I guess we all get to that point in our lives when we can no longer ignore the fact that our parents are getting older and when that time comes, I guess it's normal to think about how we will feel when they are no longer with us. unfortunately, there are some people in my family who I do not care about at all and some people who I know I should care more about, but can't. my grandmother (and a few others) falls into that first category. it makes me sad to admit that my mother is in the second.
my stepdad is not well. and hasn't been for quite a few years. he has rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, he is a long-time smoker and has heart problems that are inoperable due to his other health problems. at age 58, he looks like he's at least 70. this isn't really anything new. he's been sick for quite a while. lately though, I've noticed that he seems to be more frail and tired. he is completely dependent on his pain medications just to get through the day and the medications take a heavy toll on his body. factor in his uncontrollable cigarette addiction (at least two packs a day) and you can imagine how sick he really is.
my mother is his only caregiver. my mother, who I would never consider a proper caregiver for anyone. she does a fairly good job of it, I guess, driving him around, making sure he has his medicine and taking care of the house. she's not very emotionally supportive though, she never has been. and she doesn't deal with reality very well, she'd rather just pretend that problems don't exist. so it's hard to find out exactly what is going on with him at home, even harder to find out what's going on with her. and apparently there's something going on with her.
she's always been pretty flighty and thoughtless and unconcerned with anyone else's problems. she's inconsiderate and childish and forgetful. it's gotten a lot worse recently, especially the forgetfulness. to the point where you find yourself having the same conversations with her two or three times over the course of one meal. it's been out of control for more than a year but she has refused to see a doctor about it. and since she tends to ignore the things she doesn't want to deal with, no amount of nagging on my part could convince her that there might be something wrong.
my stepdad tended to take her side whenever I would bring it up. and say that he thought it was just an act or that it wasn't as bad as I was making it out to be. I think he was scared to admit that there might be something wrong with her. part of that was the normal denial any of us would have if we thought a loved one might be ill but I think the larger part of it was fear of what would become of him if she wasn't able to take care of him anymore. whatever it was, unless I had him on my side, I knew I would never get her to do anything about it. so I quit trying.
I don't know what happened that made her see the doctor earlier this month but it doesn't matter. I do know that she is being tested for Dementia and Alzheimer's this week. I didn't hear about it from her, of course. my stepdad told me yesterday at a family graduation party. he looked terrified when he told me. I didn't know what to say. I still don't know what to say. and I don't know how I feel about any of it.
it seems almost certain that the doctor will find something and I have no idea what that will mean for any of us. I do know that our lives will change pretty drastically some time in the future. I hate that.