Monday, October 01, 2007

Monday, Monday...Meanderings.

Ah, Monday - start of a new week, new beginnings, new options, new friends -who knows, maybe a few new enemies too. Let's hope the latter doesn't take place cause Lord knows I've already got more than my fair share of them!

Just a few thoughts circulating in my mind -so beware. You never know what direction they might take me. My "musings" tend to be more than a bit "hit and miss" but you already know that.

In another week, I'll add another year to those already accrued - hard to believe sometimes that I've seen more than six decades on the planet -somedays that is. Other days, I think it feels more like what 600 years might be like. But, as someone else commented on one of the blogs I read today if we tell ourselves "I have a good life" we can make the mind believe that. My theory there is that it's kind of the learned behavior you read about in psychology classes or in the children's book about the little red train - "I think I can, I think I can." So, if someone asks you how you're doing, just answer "Life is good!" I generally take a tact similar to that when I see folks I know out in public and they ask how things are going. My pretty much standard answer is that "I'm walking" - and for me, that means things are going at least fair to middling if not pretty doggone good!

But on the other hand, think of the circumstances so others who are, as the expression goes, "long in the tooth" or as having "long beards" - those who are well advanced in years and no longer able to live independently. I have two aunts still living - one just turned 90 this past April, the other will be 98 this month. The younger aunt and her only daughter have been relegated to residence in a local nursing home - both are wheel-chair bound. My cousin has a combination of issues -cerebral palsy, as well as mental retardation -and has been confined to a wheel chair for the bulk of her entire life -all 50 years of it. My aunt, until last August, cared for her daughter at their home, pretty much alone. OH she had some aides who came in and did a few things for my cousin but the overwhelming majority of her daughter's care - feeding, changing, bathing, personal needs, were all left to my aunt. Now, she's no longer even able to care for herself, much less her daughter and their lives are now spent in a room with two single beds, two wheel chairs, a small dresser, night stand and a tv set.

My older aunt, although she has been much more fortunate in that her health and mental status has until just fairly recently been pretty good - for a lady of that many years - has now also been relegated to a room with a dresser, night stand, tv and in addition to her bed, a favorite chair as well. A few pictures -favorites of her family, remembrances of what her life once was, hung on the walls of that room to give small comfort to her, perhaps spur her memory to function a little better from time to time too. But both of these women - independent, hard-working, strong in mind, spirit, health too for so long - now spend their days in small quarters such as these. And to me, it's just sad, very sad to see a life once so vibrant now being spent in such small quarters, with little left to give pleasure and enjoyment.

I once told a counselor I was seeing a few years back that I have no desire to live to a grand old age and he asked me why. Well, my reasons are that senility (or perhaps it is Altzheimer's - dementia, anyway) tends to run in my Mom's family and I really don't want to be around if I am not aware of my circumstances, if I can no longer do or think for myself. My counselor's response to that was "Well Jen, look at it this way. If that were to happen to you, you wouldn't be aware of it anyway, so you could be content then." Maybe so, I say, but I still wouldn't want to be spending my final days cooped up in one little room with only a few pieces of clothing and a couple mementos, would you?

Tomorrow - actually tonight -about 2 a.m., my daughter and a very close friend of hers have to leave to drive to Pittsburgh so they can be present and accounted for at 5:30 a.m. for her friend to have some outpatient procedures performed at Allegheny General Hospital there. They were antsy, waiting all day for the hospital to call and give Mandy's friend the check-in time. They were both hoping that perhaps she wouldn't have to be there until maybe 9, even 10 a.m. so they'd have a chance to get a little sleep before setting out from here.

This is a situation I really don't understand why, when hospitals schedule these type of procedures, they don't actually look at where the patient lives -the doctor who has seen the patient before or his/her nurse surely would be able to get the information in the initial visit as to the distance the patient lives from Pittsburgh and make a note of that to the scheduling department to try to work this patient in at a little bit more reasonable hour. But they don't do that. And (having been through this same type issue in the past two years with hospitals in that region, I know the only advice the person calling with your check-in time will give is to tell you that you could get a motel room near the hospital you know. Fine, except not everyone has the funds just laying around the house to cover that added expense - along with the gasoline costs that are exhorbitant too, plus perhaps having to make added arrangements for someone to stay with minor children and the like as well. I do wish someone could give me an answer to why they never take things like that into consideration. Anyone in the medical community reading this got any answers to those questions? I sure would love to know why things have to be this way.

And finally - save the best for last you know -a little Maya story for the day. Before I go into this one though, I best warn you in advance -as it involves potty training (that lovely thing all parents (and grandparents too) have to deal with when they have children - and maybe some won't like this as it could be considered perhaps a bit graphic to some.

In conjunction with the training the pre-school program Maya attends, we are supposed to try to work with her as much as possible too on getting her to adjust to using the commode. Yeah, well good luck with that! Maya generally refuses to sit on it and also, although she will come to us and say she needs "dry pants" this is all an "after the fact" type event. And so it was today when she started to say she wanted dry pants and I tried my level best to get her at least to try sitting on the potty while she was in the bathroom, regardless of whether there was any chance of there being any output while there. So, up on the changing table she went and I removed the very odorific pull-up. As I turned to empty the contents into the commode, Maya looked up at me and clear as a bell says, "It's a big one, Gram!"

And yes indeed it was! It was of such diameter that one would wonder how a little kid her size could squeeze that much out to begin with. Did she have anything at all left in those intestines?

But the real test came after I emptied the diaper into the commode and went to flush it and it refused to budge away from the white porcelain bowl! Just like it was made of crazy glue and had adhered to the edges, it seemed to have found a home and wanted to stay there.

I left it there -made no attempt to move it along because when her mother came home from work this afternoon, I wanted her to see this spectacle too cause I'm quite sure if I'd merely told her about this, she never would have believed me.

It took her four attempts to get it to move along its merry way!

I kid you not.

Now, there's my musings, my mental meanderings for this lovely first day of October - such an interesting and amazing life I lead. Right?


Theresa said...

We used to call that thinking- PMA positive mental attitude- I think for the most part there is something to be said about it- it doesn't work all the time, but it keeps you trying.

Once while hiking up a mountain this older couple breezed right past us, and I turned to my husband and said, I want to be like them when I am old- he said your not like them now- so how will you be like them later--true but said, need to take care of the body if one is to live to triple digits.

I find it funny you feel you need to give warnings to your blogs now-
you might want to be worried if you finally are able to flush!

Vic Grace said...

I never toilet trained my boys. I was a very relaxed Mom I guess. I just waited until they decided they didn't want to wear diapers any more. Each trained himself at about three, which is late I suppose by some standards. I was still nursing my youngest when he was three until he informed me he was too big now for Mommy Snacks and he was going to be a big boy and not wear diapers any more either. That was that he decided and I never stressed.

Casdok said...


lattégirl said...

Interesting meanderings! I agree with your views on living to a "great" old age... don't really want to get to that point, in a small room, with mental faculties shot.

But for now, I will strive to do what you do... just say "Life is good!" or "I'm walking!" and keep up a positive attitude even when I think I might crumble from a sudden stress attack.

Yesterday I was at a very tired point in the day when my brain didnt seem to be operating at full capacity and I was having trouble understanding what change to make for a client, and for an instant I thought I might cry right in front of the customer!

I don't want that to happen again!

dgibbs said...

I just started this with Connor. Anything in the diaper we take to the toilet and have a flushing ceramony. Hopefully one step closer to him actually making a deposit himself.

janeywan said...

I think where the hospitals go wrong is they plain and simple don't give a crap.

I have had to many surgeries to even mention, but one does come to mind. I had joint fusions on ALL my toes, that means both feet, a couple years ago and they sent me home the same day. I nearly lost my mind!! If I live to be a hundred I'll never forget when they told me after the anesthetic wore off, because they were look for a boot to fit, that I could get up and go.

Anyway hope things go well for your daughters friend.

Meloncutter said...

In another week you will add another year...

Hmmmmm Me too. My Birthday is on the 11th.

When's yers?

OMG yer word verification letters are... PPEINO.

I could get three paragraphs out of that if you weren't trying so hard to keep this family friendly.

Later Y'all.