Amalthea (amaltheae) wrote,
Amalthea
amaltheae

I get into these weird states that I think are probably related to my ADD, but one of them is driving me bats at the moment.

It's like everything is waiting on everything else and I cannot stand the tension of unresolved everything or even establish how to proceed to any of those possibilities. I cannot see the forrest for the trees and I'm all a-jitter in expectation that something must change any second now. The listlessness leads to more lack of focus than I already struggle with. Ah well. Perhaps it will go away with a good night's sleep.

In other news, my grandmother has just moved to Colorado, or rather was moved to Colorado. My aunt had gone out and gotten her last summer because she should long ago have had someone to take more care of her in her old age. They had her on a lot of meds and she's had so many mini strokes that her brain is basically swiss cheese at the moment.

My mother and her sister get along about as well as nitric acid and glycerine, which is to say that most of us duck and cover the instant they are required for any reason to interact with one another.

This topic has been no exception. They are fighting over her stuff and she isn't even dead yet. They both want to show each other up with who is doing right by mom. They couldn't agree on appropriate care if they had a panel of the leading world experts in dementia all in agreement on the subject before them. They seem almost irreversably compelled to piss each other off at every opportunity like two children hitting each other over the head with their tonka trucks. It's an ugly family feud that has drawn factions among many extended relatives.

Well, with all this it is pretty difficult to get a straight story out of anyone about what really is a good idea, what isn't, etc. There is only holy war and emotional suicide bombings.

Anyway, the last round of the jihad, they finally decided that Debbie (my aunt) was not up to all the care Agnes needed alone and Agnes was finally to the point that Debbie imagined that she was too far gone to understand what was going on anyway so she no longer felt guilty about getting her reasonable care. So they finally scheduled plane tickets, etc for my uncle (who has family in town and doesn't leave an entire city block rubble just by talking to my mother) to bring her out here. The week before she was supposed to leave, but after the plane tickets were a done deal, the FDA finally made available a new dimentia drug that is much more impressive than its predecessors. So she started the drug just in time to go from essentially a zombie state to able to have conversations, understand her surroundings again, etc.

But the facility was a done deal at that point and so my uncle brought her out here. He and I have always gotten along fine in the few times we've been around each other. He is a basically decent man who I cannot fathom staying with my aunt just as I cannot fathom my parents still being together.

Anyway, it was hard to see my grandmother having so much trouble in some sense, to me. But not in the heart wrenching way that Richard seemed to expect. She is a very old woman whose body is falling apart. Her brain has been left patchy at best from strokes. In many ways I was happy to see things like that she was still coherrent enough to recognize me and call me by the childhood name she always used for me. I was pleased to see that she was not the complete vegetable that Debbie had described. And I was very happy to see her put in a home where she is likely to get more interaction with other people and more consistent care.

And as my uncle asked me about my feelings and how hard it was to watch and seemed disturbed with my answer, I had one of those moments where all things fall into a sort of meta perspective. See, perception of pain and wasting and loss of autonomy and aging are all things that depend a great deal on previous experience with such things. Agnes seems mostly not in pain, mostly happy with what surroundings she understands, and mostly to be doing damn well for her age and the life she's led with toxic chemical exposures from the early days of hair dressing chemicals and all their exposure to feed lots, the depression, the years of sun exposure without protection, etc.

My other grandmother who died not that long ago had been crippled with rheumatoid arthritis since she was pregnant with her last child. There was never a time in my childhood that she could use one hand to turn on a washing machine on because the bone in her fingers had so disentigrated that there was really nothing but cartiledge left. She had to roll a stick with a y at the other end fitted over the knob between her forearms to start a washer when I was a small child. By the time I reached adulthood, even that was impossible. I never knew a time that she wasn't in pain. She had multiple hip replacements, a vertibre almost collapse, had never been able to stand for long and had by the time I reached late adolescence advanced to the point that she could not go shopping for gifts for us anymore because of her risk of breaking a bone in trying to do so. She'd had every treatment available in her life and just lived with the pain with a sort of grace I will never be able to fathom. She just kept getting up every morning and making herself go on even though she had to give up every hobby she had and doing almost anything for herself. She never had a moment without pain in all the years that I had known her and at the end she had a stroke that rendered her unable to even speak.

Compared to that pain, Agnes is doing great. Compared to that pain most of us are doing well. Compared to that pain, little can really disturb me to the core in the same way. Yes, it is sad to watch anyone slide downhill for what may be the last time, but it is also an expected downhill slope that all of us reach if we are not lucky enough to die healthy at 80 in our sleep. And I am glad to get to see her before the end, whatever memory of me remains.

But my memory will always hold the image of my other grandmother's mutilated boneless fleshy hands mashed against things to manage to pick them up as though they were strangly tentacled stubs as if the hands had been removed and replaced with some sort of surreal anemone with fingernails in unpredictable places. There is little that could be so distressing as that image to the mind of a child.
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