If a picture is worth a thousand words, the memories then must be in millions. How often have you looked at a photo and remembered the event from last week? Last year? Ten years, or more? Photos and movies capture a moment in time and we remember people and places as they were. Of course we all remember the first Star Wars, yet Harrison Ford is 71 years old now. We collectively ask, Indianna 5, at his age! How often have we discussed on this site the technology of immortality: organ replacement, gene therapy, DNA modifications, mind transfer and so on. We all dream of living forever because the alternative is too frightening for our minds to accept. All too certain, the perils of long life are immediate and irrevocable.
Recently, I posted the article about an unfortunate baby whose immortality gene turned on the day he was born. Years later, he has the appearance of a two month old. What of the other end of the spectrum? How many centenarians do you know that are spry and mentally cogent? It was just 100 years ago that people rarely lived past 70 years of age. But modern science has brought us continuing existence as our bodies wear away around us.
On October 13, 2013 at 3:22 pm., as I walked up the steps and turned to see my mom, she said, "Something is happening to me," and dropped to the floor. By four, we were at the hospital. A CT scan and untold blood draws later, the results were in. My mother had her second stroke. Very high dose steroids were given to alleviate the pressure in the back of the brain, but the treatment did not work. I asked to try again, but the doctors said it is too dangerous to try a second time. Her paralysis, would be permanent. After 20 days in the hospital, I had to bring my mom home because the insurance wouldn't pay anymore.
My best friend Herman, passed away April 25. He too had a stroke. But mercifully lived only 12 days.
I am home every day now, thankful for my mom and FMLA, but dreading the process of finding a nursing home, the cheapest of which is $7000 a month for one person, for my mom and dad as neither can be left alone anymore. Elder care lawyers. Medicare spend down. Property valuations. Full code. All brand new terms for me, just so I can apply for assistance. On her second pacemaker battery now, I wonder just how long medicine will keep her going. And worse yet, at what point do I tell the doctors, "enough."