Monday, December 8, 2008

Old people make me sad :(

God, are old people downers.

My 80-something grandmother is moving to an assisted living facility this month. I haven't called her in a while, but my aunt sent out a family email urging people to check up on her, so I phoned. It's hard to talk to my grandmother, because apparently I talk too fast. Ever since I was a kid, adults have been completely unable to understand me for this reason. Our Christmas morning videos go like this:

Me: Wow! A My Little Pony! Thank you!
Grandparent: A high spittle baloney? What? Slow down, child!
Me: A my little pony, Nana.
Grandparent: WHAT? SLOW DOWN!
Me: A Myyyyyyyyy Liiiiiiiiit-tlllllle Poooooonyyyyyyyyyyy....
Grandparent: Good lord she speaks fast!

I dunno, old age refuses to hear youth, maybe. Anyway, talking to grandmother feels like a very slow conversation, with a lot of repeating. It was also a bit of a downer, because she talked some about how she wasn't really ready to move to this new place and was satisfied with her current apartment. Then she said that she was "ready now, but not before." But I don't know how true that is, because Grandmother is from the "shut the hell up and quit complaining" school. So I sort of suspect that she still isn't crazy about moving. Anyway, it made me sad that she's losing her independence, and is aware of it. I always hoped that if I lived long enough to lose my independence, I would be so out of it that I wouldn't even know. Basically, I'd rather be a huge burden to my kids. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that Grandmother is lucid (her problem is that she has crippling arthritis in her knees, and just can't safely get around on her own). I don't want to see her sad. She's had kind of a shitty life, from what I hear, and she doesn't need more shittiness.

After I hung up the phone with Grandmother, our downstairs neighbor knocked on our door. She said that her husband had fallen and asked if we could help move him. The guy is pretty old, and he seems much older than his wife (not in a gold-digger way, but there's definitely an age gap). He had fallen off of a low air mattress and was too weak to move himself to the bed (before you medical-types jump on me, we did first ascertain that he was safe to move. Seems like he had more or less tumbled over, rather than really falling "down."). Boyfriend and I moved him, with quite a bit of difficulty, because he didn't seem to know what was going on and couldn't really move himself. He was shaking and scared, and we had trouble convincing him to lean on us and let go of the doorknob that he was using for support. After we moved him and left the room, our neighbor told us that he had cancerous brain tumors that prevented him from feeling his legs. What kills me is that we moved into this building in June, and at that time he seemed very healthy and active. It's disturbing to see such a fast deterioration.

Sorry about the sad post :( I will work on upbeat, non-wrist-slitting ideas for the next one, I swear! In the meantime, remember that it's down the highway, not across the street.


White Trash Academic said...

Oh, goodness Phoebe that is sad. I would probably have had to go back to my apartment and cry after that..

Rj said...

Phoebe, contact me via e-mail (I don't see yours on here). I want to get some info...

Phoebe Caulfield said...

WTA-I know! There were hugs aplenty after that.

Rj: Sorry, I've been quite lazy about creating an email for this blog. You can reach me at It's now listed in my user profile, as well.

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