Thursday, August 09, 2007

My Parents Are Getting Old

It has now really sunk in that my parents are getting older. Actually, we all are, but the reality that they won't be around forever really smacked me in the face recently.

My dad had what was first thought to be a mini-stroke about 2 weeks ago. When I spoke to my mom, she sort of brushed off the significance of this "event" by saying that he was fine. When I got a call from my aunt later that night, I started to panic. As it turns out, my dad wasn't really "fine." He had been acting a little weird, and my aunt wanted me to come home and make my own personal assessment of the situation. (And since my aunt was a nurse for 40 years, I thought I should heed her advice.)

So last weekend I went home. And my dad seemed okay, but not great. He slept a lot while I was there, and didn't have much to say. Of course, this isn't really all that unusual for him. There was definitely something off, but I can't really define it. When my 7 month old cousin, Aidan, fell over and hit his head right in front of my dad, my dad didn't seem to register what had happened even though Aidan was screaming his head off. Nothing. His facial expression didn't change, he didn't make a move to help, nothing. Even though he was the only one in the room at the time. That scares me. Now, my dad isn't exactly a huge fan of babies, in fact I think he is a bit frightened of them, but I just don't understand why there was no response.

To make matters worse, when he went back to the doctor, they told him there was no sign that he had actually had a stroke. So what the hell does that mean? What really happened to him? At first I thought that maybe he'd had a panic attack, but he insists that wasn't what it was. I guess we'll have to wait and see what the doctor says. For now, I'm just keeping my fingers crossed and my cell phone close.

I also worry about my mom. Since my dad won't take care of himself, she tries to do it for him . . . doling out his medications, making sure he eats okay, trying to keep him active. But that puts a lot of stress on her. My mom turned 60 last December, and she looks damn good for her age, but I know that all of this has to be hard on her. After all, my parents, after 39 years of marriage, are best friends. When my dad travels with the Red Cross emergency relief team, he calls my mom about 10 times a day, and they talk in hushed tones like a couple of teenagers. Quite frankly, I don't know what either of them would do if something happened to the other.

For now, I am keeping my fingers crossed that what happened is just an anomaly, a fluke. But in the back of my mind, I know that it's not. And it scares the crap out of me.


carrie m said...

big hugs to you. I know how you feel, although I've been through this with grandparents rather than parents. But I can say that although your mom is doing so much for your dad, I'm sure there's still enough left for herself. I know there is.

nuclearsex said...

I've been thinking a lot lately about my relationship with my parents too. My dad is 62 and my mom is 58 and it's hit me that they're not going to be around for a lot longer at all.

I'm thinking about doing more stuff with my dad, like going down to the bowling alley and playing pool and just hanging out since he stays home all day and watches tv while I'm out.

I guess all we can do is make our parents happy while they're still around, and us wanting to spend time with them is probably the biggest joy they can get.

Anonymous said...

I agree with nuclearsex spend time with them while they are still around.

I recently bought a house and I purchased it less then a mile away from my parents knowing that eventually i'll be the one doing the parenting or at least nurturing.

Sometimes we have to be a little less selfish and sacrifice a bit, I know my parents sacrificed a lot for me, it's time to give a bit back.

Not that you or anyone else is not Ms. Skor i'm just venting my feelings.

Anelisse de la Cruz said...

Yes I agree with all of you. My partents are a bit older than that my dad is around 70 and my mom is 63. It breaks my heart watching them grow older I just can't stand the feeling of worring of what age does to people. My mom mentioned she gets tired easier and my dad is so brave he eats so healthy and is so strong but no matter how strong you are age hits us. I feel so sad I want to turn back time sometimes... I don't know how to feel... Thanks for reading, blessings