Thursday, July 11, 2013

Getting Out

There was a comment on my last blog saying if I bought online I would never have to leave the house. One must understand the idea IS to leave the house.
Now my house, which may or may not be my home, has plenty of space and full of my toys to keep me entertained. It even has plenty of food in the kitchen. It also has plenty of projects that I skip around but remain in my face.
So I’ve made it a point everyday to get out of the house. Why should I do that especially on a day like today that is rainy and overcast and yucky?
Have you ever seen an old person? Not one of those baby boomers who are playing tennis or on the treadmill at the gym or doing a slow twist on the dance floor, but the elderly.
The ones I’m talking about are the men and women in assisted living or hospice. Even if they are not that far along and are still living at home, what do the elderly do?
They don’t bounce out of bed and get a bath started while making coffee. They don’t watch the news and weather report while having breakfast watching the clock to get out the door and go to work. They don’t fill their day with attending meetings and answering e-mails. They don’t get home after a long day at work, exhausted by running in circles causing huge amounts of irresolvable stress. They don’t sit in bed watching late night television and eating junk.
No, these folks get up in the same clothing they wore the day before. It is the same clothing they went to bed in the day before that and the day before that. Since shopping is infrequent and finances limited these folks eat once a day, if that, at whatever they can scrape together. The rest of the day, due to the lack of energy and medical limitations, will sit, many times in a dark quiet room, watching television or listening to the radio. Sometimes the chair will become the bed for the evening.
Leaving the house becomes a fearful adventure. The lack of mobility is the last repose of independence. The inertia to motive the body to function fades away.
With the best of intentions their children and well-meaning but possibly ill prepared health professionals will find a day to take the elderly out of the house. He or her is dressed in their finest 20-year-old fashion, hair combed for the first time in weeks, soft shoes that are faux-pa statements are shuffled out of their comfort zone and into a shuttle bus. The elderly has no control over these actions.
A menu and conversations not familiar can be as confusing to the elderly as talking in a foreign language. We all, whether young or old, try to please when assisted, but the nods are merely a polite acceptance of wonderment.
At the end of what may be a stressful experience, the elderly can return into their stagnant but comfortable routine. My grandfather went through this. My mother probably went through this, if left alone, but the family got her moved to a place where she HAD to motive, even on steel wheels, to be fed.
So I practice getting out of the house everyday. With the excuse that I HAVE TO go to the grocery store to buy birdseed and peanuts that were depilated the day before or just to get some exercise is on my daily radar. It is like that time clock that goes off in your head when you know you have to wake up so you can get dressed and go to work.
I’ve stayed inside the house once for a day, walking around in my pajamas, tinkering with my toys, playing whatever music I desire, drawing pictures, watching favorite visions and eating whenever I want, but alone it is not enough to fulfill the day. So the venture outside will continue as long as I can physically accomplish it.
On my second trip to the grocery today, which is unusual for me, I noticed the elderly wandering about the store staring at the packaging with some confusion and hoping they will get out of my way. I guess I’m just young enough to still be upset by the inevitable.
Or it may be the wine I bought.

1 comment:

Art said...

yeah, it's the wine!