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  • Andrea Dobrin

Traveling with a Newbie Expert (11) or Life Throws a Curveball.

Well folks- many apologies for the significant time lapse between my last Blog on the expert witness business and today’s report from the field. I hope folks don’t mind, but I’m going to take a step away from work for a minute and fill everybody in…..

I am at that age where like many people I am needed to assist a parent with the next and last phase of their life. And also like many folks that find themselves in this situation the role reversal comes with a great deal of conflict and careful negotiation….something very similar to working with hormonal teenagers.

My mother is 90 years old and while her body is struggling, her mind remains fairly intact, with some loss of executive functions beginning to make their appearance. However, her WILL is as strong as ever (shades of my own future- not wanting anyone to make decisions for me!). And it was exactly that force of nature known as “Pat” that managed to orchestrate getting herself from one end of the country to another this summer. Unfortunately, she was able to convince someone to take her to our family’s summer cottage, which is on an island in the Saint Lawrence River in the Thousand Islands.

I say “unfortunately” because there is nothing on the island beyond a Post Office and a community volunteer library. There are only footpaths and those are fairly treacherous. Anything that is needed must be done off the island, requiring a boat and then a car to drive to your destination- which for a 90-year-old is mostly doctor appointments or the grocery store. Do I need to even say that a 90-year-old with macular degeneration ~GASP~ and highly limited mobility should not operate machinery??

Complicating matters further even on a good day there is highly sketchy internet access on the island, and my mother who has decided that technology is completely over-rated, had no operating system for communication beyond her AARP flip phone. (The flip phone is not a smart phone but is the surviving model of at least six versions that she went through in the last year. She hates telephones almost as much as computers.)

Once her friend returned to Florida, my mother found herself on her own and struggling with even basic maneuvers like walking, carrying items, remembering to eat, take pills and feed her two cats. So…….that led to my relocating up to the river to care-take until I could orchestrate getting her home to Florida and helping to arrange for daily care.

I’m sure that there are several folks out there nodding their heads in understanding and sympathy- I feel your support!! As things stand today, I am back in my own home and lucky enough to find that I have a few expert witness cases on my docket. However, I know it is only a matter of time before I will be on a plane to Florida because as a dear friend said, “You do realize that she is not going to get better, right?” I actually had hoped to bury my head in the sand a bit longer (!), but reality is in front of me and I will deal with one decision at a time and simply try to enjoy the fact that I still have this venerable woman in my life.

Now that I have caught everyone up with my personal life, next week we’ll pick things up where I left off several weeks ago – we’ll talk about staying in your lane and what to do when your research uncovers more problems than solutions. Chao!

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