IMG_0605

Photo courtesy of K. Farwell

I’ve had quite an interesting and challenging couple of days. First, I found out my ninety-two year old father had fallen and spent the night on the floor two nights in a row—–at least he was found both mornings lying in the floor instead of his bed. His confusion did not allow people to determine what had actually happened, and he did not have his lifeline necklace on so the automatic “subject has fallen” message did not get sent to the monitoring service.

Later that evening,  I had my house alarm set off indicating a burglary attempt,  and I had to rush out of a meeting I was chairing to meet the police and my “back up person” at my house. No one had been able to contact me directly because I had my phone turned off so it would not interrupt the meeting. I was extremely grateful that our church had installed a phone in our kitchen and that my “back up” friend kept calling that number until I got annoyed enough to stop leading the meeting, walk into the kitchen, and answer the phone so my friend could tell me my house alarm was going off.

Fortunately,  we were able to determine it had been a false alarm. Of course, all the noise and commotion had upset my dogs, and my most timid rescue dog saw an opportunity to escape out the garage door and did so. I called him; he ignored me. I headed out the back door to intercept him and, as I went around the house,  I spotted him barking at and “herding” a young boy on a bicycle. The young man was delightful—he told me “You’ve got a good dog—–all he did was walk across the street to a bush, pee on it, and then he came back to your front door waiting for you to open it.”  I should have known Boo would not leave me or the treats he craves so much, and I should have figured out he’d go to the door he is used to coming in when we go for leash-assisted walks.

That should have been enough excitement for one evening, but my aging body delivered the “crowning touch” to my evening’s adventure. Once I straightened things out with my monitoring company and got my dogs calmed down,  I realized it was way past the time that I should have had my supper. Missing a meal by hours is not a problem for most folks, but for a diabetic it can create problems.  So, as I was fixing my dinner, I noticed an empty plastic zip-lock bag had landed on the floor. I bent to pick it up, and on the way “up” got a muscle spasm in my lower back where I never even knew there were muscles.

Today I am navigating around the house using my cane to help alleviate the pressure on my lower back. All is well, and as problems go, I really have been lucky. However, I have noticed even minor problems like the ones I experienced seem to leave me feeling more tired and worn out than they used to and my pride and ego associated with being  “physically fit” keep being assaulted.

Yesterday I made a trip to the drug store to get some low dose aspirin, and while I was checking out at the register I propped my cane beside me on the counter. The cane fell to the floor and a kind gentleman waiting in line behind me picked it up for me. I thanked him and told him I had not figured out how to keep the cane from falling at times like this.  In my mind I thought my statement about the cane implied: “I don’t need this very often, and I am still not used to using it so I haven’t yet figured out how to keep it from falling.”  The gentleman suggested maybe putting some Velcro on my cane so I could fasten it to my person. This was a well-meant suggestion, and it was probably one that would work. But my still child-like ego heard, “You’re an old lady who needs to constantly have her cane with her.” Logically, I knew this was not what the man had said, but it is what registered.  Actually, I am having a hard time accepting that even simple movements such as stooping to get something off the floor (an almost continuously necessary action in my household) or lifting a small dog down from the bed to the floor can cause acute discomfort that sticks around for a day or two.

I have written in these blogs before about aging being devalued in our society. This week I’ve had to acknowledge that the problematic perception of aging is not just within  my culture at large—–I have internalized it.  I don’t know if it is thinking about my father lying helpless on the floor or anticipating that it will be myself on the floor at some point in time, but I am experiencing a bit of  free-floating anxiety that is telling me I have not transitioned to being retired and on Medicare quite as well as I thought I had.

As I recently told an old friend, “One breath at a time, one moment at a time….all will unfold in God’s time. God is guiding you through this wilderness, and he has also provided co-sojourners who can offer support along the way. Consent. ” Good advice—–I think I’d better follow it. God bless and keep you.

Advertisements