Getting Older

My son lives in Asia. He has told me several times to come live over there. He says I can get an apartment for $300 to $500 a month. He says restaurant meals can be had – good meals – from $2 to $5. The cost of living is lower, he says.

I kidded him that if I really showed up, he would change his mind and then I’d be in a mess!

No! He insists. Over there adult children are not allowed to change their minds about caring for their parents. They will be “shamed”. Even as a non-Asian, he would not want to suffer the consequences of being shamed.

How different it is from over here.

During this year so far, I have witnessed a senior citizen die at Bingo. When the paramedics arrived, they did not rush to her as I have always seen done before .They stood across the room looking at her and asking questions about what medicines she was taking and what conditions she had. No one checked for a blood pressure. No one listened for a heart beat. They actled like if she wasn’t dead, it was fine for her to die while they waited.

Then there’s been another person I know whose father decided to refuse all care and be put into “hospice care”. He was gone within 72 hours. Would they have allowed a younger person to make that decision?

Even I, when I was in the hospital last year, was given a “Do Not Resuscitate” Order and asked to sign it. What? I refused. They came back with it three different times. I had to tear it up in front of them before they understood the word “NO”. My son came to see me daily. I said if it came to that decision . . . if I could not tell them not to resuscitate me when all hope was gone . . . to ask him. They said they’d need a consensus from all three of my children. Well, then, pick up the phone and call the other two. For all I knew, one of them might even show up. (How fast did that hospital want to be done with me?)

I have learned from my many years of living, a great deal about this world.  Just because I don’t get up and go to work every day doesn’t mean I have lost all value. Just because my hair has more silver now than brown doesn’t mean I have nothing to offer. I can actually watch events unfold and tell you what’s going to happen before it’s happened, because I have seen it before. I have wisdom I never had before. I have clearer vision in some ways than ever before.

But I am a senior citizen and as such, am not appreciated by the younger generations in America.

I now understand why so many folks dye their hair and get face lifts and are not proud of every wrinkle, as I am. I suppose I grew up valuing every person for who they were without judging their physical appearance. I don’t think it’s that way for most.

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Corbett Picture

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