IN MY OPINION
Books Read in 2007
Mefeedia Video Archive
SLIP SLIDING AWAY
6 February 2007
There is a lot to be said for old age. There is the pride that goes with knowing you have lived a full productive life. There is pride that you are still able to function, even though the parts aren't as fresh and efficient as they were when you were young.
But when I have to watch and deal with the inevitable effects of age on the system of a loved one, it can be very sad.
Short term memory loss is a difficult thing to watch, because it's so insidious. You want to scream "I just told you that!" but the information is already lost, buried somewhere in the memory banks, unable to be retrieved ... and you can't get angry because you know it's just the inevitable effects of age. It wouldn't be right to be upset.
Everything is done at a slower pace. Where once there was pride that a thing was done almost the minute it was started, now some tasks just seem to take forever to complete. The body parts don't move with the agility they did when they were younger. "Is there anything I can do to help?" you ask. "No--I just have to do this by myself," you are told. You have to sit back and let things take their course, happy that things get done at all, but it's hard not to tap your foot impatiently, hard not to let the frustration show.
Sometimes things just don't work period. In the middle of a task, performed slower than usual, that short term memory loss takes over. "What was I doing? I don't remember...," bringing the work to a grinding halt. Or it all just seems too much. The staying power is no longer there. "I just can't finish this...I think I'm going to take a nap now."
You try to be supportive, not to expect too much, not to push for speed that isn't there any more, not to get angry when things get forgotten. but it's frustrating. It's the fate of a caretaker...living in frustration, wanting to be encouraging, supportive, but inside always on the edge of a scream.
Oh, there are still flashes of the old efficiency. I still can't win a card game. I try and try and try and occasionally I am able to be master of the game, but if you check the tally of wins and losses, I'm definitely the winner in the loss category.
Underneath it all there is that feeling of sadness, knowing that time is growing short, that the life is slip-sliding away....
...and that soon I'm going to have to get a new laptop because this one just isn't going to live that much longer--or I may end up throwing it across the room in frustration some day.
Fortunately, my mother is in better shape than the laptop. There are a few characteristics that they may share, but her rate of decay is much slower and I hope that we'll have her around for a lot longer.
Of course, after she beat me three games of canasta before my coffee had time to get cool this morning, I'm trying to decide now to disguise the taste of D-Con if I slip it into her lunch. But I think that I'll probably let her live. I've gotten used to having her around....
...especially since after I read this to her, she told me that for my birthday (next week) and to thank me for all I've done down here, she wants to buy me a new laptop. Is that a wonderful Mom or what???
Today was the big Friends of Hospice (of Marin) meeting, so we “cleaned” in the morning. Yes, folks, I have learned how to work a vacuum cleaner. She followed me around and did the dusting. I have to admit it was kind of nice sitting down to a clean house when it was all finished.
Of course, I also admit that the reason this place can be cleaned in a couple of hours and look so good at the end of it is that my mother collects nothing. When the newspaper is read in the morning, it goes out to the trash immediately. She can’t imagine that I would want to keep a magazine once I’de looked through it. There are not a lot of tsatskes around here to dust, few mementos to look at, no stacks of paper to sort through. So I can feel good about getting it all to look neat and tidy...and know that I don’t have a prayer of achieving that look at home.
I’m feeling good tonight. The computer is actually working (so far) and even if it weren’t, I know that I only have a few more days to nurse it along. It can slip slide away all it wants. I’m movin’ on up, Baby!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
”how many pictures of me peeling apples have you taken of me over the years?” she asked.
This is entry #2504