Old age (via email) according to my Pop

My darling Pop sent me this email today – thought I would share

Statistics show that at the age of seventy, there are five women to
every man. Isn’t that an ironic time for a guy to get those odds?

Old age is when it takes longer to rest than to get tired.

By the time a man is wise enough to watch his step, he’s too old to
go anywhere.

Old age is when you have stopped growing at both ends, and have
begun to grow in the middle.

Old age is having a choice of two temptations and choosing the
one that will get you home earlier.

A man has reached old age when he is cautioned to slow down by
his Doctor instead of by the police.

Don’t worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older, it will
avoid you.

You’re getting old when “getting lucky” means you find your car in
the parking lot.

My day and update on Pop

2 hours of reading and commenting on posts. Time 8.44pm Tuesday night *yawn* tis hard work.
I just wanted to let you know about my day a little and that I am feeling slightly more optomistic about Pop.

The NEPT (non emergency patient transport) picked him up this morning – praise all that is good! They put him on a stretcher,  as apparently if you want the wheelchair transport (you have to supply your own wheelchair) well we don’t have one, so poor dad was laid out and carted away to the ‘facility’ (sounds ominous I know, but it’s a Health Unit which houses elderly and also has specialists and Physiotherapists working there to help the elderly.

His appointment was to last 45 minutes then the NEPT would pick him up after being called by said ‘Facility’ to come and get him, so he finished at 10am and waited like a stale doughnut to be collected at 11.45.

I spoke to him tonight and my first question was.
“So darling what did they tell you”.
“Well you were right they said I have to move more”.
“Hmm that does sound familiar, so Nurse Ginger was correct in telling you to walk to the front door and back as much as you can with your walker”?
“Yes Nurse you were right”.
“I did tell you that if you aren’t moving then your muscles will atrophy and make them like jelly didn’t I”?
“Yes darling you did”.
“And because you aren’t doing that that is why you are struggling so with walking and getting in and out of a chair”.
“Yes, that’s what they told me and I start Physio next week once a week for 10 weeks”.
“Then that is settled, and you will walk tomorrow won’t you Pop and you will do as much as you can, remembering if your body is aching it’s because it isn’t use to the exertion, and if you don’t, you won’t get better and you won’t feel like life is worth living, when in fact it is and I want you around for sooo much longer yet”.
“I shall start tomorrow, Ginger, I will”.
“Good and how is your back”?
“It is feeling better today, probably because you told me to move it more”.
“I think so”, said I smiling over the phone.

So I may be images-9
but this is keeping him motivated.

His trip home was on a stretcher into the ambulance but this time assisted by two young lady paramedics (which I think he enjoyed)

Well done Pop – I am so proud of you. I feel a little more comforted knowing that he will try to keep moving and gain strength.

 

I want to thank everyone for their wonderful and kind support through this time.

Elderly and my Pop

I have previously written posts about my Pop but today I needed to write once more, so forgive me for not having a ‘cheery post’ to submit tonight. I simply need to be able to talk about how I feel.

I am watching my father decline rather rapidly. It is the most heart breaking thing I have had to witness (apart from having to hold my 16 year old dog as the Vet put her to sleep) and anyone who has cared for their elderly parents will know what I am writing about. This.. this is something almost unbearable to face.

He will be 86 in July my dear Pop.  Pop

The last few weeks he has been experiencing so much trouble walking, he struggles to actually raise his leg to place one foot in front of the other. His hands also shake uncontrollably and he is embarrassed to eat in public.

Thankfully they are only a seven minute drive from where we live, so I am visiting as much as I can, helping in whatever way I can. Mum is also struggling with walking but currently she is managing better than what Pop is.img012

They both are so frustrated with life. The last couple of days I have heard mum say,  “If I could end this I would, I can’t do what I use too, I hate being this way”.  This afternoon around 4pm mum phoned,  just as Mr. S and I were heading out to watch a Movie. The call of help – “Dad had a lie down in bed and he is standing but can’t walk”.

Mr. S. and I drove over immediately. Dad was standing holding onto his walker, his whole body shaking. I gave him some pain killers and helped him onto his chair, his middle back and hip are hurting and he has sciatica symptoms. The issue is that he is not walking or able to exercise and his muscles are seizing up. After making sure he was comfortable (as there was really nothing else I could do to help), we went to the pictures (the whole time me watching Oblivion) thinking of how he was. As soon as it was finished, I went back to see him.

Dad in the Middle

Dad in the Middle

He was standing cleaning his teeth holding onto the basin. I asked him if he wanted to get his pyjamas on so he would be more comfortable. Then I changed him, taking off his glasses, his jumper, undoing his shirt and slipping his pyjama top on carefully and very gingerly. I then took his track suit pants off (sweat pants) and put his PJ pants on.

This gorgeous man, my father, telling me it was all right for me to see his ‘privates’, thankfully no embarrassment from his side and certainly none from mine.

Then I gently rubbed some pain cream into his back and put his dressing gown on before helping him back to his chair.
He sat there shaking his head, feeling so depressed about how he had become, how he felt that life was not worth living anymore. This is the hard part, watching the man that you have idolised since you could remember feel that their life no longer holds any purpose.  I gave him a sedative, which I told him to take 20 minutes before he went to bed to help him get through the night without pain, I turned down his bed and placed a pillow for him to put his legs on. I gave him a drink of water. I watched as mum put her arms around him and stroked his white hair with tears in her eyes saying “We are here for you”. It is so hard to be strong in front of them, I turned my head not to show my tears. He replied “My girls”.

I have tried to talk them into moving into an Aged Care facility, but mum unfortunately is being a little stubborn and refuses to move anywhere.  Granted uprooting yourself from your family home at their age is a difficult proposition. I worry constantly about how they are coping and I feel guilty that I am not there 24 hours a day to help and support them. My life is now centred on being there for them whenever I can, this is what a child should do, as our parents age, we are the ones who then have to nurture them,  as they did for us all those years.

I wrote a card for Pop some time back and he must have misplaced it and I found it on his bed head this afternoon. I wrote what I thought of him as a father as a man as an individual. This soft spoken caring human being who has never said a wrong word about anyone in his life, who has always tried to be there for everyone is now in need of my help. He said  “I read your card Ginger” (my nickname) you have a way of making a grown man cry”.  I just hugged him and tears came to both of us. I sat in front of him and told him I know how frustrated he must be feeling and that he has to think that now he is in this stage of his life that he is limited with what he is able to do. I told him not to get depressed about his situation or mums, but to try each day to simply do what they can and what they aren’t able to do, I am there to do.

I fully understand why the elderly want to pass from the earth plain, to obtain relief from their suffering, from the embarrassment that they feel of no longer being fit and able without requiring or asking for help.  It’s humiliating for them. For so very long the mere thought of either of my parents passing has made me almost physically ill. No one wants this, no one wants to say goodbye to those that they love. Now though I understand, when I watch them, barely able to walk or in pain, now I understand…it terrifies me beyond belief,  this is something I hide in the back of my mind wishing for it to go away, to bring me back the parents that I had, for their sake not for mine. Sadly I know this will not happen and they will decline further and all I can do as their daughter is to be there.

We can say they have a ‘good innings’ but that does not bring me comfort.

If I could be by their side all day to help them I would, but as I am working now it is an impossibility. Tomorrow morning I am going over to do the weeding and mow the lawns and just be with my mum and dad.

Oh my darling Pop I wish that you weren’t facing this part of your life as you are, knowing that you were once able bodied, I understand how this must be tearing you apart inside.

I love you, I adore you, I am so proud of you and I am here for you……..your Ginger. xxx
Pop

Just driving my car

I was out driving this afternoon, not just randomly driving,  there was a purpose to it and as I drove I passed the street where Mr. S use to live – I smiled.
I saw an elderly lolly-pop man laughing and chatting to the school kids that he helped cross the road in safety – I smiled.
I watched people leaving the shopping centres laden with bags of goodies and stopped so that they could cross the street in front of my car – I smiled.
I let a person in the right hand lane come over into the left hand lane in front of me and he held his hand up to gesture thank you – I smiled.
I sat at the traffic lights waiting for them to turn green, watching 3 young mums holding their babies which all looked about the same age – I smiled.
I saw an elderly man driving his battery operated scooter, Australian flag at the back blowing in the wind, his crutches firmly secured – I smiled.
I looked at a woman walking down the street, trying to manage her 3 dogs on leashes – I smiled.
I borrowed Mr. S’s GPS for the trip as I wasn’t sure how to get there and I argued most of the time with the lady who gave me directions – I smiled.
I listened to the radio and heard that a man had lost his life in a car accident near to where I was driving – I didn’t smile,  but thought sadly that is life and the loss of one in the space of an hour.