Last month a bunch of family was gathered at my Sister in law’s house to celebrate the birthday of my niece and nephew. As my Father in law pounded his third donut, or devil dog, or whatever sugary treat my Husband asked: ”
Hey Dad. How are your triglycerides?
My FIL responded- “Look at me. Do I look 81. Good genes I tell you.”
To be fair, FIL is an a decent weight and is generally healthy, but his triglyceride number is out of the park. And then my Husband added-
“I know. But that mini stroke you had…that was a warning sign…”
My FIL looked at him quizzically. “I didn’t have a mini stroke. I’m the healthiest man alive. I’m a specimen…..” Enter more machismo here.
My Husband and his cousin looked at one another. “Yes you did. About eight years ago. When you were still with G (his girlfriend who passed away about five years ago)
And this discussion went on for a bit, my FIL proclaiming he is the healthiest man alive, and the others at the table sitting and staring and worrying.
So what do you do when you parents start forgetting their health issues? I know we like to forget things that are unpleasant, but….how do you forget that you were in the hospital for a mini stroke?
B (the cousin) said that her parents are starting to forget their medical histories too- which drugs they’re on, when they took them, if they’re supposed to take them….
Are we supposed to send our parents out in the world with a yellow card on a lanyard around their neck? Lists of allergies and conditions and medications tattooed to their arms?
How are we supposed to take care of the people that took care of us?
My Mom can tell you what happened on February 27, 1967. She can tell you about February 27, 1981. But I don’t think she can recall much of February 27, 2019. My Mother and Daughter are huge Broadway fans, and my Mom was getting them tickets to a show. My daughter gave her five dates that she DEFINATLY could go, and one date that she COULD NOT go. You know my Mom bought tickets for the day my daughter couldn’t go…
My Mom is one of those no list/no planner type of people. She has always relied on her actually quite excellent memory. But guess what? Her memory is not quite the absorbent sponge that it once was- it’s dry now, and she refuses to do anything to help. She won’t write things down. She won’t set reminders.
How am I supposed to explain to her that she needs to help herself a little bit?
We have all established that we relish our independence. We want to go down swinging. And we really don’t want to ask our children for help. They’re our kids: we raised them: what do they know about taking care of us.
If we let our children care for us, we cease being parents. We become the parented. Who wants to accept that reality?
How do you get your parents to accept help and guidance? How do you tactfully explain that you aren’t trying to ruin their lives, you’re just trying to make their lives better. How do you deal with your parents acting like teenagers who just don’t want to listen?
How do we help the people we love most in the world?