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Posts Tagged ‘aging’

I Worry

I’m one of those people that worries about everyone else. For example, if I don’t see the regular checkers at the grocery store, I wonder if something happened to them, not if maybe they’re enjoying a day off.

I live in a mobile home park that, while an all ages park, has about sixty percent of the residents over the age of fifty-five. Most of these people have been here for a long time, even before I moved here almost ten years ago. I don’t know many of them but I know their faces and I know when they walk their dogs and where they live. I also know that, just like I am older now, so are they. Those sixty something people are now in their seventies.

Just before Thanksgiving I was telling my daughter that I was worried about this one man, I don’t even know his name, who always stopped to say hello to me when he was out walking his dogs in the morning and evening. I hadn’t seen him in a long time and I was afraid something had happened to him. She said someone would have said something but neither she nor I know many people here so we might not have heard. Then one morning shortly after that conversation, as I sat looking out the window, I saw him walk by with his dogs. I was so happy to see him. I texted my daughter to tell her. Then I didn’t see him again for a long time. I began to worry again because when I saw him that last time, I thought I detected a stoop and some slowness. I didn’t want to mention it to her because she might laugh at me again. This afternoon, I was coming home and I saw a truck coming down the street toward me and I was pretty sure it was his truck even though I’ve never seen him driving, only walking. It was going really slow, like maybe five miles an hour and I had plenty of time to pull into my driveway but I waited for the truck to pass so I could see if it was him. It was! And from a distance, I saw him smiling at me and waving. I rolled down my window and stuck my head out with a big hi!

I don’t know his name. He doesn’t know mine. I’m pretty sure he lives alone although there might be a relative there because I noticed a very new and very big SUV in his driveway for the past few weeks. I’m thinking a relative might be staying with him or perhaps caring for him. I figure this coming week I will try to find out more. It’s not like me to go knock on his door but I can ask Henry, the maintenance guy here, because he lives directly across the street from him and he knows everyone.

I have also noticed that Lori doesn’t go out much anymore and when she does, she is quite stooped and uses a walker. Even a year or two ago she walked nice and tall and used a cane. I think she’s probably close to eighty. And Irene across from me is rarely out anymore. She’s not much older than I. She loves gardening and reading and used to spend a lot of time reading outside in her front porch because she is also a chain smoker so she read outside. I haven’t seen her. I saw her husband today but he’s not very friendly and I’m not fast enough to run outside when I see one of the neighbors out the window. But I do want to make an effort to find out about Irene and Lori.

In fact, I want to talk to the property manager because I would like to see if we can start some kind of a program, like Neighborhood Watch, for older people and for those of us who live alone. We need to be checking on each other. When the weather is cold or snowy, or when it is very hot, we need to be checking on each other to see if we are okay. We also need to know if someone needs help getting their trash cans out to the curb or their mail picked up or grocery shopping. We need to do for each other and there are a lot of teens in the park that might be willing to do bring cans to the curb and back out each week, not because they’ll get paid for it but because it’s the decent thing to do.

I would like to make that a project this year.

 

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Hair

For years I have needed to dye my hair every three to four weeks. I use the box dye that I put in my hair myself. The salon is too expensive and they often don’t get it right. About four years ago, I went in on Senior Discount Day and got my hair cut and colored. I had taken a picture of what I wanted it to look similar to. The haircut was wrong and the color she gave me was not the deep brown with a touch of red. Instead, it was all red…like not hair red but crayon red! I had to cover it up when I went back the next day so they could fix it. Then three years ago I treated myself to a haircut and color treatment for my birthday (which is also Christmas and I wanted it to look nice when the family was together). It turned out great. I was quite pleased until she gave me the bill to pay. It wasn’t the price she had quoted. It was more than twice the price. I almost passed out right there in the mall. So no more salon jobs for me. I buy a box of color for $6 to $10, depending on whether it is on sale or not.

However, because money has been so scarce (and continues to be) I haven’t colored my hair since before Thanksgiving. It is now about fifty percent gray. It makes me look about ten years older than without the gray. At least ten years older. I almost didn’t care because this was also a time when I was depressed and just didn’t care what my hair looked like or what age I looked like. Then I started to feel better when my diabetes started to get better (the wonders of medication!) and all the gray started to bother me. I wanted to look my best. I have been really busy with doctor appointments and trips to the lab for tests, to the hospital, to the pharmacy, and all of those other busy-making things so I had not had the chance to dye it. It kept getting more and more gray and I kept noticing it more and more.

Then I got my diagnosis and although I’ve not been to the oncologist yet, I know it’s not going to be a walk in the park. The biopsy, while I don’t have results yet, showed that the tumor is not only in my gall bladder but in my liver, as well. So if we come up with a treatment plan, it’s not going to be fun.

That’s when I decided to dye my hair. I was not going to wait another minute. I went to the closet where I keep extra boxes of hair dye when I get them on sale. I didn’t have any. There was one box of black that I bought for my sister but black is too severe for me so I couldn’t find any dye in the house. Finally, I found a box I had bought at the Dollar Tree. Yup, hair dye for a dollar. I was reluctant to use it because it was a no name brand with poor spelling on the outside of the box and it was old. But I figured, what the heck. So that’s what I have in my hair now. And it isn’t bad. I didn’t get all the gray but that’s okay. It looks more natural that way.

Now I want a haircut but I’m thinking I might want to leave it long for as long as I can because it might not be too long from now that I won’t have any at all. So that’s the inner debate right now. Of course, I have no money for a haircut and I won’t do it myself, so that will probably be the deciding factor in the endless hair decisions.

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I Forgot…Then Remembered

Well, it’s after 10 at night and I just realized that I didn’t post today.  It has been that kind of a weekend.  First exhaustion from a late night of babysitting and too many piggy back rides.  Then I had a guest blog post to write for Tuesday over at Part Time Monster.  And two lessons and assignments for the copy editing class.  Then I had to find my research for another guest blog post…research from years ago that is on my hard drive, but when I went to look, I realized that my monitor isn’t working.  So I can’t look for the research until I get another monitor tomorrow, hopefully.

Yup, that kind of a day.  So here I am trying to decide if I want to chill out and watch a movie or go to bed and read for awhile.  Probably, by the time I decide, it will be too late to do either.

Anyway, I guess I came up with a post!

The sky tonight!

The sky tonight!

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My hearing is really bad.  It has been at least since my mid 30’s.  Maybe before and I just didn’t know it.  My mom’s hearing has been bad since she was about the same age so perhaps I got that from her.  When my kids were little, I would go visit my mom and the kids would stay with her while I went to get my nails done or went shopping with one of my sisters.  With two little ones it was hard for me to get out so when I made the weekly hour drive to see my mom, she watched the kids for me.  One day, she told me about crossing the street with my two kids.  She was holding their hand, on on each side of her.  As she stepped off the curb, someone grabbed her and the kids and pulled her back onto the sidewalk.  As she squeezed the kids’ hands tighter thinking that someone was going to kidnap them, she realized that there was a fire engine speeding by.  Had she not been pulled back, they would have been hit!  She had not heard the siren.  She was THAT deaf. It really scared me, as you can imagine.  That same day I looked into hearing aids for her.  Within a week, I had taken her to the audiologist near me and had her fitted for in ear hearing aids.  They were very costly but not as costly as losing a life, especially my own children’s.

Years later, I had not had that kind of a close call, however, it is very embarrassing always having to ask someone to repeat what they said.  Sometimes, I would just smile and pretend I heard and go on.  That made me look dumb because I would later find out that something I smiled at required an answer that I didn’t give.  Or sometimes it wasn’t something to smile about.  You get the idea.  It bothered me but hearing aids are very expensive and I no longer have the resources or the insurance to cover the cost.  Then a few things happened.  My first grandson was born and I sometimes couldn’t hear him crying when he was here with me at home.  When he spent the night, I wouldn’t sleep because I was afraid he would wake up and I wouldn’t hear him crying.  Then he learned to talk and unless I was right next to him, I couldn’t hear his beautiful sing-songy baby talk.  Then my son was getting married. I didn’t want to look like the dumb mother of the groom at the wedding.  I didn’t want to meet people there and not hear what they were saying to me.  I didn’t want my son to look bad because of me!  So I looked around and found some hearing aids that you don’t need to see an audiologist for.  You can order them online.  I knew they weren’t top of the line hearing aids but I figured they were better than nothing and they had a 45 day money back guarantee. While still pricey, they were affordable to me because it was very important to me that I hear better.  I ordered them and they arrived the week before the wedding. I was too busy running around trying to get everyone where they needed to be in time for the wedding in Seattle. Finally, it was the day before we left for the wedding and I got around to having my daughter’s boyfriend help me (the tubing had to be measured and cut and I couldn’t do it alone) set them up.  The difference was amazing!  I could hear!  I could hear things I had not been able to hear in ages, or ever.  The wedding was wonderful and I didn’t look like a fool or feel like I was missing what people were saying.  Yay!

I’ve since upgraded to a nicer, smaller pair and better quality pair (because I forgot the other ones were in my pocket and I put them in the washer and dryer…BIG no no!).  And what can I hear now?  Right now, as I type this, I can hear the rain outside the window.  I can hear the oscillating fan as it sweeps back and forth.  I can hear the ball bouncing as the neighbors’  kids ignore the gentle rain and play out in the street.  I just heard a bicycle.  I can hear the very soft tinkling of the wind chimes my son brought me after his first trip to Japan. I can hear the dishwasher as it cycles through the wash. The world is now full of sounds that were lost to me before I got my hearing aids.  Of course, I can also hear the neighbor’s yappy little dog yapping all night long and the other neighbor’s compressor when it goes on throughout the day and night.  Yes, there are some sounds I would rather not hear but that’s the price you pay when there is so much you do want to hear.  Then again, if I really don’t want to pay that price, I can just take out the hearing aids, or turn them off!

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59

Age, or rather birthdays, haven’t ever bothered me.  Not when I turned 30 or 40 or 50 or even 55.  In three weeks I will be 59.  My sister turned 60 yesterday which means my birthday is 20 days away.  We are a year and twenty-one days apart so the realization that she is 60 made me pause and realize that on Christmas day, I will be 364 days away from 60.  Wow.  I’m not sure if it really bothers me but this is the first time that my age or my coming age has made me stop and think and realize that I have a lot fewer years ahead of me than I do behind me.

I should make a bucket list but I don’t have enough time to complete all the things in the bucket so maybe I should make a “cup list” instead?!

Sixty.

Wow.

It is what it is.

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Today I drove home from my son’s house where we had gone for Thanksgiving.  It should only take about 3 1/4 hours but it took over 4 1/2 hours this morning.  Rain. Rain. Rain.  Oh, and then the wind.  The rain was coming down not in sheets but in blankets!  Although the speed limit was 70, no one, not even the proverbial hot rodders that think they are Mario Andretti, was driving above 45.  Luckily, everyone was leaving a lot of room between their car and the others.  That part was good.

I’m getting too old to make this drive without a lot of rest between the drive up and back home.  I think I need a few days to recuperate between the drives.  I’m not only tired when I begin the trip home, I’m exhausted when I arrive.  And then there is the stress.  The stress of the drive knocks me out.  Today, I got home, sat on the couch and the next thing I knew, it was three hours later.  I had fallen asleep.  Then I had to go out to unload the car but it was raining so hard that I had to come back in and wait til it let up a bit.

I know I’m complainig. I shouldn’t.  It was wonderful to be included in my son and daughter-in-law’s Thanksgiving celebration and also that my daughter and grandsons were also included.  That was a bonus.  I’m also glad we took two cars. They still aren’t back yet as they stopped to see her in-laws along the route back.

Now I wait for Christmas when I’ll do it all over again.  For Christmas, the bonus will be that my youngest daughter will also be coming so we will all be together.  That makes the drive worthwhile.  And I’m not doing it one day up and the next day back down.  I’ll have three days between the up and down!  Of course it will also mean that I will be a year older as I will have a birthday on Christmas so yes, I’ll probably feel a lot older!

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“Since his stroke he’s been living in the present.  He has no past and no future.  He lives in a present that lasts six minutes, and every six minutes the meter of his memory resets itself to zero.  Every six minutes he asks me my name.  Every six minutes he asks what day it is.  Every six minutes he asks if Maman is coming to see him.” –from The List Of My Desires by Grégoire Delacourt

I often think about getting so old that I have no memory.  If I have no memory, I will cease to exist because we are our memories.  And honestly speaking, who would want to go on living past the point where their memory was gone?

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