I have one of those “daily reminder” contraptions that holds my medications and hopefully prevents me from taking the wrong pills on the wrong day. I fill it each Sunday afternoon. As I finish and hear the little “snap, snap, snap” of the compartments I’m reminded of my grandmother. She kept her medicine in a cabinet next to the kitchen sink. She took it when she needed it and somehow remembered which one to take. Was her memory sharper, her mind clearer? Or did she just have less stuff to remember or fewer medications to take? I don’t know and I’m not taking any chances. A friend recently took her blood pressure medicine, fell asleep, woke up, forgot she had taken it, and took it again. She had to be rushed to the hospital. I’ll use my reminder.
My bathroom cupboard is also a reflection of my aging body. It holds an amazing array of lotions, potions, and gels. Most are formulated for some sort of pain relief. My favorite this year is the little heating pad that adheres to your body. My right shoulder wouldn’t have made it through a summer of gardening without that invention!
I also need lists and notes. I remember my aunt making daily “to do” lists when I was a child. I thought she was very sophisticated and organized. That’s how I’ll think of myself! I’m not forgetful, even though I often return from WalMart without something that is clearly written on my list. No, I’m not forgetful. I’m sophisticated and organized. I write things down. I make lists. I organize my thoughts and ideas. Now, where did I put that paper…
My children think I clean because I like a tidy house. That’s not it at all. Dirt doesn’t bother me (much), but clutter drives me up a wall. I like an organized house because I hate to search for anything. I remember when my dad would send me into the garage to find a 3/16” something or other. Not only did I usually not have a clue what he was talking about, but if I did I sure couldn’t have found it in his messy garage. Now that I’m older, misplacing anything is upsetting. Misplacing something significant could give me an ulcer. I spent an hour last weekend looking for an important paper, only to find it neatly filed at the back of my filing cabinet. Right folder, wrong place in the cabinet!
My calendar is also filled with notations and circles and bright red arrows. Coordinating my school calendar, my husband’s work schedule, church events, doctor’s appointments, civic obligations, shopping, family birthdays, and the usual holidays requires compromise and sometimes a little ingenuity. It also requires that I remember to actually look at the calendar and read all those little notes. Ah, even the best of intentions can still go astray. I don’t know how my daughters manage to also coordinate their children’s schedules. It makes my brain hurt to think about it.
Maybe that’s why I don’t sleep as well as I used to. My brain is too busy trying to catch up with the day. My husband will laugh at that statement. He’s been sleeping so poorly, for so many years, that my pathetic complaints about getting up a couple of times a night, or having an ache or pain wake me up, fall on deaf ears. “Ha!” he says, “you’re asleep every time I get up!”
But if I have concerns about growing old, at least I’m in good company. My father forgets the names of people he has known “for a hundred years”. My friends aren’t sleeping any more than I am. My neighbor forgets where she left her purse. My brother complains of aches and pains. My husband can’t find his glasses when he needs them. At least we can commiserate when our children think we have “lost it”.
My husband and I were eating lunch with our son last weekend. He lives in another state and we haven’t seen him in about six months. We were discussing family and friends and my son asked his dad if a cousin was still working at the Movie Gallery.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I haven’t seen her.”
“That’s because you don’t go to the Movie Gallery,” I told him.
“Yes, I do,” he argued. “I go there all the time!”
“No, you don’t. We rent at the Movie House.”
“Oh, yeah. Well, I don’t know then. Maybe she still works there.”
My son started laughing. He looked at his dad, then at me, and asked “When did you two get so…old?”
I can’t remember!