Ask Gabby Gayle: This is not the year for big holiday parties

Color image of unidentifiable persons voting in booths at a polling station, during elections.

By gayle lagman-creswick

Dear Gabby Gayle: The holidays are coming and we are in the midst of a pandemic. We have a big family and have always gotten together for big holiday dinners. It used to be at mom’s house. Now she has downsized and is not able to do it. Others have taken on the task. This is the problem: We have not had a big family dinner since the pandemic. We don’t see mom except on family Zoom. None of us want to be responsible for giving her the dreaded COVID-19 virus. She is 81 and has underlying health problems. What do you recommend?

Signed, The Kids

Dear Kids: I am reasonably sure your mom understands what is going on and appreciates the care you are extending. I am old and I think this holiday season, as this year has been, will be like no other. This is not the year for big holiday dinners. I suggest that each kid has the holiday within your own “bubble,” which is your kids and those you associate with on a daily basis. I also suggest that you order a nice dinner in for your mom and that each of you FaceTime or Zoom with her on the holiday. Let’s all pray that holidays in 2021 will be a time to rejoice with the whole family.

Signed, GG

Dear Gabby Gayle: When dad passed away, I helped mom package up his things. I was amazed to see the unworn shirts, ties, pajamas, slippers and other new gifts we had given him for the last few years. The poor guy had so many gifts that he could not use or did not want. Please tell us how we could give more useful gifts to our parents!

Signed, D.M.

Dear D.M.: I recognize that scenario. Last year, I heard from a daughter that she had given her dad, who lived alone, coupons for 12 homemade pies. Each month she would bake the pie and take it over and they would have pie and coffee together. Dad said it was the best gift he ever had. Another idea is to write something for your dad of your remembered youth with him. Something he could read from time to time and enjoy. Most of us old people have the things we need. Another nice gift that I enjoy is gift cards. When I do need something I can’t afford, I use the gift card. Another idea is 12 coupons for a night out with your son or daughter for a nice meal.  And after all is said and done, it is the giver who we love—not so much the gift!

Signed, GG

Dear Gabby Gayle: My daughter recently had a hospital experience and I would like to get your reaction. She was in the hospital for a surgery for which she had elected to have a spinal. She was very nervous, and the resident introduced himself. My daughter felt she wanted someone more experienced and said she did not want a student. The anesthesiologist stepped in and corrected my daughter that the resident was a full-fledged doctor and not a student. The nurse, sensing my daughter’s tension, suggested another anesthesiologist, whom she knew would calm my daughter. Long story short: She did get the anesthesiologist who did her spinal and did calm her. While the story had a good ending, I am left with the question: Was she within her rights or should she have just shut up and let the resident do her spinal?

Signed, Mother

Dear Mother: While it is true that the resident is a full-fledged doctor, I subscribe to the philosophy that a patient has the right to feel confidence in their practitioner. Patients have the right to speak up. That does not mean they are always right. I feel the first anesthesiologist, in correcting the patient, was in a sense arguing with her—which, in my book, just adds to the patient’s anxiety. The nurse was very intuitive and saw that a better solution needed to be offered. I’m glad your daughter’s story had a good ending. As an old nurse, I was taught: Patients come first!

Signed, GG