Recently I received an email from a blog friend expressing concern that I had been absent from blog land and wondering if I was okay. I assured her I was but that life had thrown some questions at me that I was yet to come to terms with hence my silence. I said that once I’d come to grips with these questions I’d write again. I haven’t got any answers yet but I decided to write this post anyway with the hope that perhaps some clarity will arrive. Self-indulgent I know but then one of the things I love about blogs is the sharing of personal journeys that often touch others in unexpected ways. So…

Late last year I resigned myself to the fact that in order to move from a house that was crumbling around us and in order to keep my son at the school most beneficial to him for the next two years as he finishes his high school experience I was going to have to go back to nursing. I knew I couldn’t work anymore in the psychiatric system. It may as well be called the pharmacological system now as this is the only approach it uses. I wouldn’t mind if this approach worked…if it healed…but it doesn’t. It simply drugs.

So I’ve taken a job in aged care. At the interview I expressed my desire to only work in an ethical manner and that if this was not the practice of this facility then please don’t hire me because I would just be a pain in the you-know-what. They hired me. And they do work ethically putting the needs, the rights and the dignity of our one hundred and fifty residents before any other consideration. So that’s good. And the money is good. My son can be at ease that mum can pay the bill for his school for the next two years and we’ve moved house. Son and I are healthy, we get along pretty well and we live in Australia which in comparison to so many other countries is a bloody lucky place to be.

And yet personally…

As my son grows older (he turned 16 on Xmas eve) he grows further away and though I know this is as it should be I can’t help the heaviness in my heart. I rejoice that I was able to give him a joyful, loving, secure childhood where laughter and “I love you” were constants for us both. But I hate the way hormones suck away that joy…I hate that now he’s looking out at the world his natural happiness is being eroded by the stark reality of the seemingly overwhelming ‘issues’ our global community creates then suffers from and I hate that a cuddle and tickle attack no longer bring comfort. All normal I know but I hate it nevertheless.

And in complete selfishness I am so sad that his childhood is over. Each day of it brought me such immense joy…I wonder if I’ll ever feel that good again. Selfish I know, but true nevertheless.

And despite the ethical practice of the aged facility I work at I am constantly struck dumb by this reality we will all travel. Frankly old age sucks! So we are living longer these days. We have copious medicines that ensure your heart and brain keep going so statistically it looks good. Yet when I look at the reality of this extended life…well I sure don’t want it. As one of my resi’s said yesterday “old age stinks”.  All I could do was sigh in agreement and give her a long hug after I’d finished treating her wounds from her fall and reminding her again not to try to walk without our help.

Pain. So many are in so much pain. Pain of the body, pain of the heart. Yesterday I went from Bill whose morphine dose just keeps going up but his cancer is so much stronger…to Elaine whose children never visit so each day her heart cries …to Ethel whose daily ulcer dressings force tears despite her need to be stoic …to Stan whose awareness that he is dementing is horrendous to witness…

And I watch them all take their meds several times a day. I watch this seemingly instinctual clutching to life and I wonder what I am missing that makes me wonder why they hang on so tight. And the ethics of medicine…of quantity of years irregardless of quality…

Well as I said I have lots of questions right now. Hopefully I’ll find some answers.Actually let me re-word that. I will find answers.  As I wrote under the title of my blog I do question the way we are because life does matter. Some that I’ve written about is clearly me adjusting to that constant called ‘change’.  It’s great when change occurs if things are crappy but when things are good…well I guess I’ve a tendency to cling. But when it comes to our getting old and the way we manage…well…I’ll keep a pondering.


3 thoughts on “Questions

  1. oh, Leesa~

    What a challenging time to work with the aged! On one end, you have the (volatile) birth of a universe going on, and on the other the sighs of closure. So much to carry.

    Barring anythin’ else going on your life, you’re ironically square with the stresses of women our age. Aging, puberty, the progression of your own life mixed in… I’m sure that’s no comfort to hear something you already know; it’s a hard walk, and I feel like putting my arm around your shoulder and suggesting somethng hot to drink (because it’s winter here, which is of no comfort to you, I’m sure).

    Yeah. All in all, though, you’re a good woman, Leesa, to see it and name it all, as is. We all make the walk in some way or another. Bittersweet, I think.

    On a personal note… ((((missed you)))) I’m so glad you wrote.


    • Hey Meredith…thanks for your comments. It is an interesting/challenging time to be sure and I’ll take that arm but a cold drink please…its summer here and hot :).

      I hesitated in writing about the aged for a while particularly because it all looks fairly negative. But the thing is I think we need to ask questions about how it is , about why it is this way and about how we want it to be.

      Thank-you for your missing. xx

  2. Hi Leesa, I too had been wondering where you had wandered off to, and more or less gave myself the answer of “probably doing some quite introspection”. I read your post, and I don’t feel like I have any rights to comment on it at all, besides that I can see me in you a few years from now as my own son grows older, I am already feeling this. I don’t know what else to say, besides thank you for dropping a word, and hoping that you find the other side of the wheel soon again. All the love, in earnest, Margie -xxx-

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