Thursday, January 12, 2012

46 Approaches

Monday is my birthday.  I'll be forty fucking six.  I'd like to go on record as saying, I don't like it, not one little bit.  But yeah yeah, it's better than the alternative, blah blah blah.  I'm trying to get to the "it's only a number" mindset because really, I don't feel 46.  I barely feel 26.  But I'm creeping close to that number that starts with 5 and it gives me agita thinking about it.

But then again, if I look at things today... right now, where I'm at and what I'm doing.  I feel pretty good.  I love my little business.  I love my friends and going out more and feel like I might be breaking out of a many years long funk of sameness.  I feel like possibilities are looming.  And it feels really good.  Dare I say I feel optimistic?  It's a new year and it's time to make things happen. I got a candy order (referral) today which is the only way for my business to grow really, referrals.  I'm back on the diet train and fine let's just say it... 2012 is the year of Lalia!

Which brings me the Debbie Downer portion of our show.  What gives me pause more than my own aging, is the aging of my parents.  It's hard to watch, and I have a front row seat.  My parents depend on me for a lot of things and that is difficult. My mom turned 80 this past October.  My dad will be 80 this coming September.  So often I feel such a role reversal and like they are the child and I am the parent.  Since my father's health declined, he has not wanted to do much of anything other than sit in is chair and watch TV.  He has created a life of being an invalid when he really doesn't have to be.  But it's what he has chosen for himself.  No amount of talking to him has changed it in the least.  Which in turn makes life difficult for my mom because even at 80 she is pretty vibrant.  But she is too timid to do things on her own and he can't be alone for too long.

About a month ago we had a scare with her.  I took her to get a cataract out.   After the procedure she was fine.  We even went shopping afterwards.  But by the next day, when I returned to do more shopping (it was before Christmas), it was very clear that something was very wrong.  My dad told me immediately that she was off and I could see it too.  She denied any problem and would only say she was kind of tired.  She had gone to the doctor that morning before I arrived, for the follow up on her eye and they were concerned about the pressure in her eye being very high.  But otherwise she was OK.  We did go shopping but she was definitely off.  She could barely keep her eyes open and her words were slurred.  I took her home, trying very hard not to jump to conclusions and felt that maybe she was reacting the anesthesia.   It had been over 30 years since she's had any kind of anesthesia, so maybe that was it.  After consulting with my brothers and my sister we all decided that it was in fact the anesthesia.   But it nagged at me that it was something more.

I went back again, the next day because she had to go back to the doctor for another follow up and see if the eye pressure was down.  Again, they thought she was fine.  And the pressure had gone down.  But she was not fine, not at all.  She could hardly function she was so tired.  She slept all the time unless she was up making something for my dad to eat.  The next day was Saturday and I called my brother and told him we have to do something if she isn't better today.  He agreed.  I wanted to take her to the ER, but she absolutely refused.  She would not go.  And interestingly enough, by Sunday she was a lot better.  Like 75% better.  It was really bizarre.  And when she asked me why everyone was so worried it was like explaining why you don't put your hand on a hot stove to a child.  I told her she was unfunctioning, that her speech was slurred, and it was very worrisome, and I really thought she had had a stroke.  She was a little stunned by that and I said, "Mom, you're 80!  I hate that I have to keep telling you that, but you are and you can't just blow things off anymore."  Honestly, I don't really think she knew where I was coming from.

All this trauma made me feel the aging process very strongly, just not my own.  My mind went to a place where I have tried to avoid it going.  If something does happen to my mom, what will happen to my dad?  Will he expect to come live with me, because my parents lived with me for about 8 months or so when he was recuperating and it was difficult to say the least.  It's something that I guess really needs to be worked out but when I think about how I don't want him to come live with me, I feel like the worst, most selfish person in the world.  When do you feel as though you have done enough?  When is it someone else's turn to take the reins?


  1. I know how you feel; it is such a responsibility to have elderly parents. It's scary and frustrating. But I'm sure the care and concern you give them mean the world. Happy birthday, Lalia! <3

  2. You addressed something VERY real here and now I feel a bit panicked. For the longest time, I've thought of my parents as stuck in their late 30's or maybe even early 40's and that was it. Then I started noticing more grays on them and less energy and more ailments. Now it's really hitting me that they're in their 60s and the worst part is that they are so far away that if anything happened (knock on wood; God forbid), it won't be easy for me to be present, help out or just plain see them. It's too painful to think about but I know it's a reality I need to confront sooner than later. *sigh*

  3. Thank you Sweepy =)

    Joy, it's a really difficult reality. I think what we both need to learn is to not beat ourselves up for things we cannot control xoxo

  4. Ok, I have to agree with you on the fact that THIS is preceisly what sucks about the 40's. It's one of the most stressful times of life, aging parents, career and I'm hearing so many stories about people my age who have cancer, or their kids are dying. I have come to hate fb which delivers the bad news daily. I try to be inspired that I do have my health, and though my mom passed away almost 12 years ago now, that my dad is healthy, and that my kids think I'm their embarrassing mother. Ok, I have a lot to be thankful for. And so do you. Happy almost birthday!

  5. Happy b'day then (26 again, eh?)! As for our parents, well, I think that you raise lots of important points in this post. I especially like one of your sentences, about your Dad "He has created a life of being an invalid when he really doesn't have to be." My Dad and Grandpa have made the very same decision and I can't do anything about it. As for my grandmother, she is suffering from the onset of Alzheimer and things are not great. Not great at all. I do as much as I can to help, but my family (husband and kids) take priority.

  6. One lesson The Man of the House and I have learned from his grandmother is that you HAVE to stay active. The moment you become idle - it's a fast downhill slide.
    I think you are just as fabulous now as you were several years ago when I first became aquainted with you! Stay wicked!! And Happy Birthday!

  7. Hey,

    Happy 46! :)

    You raise a very important point but as I see it, parents might have their own moments but you just have to deal with them. It might get troublesome, but then you have to talk to them to work things out. Might be scary, but worth a try!

  8. As one of my Mom's main caretakers (the other is one of my brothers) I feel your anxiety very strongly, Lalia... Every day is an adventure with an almost 87 year old. And some days I feel like I just can't do it anymore... I wish my other brother would step in sometimes but he's got his hands full with his son, his son's girlfriend, and new granddaughter living in the same house. So it's up to me. I fully understand the stress and worry in dealing with aging parents. I think of you often and hope that 2012 will indeed be the year of Lalia. Because you sure as hell deserve it... Happiest of birthdays to you... And much much love.

  9. LOVE what I've read of your blog so far. I also love that your mom was oblivious to why anyone should be fussing over her. This is the cycle of life and it is always the hardest on the ones left behind. Your parents are blessed to have a daughter like you and you are blessed to have your parents.

    The older I get the more I think that we should just give ourselves a break, accept things for what they are, change what we can and not worry about the inevitable. There is absolutely nothing we can do about it anyway. I think I've probably spent 75% of my life worrying and in the end it either happens or it doesn't, but nevertheless here I am...until I'm not.. :-)

    All that aside, I wrote something quite a while ago that pokes fun at how I now have to parent my parents. You might relate. LOL: Lala musings: Parenting Parents (Humor)

  10. Hey Lalia, many happy returns,and may the year of Lalia bring you tons of adventures and the energy to deal with surprises.
    I can relate a 100 % to your worries about your parents. My mum will turn 88 in summer and like your mum she will shrug off any kind of health issues, she changed her doctor some years ago because he did not treat her right (read: he could not give her back her usual energy, agility of limbs, youthful heart and lung capacity). The new one? He is an idiot as well, she told me, no surprise he and the old doctor studied at the same university in the same year ...
    The role reversal does not go down that well with her either, why should it? As Rachel said: this is the cycle of life but accepting this stage is one of the hardest things in our lives.
    Sharing your worries will lessen the sharpness of the pain - keep on doing it, as I will, too!

  11. Appreciating the comments! I knew what I was in for, I just don't like it. I remember a few years ago I bought my mom some beets at a farmers market. A few says later I asked her if she had made them yet. She had. So asked her if her pee turned purple. With great relief she said "oh! That's what that was! I thought I had blood in my urine". To which I replied, "and what? You weren't going to say anything about it?". She said "I thought it would just go away". Ugh

    Like Judy, I have very little help. A brother and sister who both live out of state and one brother who is local but has kids and is always busy with them. I do the best I can.