a depressing book about old people

I’m slowly getting through my emo’s Grim Reaper’s reading list. The lastest title, Bittersweet Season, is one reporter’s account of taking care of her elderly mother, what she did right, what she didn’t. Aside from a lot of examples where the author doesn’t realize that she alienate her peers by overwhelming them with complicated advice about aging her listener is not ready to hear, there’s a lot of helpful information in there. Some of it, maybe most of it, has already passed for me — but I’m grateful for one throwaway tip. When the author’s mom began to have trouble getting in and out of chairs, the author states that this is a sign that there is a point coming soon where the patient will need a wheel chair. Helpful! When I observe my dad having trouble, I know that he will be immobile at some point. Prior to Dad’s illness, I was very innocent and inexperienced in a way. Every time we had a setback or a diagnosis or noticed a new issue, I thought, for some reason, that would be that, but it turns out life doesn’t work like that. There isn’t really like a plateau stage. It’s ongoing. The other helpful bit from the book is the point that seniors usually have more than one illness, which is hard to manage when doctors seem to be trained to be tunnel-visioned in their speciality. Fabulous advice!

I mean, let’s be real, I’m not doing anything to prepare for this inevitable future. The lifting, the bathing, the walking, the feeding, the changing. Those demands are so totally coming around the bend and beyond mom’s muscle, but with nursing homes running about $10K a month, we’re going to have to keep doing “aging, DIY style.” What I appreciate about the book though is that once the future is here, I will not be taken by surprise. That is a gift I do not take for granted.

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