04 November 2009

Gettin' Old Ain't For Wimps

My mom fell down a couple of brick steps on Monday afternoon.

She was puttering around in the garden. It was starting to get dark, she was getting tired, and her vision has deteriorated to the point where she's probably legally blind. She tripped and fell.

She's OK, for a given value of "OK." She didn't mention it to my brother when he talked to her on the phone Monday night, but by Tuesday morning she was in enough pain that she thought she'd better see a doctor. Fortunately, to everyone's relief and amazement, she didn't break anything. They're keeping her in the hospital for a couple of nights so they can give her some serious pain meds.

My mom turned 87 a couple of months ago. She's had assorted cardiac and respiratory problems, colon cancer that left her with a colostomy, an infection that cost her the tip of her index finger. Despite several eye surgeries, she can't see worth crap.

She and my dad, who will be 89 in a few weeks, still live in the same house they've lived in since I was a toddler. It's mostly all on one level, but elsewise not particularly accessible. They get some help with housecleaning and heavy lifting in the yard, and my niece lives in an apartment on the property, in exchange for checking in to make sure they're vertical before she leaves for work. They do everything else themselves. My dad still drives, which makes me crazy.

My point (I'm just figuring this out myself) is not that I'm worried about a potentially dangerous living situation, although I am. There are resources available to them, ways to make their home safer, and even, dare I mention it? other residence options they might consider. Believe me, we're working on it. We're working on it. Suggestions along these lines are met with fierce, if not to say rabid, if not to say furious, resistance. They're a couple of stubborn, cranky old... well, never mind. That's not my point.

My point is that gettin' old ain't for wimps. Old age is progressive too, you know. When I think of what my mom and dad face, every day, day in and day out, without complaint (much), I feel like a total whiner. I mean, they're tough! I don't think they make them like that anymore.

But guys, for criminy sake, put a handrail on those steps, willya?

1 comment:

  1. Many of the residents in my retirement home are not thrilled to be here. But they have adjusted, the survivors look ahead---one step at a time. Aging IS chronic and progressive and eventually ends in death. Just another reason to make each day as sweet as you can. And there is no wiggle room for wimps. Your folks are warriors!