Papa is Back on His Bike

first_imgMy father just got back on his bike for the first time in 8 years. He’s 81.He commuted by bike around Chicago his whole life. The city has magnificent bike paths that are strictly enforced. Nobody “accidentally” rides in the bike lanes. Drivers don’t harass cyclists for being on the road because everybody actually has something better to do. People who aren’t used to it, actually LEARN how to get used to it, rather than get angry because it‘s not what THEY do. Novel, eh?He had to stop riding when he could no longer leave my mother alone. At first she got frightened when she couldn’t find him. It’s like he was her brain. She was able to communicate to him what she needed, and he would do it for her. She would never come right out and admit that she couldn’t do it herself. He would have to figure it out. She hid her Alzheimer’s well. She wrote herself yellow sticky reminder notes for things like the contents of a cabinet or things that she wanted to say to people. She probably never ran across the notes again in the pile of papers on the dining room table. The notes stopped once spelling didn’t make sense for her anymore. She painted a ceramic dish and in signing the back of her art, she misspelled her name.She got mad one day when papa left her in a gift shop to go back to their hotel room. She forgot he was leaving. Plus, the layout of the lodge was in short-term memory. She could find her way around the neighborhood she lived in for 45 years, but she had no idea what to do here. He finally came back for her and she yelled at him, telling him never to leave her again. That’s when he stopped riding his bike.He continued to work out at the gym, because he needed to keep his heart healthy. He was vigilant, but the stress of taking care of mom was beginning to show up in his body. A mystery prostate issue resulted in a body scan revealing a tumor on his pancreas. In removing it, the surgeon mucked up his intestines, resulting in two more surgeries in two weeks and a gastric bag for another 10 weeks. It was this drive between Asheville and Chicago that made me determined to get them to move here. They stayed with me for two months while papa healed and I helped them find a place to live. He had a year to downsize. Halfway through it he developed severe Achilles tendonitis and shuffled for an entire year. He shuffled up and down three flights of stairs and between two houses, 45 miles away, packing everything up.It took three doctors, exercises, stretching, shoe inserts, massages, and two different physical therapists to heal it, and by the time it was better he developed sciatica – no doubt caused by the shuffling. When the doctor recommended total knee replacement as well, he said, “Getting old isn’t easy.”They moved here just as mom was at the point where she wasn’t quite sure where she was anymore. They struggled for far too long because papa was scared to make her do anything she didn’t want to do. The new apartment was set up with all of their old furniture, so she thought she was still home. The problem is that she kept going to the basement, which was no longer where the washer, dryer, tools and crafts were, but now the main lobby. She would find her way down the elevator in her nightgown at 5 a.m. after papa had finally fallen asleep. The maintenance men would bring her back, knocking at the door. As much as he hated to, Papa stopped putting her in the cleavage-bearing nightgown.Although we found adult daycare for her, papa’s days were spent figuring out how to outsmart her, convince her to put on her coat, coax her to eat, shop for the household, and manage the finances. She kept falling on the floor or simply getting down to sit yet unable to get back up. I would drive across town to hook her under the armpits from a sitting position and hoist her to her feet amidst much yelling and slapping – from her, not me. He would cheer her with a kiss, and all would be forgotten. He was exhausted. We had to find a nursing home.He now thought that he could ride his bike over to her because it was ridiculous to drive one mile back and forth twice a day. He took out his bike, pumped the tires and took it for a dry run around the parking lot. He said he felt a little unstable, but then took it to the street. Chicago is flat. Asheville is not. Just the huge speed bumps out front of his condo were enough to shake him up. He climbed up to the stop sign and decided it was too hilly. I don’t think he really changed gears while living in Chicago. He only had five of them on his Raleigh. He said he didn’t need any more.He complained that he didn’t feel as stable any more. I feel like his injuries and lack of being on the bike have weakened his cycling muscles, but more than anything, every time I get back on the bike after a hiatus I feel clumsy. I think that if he just does it, it will come back. It’s just like riding a bike, right?!What he needed was a flat place with few obstacles. I took him to Carrier Park. We started down at the French Broad River Park where there would be few obstacles or hills. I brought my boys, Elijah on his bike and Wyatt on a tag-a-long behind me. I pulled the bikes out of the pickup and got everyone suited up. It took me a while to get the tag-a-long attached and the winter wind was howling at 43 degrees. I watched papa wheel up to a post and sit on his bike. “I’m afraid I’m going to tip over,” he says. “I just don’t have the balance any more.” I had thought about bringing training wheels, just to get him confident again, but didn’t want to embarrass him. “Let me get you started,” I say. “I’ll just run along beside you in case you fall.”He wouldn’t have anything to do with it. I thought about the blocks he had tied to my pedals when I was little. He would push, holding onto my seat, and as soon as he gave me the final shove I would careen into a tree. It took me a while to get it. He laughed when I nailed that maple, but he helped me back onto the bike. One day I sat staring out of the window at the sidewalk, imagining riding a bike and suddenly I realized that I could do it. “I want to ride my bike,” I told him, as he watered the plants. “No, not right now,” he said. “I’m busy.” But I pleaded, “No papa, I don’t need your help. Just get the bike up the steps for me.” So he did. He went back to the front windows with his watering can as I wheeled my bike around. I kept swallowing the lump of excitement down my throat. I got on, put my foot on the pedal and looked up at the second-story window and waved at him. I stepped down on the pedal and took off, relaxing my body into full stride. I grinned up at the window to see him laughing and continued down the street like I’d been doing it all summer.Now he wouldn’t let me run beside him. I knew better than to argue, but I was terrified that he would crash to the pavement and break something. What an idiot they would call me in the emergency room. “You took your 81-year-old father for a bike ride?!”I got Wyatt on the tag-a-long and pedaled over to him. “Go ahead Papa,” I will follow. “NOOOO!” he said as if I were stupid. “If I fall you’ll get all tangled up in me,” he says. Clearly he is not familiar with the type of riding that I do, which is really sweet. I guess there’s not much that I can do to save him if he falls, no matter where I am, so I don’t argue. I pull ahead and by the time I turn around he is riding. I’m so happy, but I don’t want to embarrass him, so I turn back around to hide my grin and tears. He careens a bit through the gate, but makes it fine and isn’t struggling at all. We ride around twice before I bring him onto the dirt path connecting toward Carrier Park and I worry again as he cranks up a small hill that is always challenging for the boys. We make it all the way to the racetrack where he sits on a bench looking exhausted. I’m a little worried that I’ve pushed him too far. He already worked out this morning.The kids run around the playground, but it is cold, so we head back after 20 minutes. We are all freezing and Wyatt cries almost all the way back to the truck. I want to race back, but I have to ride slow because I don’t want papa out of my sight. He is also cold and tired. Elijah races ahead and helps us into the truck, which I turn on and crank the heat, placing the baby in the driver’s seat. We are cold, tired and hungry, but inside I can’t believe I’ve gotten papa back on his bike. I drop him home and as I kiss him, I tell him how proud I am of him riding his bike. He laughs and limps up to his condo, pushing his bike along.A few hours later I call to see if he is ok. “Oh, yes!” he laughs, “I was just on my way out for a walk. Thank you for checking on me.”Mom is gone now, but papa is back on his bike.last_img read more

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April 15, 2003 News and Notes

first_imgApril 15, 2003 News and Notes Pamela M. Gordon, of Brinkley, McNerney, Morgan, Solomon & Tatum, LLP, Ft. Lauderdale, has been appointed to the board of directors of Legal Aid Services of Broward County, Inc. Eugene G. Beckham, of Beckham & Beckham, P.A., Miami, has been elected a member of the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel. David M. Garten, of West Palm Beach, spoke on “Undue Influence” at the Palm Beach Guardianship Association and on “When the Fiduciary Errs: Who Pays?” at the Dade County Bar and Florida Bar meetings. Louise B. Zeuli, of Louise B. Zeuli, P.A., Maitland, presented “Prevention of Medical Errors” at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. She spoke to health science students and faculty about factors contributing to medical errors, and the impact on individuals, employers, the health care system, and nursing liability. Charles H. Licht-man, of Berger Sing-erman, Ft. Lauderdale, has been elected chair of the Uniform Commercial Code sub-committee of the American Bar Association’s business law section, and has been appointed chair of the newly formed Legislative, Regulatory and Legal Affairs Committee of the Equipment Leasing Association of America. He was also appointed to serve as contributing editor of the Leader’s Equipment Finance Journal. Thomas M. Wich, of Wich, Wich & Wich, P.A., Ft. Lauderdale, was the guest speaker at a seminar titled “Estate Planning and Tax Control” in Ft. Lauderdale, sponsored by Smith Barney/Citigroup. Frank T. Adams, of Katz, Barron, Squitero & Faust, P.A., Ft. Lauderdale, was elected a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. Thomas J. Wilkes, Jr., of GrayHarris, Orlando, was appointed by the board of county commissioners to serve as chair on the Orange County Charter Review Commission. Cynthia Crofoot Rignanese, of the Law Offices of J. Kelly Kennedy, Winter Haven, was recognized as an “Outstanding President” at the Florida Kiwanis Mid-Winter Conference in Orlando for her service during 2001-02. Margaret T. Math-ews, of Akerman Senterfitt, Tampa, was sworn in as president of the board of directors of Bay Area Legal Services at its quarterly meeting. Rafael Suarez-Rivas, of the Miami city attorneys’ office, has been appointed vice chair of the Miami Beach Hispanic Affairs Committee. Daniel S. Pearson, of Holland & Knight, Miami, was the recipient of the Second Annual William M. Hoeveler Award for ethics and leadership in the legal profession, presented by the University of Miami School of Law Center for Ethics and Public Service. Sheldon S. Polish, of Berger Singerman, has been elected to the board of directors and to the executive committee of the United Way of Brow-ard County. He was also appointed chair of the organization’s Planned Giving Division. Jacquelyn Needelman, Bar UPL counsel, Miami, has been appointed by the governor to the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council for a period of three years. Elliott Wilcox, of the Office of the State Attorney, Ninth Judicial Circuit, presented “Beyond ‘What Happened Next?’–How to Improve Your Direct Examination,” for the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association’s DUI Trial Advocacy School in St. Petersburg. William R. Lowman, Jr., of Zimmerman, Shuffield, Kiser & Sutcliffe, P.A., Orlando, was named to the board of trustees of the Junior Achievement of Central Florida Foundation, Inc. Andrew E. Grigsby, of Hinshaw & Culbertson, Miami, was a lecturer for the National Business Institute program, Challenges in Florida Insurance Coverage Litigation. He gave presentations on analyzing insurance contract provisions and subrogation. Frank M. Petosa, of Petosa & Fernandez, P.L., with offices in Boca Raton and Tampa, spoke on the plaintiff’s perspective on litigating the nursing home negligence case at the Nursing Home Negligence seminar, sponsored by PESI in Miami. Jeff D. Vastola, of The Law Offices of Jeff D. Vastola, West Palm Beach, has been appointed to the board of directors of the Palm Beach County Trial Lawyers Association. Kevin P. Crosby and William T. Coleman, of Brinkley, McNerney, Morgan, Solomon & Tatum, LLP, Ft. Lauderdale, spoke at a seminar in Ft. Lauderdale presented by Legal Aid Service’s Pro Bono Program, Broward Lawyers Care, and The Broward County Bar Association Family Law Section. Crosby lectured on intellectual property issues relating to family law and Coleman addressed real estate matters. Julia Frey, of Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A., spoke to a Winter Park Memorial Hospital mothers’ group meeting on “The Legal ABCs of Estate Planning.” She also spoke to the Florida Symphony Orchestra Board on planned giving techniques. Albert F. Tellechea, of Akerman Senterfitt, Orlando, has been named a regional president for the Hispanic National Bar Association, as well as chair of the organization’s strategic planning committee. Karen A. Williams, of counsel with Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A., gave a seminar titled “Recent Developments in Employment Law,” geared for human resources professionals. She also presented a teleseminar for the Association of Legal Administrators on “Employment Law Update” and was a February faculty member for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, Florida regional program at Nova Southeastern University. Frederick W. Leonhardt, of Gray Harris, Orlando, was elected chair-elect of the Florida Chamber Board of Directors. Matthew J. Ahearn, of Dean, Mead, Egerton, Bloodworth, Capouano & Bozarth, P.A., Orlando, spoke at the “Trust Drafting in Florida, The Basics and Beyond” seminar in Orlando. His topic of discussion included “GRATS, GRUTS and QPRTS (After the 2001 Tax Act).” Ellen S. Malasky, of Ellen S. Malasky and Associates, P.A., West Palm Beach, was a featured speaker and author on “Selecting and Terminating Employees in Florida” at a National Business Institute seminar in West Palm Beach. Thomas S. Harmon, of Davis & Harmon, P.A., Tampa, presented a CLE program for the Association of Trial Lawyers of America titled “Litigating Nursing Home Cases” in Austin, Texas. Dale Burket, a partner with Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A., along with John Farren of CNL Franchise Network, presented the topic “How a Real Estate Company & Its Lawyers Use Technology to Reduce Closing Time” at the 2002 Annual Fall Conference of the University of Florida Center for Real Estate Studies. John B. Fuller, of Ayres, Cluster, Curry, McCall, Collins & Fuller, P.A., Ocala, was elected president of the American Board of Trial Advocates–North Florida Chapter. Jacqueline Bozzuto, Gary Kaleita, and Michael Ryan, partners with Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A., along with associates David Ederer and Ormend Yielding, presented a one-day seminar titled “Law of Easements: Legal Issues and Practical Considerations in Florida.” Harry A. Payton, of Payton & Carlson, P.A., Miami, was a panel moderator in Coral Gables for the American Bar Association’s annual meeting of the section of litigation, corporate counsel committee CLE seminar titled “The Rise and Fall and Future of Special Billing Arrangements Including Task Based Billing.” Jodi Seitlin, of St. Augustine, has been sworn in to practice law before the Supreme Court of the United States, invited by the Hadassah National Attorneys Council, as one of only 15 lawyers from around the country to be invited annually, and the only attorney from Florida. Hadassah is The Women’s Zionist Organization of America. Scott Tufts, partner with Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A., presented a seminar titled “Partnerships, LLPs, LLLPs, and LLCs: Organization and Operation in Florida.” Darrell Payne, of Shook, Hardy & Bacon, L.L.P., Miami, was elected treasurer of the Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. James Spoonhour and John Wettach, of Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A., spoke at a “Land Use Planning and Eminent Domain in Florida” seminar. Henry Cooper, of Fogel & Cohen, L.L.P., Boca Raton, has published an article on employee monitoring in the workplace which was featured in the South Florida Business Journal. Norma Stanley, a partner with Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A., presented the second seminar in the Rollins College educational series on “Advanced Estate Planning Concepts.” She was also the guest speaker for the Financial Luncheon Group of Winter Park, where she spoke on the topic of “Estate Planning for Singles (with and without children) and Unmarried Couples.” Judith S. Nelson, of Nelson & Levine, P.A., North Miami Beach, received the J.N. McArthur Foundation Education Award at the Annual Spectrum Awards Luncheon of the American Red Cross of Greater Miami and The Keys, recognizing her volunteer work as executive director of Victory School, a nonprofit school for children with autism. Jaret J. Fuente, of Carlton Fields, Tampa, has been elected to the leadership council of the American Diabetes Association for Southwest Florida. Michael R. Goldstein, of Akerman Senterfitt, Miami, presented at the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Winter Growth Management and Environmental Permitting Conference in Orlando, and at the Florida Brownfields Partnership Workshop in Clearwater. Jason M. Murray, of Carlton Fields, Miami, has been appointed by William J. Zloch, chief district court judge for the Southern District of Florida, to serve as a member of the Ad Hoc Committee on Attorney Admissions, Peer Review, and Attorney Grievance for the District Court, Southern District of Florida. Paul Steven Singerman, of Berger Singerman, Miami, has been selected to the faculty of the Southeastern Bankruptcy Law Institute, a nonprofit corporation that conducts an annual seminar on bankruptcy law. Deborah Martohue, of Hayes & Martohue, P.A., St. Petersburg, lectured on water boundaries and ethics in Tampa for the National Business Institute. She also lectured at the Annual Growth Management and Environmental Permitting Short Course in Orlando, on “Changing the Law of Zoning: A Quandary for Legal Draftsmen.” Joel Levine, a Florida Supreme Court mediator from Miami, spoke at the Harvard Law School as a Traphagen Distinguished Alumni Speaker, where he addressed students, faculty, and staff on a variety of subjects regarding societal changes over the last generation. April 15, 2003 Regular Newslast_img read more

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