What's Not to Laugh?

Almost everything about aging–except grave illness and death–can be funny as well as disturbing. I try to find the funny and help us all get through it!

Archive for the month “May, 2014”

Forget about it

I am forgetful. Or, I feel better stating it this way: So many people tell me so many different things, I can’t keep them straight. Sounds much better and not so old, doesn’t it?

I also can’t remember to whom I’ve told what, so I tell people that if I repeat my stories to please understand. Same goes for forgetting to tell someone close to me something because I thought I already did. (And if you can follow that, you’ve passed the lucidity test and are not at all old.)

It’s even worse when I’m trying to figure out who told me what. I start out a conversation with, “Cheryl told me that her mother is having hip surgery next month. No, wait. It wasn’t Cheryl, it was Linda who told me. I think. Or maybe Gloria.” (All names have been changed to protect the innocently misnamed.)

In recent years, I’ve even forgotten about appointments and lunch engagements. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen often enough for me to worry about it. I do have a date book. An actual paper-based calendar book that has little squares for each day on which you write (cryptically, since you can’t fit much in each) the who, where, and what time of all appointments. I’m not a luddite. I embrace technology and even have a smart phone, which, in my opinion, is not as smart as it wants you to think it is. But I find it easier to carry the little black book and a pen around with me and use it to record dates of note. Besides, I get it free from my hair salon, Bliss, every year.

So with my trusty date book a constant companion, it still surprises me that I got a disturbing call one Monday. It was lunchtime, and I was being lazy and still in my pajamas. As soon as I read the caller ID and saw that it was one of my good friends, I remembered. Lunch! I was supposed to have met her 20 minutes ago at an area restaurant. She was not pleased, and I was embarrassed and so apologetic. I begged for her forgiveness every time I saw her for weeks after that. She’s really good natured and had forgiven me long before, but I still felt bad. I made a vow that I would enter engagements and appointments in my iPad calendar and set it to remind me two days and again one day before the event. Since I am playing Boggle or Solitaire or reading emails or Facebook most of my at-home waking hours, I knew this would help. And it has helped—but only if I remembered to enter them.

I’ve had some close calls. Often on a Sunday my husband will ask me if I have any appointments or plans for Monday, my day off. I usually say “no” but thankfully check my book right before bedtime, just to be sure. There in that little Monday square is a cryptic note telling me that I have a lunch date with friends from high school. “Gee, was that this Monday?” I think. So even my plan B doesn’t always work.

Wouldn’t it be nice if all appointments and plans could issue a reminder call like my hair salon does the day before? I think I have enough brain cells left to keep that appointment in my mind for 24 hours, so that would be ideal.

But it wouldn’t help me remember what I told to whom, who told me what, and what I failed to tell to whomever.





Message from Maude: Why me?

Allow me to reintroduce myself. I’m Maude the cat who made a remarkable adaptation to a new home and new owners at the age of 12. I’ve been in this new environment for over a year now, and it had been going quite well. I have been well-fed with a delicious variety of foods, including that yummy canned pate that makes a mess for my owners to clean. I have the run of the house (mostly) and can lie down to snooze just about anywhere. (The dining room and kitchen tabletops are out of bounds, but I don’t think they would be comfortable anyway.) But most important, I was treated with gentleness and respect.

So what happened? One day I found myself captured and placed in a carrier bag and taken for a long car ride (I hate car rides) to a strange place. Once there, I was prodded and poked by two people wearing blue outfits with very serious expressions on their faces. My owners looked rather serious too. When we got home, everything seemed normal again. But in a week, I was put in that carrier again (and nobody seemed to care that I made protesting noises during the ride) and taken back to that place. This time my owners left me there. I don’t know what happened after that because I was in a deep sleep. Before I closed my eyes, I heard the word “surgery.”

Then I woke up. The first thing I noticed is that I had this plastic contraption around my neck. I think it’s called a cone. Did you ever try slurping water or lapping up food from a bowl with a cone around your neck? I probably looked ridiculous, but maybe the collar covered up the fact that my fur had been shaved off on the left side of my head. Also, I was very groggy, probably too groggy to know that there were stitches in my ear.

My owners came for me the next day. This time, I didn’t fit comfortably in the carrier because of that *%@$#& cone. But I was too lethargic to complain. And I was so happy to be back home. That is, until the torture started. Not every cat would consider this torture, but to me, forcing liquid into one’s mouth (yucky liquid) four times a day and squeezing greasy ointment into one’s eye twice a day is not my idea of gentle, respectful treatment!

Here I am, barely bearing it in my plastic cone… complete with the manufacturer’s label. Not a great fashion statement.

Here I am, barely bearing it in my plastic cone… complete with the manufacturer’s label. Not a great fashion statement.

I used to be able to hop up on my owners’ queen-size bed easily, but for days after the surgery I found it too difficult. You need to understand that they have a very deep mattress and deeper than usual box spring. Where I came from, there was a king-size platform bed. No box spring. It was always an easy jump. I heard my now owners remark that if they had known they were getting me, they wouldn’t have bought such a thick mattress set. But talk is cheap. And in my woozy state, I just couldn’t make the leap. How humiliating to have to be picked up and placed on the bed!

Worst of all? The worried and sympathetic looks on my owners’ faces. And it only became more troublesome after a phone call from my surgeon with the result of my biopsy. I don’t know what she told them, and I don’t want to know. At that point my concern was to get the cone off my head.

And off the cone came, 12 days later. What a relief! I can once again move about without announcing my presence with sounds of my headgear bumping into walls and furniture. But the force feeding of medicine has continued, although the orange yucky stuff was replaced by even more gooey pink yucky stuff. The only plus to this is that I get treats right after each dose.

I don’t know what’s in store for me in the future, but at least I get plenty of petting—even on my half-bald head—and belly rubs. And I can jump up on the bed again!

I’ll write again when I have something else to complain about.




Post Navigation