|More frequent trips to doctor's offices, and numerous emergency room visits, indicate that Mom's health is failing at an increasing rate. It's like watching a snowman melt, but it's my mother.
In January she went to the ER three times, and had seven appointments with six different doctors: internal medicine, the back doctor, pulmonary doctor, mitral valve specialist in cardiology, electrical specialist in cardiology (pacemaker), congestive heart failure cardiologist, a family medicine doctor, and my shrink when I can get her to go. She's been to the dentist with problems recently too. Human bodies were not designed to last indefinitely.
She would have had eight doctor appointments, but the day I was down with a migraine, she cancelled the appointment. She was to see the pain management doctor for an epidural shot for her debilitating back pain. It was her decision, and she'd decided she didn't want to go anyhow. I felt moderately guilty for having a migraine, undoubtedly brought on by stress. She said she'd forgotten why she needed to see him. She'd forgotten the scramble between ER and doctor's office during the afternoon Dallas drive home. She'd forgotten that she said she'd rather die than live in the pain she was in.
She's also forgotten some of the terrible things I've done in my life, so I guess there's some kind of karma rolling around the circle of life somewhere. It's just not easily identified, and likely to through you off balance if you can't keep a sense of humor.
The entire generation of baby boomers, those kids born from the period when the men came home from WWII 1964, are facing or will face, the problems associated with the science of medical technology combined with the emotional turmoil brought on by parents' illnesses, and consequential demise.
I share my experiences, thoughts, and feelings as a comfort vent for myself, and maybe others too. There are a lot of us out there.
During our boom, parents were birthing about four million of us each year. Due to war and other deaths, only the insurance statisticians know how many of us there actually are.
We grew long hair, wore short skirts and go-go boots, watched television, listened to transistor radios, and played Superman from the roof. We did all these things together, like learning a hula hoop move, and across America we were all the same kid, more or less.
We still make quite a sizeable impact on our culture. Now our music is the makings of television commercials! Who could ask for anything more?
It's almost as difficult for me to watch, as it is for her to have to experience her decline in health. She's always been mentally and physically active. In the past two years, she has become a different, diminished person. Literally, osteoporosis has shaved two full inches from her height, though she's not stoop backed as some.
I hope her spiritually is growing in proportion to her failing physicality. There's got to be some karma here somewhere.
My fear for myself is that I will lose it. If that happens, I just don't want here to see it. She's dying. I don't want our remaining time to be unhappy. Being an only child I don't have the opportunity, but there are times I'd like to duck out for a break.
During one of my bipolar mood swings, I asked rather angrily, "And just why is it I never had any brothers or sisters? I could certainly use a sibling in my life now to help me with you!"
Bipolar mood swings are by definition like a drastic left hook swing/change of personality that often seems to come out of nowhere, and that one is not able to control. Up until that point, we had been chatting congenially.
As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I regretted it.
At age 49, it has been a burning question all my life, and she's the only living being on earth that would know. The cutely rehearsed responses I had heard her tell others all my life were, "She was all I could handle," or "One like her was enough." We never talked about it, but neither answer made me feel very good about myself. I've studied enough about codependency through the books by Melodie Beatty that I can step back and try to understand instead of taking things as such a personal affront.
Mother and I had a heated, hysterical discussion because she had said to one of her girlfriends that she was the one who made the decision to start a family. My parents had been married for eleven years before I was born in 1954.
My inference was that Daddy didn't want me. That thought simmered and stewed in my manic-depressive mind for several years before it blew at, of course, the most inappropriate moment.
Mostly I remember the intense emotion of the situation, with my father already being deceased and not able to defend his true thoughts on the matter. Sometimes when people hurt your feelings badly, you want to make yourself feel better by hurting them back. This doesn't work. It's not easy to restrain yourself, count to ten, and then not say what's wanting to come out of your mouth, the arrows and nuclear bombs of retaliation. It's those we know and love the most with which we have the most ammunition to hurt. "I'm sorry," won't make it go away.
I got on one crying jag in front of her. We were in her bedroom talking, she in her single size "Craftmatic" and I in the trusty, rusty old rocking chair. We were anticipating she would go to the hospital before the sun set on the day. She's having difficulty breathing these days, a symptom of congestive hear failure. The pulmonary doctor told her today that she shouldn't take nitro for being weak, but generally her problems are primarily cardiac. Her problem is that she's 81 and 1/2 years old, and bodies wear out by design.