Mom made it to 90 at the end of January – and she’s still with us. For months, she’s been complaining about fatigue and lack of energy. Suspecting she might have a blocked artery, we suggested that she see Big Brother’s heart doctor. What we forgot is that in the new world of Obamacare, superannuated people like Mom might as well jump in the grave right now.
After several snowstorms postponed the appointment, she finally got to see this doctor. He told her that the medication he could prescribe to her would significantly increase her risk of stroke and that given the choice between dying quietly of heart failure and languishing for months, paralyzed by a stroke, the latter was the better option.
“That’s it?” my mother asked. “That’s the best you can do for me?”
‘Shut up and die!’ she thought to herself with a harrumph. ‘That’s what you’re telling me!’
He reminded her that she was 90 and that he’d see her again in six months. Although he had promised to listen to her heart (and my brother’s) with a stethoscope, he never listened to either of their hearts (Big Brother is a mere 58 – hard to believe).
Mom, who had previously complained, “I want to die. I’m tired of living. Life isn’t fun anymore” suddenly found her spirit to live. Maybe she might want to die. But for some doctor to tell her that was it and that he wasn’t even going to try just because she was 90 rallied her indignation and will to live.
Mom has now embarked on a renewed effort to live and defy the doctors who have told her she’s too old to live anymore. If they won’t help her, she says, she’ll figure out what she has to do on her own. Her previous doctor privately gave me the same six-month time-table back in December. However, Mom doesn’t sound like she’s quite ready to cash in her chips. Not anymore.
We’ll be having lunch this afternoon. I know what it is she has to do. First, she has to lose the salt. She’ll have to limit her salt intake. That will significantly lower her blood pressure. Secondly, with her GP’s permission, she’ll take Fish Oil and Flaxseed Oil, in whatever dose he recommends for someone her age. Third, she has to be more active than she is at present, at least mentally. I suggested she visit the town Senior Citizen Center. Or if their membership is too prosaic for her (Mom has a high IQ. Judging by the romantic novels on the center’s bookshelves, I’d say they’re not her kind of women), find some other outlet worthy of her intelligence where she can interact with other people.
One think she has to give up is trying to do physical tasks herself. She needs to leave the heavy lifting to my brothers and myself. In short, as I often tell her, she has to behave herself.
Another thing she needs to do is talk back to anyone who speaks to her in a condescending or patronizing manner, as though she were a doddering widow in her dotage. She hasn’t been reading or keeping up with current events as much as she should. She’s promised to change that.
Historically, this is the way society has treated its senior citizens. Senility sets in with children and other family members begin patronizing the senior citizen when they’re in their Seventies. It’s gradual and the senior at first isn’t sure whether they heard right. Sickness, weakening bodies, the loss of friends and hearing lead to isolation, depression, and a gradual submission to the notion of “old age.”
My brothers and I have always been respectful to my mother. We never talk down to her. We wouldn’t dare. Big Brother, I must say, needs to be slapped upside the head. He has been talking down to my mother and demeaning her intelligence level (which is higher than his). I must ask Mom if she knows what her IQ is and what his is. I’m pretty certain she said once that she and Dad were somewhere in the 140s. Not genius level, but fairly high. Ours were supposedly in the 160s. That may be true for BB; I’m not sure mine is that high although more than one psychic has said that it is. Hmmm. My IQ might be high – maybe; my memory certainly isn’t.
In any case, the best prescription that doctor could have prescribed for my mother was age discrimination. How dare you tell me when I’m going to die, or that you can’t be bothered with me?! I’ll show you!!
And she very well may. I hope all the other Seniors out there being brushed off by Obamacare take the same dose of defiance.