Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Frustrations of "Old Age"

Just recently my father spend a few days in the hospital. He had a TIA or mini stroke. Unfortunately my mother and him did not tell Bill or I that he was not feeling well until it was too late for the DR to really help him So when we took him to the ER they could only do tests and put him in the hospital for observation. At least while in the hospital he was safe from himself. We can see the left side of his face droops a little and at times he still can't talk clearly enough for most to understand what he is saying. The worst is the drooling and his teeth falling out while he is trying to talk.

Almost as soon as he arrived home he was on his golf cart (electric and quiet) to survey his garden. (Now I need to tell you that "His" garden would not be growing at all if Bill and I had not tilled, fertilized, planted, cared for and harvested that lovely plot of land.) Surveying the garden from the cart would have been OK, but he got off to harvest some of the vegetables. When he decided to do this yesterday he fell twice in the bean patch. No one was there to help him get up, but he did manage to get to the cart. Most would know to come home, but no he went to see if Bill was catching any fish and see what else was going on in the neighborhood. When he arrived home his blood glucose was low (I think)(he is diabetic) and he could not get to his part of the house without help. Fortunately I was in our living room and was available to help him. At dinner several hours later, he admitted that he has not fully recovered from his "adventure".

Bill and I are doing our best to not take away any of Dad's feedoms, but it is getting to be more and more frustrating. (Dad did decide to not drive a car except to go to the local store that is very close. He only drives there when he needs the gas can filled, which isn't too often.) We talk with him one day about out concerns for his safety and we think he will at least use some common sense. Then he leaves home, forgetting to take his medicine, tries to pick beans, falls twice and goes to other parts of the neighborhood while his blood glucose is going down. It is getting very close for the roles to be totally reversed and I will become the parent of my elderly parents. At least Mom stays home and for the most part stays out of trouble. She is very forgetful and has trouble getting around, but we know where she is and for the most part what she is doing.

My advice to everyone is to think before you do something. Every action has a reaction. Some reactions are difficult when you are the one who has to make the decision to limit what actions someone else may take as they age. This is all so FRUSTRATING!

I have seen my friends and some relatives deal with one aging parent. Some parents live with the child only to be moved to another facility like a retirement home or assisted living. This usually happens when one or the other is unhappy. Others keep the parent in their home and have help come into the home. So far Bill and I are dealing with my parents by our self. I was working, but that has ended. We do get away once in a while, but this is rare now and for short periods of time.

Now I must get some sleep as another day will be starting soon.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

The party's over!

Yesterday was a long day on the road (678miles round trip), but for a good reason. Bill and I took my parents to my cousin, Shirley Jean and her husband Wayne's house for her mother's 90th birthday party. My Aunt Shirley looked good and seemed to enjoy the visitors for the day. We had an enjoyable time visiting with people we knew and didn't know. I had met everyone in the past, but I can honestly say I didn't remember several people.

It was a beautiful day for traveling considering how much rain has been falling in the mid-west. It was sad to see the corn fields in IL with ponds where the corn should be growing.

Just before we turned off the interstate in IL to go into IN we stopped to give our friend Beverly some fresh vegetables from our garden. It was so nice to see her again. I wished we could have stayed to visit with her, but due to the fact we were not yet at our destination we didn't stay with her too long.

Today Shirley Jean called with some bad news. My Uncle Orv in FL passed away today. It has been a few years since we saw him and my Aunt Alma, but we thought of both of them often.

Some of my memories of Uncle Orv include the first time I met him. He won me over instantly with his winning smile and the spark in his eyes. I also saw that my Aunt was again happy. When Aunt Alma and Orv married, during their middle years, Orv became and instant father to two grown children and a grand father also. He seemed to take great pleasure in that new job.

Orv would tell stories about going hunting or fishing with my cousin Larry. Some of these stories were funny, others were serious and some were sad, but the thing I saw as important was that Orv enjoyed being with Larry. Orv and Aunt Alma made the trip to the Atlanta area to visit Alma's daughter Linda and her family. Whenever we saw them Orv would talk as much about Linda's family as my Aunt Alma. He would talk with pride about both children as if they were his own.

I would say Uncle Orv never meet a stranger. He could carry on a conversation with anyone and usually found some common ground with that person. He was a great story teller, kidder and a total gentleman. He will be missed.

Here's a hug for you Uncle Orv, I will forever miss getting a hug from you and I am so glad you were a part of our family.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Beans,beans and more beans

As all of you know who raise a garden when the vegetables are ready they must be taken care of at that moment. Not when one has the time to spend hours picking and canning, but right now. This year has been a good year so far for us being able to plant the garden, getting needed rain with out too much and the bugs have not been too bad. Right now we need rain for the tomatoes and corn that are just setting, but it is an abundant year for the green beans. So for the past few days and also today we have been picking, snapping, washing and canning green beans.
So far I have canned 35 pints and 4 quarts of beans. I think I may get another 6 or 7 pints once the pressure canner has cooled enough to do another batch.
We will have many more pickings of beans, but other then a few for table use I am finished with the beans. We have already started giving beans away. I wish my friend Beverly still lived close, because I would be sure we would get some to her. May need to think about this and do some talking to family about maybe taking some to her. We will be fairly close to her on Saturday celebrating my Aunt Shirley's 90th birthday.
Just think, I have an Aunt whom will be 90 years old soon. Only 2 of her sisters have already passed. That leaves 3 sisters and 4 brothers still alive. They all have some health problems, but to the best of my knowledge they are all still at home either being taken care of by their children or fully independant and on their own. Their father passed what I consider young at 63 or 64, but their mother lived a long active life as did their maternal grandfather.
I used to love to go visit my Great Grandfather McGraw. He lived in a tiny house in the front yard of his landlord's home. I remember the yard at least to me was large with lots of trees. It was a "long" trip. All of about 25 miles, but we were gone all day. He would make us a nice meal. As far as I am concerned he was famous for his meat loaf that had hard cooked eggs right down the middle of the loaf. He knew that I was intrigued with those eggs baked right in the loaf and kept it a secret from me about how he made it so it looked so perfect.
A few other things I remember about his house was he didn't have "running" water. Well actually he did, but it was by a hand pump at the kitchen sink. As I am sure you have figured out by now that also meant that he had an out house. I HATE OUT HOUSES! I am very sensative to smells. It doesn't matter if it is perfume that if overly applied or the "smell of money" as you travel the back roads and go by a farm too close to the road, but an out house is sometimes smelly, but in the summer too hot and enclosed. He knew I had this problem and would allow me to use his chair in the bedroom. The seat would lift up and there was a hole with a little champer pot below. I hope someone in the family still has that chair, because it was a life saver for me.
I also had another connection to my Great Grandpa. I was born the same month and year that he lost his wife, my Great Grandmother. She passed at the end of the month of March 1950 and I was born a week or two earlier.
The beans are now finished. A grand total of 41 1/2 pints and 4 quarts. Whew! Glad that is done. Now I can get some other work done.