Sunday, 30 September 2012

A Senior’s Scene

Cousin Kathryn called me last month. Asked if I had any days off.
Whether or not I could take Uncle Len away.
For a change of scene.
She needed a break.
She from him. Maybe him from her.
Leonard is 88 years young. With a sense of humour to whip a bat. The IQ of a President and the determination of a gerbil on a treadmill.
When he’s awake, he’s alive.
Yet the years past have robbed him of the spry and youthful physic.
The neck and back vertebrae are disintegrating.  
The two heart surgeries have left with scars.
Yet, he’ll pull on the runners and do his best to walk out the door.
When I arrived at their shared RV trailer I was shown the blister packs and a container of medication. Daily doses. Not once but three times a day. Varying in numbers.
Whilst packing up readying to go his Doctor called.
An adjustment to the blood thinner was needed. Every other day a pill and a half.
We packed the pill cutter and an extra blister pack.
Breakfast isn't vitamins for a Senior today.
“Shoppers Drug Mart sent me a bill,” he tells me later. “For $2,000.”
“What?!” I exclaim.
Knowing full the fixed income, the pension – won’t cover it.
Leonard’s driver's license wasn’t renewed this year. That was a gulp for him.
In my positive tone I reminded him how nice it is to be driven around (as in celebrity).
The conversation idled over the telephone. I knew that one hit him hard.
Independence robbed. The realization he’s completely dependent on others to go anywhere.
For everything.
He’s not alone, I remind myself. Our aging population is rumbling through these challenges. Families working together, or not as caregivers.
Yet knowing what my father went through in a nursing home, wheelchair bound, where full care was needed, there’s definite gratitude for Leonard’s ability to live day to day in his own home.
Over the next four days I managed patience. 
Seniors move slowly. They need to. There’s no time or alarms on their clocks.
Their bodies dictate how far they can go in a day.
Managing the pain is their daily challenge. 

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