I Resent That

 

Yesterday, John Dean, a lawyer from the Watergate-Nixon era testified before Congress. His mission was to bash Trump and to point us toward impeachment. What really pissed me off was not that Dean was a credible witness which he is not, but that the news people kept telling me that he is eighty years old. So what? The implication was that being eighty makes one unknowledgeable and not credible. I’m over eighty and I believe I can keep up with the best of the younger generation. Not only that, I hang with a group of men in which I am the baby. Any of us would be capable of debating any newscaster in the country. We keep abreast of the news, and we regularly debate current issues all while remaining friends.

Aging definitely comes with problems, many of them are memory related. Those of us who are lucky enough to retain our minds live active cognitive lives. One thing for sure, we aged have to put up with too many memory loss jokes, although I find most of them hilarious. When one experiences age related memory problems as I have, the age jokes don’t seem very funny no matter how true they may be.

I happen to live with a wife who is one of the unfortunate aged who has lost her ability to remember anything. The sadness of her disease is that she is at a point where she has given up chewing and is now forgetting how to swallow. Think about that one. Try eating (baby food) without being able to chew or swallow. Her best meal these days is breakfast. She seems to be most functional after twelve to fifteen hours of sleep. She eats a decent breakfast but then goes downhill from there refusing to eat either lunch or supper. Some men consider me lucky since she has been unable to speak for over three years.  Speech is a valuable function we take for granted. For instance, she cannot tell me how she feels, or what hurts. The only sound she can make is a siren like whine when we (me and her caretaker) move her to change her. I have to read her body language to get an idea of her situation.

My advice to people these days is to pray for a quick death. People who drop dead instantly receive a gift from God. In my wife’s case she is the opposite. Looking back at our history together her first symptoms began to appear seven years ago. She is at a point where the skin on her lower extremities has very poor blood circulation and the result is she gets pressure sores that cannot heal. One doctor told me that her disease is terrible because the brain dies before the rest of the body. I agree with that assessment, but will add to it. When the body does begin to fail it does so in a slow creeping manner. The life force of blood is needed to support major organs so body parts like toes, feet, legs etc. lose.

My philosophy is to give her the best drug-free quality of life possible. At this point the quality is in how comfortably she sleeps. When my beloved sleeps twenty-two hours a day, and is frowning the whole time she is in some kind of discomfort. Right now I am wrestling with a decision to use morphine to ease her discomfort. I get an argument from her caretaker that morphine will make her to sleep more and accelerate her death. The hospice nurses argue that morphine merely relaxes a person so they don’t fight so hard to live with pain. The relaxation allows them to pass comfortably and peacefully. One argument I make with myself is that if she is no longer eating or drinking, and sleeping twenty-two hours a day what difference will it be if I administer morphine and she sleeps twenty-four hours in peace.

Bear With Me

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Life is like a road trip. Often, we spend time on a super highway with a very definite destination. At other times we are on a side road through a very dark and dense forest with lots of curves, and the destination is unknown. My life is now on one of those twisty paths where the next mile is unknown, and the destination is unclear, yet the journey consumes life.

My writing has been sparse of late because of the twists and turns of daily living. Many unforeseen incidents have arisen which have taken precedence over the joy of transferring thoughts to paper. A friend with dementia, a child with cancer, a second house that needs preparation for sale, all of these twists have cut me off from the interstate headed for enjoyment.

Perhaps, when this curvy road straightens out, and I return to the super highway, then, Grumpa Joe’s Place will again become a priority. Until that happens, please bear with me.

Numbers

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It is hard to see clearly because my dashboard is so dirty, but my odometer turned 123456 this evening. This is the first time in my life that I ever had a car reach that milestone. First because my cars never got that many miles without crapping out, and second because it is unusual to catch the number occur. Sadly, this milestone happened on a Japanese made car. The best I ever got from Ford was 112000, and the best from my Oldsmobile was 110000. Both of the previous cars went to the junk yard at those mileages. This one will keep going until it reaches 200,000. I wouldn’t be afraid to get in this Jap car and drive to California tomorrow. I would never have undertaken such a journey in either the Sable or the Intrigue at that mileage.

Today, is also the anniversary of my wife Peggy’s entry to planet earth. I can’t tell you her age but if you look at 18 in the mirror you will know. It was a bit trying for her as all birthdays are as we age and near the last one. We tried to make it as happy as we could. Her daughter came to visit, her youngest grand-daughter called to tell her she is having labor pains, and her baby is on the way on her great grand mother’s birthday. Peggy asked who is pregnant, and I had to remind her it was her grand-daughter. She replied, “I didn’t know.” Sadly, that is not the case. Peggy was one of the first to know, she went with her GD to watch an ultrasound, and then went to her baby shower. Tomorrow, it will be the same thing. Peg won’t remember a thing about her first great grand-daughter coming soon.

As my father told me many times “don’t get old.”

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