By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Not growing old gracefully
Placeholder Image

So I’m taking my mother in-law to her annual doctor’s appointment the other day, and mind you, “doctor’s appointment” should be in all caps the way she treats it.

Part of the discussion we had prior to this appointment was the fact that she needs some help with her memory.

She agreed that she does need a bit of help and acquiesced to trying out Aricept, if her doctor permitted.

She called me about 20 minutes before I was to leave to go pick her up and said, “Where are you?” in a panic.

“I’m at my house … where are you?”

“Waiting for you. My appointment is in 15 minutes,” she said, barely able to contain a screech.

“Nope,” I said, biting on an apple, “your appointment isn’t for another 45 minutes, and it takes me five minutes to get to your house.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes. We just had this discussion yesterday, and the note you gave me which is tacked up here on my wall says, ‘Doctor Appointment 1:30.’”

“Hang on,” she says, shuffling over to her appointment book.

Now, if you could clap eyes on the area where she keeps her appointment book, you would think she’d never be able to find it amongst the many calendars and appointment books she’s saved over the years. Hoarding is one of her many traits.

I hear her on the other end, shuffling papers and she fumbles with the phone saying, “Oh. OK. You’re right. Well, I’ll be here.”

I knew that she was sweating profusely by now because she is also the world’s biggest worry-wart, and she admits that.

“All right,” I say, “just relax. The doctor is only five minutes from your house. I promise you won’t be late.”

I get to her house at the moment I promised and she is standing at the door, purse and cane in hand.

She busily locks the door, complaining about how much she hates going to the doctor.

“So, why are you going? Who says you need to go to the doctor?”

Because as she is elderly and a creature of habit, she goes like clockwork. Like having an oil change.

“See ya in 3,000 miles, Miz Lambert!”

Righty ho.

We arrive without too much fuss, although she bangs her cane at the driver in front of us for driving the speed limit, and I tell her to calm down.

I cannot believe the woman does not have high blood pressure because she is so full of angst most of the time. Her dependency on sugar must be the antidote to that. I was waiting for her to pull one of her confectionary treats out of her purse to nibble on, but surprisingly, that didn’t happen.

She has to sign some paperwork at the doctor’s office and the receptionist asks her to stand on a line that says, “SMILE” and she remarks, “I don’t want to.” Snap and her photo is ready. That way the doctor can recognize her when he looks at her charts later.

She is whisked back to a waiting room after having her blood pressure checked and getting weighed.

“All I’ve got goin’ for me is my weight,” she says, to which I roll my eyes.

We are escorted to a waiting room, where she continues to explain her virtues. “All she’s got goin’ for her” as the conversation continues, would be her heart, her bones, her hair, her eyes, the titanium knees, and the titanium hips.

The doctor comes in and he is a very pleasant young man, checks her ears, her nose, her blood pressure (again), and her heart rate, asking what he can do for her.

She shrugs and he reviews her chart, telling her she is due for a mammogram and a bone density scan to which she interjects, “Oh my bones are very good. They’re all I’ve got goin’ for me.”

“Well, why do you suppose you have two new knees and two new hips then?” I ask.

The doctor talks to her about her overall health, explaining that he wishes all of his patients were as healthy as she is, as she only has to take two pills a day. He even recommends that she stop taking her inhaler, as she only does that out of habit.

Then we come around to the question of her getting Aricept.

“Is there a problem with your memory?” he asks, kinda looking sideways at me.

I fold my arms, waiting for her to give an honest answer.

She smirks and says, “Well, I’ve been having some trouble. But I don’t think I really need it,” she quickly adds.

He offers to see if he has a starter kit, and once out the door, she asks me what he said about her inhaler (You don’t need it) what about her mammogram (You need one) and what about that test for her bones (You’re overdue) and how her bones are the only thing she’s got going for her. She asked twice about her inhaler.

The doctor comes back in and has the starter kit, telling her to come back in four weeks.

After going to the lab for blood tests and picking up her orders for a mammogram and bone scan, she’s outta there like a house on fire.
Our next stop is the eye doctor to have her broken eyeglass frames repaired. Mind you, last year she had eye surgery and the doctor asked her to donate her eyeglasses because she didn’t need them anymore. No way, buster. No way she is giving up her eyeglasses. They are part of her “Grandma Look.”

We pull up into the handicapped spot right by the door of the building and she fumbles around in her purse for the missing arm of her frames.

She pulls out a wad of napkin or tissue and I watch her pull the paper back.

“How do you suppose this got in here?” she asks, revealing an old piece of fried chicken. It looked mummified.

I laughed so hard I nearly wet myself, and so did she.

“Think you need that Aricept now? Since you don’t know when Colonel Sanders gifted you that big ol’ hunk of chicken?”

She nodded her head, wiping away the tears.

I think she left one thing off her “All I’ve Got Goin’ for Me” list.

Her appetite.