“We have a delivery,” my husband told me. “It’s probably the box to return the wheelchair leg rests.” We had bought a wheelchair online and one of the leg rests wouldn’t lock into place. The company sent us a replacement, but they wanted the defective part returned to quality control.
“OK,” I said. “I’ll take the dog out and bring in the box.”
I opened the garage door and immediately called Harold. “You need to come out here and look at this.” Partially blocking one of our garage doors was a pallet of folded boxes. A pallet!
He wanted me to send a photo, but before I sent it, he thought to look on the security camera. The next two hours were a whirlwind of trying to get someone to come and pick up the pallet of boxes. First, we had to deal with the confusion that both the company that delivered and the wheelchair seller insisted we had received one box. Well, our shipping label was on one of the boxes used to protect the bottom. Yes, there was our box, all right.
The clouds gathered and rain threatened. After I texted my photo to the wheelchair company, they promised to take it off our hands…eventually.
When all else failed, my son dropped by and moved the boxes from in front of the door. Eric said, “No one will pick it up today.”
“I can’t even imagine how heavy it’s going to be once it gets rained on,” I said. Eric rolled the boxes to the shop before the rain started. Now, I started to worry that they would come to pick it up when we were gone.
So, the outside boxes were now inside and safe from the elements. The whole experience brought to mind thinking outside and inside the box.
When I was a caregiver, I had to think outside the box often. Each day represented getting a pallet of problems when you wanted/expected everything to go smoothly. Jim wandered off and finally we thought to put an alarm on the front door. Why just one door when we had four? That was the only one he ever used when he decided to take off down the road. Every day brought about the unexpected from Jim, and thinking outside the box becomes second nature. It’s not unusual for the usual response to fail.
Sometimes, it’s better to think inside the box. One of the best things a caregiver can do is have a routine. People with dementia respond well to routine. Following a schedule for grooming, toileting, meals, activities, and bedtime make life easier for the caregiver and the person with dementia.
Sometimes, problems seem unsolvable, but with persistence and a little help from family, friends, or professionals, you can often achieve a satisfactory resolution.
The pallet that was dropped off Friday was picked up on Monday, while we were home. The boxes were on their way to the rightful destination.
My husband received an email from quality control saying they sent us new leg rests. Really? Again? Another email from receiving wanting to know why we hadn’t used the “box” they sent us to return the defective leg rest. It was from the same person we talked to when we received the pallet, with our shipping label attached to an open box tightly wrapped inside the packing straps.
“Now what do we do?” I asked.
My husband’s reply was “Not our problem.”
That brings up the final solution to problems beyond your control: Don’t think about the box at all.
Copyright © October 2021 by L.S. Fisher