It's been a challenging week. A little over a week ago my 85-year-old mother experienced a stroke. Actually, it's unclear if she had a TIA, (transient ischemic attack), or a small stroke because her clinical course and brain imaging are inconsistent. I suppose it doesn't matter much. Either way she's facing a recuperation time. Following a short stay in the hospital, there has been a steady stream of appointments, small setbacks, more appointments, and lost work time for me.
My mother immigrated from Japan in her 20's, following my father's dream of working as an architect in the U.S. I've gathered, over the years and through her stories, that she never wanted to leave her family in Japan. When she did, she did not expect to be here permanently. The year I started elementary school, she got a job and worked straight through retirement. She's always been independent with a "can do" attitude about life. This spirit served her well as she resigned herself to living in America and raising two daughters...American daughters.
In her senior years she's remained independent. Even up to last week, she drove, grocery shopped, cooked for herself, and did her own laundry. Her health has been (relatively) excellent and only recently have I noticed some age-related memory decline.
A few months ago I had
an appointment with my internist. One of the many background questions
he asked me was, "What's your biggest stressor?" To his surprise, I
didn't say cancer. My greatest worry was/is my mother. She lives near us
and, for years, helped Wynn and I with our children. Now, I struggle with how best to make her elderly years good ones.
I know that dealing with aging parents is nothing new. The fact that there are so many resources for senior care and assisted living options speaks to how common these issues are. We are fortunate to have access to good services.
Although she is very tired and weak, she seems to be slowly recovering. It doesn't seem like she has any permanent loss of function of one side of her body, so the physical therapy is going well. She's been very sweet about trying to minimize her needs.
The good news for me is that right now I'm doing well...I'm strong and healthy enough to juggle my complicated life. I can't imagine how this would be if it happened a year ago.
If you have any extra GOOD KARMA hanging around, maybe you can send it my mother's way. We'll be happy to return the favor sometime when your life gets complicated.