Saturday, May 07, 2005

I guess you just never know.

You never know what medical advances are around the corner. You never know what the human body is going to do to heal itself, what it's capable of. I don't think that there's ever "no hope." There's always hope, and there will always be miracles. There will always be the unexplainable healing or recovery.

I think that's why I couldn't give up on someone, or make a decision that their life must be unliveable to them just because they don't have the ability to function physically or process mentally the way we do.

My grandmother is in a nursing home. She's not been "with it" for years because of all the pain medication she's on for her severe and disfiguring arthritis. Add to that the onset of Alzheimers. I try to see her as often as possible, whether she remembers me or not. Sometimes, she does, and remembers happy moments from the past, like Lucky, the dog they had when I was a child, and how he'd dance for vegitables, and how she'd fold his arthritis pills into Kraft processed cheese to get him to take it.

They're pearls and they're rare. That's what makes them so special.

The rest of the time, I'm thrilled if she can remember my name one moment to the next. I try to say comforting things, or just hold her hand and be there. I love her, and I know she loves me, whether she knows it or not. And even when she doesn't remember that she has kids at all, much less grand kids, she still smiles. When you ask her how she's doing, and she has a fever, and tells you she's in pain, but can't describe where, she frowns because she can't think of the words, but then she smiles and shrugs at herself.

Would I want to live like that? No. Would I want to have moments where I can't think of words like "hamburger" or "pancake"? No. But I'm also not in MENSA or a track star. I work out almost every day of the week either at the gym or otherwise and I still feel like I'm gunna die walking up the hill to my husband's office, and the arthritis in my back inevidably flairs up and I wanna crawl into a hole and never come out. We deal with what we're given.

I'm sure fifty or sixty years from now, I'm going to be in the same position. Alzheimers runs on both sides of my family. So does cancer and arthritis (which I'm already dealing with). I just gotta keep hoping and have faith that I have people around me who will keep loving me even if I don't remember who they are or can't see that they're there.

I could also die in a horrible car accident on my way home from work, or live to be 110 with my body and mind in tact and die peacefully in my sleep. I don't get to choose. I just get to play the hand I'm delt, and hope that I end up with some chips to cash in when I go.


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