Who are you ?
One of my defining characteristics is that I AM the last of the Baby Boomers - Literally. My birthday is in the last half of the last month of the year 1959. Officially. the. last. of. the. baby. boomers. really.
Another characteristic that defines me - I am part of the Sandwich Generation. They have a child or children (and perhaps husband) at home, and an aging Mother. Mine is 2 hours away. All of whom need to be cared for.
My daughter, Virginia, me and my Mom, Ginny
I am not 'into' being a busy person - but I am self-employed - and so every day I scramble - in a way - for the almighty dollar - to pay the utilities, gas, groceries, etc...
I am also a designer - an artist of sorts. I use my 'good eye' to 'cool hunt' and sell vintage, and my imagination to create unique handmade items that you may want in your home. So in many ways I am always working.
We had a few quiet weeks after graduation. Weeks where I was getting things done (like work) - because prior to this I was solely focused on my daughter's graduation.
We got the two front corners of the shop cleared out - so now I can get to the items that are listed when they sell - this is good! I got a jump start on the selling module my friend and web master Haig is creating for me - awesome!
We got my space rearranged up at It's Bazaar. Some pieces had sold, and it looked like a bomb went off! It looks so much better than it has in recent past.
I'll be checking to see what it looks like today - to see what other attentions it may need.
OK - so - that was then, this is now.
My mother was short of breath at my daughter's graduation. I figured that perhaps it was her congestive heart failure getting a little more severe. Doctor's visits, tests, nothing conclusive. I go and spend a few days with her - going to crafts, spending time together. A week goes by, more tests - something very conclusive. Severe anemia. Immediate hospitalization. Blood transfusions. We visit again, at the hospital, play cards with her to try and get her mind off of the bone marrow biopsy, upper and lower GI exam. We laugh and have fun - even though many times she doesn't realize whose turn it is or some of the rules of the game.
I come home for a few days - try and schedule her doctor's appointments. My brother calls and says she has severe pain in her left leg. Her doctor says to go to OSS Orthapedic and Spine Specialists for an Xray. Apparently healthy bones have thousands of holes - hers only have hundreds. Great -osteoporosis run rampant. We still have no diagnosis from her time in the hospital. Back up to Pennsylvania, for two appointments, a blood level check - no transfusion needed this time (this is good!), and a post hospital check up by her geriatrician. Her doctor jokingly asks "Don't you know you're not supposed to have lice and fleas?" Translation: one 'trouble' at a time is enough.
In between all of this - while I am up in PA - I am spending some down time with my friends Jennifer (see my post: Power of Three - http://bittersweetdesignstudio.blogspot.com/2011/09/power-of-three-day-one.html ) and Kerri. They are true friends - great listeners, great advice givers, great new glasses picker outers (my eyes get exhausted using the computer now - because my prescription has changed), and best of all great at making me laugh. And that is the best medicine.
Jennifer and her Mom, Mary Lee
Kerri and her Mom, Carla
So where is all of this going? I'm not really sure, other than I know that many of us are now part of the Sandwich Generation. So how do we live this new kind of life we have created for ourselves? Our children aren't quite out of the nest - and our parents are living so much longer than their own parents did. Some with quality of life - and some not.
This has gotten me thinking - as I drive back and forth - about the state of our society. And if things have to change somehow. We now move away from home - so much further than in the past. Before - we would have stayed in our own hometown, or maybe even on our own land, perhaps in the house we grew up in. Mom and Dad would have gotten ill - and we would have been right there - not two hours away. They might have been living with us, or really we would have moved in with them (on the farm anyway). They would have helped us with our babies when we were young, and we would have made sure they were eating their meals when they got older.
In between, we would have worked together - in the house, on the land, in the factory, in the office, and in the store.
Now we have surgeries and medicines that keep us alive - but they aren't inclusive. Genetics, healthy habits, unhealthy habits, genetic engineering and chemicals in regards to the foods we eat, all play a part in this uncertain future ahead.
One thing that I have figured out - learn. Learn from your mistakes, learn from your parents mistakes. Let's try and make our aging 'go better' than our parents - for our children's sake. I am the last of the baby boomers. The first have been retired for a few years I believe. We are the next elderly. Let us not be the next FRAIL elderly. We have at our fingertips, knowledge that our parents did not. Be proactive. Let's use that knowledge. And let's not forget to laugh.
For now, love to all, Liz