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Caring For Three Aging Parents During A Pandemic Is A True Labor Of Love

By Mickey Howley
WVMSA Director

“You’re only as good as what you did yesterday” is one of my dad’s favorite sayings. One of the old man’s adages or clichés.  Similar variations you might have heard are; If what you did yesterday still looks big to you, you haven’t done much today. You’re only as good as your last performance. You’re only as good as your last success. You are only as good as your last deal.
What is it about human nature, you are not judged according to all of your past successes, only judged by your last (most recent and immediate) success? It is that competitive and ruthless right on time management style we love to boast about? Is there a need for constant and frequent weekly success, like a football team? I’d say yeah, people want the same results, even during a pandemic.
Meaning you can’t rest on your laurels or derriere or tushy. No matter how big it is.
My dad’s other favorite saying is “you can’t kill bad grass” which in his case is quite true. He has advanced muscular dystrophy to the point where he is a quadriplegic, he had Covid in April, he had pneumonia from it, he was in ICU for 17 days, 11 on a ventilator, and he’s 87. He should be dead and in Greenwood Cemetery in the slot waiting for him. But he ain’t.
I feel lucky for his bad grass situation, for most 61 year-olds like myself have buried their parents or at least one of them. Not me, I have him, plus my step-mom who is also bed bound, though her arms work, and plus my mom, though I took her to the emergency room last week for heart atrial fibrillation. That’s right, three late 80s parents alive and also to look after, two non-ambulatory and all this during a pandemic. Note: I’m not doing this alone, but it is a lot of work.
If you want to see the tool I’ve been working google “Hoyer Lift”. That is a body hoist like an engine lifting crane with a spiky coat hanger on the end of the lifting arm, it picks up people who can’t walk or move, a mesh harness attaches to the lift arm. It is for people with mobility and quadriplegic issues. Like my dad. He weighs as much a Chevy 350 small block V-8, without heads.
In doing this I obviously have not been downtown on Main Street. And I have not been Zooming as much as I should. I have acted on and advocated for the things that pay off for the Valley in the long run, such as state legislation to renew the state Historic Tax Credit. That was, after much effort in a crazy interrupted legislative season, accomplished in early July and is good through 2030. Benefits projects in downtown Water Valley to the tune of million dollars. Not quite yesterday, but close
Currently there’s a federal Historic Tax Improvement Act bill in Congress now, the three points in it are my ideas, specifically written to simplify the process and benefit commercial buildings in small towns, but unknown if it will pass in this political climate. That’s tomorrow.

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