Opinion – 5/2/2003

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 2, 2003

The Panolian Editorial

For additional opinions and articles,
pick up the 5/2/03  issue of The Panolian

We Don’t Always Give Elderly Credit for Their Abilities

Congratulations to all of those who won awards at this week’s Panola Partnership banquet at the armory in Sardis.

From the long list of past and recent achievements, it was a well-deserving group.

There was more talk about Toyota and the Como area having been in the running for the assembly plant that is going to be built in Texas.

But, as Partnership CEO Paul Alexander said, being in the final three sites for a project by the world’s second largest corporation is a pretty big deal.

Hopefully this will bode well for Panola County’s future. It was lots of good publicity for us both nationally and internationally … the kind money can’t buy.


Much of my mind this week has been on my mother – we call her Sugah. She had knee replacement surgery Monday. Surgery went fine but she is having some complications … pain medication, even small amounts, negatively affect her mental status. So, I’m ready for that to wear off.

She’s had two hip replacements and I hear that knee rehab is even tougher.

And it gets started right away. She came back from surgery with a gizmo on her leg that mechanically makes her knee move … very slowly.

Also, on the day after surgery physical therapists had her up … and standing!

She’s 84 and I was concerned about her age with regard to undergoing such a procedure.

But her surgeon, Dr. Alan Sherman in West Memphis, suggested I take "another look" around his waiting room. He said he often does knee replacements on the over-80 set and had, in fact, done one that morning on a lady who was 82.

While my mother was a high risk surgical patient, due to past history of heart rhythm, pulmonary and mental status problems after operations, the deciding factor in all of this is the better quality of life she’ll have after recovery.

She’s the one who made the decision. Frankly, my brother and I had mixed emotions. We were afraid for her to do it and afraid for her not to do so.

But she’s a smart lady and weighed the factors herself.

I had to laugh shortly before surgery when an anesthesiologist we know quite well was talking about the risks involved and was asking questions. He was directing it all to me.

Sugah looked at him and said, "She’s not the one who is having surgery. Don’t look at her. Look at me and ask me."

He looked at me again with an expression reminiscent of a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Then he said, "Yes ma’am," before moving to the other side of the bed and directing his attention to Sugah.

I believe many of us, including health care workers, think because a person is elderly he or she isn’t as mentally sharp as so many are. We underestimate their abilities.

… And that’s a mistake.


(Kate Dickson can be reached by email at: editor@panolian.com)