Friday, August 8, 2008

Getting Old

Dad turned 79 on Wednesday. He spent his birthday in the ER waiting to be admitted to the hospital. Sister pondered how we should tell him: “Happy birthday, Dad, we’re admitting you to the hospital. “ She did pick up his mail before she took him the hospital so he could open his cards from Daughter and me. The ER was very busy, so they waited hours for a room. In the midst of their waiting, the staff brought Dad a birthday cake and sang Happy Birthday to him. Sister had to blow out the candle, since he was on oxygen. We thought it was nice that they took time to recognize his birthday and sing to him when they were so busy.

Quite frankly, we never expected to celebrate Dad’s 79th birthday. He has struggled with health issues for years. We always thought he would be the one to end up in a nursing home, not Mom. Mom took early retirement 16 years ago because she didn’t expect him to live much longer.
I talked to Dad yesterday. He sounded much better after less than 24 hours on heavy duty diuretics. Sister told me she could see that they had gotten some of the fluid off by looking at him, and it was the first time she’d had a conversation with him in weeks during which he had been awake and alert throughout the conversation. The cardiologist told him he had to follow the low sodium diet, and couldn’t eat any processed food. Our next challenge will be helping him figure out ways to follow the diet.

I’m facing issues of aging, too. I reluctantly went to see the optometrist this week. I didn’t want to spend the money on new glasses, but I was having a great deal of difficulty reading. There were times I couldn’t read fine print, and my eyes would hurt and water when I tried to read. The good news was I don’t need new glasses. The bad news was I have dry eye syndrome. He explained that it is very common in women my age. My tear glands are working, but the oil glands in my eyelids aren’t, so the tears don’t stay on the eyeball. I bought a dietary supplement for aging eyes yesterday, and I have some eye drops I can use.

As I am reminded of my own aging process and look at my parents, I wonder what the future holds for me. I wonder who will care for me. I look at Daughter, and wonder how she will manage without me. I look to God, and am reminded that we will be okay, no matter what the future brings.

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