortho doctors were working on his finger. Luckily, shortly after this the drugs kicked in, he was no longer feeling the pain.

Fast forward and we are back in the condo. Naps had been taken, he had missed water time with his cousins, and he very much wanted to play in the water.  We wrapped his hand in 3 plastic bags and tape and we head to the pool hoping to get to play a little.

As we are walking to the pool area, my grandson exclaims, “This is the best day of my life!”  And boom!  There is it.  Perspective.  This amazing child had just had the worst, most painful 24 hours of his short life.  But none of that mattered.  He was going to get to play in the water and be with his cousins.  And THAT is what mattered.

We sometimes forget what matters. I know I do.  Our family vacation was altered and my grandson did not get the kind of water time he wanted, but we were still able to have fun. And if you ask my grandson, he will tell you that it was a great vacation.

Yes, something awful happened but that did not change his attitude or outlook on life.  Bad things happen, really bad things, but life moves on.  And life can bring lots of good, even after the bad.

I learned a lot from my grandson that day.  I am trying to remember his attitude and perspective as I go through each day forward.   I hope after hearing his story, you can, too.

Beth Dow is a Dementia and Alzheimer’s Educator, CAEd and Geriatric Care Manager. She is also the owner of Home Helpers of GA & AL in Newnan. Readers can contact her by email at  [email protected].

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