Grab Bars and Such

Dad was a hell of a planner. He bought mausoleum space more than thirty years before he died, saved much more money than most people of his modest income level, paid down what little debt he had years before retiring, bought Medicare supplemental insurance and began to write his autobiography before Parkinson's disease robbed him of his memory.

I was very proud of my dad when he started making adjustments in his house for his worsening Parkinson's disease. He still had strength and enough dexterity to install grab bars in the tub area years before he needed them.

His planning and reaction to aging served as a good model and inspiration. Too bad I'm only now starting to act on the inspiration. I admit that I mostly ignored his obvious advice and good examples. I might be working till the day I die, not because I want to but because I haven't prepared enough financially and will have to work.

I often think about the signs of aging, both good and bad, but I am especially aware this week because grab bars were installed in both bathrooms in my apartment a few days ago. Grab bars were on my annual lease renewal negotiation list and I knew they'd be installed this week. I didn't ask for them because of my age but rather because of my MS. However it was still a bit of a shock to actually see them. My first reaction: oh my God, an old person lives here.

I've known for many years that I'm not accepting aging with open arms and I've been frustrated by MS since the diagnosis eighteen months ago. The grab bars represent, in my head, the best and worst of the acceptance and the frustration.

Another aspect of those two things happened Sunday. Walking is sometimes a challenge for me and I should probably accept that a cane would be helpful. I do have a walking stick that hikers use and I used it while walking around an Oktoberfest event in my neighborhood. Although I was self-conscious about it I'm glad I had the stick. My sense of practicality and reality is slowly pushing aside my ego. Slowly.

My parents accepted aging reasonably well and I should probably try to learn from that. Maybe if I keep saying that out loud I'll actually believe it one day. For now I'm still trying to pretend I'm the age I look rather than the age I am. Maybe grab bars and walking sticks will help me reduce the denial, accept the realities of aging and just keep on living the wonderful life I have.


Linda V. said…
Funny, I was just telling my husband that we should put a grab bar in the bath tub area. I've been using a cane, less now, but after a double knee replacement, it became a norm. I own a walker, and a rollator, both for the knees, and now I'm feeling rebellious that I had to go through it. I traded one kind of pain for another. I dislike intensely that I can't do the things I love. I "retired" from wildlife rescue work, because I can't get down on my hands and knees. I can't run, at the risk of damaging my "new" knees. Aging wasn't even on my radar, I didn't "feel" old, nor do I look it, but after the surgeries for improving my knees, I have noticed the limitations to a greater degree. The mental me has not synced up yet with the aging body of me. Not sure I want to.....guess I don't really have a choice, considering what the alternative is. We'll get through this my friend! Love you.
Bernie said…
Yes we will. Stay optimistic.