Wednesday, August 03, 2005

A Much Needed Break

I'm on vacation. We've just been hanging around the house so far this week. Tomorrow we leave to go camping in Western Mass. We will go to the Six Flags amusement park on Friday. Then hit The New England Air Museum, The Zoo in Forest Park and possibly the Yankee Candle Company the rest of the weekend.

I'd forgotten how much prep work goes in to camping, and how much 'stuff' you have to bring just for two people. Luckily, my new SUV tent was delivered today. We can bring one tent instead of two. I can sleep on an air mattress in the back of my new SUV and my son can sleep on my old queen sized air mattress bed in the tent portion. Hopefully, this will be distance enough so that, my snoring (I DO NOT!) doesn't bother him.

I have plenty of snack foods & good eats. We stopped at the library today for some reading material. I'm bringing the laptop and DVD's just in case. I'm sure the Phase 10, Yatzee, Mancala, Othello, Jotto & deck of cards will help prevent any declarations of boredom.

Hopefully, we'll both come back alive.

I need this. I need to get away from our house. I need to get away from the stress & routine. I need to do something fun with just me & my son. It's been 7 years since I've taken a real vacation away from home and not just time off filled with work around the house. I need to relax.

I hope this will be a chance to connect with my boy, to give him a break of my being on him constantly. Being an only child means you don't get away with anything. You're under the microscope constantly. We both need the break. I pray I can hold my tongue and let him be a messy, obnoxious, brain dead teenager for a few days so we can both just chill and have a good time.

My parents are on vacation in Maine. My Aunt & Uncle are Grandparent sitting. They will also be bird sitting my sassy little brat, Galileo.

My Grandfather apparently suffered a stroke Friday and has been in the hospital since. He shows signs of coherency again and will probably be moved to a nursing home. He's 87, suffering from Alzheimers for a few years and has been receiving radiation treatments for the last few weeks for a cancerous tumor near his ear.

I do not like seeing my Grandfather like this. He was always such an intelligent, vibrant, outspoken, opinionated man with a generous heart. He would give you the shirt off his back, while lecturing you on how to improve your situation. He has become a mere shadow of the man he once was over the last couple years. He became very quiet once his hearing was beyond the use of aids. He couldn't hear a conversation anymore to participate. The blank stare or joyous expression of recognition when he looked at me has torn at my heart. Alzheimers has robbed this once extremely intelligent man of the mere ability of recognizing my face. I cannot help but feel that his mind is trapped within a failing body. My heart breaks with his moments of lucidity. Is he conscious of what's happening to him? Is his mind trapped within a body that won't cooperate? Would he choose to exist like this? For, in my minds eye - this is existing, not living. This once proud man, had been reduced to needing assistance from the bed to a wheelchair to the lavatory and now to a bed and catheter, having to be spoon fed by others. Is this what he would have wanted for his twilight years? Does your perspective change as you age? Do you want to hang onto life as long as possible, no matter what?

I cannot answer for him, only for myself. I would not want to exist like that. I do not want to be a burden to my son. I do not want to be kept alive just because of the miracles of modern science. There is no quality of life there. I'd rather pull a Dr. Kevorkian while I still had the mental capacity than become a ward of Medicare and a gorked out patient in a nursing home. But that's my choice. That's my 41 year old perspective.

Yes, indeed, a vacation with me and my son is very much needed.Hugs will be had by all. Life is too short. I'll be checking out till Sunday.


izchan said...

vacations are much needed for those of us who do not know how to relax.

I know ... I am one of them.

Am going to an island this coming september.
Its me, my love and fishes.

Hope I don't end up in a King Kong movie or something.

On the note of the getting old and not able to do anything about it.

I have actually paid a lot of attention on this subject since the day my mother died.

the crust of the matter is the fact that death is simpler than living.
I mean once your dead, your ... dead (I do not want to go into theoritical discussions of heaven in this).

So death is nothing to be feared.
It is the living that scares the bezeebles out of me.

Being alive means, I must be able to stay alive.
Giving up is merely saying that "0h, lets try the reload button".
some think that life as a second chance. I don't.
I believe in taking upon the cross and go with it.
Eventually time will come when we grow so old and wither into "shadows" of what once was ourself.
but that is only because we are looking backwards.

Shadows or not, it is the present that counts.
live life the way you can and be happy that you can still SEE the one you love even if you can't hear them.

Alzeimers is not a problem was us, because if you have alzeimer, you won't remember.
You are worrying about the people that had to take care of you. and that is something that I believe to be non-essential. Those that loves us will care for us if we need them, but if they don't you wont really know because ... you have Alzeirmer. You can't be bothered about it.

So ... :) ... you can live life half empty.
or you can get a refill.

KFarmer said...

In my younger days I worked at a retirement home. I like older people- they have so much to tell if you care to listen and learn. I saw many families with parents with Alzheimers and it was just horrible on the families. The actual parent was usually very happy as to be honest they did not know any better. I am really sorry you are having to watch your grandfather like this. Mine have all passed and now I am having to watch my parents fade. That too is a heart breaker. I think it was Bette Davis who said "growing old is not for sissy's". Truer words were never spoken.

Get out of town, let the fresh breezes blow in your hair. Enjoy your son's company, scream REAL LOUD when you get on one of those roller coasters, sleep under the stars. Play a (harmless) mischevious trick on someone...enjoy.

izchan said...

to those to have read my previous comments, just a note that I was not trying to sound like a jerk. It is trully something that I believe in.

Take care of your elders because you love them, not because you have to. THere is a stark difference. When you do it out of love, you do it happily. even when they fade away from our eyes, we still see them as they were. Its as much as important to them as it is to us.

But if you do it out of responsibility, it becomes a chore. And as time passes, you will become spikeful and forget it was they who took us to the zoo, the park, they who drove us to the mall and love us with their heart. And that is sadder than having alzeimer, because instead of loosing memory, you lost your heart.

As I said. Don't look at them differently, because they are still there in our hearts.

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Revan said...

It is always nice to get away... even for a day...

Alzeimers is not the greatest thing to deal with... but just think back on the good times you had with your grandpa...

My prayers and thoughts are with you!!!

Revan said...

oh and I love your blog!!

Magazine Man said...

Have a great vacation; it sounds like you need one!

Sorry to hear about your grandfather. My Grandma had a series of mini-strokes, then cancer, then Alzheimer's. Sheesh! During one of her last lucid periods she said to me, "With everything I have, when I finally decide to go, there'll be nothing to feel bad about." (I still felt bad). Hope I have as much grace about it when I get there.

See you when you get back.

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