Aging Parents

I took the train up to Philadelphia from Washington, DC to visit my parents. My father is recovering from robotic cardiac surgery five weeks ago. After having a tube down his throat for the four hour surgery, dad developed difficulty swallowing and a feeding tube was put in. Now on the mend, he is both eating three meals a day as well as receiving additional nutrition through the feeding tube at night. He also still receives his medication through the feeding tube during the day. During the months leading up to surgery where he mostly slept and ate, and then the week following surgery where he was in a bed for seven days recovering, he has lost a lot of muscle mass and in now walking with a walker. Continue reading

Assisted Living, Assisted Life

I think of my aunt. She can barely walk and is kept on her Assisted Living apartment only by the nurses and help my mother is able to afford. When I ask her how she is doing, she has a new standard reply: “I’m just sitting here. I don’t know why, but I’m just sitting here.” She talks about how important it is to know who you are and how you can lose yourself in a place like she is living. The Assisted Living facility is a first class place, but it is still a facility. People come and go from her room and she don’t know who they are or why they are there. Downstairs is the nursing home. My aunt talks about downstairs as an evil place you are take to die. She says that she is never going downstairs. Continue reading

Getting Old

sad_older_man_insert_by_Bigstock

I spent the weekend watching my two and a half year old niece while my brother and sister-in-law were in London. I admit I came with a bit of trepidation, not knowing how my niece would take to me, since we have not spent much time together, as I live in a different city. But she had been well prepared by her mother and started jumping on the bed with excitement when I arrived. She turned out to be delightful, smart and talkative, easy to manage, and happy—what more could you ask for? Continue reading