It’s never occurred to me before but now it’s plain to see.
There really does exists furniture that people would rather not want, and certainly rather not mention.
Because they are an affront.
And at least three of them will be arriving at my doorstep in the next three working days.
Ever since my mother fell three weeks ago, and fractured her right hip, things have changed drastically.
Being elderly (she’s in her mid-80s), her recovery from any hip fracture will require extensive times of healing and rehabilitation. More so than for most of us.
And any hopes of resuming the walking ability she had before, dim.
At best she will have a permanent limp and that will mean even on a good day, she will still need a walking cane. Preferably the kind that ends with four short stumps for more stable ground support.
Upon her discharge in the next week or so, she will need every available family member’s assistance to support her daily living for these, her twilight years.
And at home, she will need new furniture, each a painful reminder that she is irreversibly less mobile and unavoidably more dependent.
These are the kinds of furniture that nobody wants, each to me representing the ultimate of affronts in three specific ways – Body, Will and Self-Control.
1. Commode Chair – An Affront to Body
This one actually needs no introduction. Since no one would want to “introduce” it into any social tete-a-tete. More likely, it would be shunned at all possible costs!
Because if ever there was a more debilitating device for one’s self-esteem, this piece of furniture would take the top prize.
It’s the ultimate “insult” for that bodily function we all perform every day since we were born. What we all assume we will always be able to perform well, with nary a thought otherwise.
That is until we age.
And we fall.
For my home, the dimensions of this new furniture must also fit our tiny bathroom so that when my mom needs to go, this dastardly chair can fit nicely inside and ease her time there.
Every. Single. Day.
It will also need to serve her well when she takes a shower, an undertaking she will now most likely need help to complete, either with the help of my wife, or our female domestic helper.
And so yes, the body. Affronted. In more ways than one. Thanks to this furniture.
2. Upright chair with foldable table – An Affront to Will
This is where my mom will sit in front of the telly from now on. Her usual favorite rocking chair won’t cut it anymore. Just the thought of her trying now to get in or out of the old rocker…
….so no, this new piece of furniture will be where she must sit. Still. Upright.
Every. Single. Day.
During those times she needs her daily fix of the latest Taiwan soap opera, or just to color within the lines in her drawing book.
She can no longer choose to sit on any other chair she likes.
Isn’t choice a fundamental human right?
The will to choose. Affronted. By this furniture.
3. Bed rail – An Affront to Self-Control
Henceforth, our fear every day and night will be that my mom might fall again when our guards are down, or when there’s (momentarily) no one near enough to intervene. Like what happened three weeks ago.
So this third piece of furniture is a reminder that even in bed and at rest, there is no “rest”. There’s no guarantee that she can control her ability to rise out of or get into bed without the possibility of falling.
The ability to control something as simple as getting in and out of bed. Affronted. By this simple “barely-a-furniture”, furniture.
But why stop at these three pieces of furniture?
There’s also the newly bought wheelchair and the previously-mentioned walker. No images needed, and no explanations necessary.
Except to say that to be wheeled around or be seen needing a walking stick must surely be the ultimate of affronts. With the three furniture pieces, at least one’s “undignified” way of life can avoid public scrutiny.
Not so with the wheelchair or the walker.
Each of these practically screams to the world:
“My days are numbered”!
“I am wasting away.”
“Redundancy is my new name.”
But these aren’t my mom’s affronts alone. These are now her caregivers’ too.
For we too must live with them as we use them to help my mother live each day with some modicum of dignity. Despite how they “affront” us, reminding us of the eventuality that befalls all mankind.
In Body, Will, and Self-Control.
Every. Single. Day.