It's OK to ask for help

Mary L. Routh Brodie
Posted 4/7/17

I’m at that time of life when I sometimes need help with things. Parts of my body are not as happy as the rest of me. In fact, some are downright crabby and let me know it is not OK to expect them to do some chores.

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It's OK to ask for help


I’m at that time of life when I sometimes need help with things. Parts of my body are not as happy as the rest of me. In fact, some are downright crabby and let me know it is not OK to expect them to do some chores.

Loud and clear, my back revolts; my feet refuse to smile in the expensive footwear I have bought for them. My closet door is cluttered with pairs and pairs of shoes – none of which you would wear to fancy doings. I alternate shoes, sometimes twice a day, to placate achy toes and arches. Doubtless they have never forgiven me for my five foot surgeries and aren’t about to forget, either.

But there are folks far worse off than I am, however, and I try to remember that and give thanks. Apostle Paul had his thorn in his side as his cross to bear; mine happens to be pain in the back. Fortunate am I that my sight and hearing are good; Dr. K keeps my teeth in shape, and Missy insists we do a bit of walking. My brain keeps me alert with a few hiccups and bleeps. So I am not running the streets haphazardly for something to do, my hands can still give my computer, piano and sewing machine a workout. Keeping myself amused and involved is not the issue.

Yet, there are some things that I know better than to attempt. That’s when it’s okay to ask for help. As my spine no longer tolerates vacuuming, mopping and getting down to clean ovens, cupboards and such, Jackie does it for me. I do own a snow shovel – for emergencies only – as Jim keeps my driveway and deck clear of snow all winter. I recall several years back spending four hours digging and pulling out those ugly weeds that bear the stickers that cling to socks, shoelaces and Missy’s paws. Now, they get a heavy shot of RoundUp whenever they think it’s safe to emerge.

When my sons show up (not often enough), one of the first things they ask for is my “to do” list. On it are items like “get down the light covers so I can wash them,” wipe off the ceiling fan blades, get down the Christmas tree boxes (or put them back up), and other chores sons are happy to do.

I have enjoyed all the traveling I have been fortunate enough to do and must have a thousand photos to remind me of all I’ve seen. Recently my body has informed me that overseas travel is no longer an option and even balks at flying to see family. Airplane seats don’t fit little people and airports are so huge now they are a nightmare. So I ask for help by arranging to be met with a wheelchair.

The first time I did was at the Atlanta airport and I felt a bit conspicuous and embarrassed. After the attendant whisked me through security, down the elevator, onto the transit train and right up to my gate, with a potty stop on the way, I got over myself. Last time was in the Denver airport in November where I had an overnight layover; the attendant even took me out to the hotel pickup spot and waited with me. I treated him well.

But help is not a one-way street. I can be of help in my own way. I’m perfectly capable of making a pot of soup for shut-ins or disabled. Potlucks are a specialty of folks my age who know how to cook from scratch. I have been known to puppy-sit; that’s when a fenced yard is a premium. I enjoy my quilting; the projects make welcome birthday or Christmas gifts – one-of-a-kind type.

At the post office or store, I’m offered help with big packages; on the other hand, I can hold the door for you or take your little one’s hand to cross the parking lot. A not-always-welcome service is offering advice, but you don’t have to take it.

Most recently, I found myself stranded. I was adjusting my seat to make it easier to slide behind the wheel the next trip – and left the key on in the ignition. Of course, the next day the engine was sound asleep. My neighbor Roger, who is always so helpful, was away. I just knew he had a jump box in that garage. So I called Tom at T and L Towing Services; he’d helped me in the past. He apologized because he was on a tow call south of town and might be a spell. As I wasn’t going anywhere, I just said, “Come when you can.”

And he did. Took him just a few minutes to wake that engine up. When I noted that I guessed I didn’t need my own jumper box, he said, “I may not always be available, but if you buy one, I’ll come and show you how to hook it up.” So that’s on my list of items to buy.

So, if you foolishly leave your key or lights on and Tom is out on a job, call me. I’m sure we can figure out how to use the thing. Mostly, any help I can give won’t be major. Yet it might be just what you need. Wyoming is the place where it’s OK to ask for help.