Monday, May 9, 2011

When You’re 64

When The Beatles sang “Will you still need me? Will you still feed me? When I’m 64...” I’m sure they thought that this number – this ripe old age – seemed pretty elderly and far off. But, now that I realize that soon my own parents will turn 64 (and The Beatles – the surviving half anyway – have long since passed that golden number) I can’t help but think that their depiction of people in their mid-60s is now inaccurate for this day and age (mostly anyway … of course everyone ages at a different rate. And, as evidenced by the band members themselves, some don’t live to see 60 at all). Maybe it’s the fact that I see my parents on a regular basis and, so, their aging doesn’t seem so sudden to me. But, I see them as pretty active, spritely, vigorous soon-to-be-64-year-olds. And I truly hope that this will continue to be the case well past 74, 84 and onto 94 (I really don’t think one can maintain much vitality past 100 though … not yet anyway). There you go Mom, there’s your Mother’s Day gift from me – vigor and vim well into your 90s! If only it were so easy.

My 34-year-old fiancé on the other hand is neither spritely nor vigorous nor, at the present moment, mobile at all. Yes, ever since he threw out his back “painting” (the quotation marks are there to indicate that while, yes, we say it was the painting that caused the injury it was, in truth, the mere act of picking paint swatches up off the ground that was the motion that actually snapped it out of place) my Groom-A-Saurus Rex (GAR) has been locked up (literally and metaphorically) in a rigid, prone position that offers him only a limited range of motion. When he stands (or attempts to stand) it’s a creaky, cracking robotic stumble and his gait is both herky and jerky, to put it mildly. He pops so many prescriptions each day that I’ve considered investing in one of those M-Tu-W-Th-Fr-Sa-Sun pill boxes you’re generally inclined to see sitting on Granny’s bathroom counter. And, worst of all, his housework duties (and he does the vast majority of everything around our house) have been nearly impossible for him to perform. Meaning that *gulp* I’ve had to pick up some of the slack (but only some, the rest will sit and rot until he’s well enough to tackle them himself). I’ve even been forced to prepare dinner for us a few times. So help us all!

In addition to being mobility challenged, the medication he’s on makes him loopy and tired. Trying to explain something to him after he’s taken one of his pills is like trying to reason with a toddler. For an entire week now he’s been about as lucid as that time I accidentally drugged him. Oh, I’m sure we’ve all been there before – your fiancé asks you to please get him some Tylenol for his headache and you bring him those plus a few extra, just for safe measure. You then proceed to take him wedding dress shopping, then out to lunch with your sister, and then to three different theme parks all in the same day, staying out well past midnight. And, yet, the entire day he can barely keep his eyes open … struggles to even stand … can hardly speak … and basically becomes a giant, senseless lead weight you carry around with you for 14 hours. And then when you get home he goes to take another Tylenol and realizes that, instead of what he asked for, you gave him a double dose of the drowsiness-inducing Tylenol PM. Well that explains the sleepiness (and, at least somewhat, the drool). In other words, when GAR is medicated he essentially has the capacities of a 64- or, as I said before, 94-ish-year-old man.

In any case, I’m hoping his back snaps (or gently positions itself) back into place soon. I miss my young-ish (despite the sophisticated tufts of gray hair) future husband. But, in the meantime, at least I’m learning how to care for him when he really is an old man. Because, of course, I will still need him (for whatever housework he can still perform anyway). And I will still feed him (though here’s to hoping my cooking has improved by then). And, most importantly, I will still feel good knowing that when he’s a crotchety, crinkly old man at 64…74…84…etc. I’ll always be more vibrant, more dynamic and, of course, a whole year behind him in the aging process myself.

Until then I just have to keep him off the drugs. See how sleepy they make him? I am pretty much holding him upright in this photo from our Tylenol PM theme park outing.
He slept like a baby after accidentally mixing alcohol with the heavy doses of sleeping agents he didn’t know were coursing through his bloodstream.

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