Wednesday, December 7, 2011

On Murphy's Law

Yes, everything I ever needed to know I learned in grade school, because that is where I first learned about Murphy's Law. All the rest of my education is just commentary. The Law, briefly stated: If something can go wrong, it will go wrong. We'll never know just when it will go wrong, or quite how it will go wrong, or where it will go wrong. We'll never know if that "wrong" will be short lived or long lived. A correlative to Murphy's Law: Knowing that something can go wrong doesn't mean that we can fix things so they won't go wrong. I'll call that correlative "Man tracht und Gott lacht."

Back in an older posting on preparing services for the elderly who will need them, a whole lot of readers were in agreement that because today's families are larger, thus supplying more "manpower," there will always be someone in the family available to care for an older parent or grandparent, lots of somebodies available. Uh huh. See Murphy's correlative #2: just because something is going wrong for you doesn't mean that it isn't also going wrong for someone else in your family at one and the same time. And it also doesn't mean that something has to be going wrong for that someone else either; something good can be happening which makes it impossible to help you out when that help is needed, something like the birth of a new baby. And let's not forget to mention that close family can be spread out across the country.

Over the last two weeks we have had three different family members hospitalized for acute care, a few "regular" cases of stomache viruses, a sinus infection, a case of bronchitis and a ruptured vessel in the knee area. That's in addition to any regular allergies or conditions. And we have a couple of newborns. And for a lot of the family they are either facing the end of a school term and final exams or the craziness that comes to some businesses at the end of the year. And that's without adding in a few simchas--and yes, those, too, take a lot of effort and time for the baal simcha. We now have our second family member in long-term institutional care. And yes, this is business as usual for families of any size.

Yes, somehow everything that must be taken care of is being taken care of, but not without cost. Until you find yourself in the position my family is in at present you can have no idea of just how much time, effort and money is needed to keep on top of things. It's way too facile an answer to say that today's families are large so there will always be someone available--ready, able and willing--to take care of what may be necessary, all with no problems. And no, the organizations that Klal has available for situations such as we found ourselves in are not sufficient in many cases. One major hospital in Manhattan prides itself on it's bikur cholim activities and services to patients in the hospital, such as a kosher kitchen to provide fresh kosher food and meet special dietary requirements. Uh huh. Perhaps if you happen to find yourself entering that hospital on a Monday thru Thursday. If you come in on a Friday thru Sunday you just may find yourself in trouble if you are counting on that bikur cholim help.

When something moves out of the theoretical into the real you just may find out real life is not all that simple. And yes, Murphy is alive and well and practicing in our area.

Note: B"H the prognosis for my mom is good. The doctors are certain that she will walk again, albeit with a walker or mechanical aid of some sort. We're still some ways away from that point. Keeping her spirits up (and ours too) is a major part of our agenda.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hope your mom has a full refuah shelaimoh. My family is in your position and the word easy doesn't apply to any of it. Even hard is too simple a word for it.