I am slower now And tire more easily And vacuums seem heavier And jar lids are tighter I avoid bending over To keep my back from screaming And having a dish-drain on the counter Feels easier than loading the dishwasher And squating...well... I garden sitting on my butt Somedays every joint hurts Somedays--no pain at all
And I am more emotionally fragile Easily overwhelmed Easily overburdened The sick kitty The dog's bleeding bum The dying plants The bills, the news Sick loved ones My own health issues And just unfounded anxieties From aging/fraying nerves
Time is more precious It's like the difference between Having 10 or 80 dollars (years) To spend--choices change Housework just isn't a priority And small talk and bad food Wastes time
I forgot how to spell precious When once I won spelling bees And out of sight is out of mind I have earned the peace of the sages And the praise of angels No one can take that from me But my body will need freedom, too
I learned a lot caring for mom A bidet will be a necessity not a luxury Instead of a shower everyday Once or twice a week is enough Take care of medical And dental health, now And lose that weight Limit sugar it is a poison And try, try, try to exercise Be ready to pull your own plug When quality of life wans
Mom would have stopped Going to the doctors if she could The stress for her was unbearable The long waits The noise, the strangers But with a diagoses of Mild cognitive impairment She wasn't allowed To decide for herself The onus fell on me So we jumped through all the hoops Dictated by the medical community Dictated by adult protected service And it killed her soul And what killed her killed me The dental appointments were worse She had a nervous breakdown everytime Literally
All I could think of Was give the poor old woman a valium But no--it is contraindicated in the elderly Even when she walked Out of the doctor's office He in mid-sentence And she in panic mode Cussing and spitting He looks at me as if to say "She's your mother go get her.." But I shrugged...shook my head no I am too tired Too worn out She is your freckin patient...I think You are hell bent on keeping her alive And he gets up And coaxes her back in And tries to make nice Tries to reason with her And she hisses at him "You're not a psychiatrist-- What the hell do you know?"
Our society is a difficult place For the elderly Too many specialties Endocrinology, pulmonology, cardiology, Podiatry, gynecology, GI, GU, oncology, neurology, ortho, dental, vision, hearing, internal medicine... Mom had them all She jumped through all the hoops And took a gazillion meds And no one could make her comfortable Shouldn't there be a midnight special Where the elderly can choose Mild euphoria as an option?
So I started my own winding down, My last colonoscopy My last mammogram Last pelvic exam Vision, teeth, hearing good Cognitive check--no impairment...yet I've signed all the directives Including one for dementia And withholding food and water Or even euthanasia Should the laws become more humane.
I pray I will have the energy To care for my loved ones If/when they need me And I pray I have the strength To stop everything that adds Quantity to my life When quality is no longer possible.