This pretty much epitomizes my life at the moment. It’s pretty weird. I’ve just returned home from a Tinder date which as enticing as it may sound often isn’t. However, that said, this guy was cool, newly separated albeit naïve and mystified about me and life – ok mostly me – and his car had been towed when we came out of the restaurant. He was completely cool about it and it was a nice night off from taking care of “The Alzheimer’s patients” as I am lovingly calling my mother and stepfather these days. So…I haven’t written – yeah, yeah I know – you’ve heard it a lot recently…and there are many reasons I am sure BUT no one needs to read a blog about bitching. People should, in my opinion, read things that are thought provoking or resonate with aspects of their lives that they haven’t thought about in the way they are being depicted. Thus, I haven’t felt inclined to write because frankly I’ve been semi-uninspired and I’ve been in bitch session, coping, dealing, barely dealing, sorting it out mode.
That’s not to say there hasn’t been interesting material to share but it’s just a new sort of material for me. Quite sadly my mother and stepfather both have Alzheimer’s. She is much worse than he recently and has declined at an extraordinarily rapid pace of late so it’s become quite a full time job to say the least. Who knew that old people could be so much work?! Jeez, it’s like having toddlers who are drunk, make no sense and want to still drive. Disaster! So I am semi-living with them and I am having massive flashbacks of high school and why I went to college so far away.
There are interesting aspects as well and I am trying to enjoy my time with these two individuals with whom I have traveled throughout Europe for many years and hung out in jazz clubs until 4am even as recently as a couple of years ago when I was begging to go home. And they stayed out. So it may sound weird and for anyone who has an aging parent believe me I have a lot to teach you but when I showered with my mother for the first time a few weeks ago she commented on the fact that my boobs looked like they had gotten bigger. In fact, the conversation went as follows:
Mom: You know, your boobs look like they have gotten bigger.
Me: No kidding? You think so?
Mom: Yes I really do.
Me: Well, it’s called a double mastectomy.
Mom: Really? You had a double mastectomy?
Me: Yes mother.
Mom: Well they look quite fantastic! Who did your surgery?
Me: My doctor at Sloan-Kettering.
Mom: Really? I thought you had it done here?
Me: No, at Sloan. You were there.
Mom: Really? I don’t remember that. Well, they look fantastic!!
Me: Thanks mother.
Awkward pause…probably only awkward for me….since we are naked in the shower and I am just trying to take it all in.
Mom: So are you going to wash my back or what N?
Me: Yes, of course. Turn around.
As I obeyed and choked on soap a bit I smiled. I realized I would probably have this conversation a thousand times in the next several months since I have to coax my mother into the shower so I can wash her back and she can wash mine. I actually found the little spherical device that she used when I was a mere babe to wash my hair so that the soap didn’t go in my eyes. I tried using it on her last week. It’s a pretty weird when you are bathing your parent and she’s yelling that soap is getting in her eyes. But it’s all part of the story and, as many friends continually remind me, I should cherish these times as many people don’t have this opportunity. And I luckily do. Except for the fact that she did also bite me last week and fell and pulled me down with her like a rag doll. But I will never have these times again….so for now this is the human landscape that I am navigating with care and softness and patience and sadness….
A few recent things that touched me….a new friend who is moving into my building, true love and an alleged guide to my new life.
I am trying to live with this in mind….
And, lastly, good night to a dear friend who was tragically killed in the train crash in Westchester, NY in February….I love you Eric. You will always be in my heart my dear, dear friend…..xoxo
March 17, 2015 at 4:52 pm
There are days when I think dementia is the preferable state of mind to be in!