NEW REVISION SERIES
In this aging process I’ve been seeing the parallels between myself as a young child to my now being on the other end of life. Mirrored issues, like reactions to foods and the business of mobility, are the obvious issues however, I realize that a rollavator (a fancy version of a walker) is not the aging equivalent of bike training wheels. Rollavators allow freer movement as they support aging backs or stiffened knees making freer and faster movement possible. However, they won’t become obsolete as the body strengthens and improves balance as training wheels do. Rollavators aren’t going to enable strength, they are a replacement for strength which was once present. They are also carriers of objects that pull on back or knee muscles enabling moving stuff like laundry and other stuff around the house. They serve as just one example of what was and movement that is taken for granted by all but those whose movements are impaired.
Western medicine is not an easy fit in advancing age, geared as it is to a concept of improvement. At a certain point procedures or treatments strain credulity or at least the balance of experienced pain versus reasonable outcome. Alleviation of pain for example, is now caught firmly in the hyper vigilant rules swirling around addictive drugs so all but off-the-scale pain is caught up in the “take ibuprofen or Tylenol” for aging conditions that have long since blown past the helping capability of those OTC drugs. There seems to be no middle ground between Physical Therapy (as muscle building) and “spa” therapy in terms of massage. PT’s are too well trained to use or be properly compensated for their talents for frequent visits for soft tissue muscle relaxation while the “Massage businesses” cater to pampering. I’ve yet to find a middle ground where an older person could get help with muscle knots by a person who knows older bones cannot withstand the pounding of too intense manipulations.
I watched my Mom develop foot problems and now I, too, get to know what that feels like after never once in my earlier life having knee, leg, or foot problems. Are there places other than nail salons that know how to care for painful old feet attached to legs that have trouble working? Spa treatments such as polished nails and bubbly leg rubs are sidebars to correcting the ravages of thicker nails that dig into flesh, and knowing how to fix that can make walking again bearable, a nearly instant corrective that will reappear after a couple of weeks.
For all the awakening of physical and physiological body issues at hand each pales in comparison to the reckoning formed out of bad choices and undone deeds concerning the plight of loved ones now passed. Oh for do-overs! I understood nothing and thus I limited my actions which may well have made a huge difference in the quality and meaning of the life of my loved ones. Instead, I kept in my lane and as now I re-play those choices and I am just beginning to face my selfish choices that robbed all of us the deep connective tissues of being human. I blew it. My daily existence is filled with thoughts and out loud pleas of forgiveness. This was the path which I chose to follow, with far too little awareness and compassion, and knowing the power of my own worth by playing a caretaking role.
Living with this sobering awareness alters everything and is far too little, far too late.