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Now, what did I come in here for?

May 6, 2012

Aging, Essays for Giggles

Since I posted a story in December called “Getting Old, Going Blind”, there has been no slowdown in the dimming of my vision.  I see less clearly every day, but now, a new fear has crept into my heart… wait… what was I just talking about?  Oh, yeah, my memory sucks.

I have worn glasses since I was 12-years-old because I could not see far away, or was near-sighted, (that always confused me).  My mom discovered that I couldn’t see when we were driving down the interstate playing Slug Bug (in some parts of the country called Punch Bug).  Not only was I always losing the game, but we were practically in a head-on collision with the oncoming Volkswagen Beetle before I could identify it.

So, thirty years of that business and I have learned to live with my glasses… when I can find them that is.  One of the many cruel ironies of life is that when one does not have on one’s glasses, one cannot see well enough to find said glasses.

After decades of not being able to see far away, I can now no longer see close up.  I have always preferred the dim lighting of a haunted castle, but now, I have every light in the house blazing or I can’t see a damned thing.  To cook dinner, I require the same amount of bright overhead lighting as a surgeon.  Then I wash my hands thoroughly and glove up to slice the carrots.

I remember distinctly the moment that I was trying to read small print on the side of a package.  It would not come into focus.  I brought it closer.  Could not read.  Closer still.  Could not read.  Then I remembered my parents and how I have to hold the menu six feet away for them so they can decide what to order, and I slowly extended my arm, moving the package farther away – and poof, like magic the words came into focus.  My heart sank.  Here it is I thought.  The beginning of my end.

There is one sweet spot, mid-distance, not quite fully extending my arm, that I can see properly.  It is sad.  I walk around holding things about two feet away from me in midair, with my glasses on top of my head.  I don’t know what I look like, but I feel like Mr. Magoo.  (My apologies if you are too young for that reference.  Google it.)

Now, as if Granny Vision were not bad enough, I have to deal with the memory capacity of an infant.  I get up from the couch, walk to the kitchen, spin around staring at the room as if I have never seen it before, then turn around and go back to the couch in an effort to jog my memory.

Sometimes, I remember before I get all the way back to the starting point.  Sometimes, I just have to sit back down, empty my mind, and wait for inspiration to strike.  “Oh yeah, I needed to pee.”  Sad when you forget a necessary biological function, that is sending a pretty persistent signal to your brain.

I get probably 20 minutes of daily exercise just retracing my steps through the house to try to figure out what the hell I had been planning to do.  There is a pivot mark in the hallway where I constantly spin on my heel to wheel off in the other direction, marching with great purpose to what, I have no idea.

When I add the combined total betrayal of my poor vision and memory to my persistent post pregnancy bladder condition, it is a wonder there is not already a bed for me at a local nursing home.

I cannot walk across the street to the mailbox without peeing on myself a little bit.  I wear a pad to exercise so I don’t pee on myself while running.  I avoid jump ropes and trampolines for fear of peeing on myself.  Basically, as I think you can see, I am in constant fear of peeing on myself.

I was visiting my parents recently and decided to have them drop me off about a mile from home so that I could jog it in.  I was not wearing a pad.  By the time I got there, I looked like the special-needs cousin that they keep locked in the basement.  I was embarrassed for them that the neighbors might figure out that it was their daughter who was soaked to the knees in her own urine.  This was a proud moment for me as I went in to take a shower.

Losing both my vision and memory, annoys the hell out of me on a daily basis.  Pissing on myself is a little higher up the ladder of annoyance, but short of sitting still for the next 30 years, I don’t know what I can do about it.

Every morning I get up and wonder, Good Lord, what next?  What?  What did you say?  Stop mumbling.  I can’t hear you.

 

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About reneadijab

Renea Dijab

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