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Car Wreck

MIL Ru checking out her ride.

Dear Diary,

People (My MIL Ruth) are asking for their car keys back so they can drive again. I had to go through the a-g-o-n-y the first time when she was TOLD (not by ME.. are you kidding?) that she either had to “hand um over” or foot the tab for the state patrol to bring on extra off duty police officers. The plan was the cops fuzz would RIDE 2 miles in front of her— specifically to clear a path as she gingerly traveled down Interstate- 5 in an almost forward motion. I don’t have any idea why NOW..she’s seeking reinstatement Oh. Like WHAT Ruth? You’ve gotten over dementia and feel your ready to try your hand at something you were never much good at in the first place. Is it that SUDDENLY you’re feeling the need for speed and the desire for freedom? How about you settle for borrowing Harry’s wheelchair and I’ll push you really fast around the DOWNSTAIRS lobby. If THAT’S not freedom then I don’t know WHAT. IS.

This is how I think granny got it in her head that it was time to drive herself for a change. I was a little bit overly enthusiastic at her ability to read a construction sign with ease and I drove her past a place of high quality scenery. Yup. That did it. Here we were cruising at 15 mph through a work zone and Ruth was checking out all the hot workman dudes (who she says, kept waving at HER). When one of the guys in his orange vest— flung himself in front of our oncoming vehicle and pointed at a big orange sign with humongous letters..

RUTH: Oh. I think he wants me to read that to him (giggle giggle). Roll down the window. Let’s see..(straining to read tiny print)

Metal. Plate. In. Head. Oh dear GAWD! He’s got a metal plate in his head. Should we give him money?

While Ruth was close regarding the text on the cigar.

ME: AHEAD. It says a-h-e-a-d.

RUTH: It was an honest mistake. Anyone could have made it. Bet THELMA wouldn’t have caught that detail. Is it MY turn to drive?


(Please hand your senior a #2 pencil and allow them 20 min. per question)


1. When walking down the halls of Happy Daze Assisted Living..ROAM (Alzheimer’s) floor, your MIL will observe consistently:

A. Milton’s walker pushed out in front of his outstretched legs

B. The wall in front of the dining area (or any wall for that matter).

C. Her bedroom door with someone’s name marked in big block letters..R.U.T.H

D. All of the above

E. Are you kidding? No freakin’ way on any of the above.

2. Your (my) MIL can see and recognize objects in the range of:

A. Three to Five feet.

B. One to Two feet.

C. Six inches

D. Nose to nose with spit hitting your face when conversing.. asking “is that YOU in there Adrienne?”

(Potty Break. Pencils D-O-W-N)


3. When the hearing aid is turned up to HIGH..your senior can differentiate between a cell phone ring tone and a real Police Siren. T or F


4. In case a Police vehicle is tailing your senior (for not stopping at a “red” because they “forgot”)..your elder family member would take the following steps:

A. Step on the gas so as to try and “help” the officer catch the crook up ahead. After all.. it is her civic duty.

B. Pull over fast (now we’re talking). To avoid being followed by some fool playing “loud and annoying noise” on their radio (maybe NOT).

C. Slam on the brakes..because they “can’t remember” WHAT they are supposed to do.


5. Granny can get in and out of her vehicle correctly without:

A. Smacking her head on the door frame thus messing up her hair-do.

B. Asking for assistance as to “what foot goes into the car first.”

C. Asking “now what do I do?” upon entering.

D. Getting in the BACK seat.

E. Demanding why she needs to wear a seat belt. Refusing to wear seatbelt the “right” way. Prefers the shoulder strap be placed UNDER the armpit for less wrinkling.

So how’d they do? I’d like to ask that you check their answers with the correction key listed below b-e-f-o-r-e making any hasty decisions.

1. B and D- Your senior MUST be able to see a wall so they don’t crash into the divider on the highway when they drive at night..on the streets of.. PARIS?

2. C- Granny must be able to see 6 inches in front of her. She’s NOT going to remember where she’s going ANYWAY so any further is a waist. Plus. She’s only going to be driving 15 mph so she can pull up nice and cozy like to an object and do a hard assessment before running it over.

3. This was a trick question. If your senior is driving with a cell phone in her car and it rings (with a siren ringtone.. because it’s her DIL) she had BETTER NOT even think to pick it up. Ga. If she gets a TEXT and she secretly reads it at the light..I will SO turn her ASS in. Got it Ru? NO texting while driving.

4. C- If an officer of the Law is following so CLOSELY behind.. that by you stepping on the breaks he is forced to rear-end you. Well, then I’d say.. you just get out of the car all bent over, shuffling around dazed and confused (as you usually are) and he will feel like crap. Then– he’ll have to pay all kinds of settlement money. If you don’t..speak.

5. A- This one was sooooo easy. Granny HAS to be able to get in a car without messing the hair. If the hair is no good.. Granny might as well just turn around and head back up stairs. If the hair cost $45 at She She Poo Salon and Spa and it gets taken down by a doorframe..hysteria of DIL may ensue along with total devastation by granny. Not a pretty site.

How did your seniors do My Sandwich Generation colleagues? Remember..taking away the keys the FIRST time is traumatic enough.. if you’re FORCED to go that route. This symbol of freedom is being yanked away from our elder family member and this could cause some serious mental health issues. I’m not SAYING that Ruth’s dementia was caused by taking the keys away..per say (Please note..there is no science to back this up.). I’m just sayin..15 years ago– she was a HECK of a lot more “with it” then she is today. Still. I’m SO. NOT. Evahhhh going to give them back. Did I mention the final test assessment? YOU my dear MSG friend will need to sit in the back seat..with duck tape over your mouth and allow them to drive you to the mall. Good luck with that.

Gotta GO. It’s green.

Copyright © 2009 My Sandwich Generation. All rights reserved.

Posted in Uncategorized 13 years ago at 10:49 pm.


6 Replies

  1. My husband and I read this while cranky and laughed so hard that we almost cried. While I won’t go so far as to say that we are no longer cranky, we do have a preschooler who thinks we’re crazier than before. So, thank you for sharing!

  2. LOL!! Reminds me of Mo Willems’ “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!”

    “I’ll be your best friend.”
    “I’ll give you five dollars.”
    “I’ll bet your mom would let me!”

    Thanks for the giggles.

  3. Adrienne Aug 18th 2009

    Dear Austen,

    I thank you so much for the comment and your child for not having you carted away. It is always my greatest joy to bring about bouts of hysterical laughter..that may or may not be accompanied by an episode of PIP. You might consider reading to your child before bed as a way to induce..sweet dreams (of his or her eldercare future). Bwahahaha.


  4. Adrienne Aug 18th 2009

    Dear Andi,
    For $5 I may have considered. Plus..that “I’ll be your best friend” line..N-E-V-E-R works with me. Who needs THREATS.
    Thank you for the comment. You rock.


  5. Nicole Aug 28th 2009

    Thank you for the laugh. We had to do the same with my grandfather. But my aunt took it a step further. She’d already been in two accidents with her own vehicles, so she took his car. Well, strike three. It was parked in front of her pastor’s house, on the street. Some drunk plowed into the empty vehicle. Totaled that sucker. What does my grandfather want to do with the insurance check? Buy a new one! Uh,no! We paid the nursing home a few more payments so we guarantee he’s not let loose!

  6. Adrienne Aug 29th 2009


    Did he (she) drive a Porsche Carrera GT? Then I would just say.. that sucks and you should have taken the $440,000.00 in insurance and sent gramps and the whole family on a cruise to the Bahamas for a year. Thank YOU for reading.