Monday, June 4, 2018
All Those OLD People
My late (and I'll add “great”) mother-in-law used to rebel against the very thought of being placed in an assisted living facility/nursing home. “I don't want to be around all those old people!” thundered our 90-year-old woman. Her daughter (my beloved wife) and I lived through a never-ending twilight zone caught between tears and fury. We used to think we were the only twosome in America suffering this pain of dealing with men and women playing in the end game.
These days we are in Act Two of this long-running human drama. The big difference this time round is that the 90-year rebel is ME. Time certainly does fly, and with it the living we used to do with little or no effort. Only yesterday were we gliding through life smiling and nodding our heads at occasional oldsters with canes or walkers. Truly, it is something else to BE one of the shufflers in the parade of ancients. It is another world altogether. We now wait endless hours in doctors' offices full of senior-seniors. “Pain management” has become big business and the product is old people like me. On top of all the endless waitings, evaluations and examinations comes a brand new test for us – a challenge to appear as normal as possible in order to avoid “one of the nursing homes filled with those old people.” Not easy.
Let me place two thoughts before you, dear reader: First, you are not the only one to be challenged by having older people to help. Two, before you know it, the old person needing assistance, understanding, and encouragement will be you.