I’ve recently considered how ironic it is that mine and my parents’ roles have kind of reversed. Although their word is, and always will be, gold if they offered up some occasional words of wisdom, I’ve found that I have almost become the parent in the situation.
“Did you remember to take your medication mom?”
“Mom, don’t forget to eat a snack before your doctor’s appointment, you know how you get lightheaded when your blood sugar drops.”
“Dad, you shouldn’t be drinking a beer, you know you can’t have that with your medication!”
“For crying out loud, I’m one foot in the grave anyway. I’ll drink a whole case if I dang well please,” dad retorted as he cracked open a new can. He’s the trouble maker of the two.
So, the night that I had a full-blown panic attack, thanks to them, I immediately understood my mom’s meaning behind the phrase, “you had me worried sick.”
There’s nothing like the sick feeling you get when you’re in a deep sleep, only to be alerted by a phone call from someone you don’t ever get a phone call from in the middle of the night. Especially when it’s from my mom.
As I scrambled through the haze of my sleep deprived eyes, I scrambled to grab the phone only a mere second too late.
Missed call. Mom.
I immediately dialed back and got nothing on the other end but a few rings and her voicemail. So, I tried again. Nothing. Repeat. Repeat! REPEAT! Nothing. No answer.
I rushed to my parent’s house in record time, still calling a few times along the way. But still, I got no answer. I don’t know what I was expecting when I pulled up in their driveway, but I wasn’t prepared for the place to look so…quiet. No police car. No audible noise. Just… quiet.
Without even bothering to knock, I unlocked the door and entered the house only to see the glare from the television, the background noise from a Life Alert infomercial, and my dad fast asleep, snoring in his recliner. When I checked on my mom, she was fast asleep in their bedroom. Am I losing my mind or was I just sleepwalking?
I nudged my mom on the shoulder, and she startled with my presence in her room. “For heaven sake, were you trying to give me a heart attack?” she asked as she tried to regain her composure.
“I think you nearly gave me the heart attack mom! Why wouldn’t you answer any of my calls?” I asked in obvious bewilderment.
“Maybe because it’s the middle of the night! Are the kids okay? Are you okay?” she asked as she visually assessed my frazzled state.
“Besides the heart failure I’m sure I just had on the way here, yes, WE are all okay. Are you okay? Why did you call me in the middle of the night?”
To make a long story short, we did a lot of investigating to find out why she called me after she swore she didn’t. In fact, we even woke the bear, my dad, to try and make sense of it all. It wasn’t until the background noise from the Life Alert infomercial saying the infamous “help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up,” followed by my phone ringing again, had us putting two and two together.
See, I got them an Amazon ‘Echo’ for Christmas that included the help of a robotic personal assistant named ‘Alexa.’ The thing is awesome! And its user friendly enough for the technologically inept, that I thought it would be a great tool for my mom to use while she’s cooking, or when she wants to hear the news and weather, or even a joke. Yes, ‘Alexa’ will also tell you jokes. But I apparently didn’t realize how helpful she was, because when ‘Alexa’ heard the keyword, “help,” she contacted my mom’s in case of emergency contact on her programmed address book, and tried to let me know “help” was needed.
Although I appreciated the heads up from ‘Alexa’ that help was needed, just not by my parents, it had me thinking. There are times when mom and I go for trips to the store or to lunch, and my dad may be left unattended if the caretaker isn’t there. I guess I’d never considered the idea of a medical alert system since my dad rarely moves from the recliner. Hence, why he fell asleep in it. But all it would take is one trip to the commode for him to bust a hip, and then there would be a real crisis.
So, as the delegated daughter that I am, and the stand in parental worry-wort, I had the Life Alert system installed in their home in case of a real emergency. And I swore I’d never purchase anything from an infomercial. Well played Life Alert… well played.