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Open-Faced Sandwich

By Janie Rosman

(Page 2 of 3)

Some days I feel more like a sardine wedged between my life then and now.

A few years after college—now a distant memory revived by anticipated reunions—I moved out and then moved back, only to move out again until job loss and life happened.

Part of life happening was Dad’s stroke in November 2004, which precipitated my decision to work from home. Mom and I alternated responsibilities, like driving Dad to and from his physical therapy and medical appointments.

Contrary to what friends told me, living at home is not like living with roommates.

“It’s like being back in college,” said Beryn. Not really. These are my parents, and, frankly, it’s very different.

Who knew from sandwich anything years ago? My parents’ respective families lived within blocks of each other—a subway ride at the most—and saw to the needs of siblings, aunts, uncles and other family members.

Dad took care of his widowed mother when he came home from the war. When he and my uncle married, he assumed much of the responsibility for their mother.

Mom supported her parents through their respective illnesses and moved Nana close to us after Papa died.

The only sandwich people they knew worked at the corner deli.

When Dad retired from a successful career in 2002, he got a part-time job, played golf, enjoyed free time with Mom and drove himself in his own car.

A few days past his 82nd birthday, and shortly after Thanksgiving, he woke up and told Mom he was having difficulty swallowing. I called our local pharmacist and asked if his medications were interacting badly.

She said, “Get to the ER right away. I think he’s having a stroke.”

I believe she saved his life.

Little by little, he got stronger. We saw to his appointments, and made sure he took his medications correctly and in time. I put “me” on hold and focused my attention on getting Dad well.


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