Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Only Gold That Tarnishes is the Gold of the Golden Years

The bad news continues with few bright spots for my parents and their health.  Dad has some better days going on when he can sit in the wheelchair and manage to get himself down to the hospital dining room for meals.  His pain is far more controlled at last and the spasms are fewer and less frequent. He has survived physiotherapy 3 days in a row now and has some good days interspersed with the painful ones.  Unfortunately though old problems with balance have reasserted themselves from all the enforced bed rest and he can't walk with a walker just yet.  Last night he had a bad fall when he tried to transfer himself from the wheelchair to the bed and never thought to ring for assistance before he tried such a foolhardy move. The day he went into hospital was a day he had been scheduled for an eye angioplasty to do with his macular degeneration and he had to forego the test.  Now his vision is deteriorating even more rapidly and he is starting to see double images.  I can only imagine how depressed he is underneath his usual show of bravado.  He is 86 and will be waiting for months for an MRI that will likely show a need for immediate back surgery that his heart will not withstand should he have the procedure.  In my opinion it is possible for a person to live too long.....long enough to suffer the eventual breakdown of the body and mind that comes to all of us who live for so many decades.  As someone said to me this morning, "We treat our pets better than we do our elderly; we don't let our pets suffer like this in their old age."  

Mom has her own struggles now as well.  Her appointment with the eye specialist about her cataracts brought her the good news of having both her eyes operated on in early April of this year, but it also brought the bad news that she too is suffering from macular degeneration.  I can only pray and hope that her macular degeneration will not progress as rapidly as my father's has.

In the meantime our dear family friend has been taking mom faithfully to the hospital, eye appointments, shopping and is changing his own schedule to deliver meals on wheels for her cataract surgeries. My husband and I are attempting to arrange my out of province medical procedures in April to coincide with mom's first eye surgery so that we can be there for her and give our friend a much needed break from being surrogate son.  Since we have only one vehicle mom has decided it isn't worth me coming down to be with her between my own dental procedures.  Our friend would still be needed to do driving and would then end up carting both of us around the city.  Too much stress for mom.

So on and on it goes.  From my own experiences in elder care and watching my peers going through all this I know that this is just part of life and we cope as best we can.  I feel so badly for both my parents, not knowing from one day to the next how they are going to feel or what new medical issue will inflict itself upon them.  They are stuck with an only child who lives just far enough away to be far less helpful than she would like to be.  

Hang in there mom and dad.  

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