Monday, May 01, 2006

Getting Old Sucks Ass

I know I should be all hopeful and shit. But my gradmother's health has deteriorated so much in the past six years that it's really hard to do. It's difficult to see her, my mom, aunts and uncles get older and go through crazy health issues. It's even more difficult to recognize the same oddities beginning to creep up on me.

Even though I realize that this is just how life goes sometimes, it seems like the ultimate in crap. To spend the last few years of your life in and out of hospitals, taking more meds then you even knew existed and relying on others to do basic things for you. We, mostly, appear to regress once we hit a certain stage. We become children physically but still have memories of glorious adulthood and independence. I cannot tell you how many times I've tried to stop my mom from hushing and rocking my grandmother obsessively when she was scared and in pain. For an 80-year-old a little bit of that is soothing, but once you cross the line you are going to piss her off by making her feel even more incapacitated than she really is.

Mom never listened. Grandmother always had to snap at her.

This time of sickness has also shown me how selfish I am. My mom has been so consumed with caring for my grandmother that she rarely does anything for herself. She's depressed, tired, angry, sad, too thin, exhausted, and often sick. Getting mom to go to the doctor is like pulling teeth (oh yeah, she complains about how bad her teeth are but I haven't been able to get her to a dentist yet). I've offered many times to stay with my grandmother. Usually when she takes me up on it it's just to go to the grocery store. My mom has high blood pressure. The only reason she knows this is because she had to rush to the hospital 4 years ago with nausea and a massive headache. She literally almost died from her self-neglect.

I know I'm selfish because no matter how much I offer to help and actually do I usually don't want to. I know I'm selfish because sometimes I think I'll be a bit relieved when my grandmother dies. Until I remember how guilty my mom will feel when she does. I know I'm selfish because every time mom mentions another ailment she has all I can think is, "If she doesn't start taking care of herself, I'll end up living solely to care for her in twenty years. Just like she does for my grandmother now."

I don't want to take care of my mother. I will if I have to, but I will not like it. I want her to be healthy and happy until the end. Not just for her, but for me too. So we can both live the lives we want without the restrictions of health and immobility. So we won't have arguments about whether or not she feels like taking the medicine that will keep her alive. So mom won't feel like I'm berating her every time I ask her to do something she doesn't want to. So I won't have to consider, and then reject, putting her in a home when I know I can't care for her myself anymore. Because, you know, "We don't give up on our people." So I won't secretly wish she would just die already so I could have some peace.

It's all too hard. I fear I'm too frail to handle it well.


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