Creative Commons License photo credit: williamhartz

People who have to take care of their elderly parents and their children are sometimes called the “Sandwich Generation.” My experiences the last couple days, reminds me not only of a sandwich, but an old baseball game called Pickle.

In the game of Pickle, two fielders throw the ball back and forth trying to squeeze the runner until one of them can tag him/her out. The runner is said to be “in a pickle” because there are few choices.

In the post, “Attack by friendly fire: People with autism and their families” (click here) I shared how my son, who is 35 and has the label of autism, is caught in a residential crisis. The county board is the fielder on Base 1.

This same week, I’ve been running my mother who is 88 years old back and forth to the doctors for her acute pain. Today the doctors decided to give her full hip replacement surgery. My mother is the fielder on Base 2.

Me–I’m the runner caught in the middle, “In the Pickle.” I keep hoping to get a break and make it safely to the base. Back and forth, forth and back… go from one crisis to the next. Try not to be tagged “out.” It’s tricky, but maybe I can slide into a base, or pull a turn and twist maneuver, or run real fast. The odds aren’t good. But, sometimes we get lucky and can get to base safely.

Aaron’s problem is actually the more difficult to solve because the “system” is set up to deal with people like my mom. There are thousands of seniors having replacement surgery every day. The system, for the most part, works well. If it doesn’t work, there are thousands of family members across the nation who can advocate and fix things. Still not easy, but there are lots of voices and advocates.

With Aaron there are few voices to advocate. Few people have the luxury of even being in our situation.

Many parents of adults with disabilities have their child living at home. They might be on the waiting list for the few Medicaid Waivers. If their child does get residential services they do not know what best practice looks like, they are not likely to rock the boat or ask questions. Many parents are afraid the services will be taken away. Many think the agencies are doing the best they can and just give up.

Thanks to so many of you who have offered your prayers and concern. Thanks also to those who have given me some ideas and encouragement as we move forward.

Right now, I’m still “in the pickle” running between the bases.


Are you also a member of the sandwich generation? Also caught in a pickle? Tell us your story. How are you dealing with it?

Keep Climbing: Onward and Upward.

All the best, Mary

Day 19 of our Chris Brogan’s Every-Day-For-30-Days Blogging Challenge Follow us on Twitter #CB30BC
Alison Golden of The Secret Life of a Warrior Woman is my partner in this challenge: (click here to check out her new post.)