Do You Need Another Parent Yet?

My parents are aging and the challenges of recent years have grown by leaps and bounds. Added to my dad’s cancer, which he has battled for many years, he now has a hole in his heart that is so large it can’t be patched. The list of his diagnosis is long.

My mom has her own issues that she isn’t readily willing to accept, even when they are glaringly obvious to everyone around her. We finally convinced her to get her eyes checked and have her cataracts removed. Her memory issues are another matter altogether.

Last month my sister and I went with her to a doctor’s appointment. She sat on the table as the doctor came in and explained that she had no idea why she was there other than we had concerns. The doctor sat down on her rolling stool and ogled us.

We explained that mom was having issues with her memory and gave multiple examples of the problems. The doctor was great about it and arranged several tests to be run to rule out certain issues. So in the last three weeks mom has had blood work done, an MRI of her brain, two sleep tests to determine her level of sleep apnea, and a cataract removed from one eye.

Today when I mentioned her new prescriptions for vitamins (her vitamin d was extremely low), she made a fuss about not needing more pills and then proceeded to go on about being poked and prodded and having too many tests done.

I laughed a bit and made light of it all, trying to keep the mood up.

But she continued to complain … sort of like a three-year old who needs a nap. And then, out of the blue, she stops, looks straight at me, and says, “Do you need another parent yet? Perhaps the two of us aren’t enough to keep you busy.”

It was the funniest thing I’ve heard in a long time.

For all of her memory issues, some part of her knows that life is becoming more complicated and that she’s not accepting it with ease.

For me, myself, and I, life is definitely more complicated. I heard someone call us the “sandwich” generation – those people at a particular age who are caring for aging parents while ushering children into the adult world and trying to live out our own bit in the middle.

I feel like an Oreo that an elephant sat on. I’m the creamy filling that’s been squished out the sides and dropped on the floor.

No, mom. I don’t need another parent … or child … or animal … or husband … the ones I have are just fine by me and keep my world hopping.

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