When we are young we are immortal. We take risks as we heal quickly, recover well. Our parents are still young and vital. We look to them for answers as they seem, at least to us, to have them all. But as we age, as they age, perspective changes as we march inexorably to the end of their time, and eventually ours also, upon this earth. Where once the thoughts of life insurance and health insurance were trivial matters at best, we now are on a first name basis with the local emergency room and ICU personnel, and once the dominoes begin to fall in earnest they never really stop.
The bills my parents amassed have come due and it seems my job to watch as they pay. My parents were not health nuts in their time. They were frugal to a large extent and saved money where they could in what we were eating maybe. Choosing the lesser quality hamburg and the generic products over name brands. How egregious of an error is that? I can’t say. Likely no one can really. They were both smokers, heavy smokers actually. What price does one pay for this? No one seems to have exact facts and figures. We can all point to Uncle Joe who was a chain smoker and lived healthy and happy till his 90’s, or Uncle Tom that smoked a little and died of lung cancer at 43. Both my parents carried extra weight most of their lives. I don’t know that they were obese or what risks this brought but it is there.
What I do know is the dominoes are falling in earnest and many of those dominoes have the title heart failure, cancer, dementia, COPD, kidney failure. I know if you check the medical opinion of the majority of medical personnel they will tell you the issues of bad diet, smoking, and weight, and lack of exercise, lead inevitably, to the diagnosis written on the various dominoes we see falling by the wayside at this moment.
It is all a matter of perspective at this point. Stepping back and realizing, in my case, that certain questions, certain aspects of blame, hold no real purpose. Two lives were lived, and now are ending. The who, what, and where of blame is a pointless endeavor that leads to no real useful conclusions.
It is left to me to follow in their wake and keep as much of this situation tolerable and moving forward as possible. I owe that I suppose as my folks have helped me a great deal at times. I am the lone son left standing so there is no one really to assist me in this endeavor. The time of the changing of the guard is here. I know it soon will pass that I take all decision making away from them. I am not happy about this but I realize what must be. Adulting has never been my favorite activity as there is not much fun in it.
This is a portion of the reason my posts have stopped. And I decided today maybe a portion of the reason for them to start again. I do not look forward to when my bills will come due in full. I will have no siblings, no children, no grandkids, I will have a wife and she will be my age. I suppose the state will step in and decide for me what is and what shall be. This is a bit more grim than the end my parents face as at least I can be there for them. My mother comes from a large family and many of her siblings still remain. But I do not see, outside of a select few, the uncles and aunts, nieces and nephews, here assisting. They say kind words, often wish they could help, but wishes amount to nothing really.
My dad just returned home today after 6 weeks in 2 hospitals and a nursing home. Two of my Uncles were here today to help me get him in the house and this was much appreciated. But while he was away my mother had a bad time where she was nauseous and dizzy and would not rise from the bed even to go to dialysis. My Aunt and 2 cousins dropped by. Wished they could be there for mom. One gave me suggestions of how to help mom, as if I wasn’t the one here doing it for years now. They suggested I get someone to come in and clean as if this were a priority. No one offered to come over some afternoon and actually clean. just that I hire someone as my efforts were inadequate. My aunt cannot help in this manner but both of those with the suggestions surely can.
It sounds like I am blaming them, being petty, I am not. I didn’t go clean my aunts house when my uncle was dying of cancer. But then again that aunt and uncle have 6 children, where I am alone in this. But still truth be told I went to see my uncle a few times but did nothing to help as I felt it not my place.
Such are the days of the dominoes. Many of us will go through a time similar to this. Where arguments about health care, and insurance, and decisions about the best path for care are hotly debated subjects. Where every day seems like just another set of fallback positions in their retreat from existence. Where good days are marked with no trip to the hospital, no setback in one or the others ability to function at all. We all have to pay the bill in the end. own up to the damage we caused ourselves by losing just a little bit more autonomy. Shouldn’t have had that last drink, smoked that last pack. should have done more cardio and put down that last doughnut. The ills we heap upon ourselves are slow but cumulative and now we sit and watch the dominoes fall and just try to avoid them falling on you.