What's on my mind.

21 July 2008

Getting old sucks,

The other day I rambled about the unimportant things freaking me out. Now I'd like to ramble about some not-so unimportant things. My dad turned 80 May 24. My mom will be 69 on August 26 (don't tell her I told). My father is in generally much better health. He's has some significant hearing lose but won't/can't wear a hearing aid (too much background noise that he can't mentally filter) and is more forgetful than he'll admit but other than that he's good. Mom's not so lucky.

Recently, as in the last couple of years there has been a string of medical problems, none serious in its self but that together make her, well, old. She had to have her gall bladder removed and attempts at compensating for that, according to dr's recommendation, later turned out to give her more digestive problems rather than less. Her back problems (on going since her 20s) have gotten better and worse; generally better when she goes to PT and worse when she stops going and will exercise at home. Currently her back is not so good and she can't exercise because her knee is given her fits. The real kicker though was the macular pucker - it didn't just affect her vision, it prevented her from reading, driving, walking with confidence,...basically all everyday activities. The pucker, recovery time, and a cataract left her mostly unable to read for over a year(it was in her dominant right eye). And she still has trouble reading, but she doesn't know why yet. Amazingly someone we know had a reader that had been her mother's, who had had macular degeneration, and she gave it to my Mom. (The reader is similar to an opaque projector. You put the book or newspaper in it and it projects the page really big on a screen.)

Reading was Mom's primary mental exercise. She's bad at crosswords and doesn't like logic puzzles like sudoku. But she's a reader. Not being able to read has been hard on her. It has also limited her horizons somewhat. (For example, her listening to news programs all day during the primaries just about drove the rest of us crazy!) Her horizons will expand again but that mental exercise was lost. She's much more forgetful, I hope that'll get better as she can read more. As she realizes she can read more. I think right now she's still in the "I hate not being able to read" mode and is only occasionally delighted when she remembers the reader. She was like a kid in a candy store with a blank check when she first read the newspaper with it. (And that was the Tuscaloosa News, I was surprised she found that much to read!) I installed Firefox and the Accessibar extension on her laptop. Being able to easily zoom in and out will help her a lot. (Yes ctrl+, works but she's not going to remember that, having a button that says 'zoom in' she'll use.) If the background and text color changer will work (works on my work computer, didn't on hers last night), that'll help on any page she's trying to read something long on. (Black on white has high contrast but glare.)

No comments: