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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

getting older is scary: random tuesday thoughts

It's random Tuesday via Keely over at UnMom and I love randomness because without it life would be boring.

There was nothing more random then what happened today. We were on our way to pick up Pickleboy from preschool because we had a meeting with Kathy from the CDC (Child Development) to go over goals we wish to set for Trace while dealing with his special needs and school.

DH was driving along Bevan in Abbey and I glanced up. The road was busy (as usual) during this hour of day and there was a man walking toward us right down the middle of the road we were on!

Dressed in a bolo hat, tweed jacket, black knit shirt and tweed pants with loafers. He was well dressed and groomed perfectly. You could see he'd been well cared for; his shiny gray beard trimmed nicely and nails well manicured. But something was wrong.

He had a red walker and a vacant look in his eyes. I immediately told DH to pull over next to him and I got him somewhat off the road. With our hazards on though he was still in danger and now so we were of being hit by the oncoming traffic.

"Sir, do you know that you are on the road?" I asked him.  Nothing. No reply. Then he stared at me.

"I'm going to the hospital," he replied gruffly, his voice thick with a German accent I'd recognize anywhere considering I am German.

The hospital was a very long walk ahead of him and I stared at him puzzled. I instantly realized he was also carrying on a conversation with someone who wasn't there, whispering to the empty air beside him to his right.

"Okay you stay here beside the van. I'm going to call someone to take you where you need to go."

The man stood right where he was on the road next to our van. DH went up ahead a bit to direct traffic around our vehicle while I dialed 911.

I spent the next fifteen minutes talking to the police operator asking the man some questions, such as his age, name, where he lived.

His name was Walter. He was 86 years old. He lived here but couldn't remember his address and he was adamant that he had to get to the new hospital.

I found myself wondering: Where is his family? Where is his caregiver? Had he wandered away from the home?

We waited until the police finally arrived. Walter didn't seem to trust anyone but the police. He kept thanking me for calling them, and it took a while before we could finally convince him to go up onto the sidewalk and out of danger to speak to the office who came to help him.

Our job was done. We let the police take it from there. But before we left Walter grabbed my hand and said thank you. The emptiness in his eyes caused my heart to beat a step and I couldn't help but cry once I was back inside our vehicle.

I was crying because I felt bad for Walter. I felt bad because I knew he was suffering with a little bit of memory loss and it made me think of my husband sitting next to me and what is going to happen when we both get older.

Getting older can be scary when you think about it. I keep telling myself it's never going to happen. My parents are going to live forever and so am I. I will never leave my children. You will never see my gray hair already growing. I will never say good bye to those I love.

I know it's totally unrealistic to imagine. But I don't deal well with age or death. It's something I have a hard time coping with and builds extreme anxiety inside of me.
I just hope if I ever wander away from my caregiver and end up traveling down a busy street that some nice person will stop to help me when I can't remember who I am or where I need to go. The thought terrifies me but I have faith in people. Without faith in people life ain't worth living.



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