Sunday, January 4, 2009

Eighty six years old

My father was eighty six last week, on the 26th of December. The last year has not been very kind to him, especially his five month sojourn in Delhi during the period in which I was recovering from typhoid and also visited Oz. When he was leaving for the airport he had managed to traverse the distance from his bed to the elevator and thence to the car with the help of his trusty walker. On his return he was wheeled in on my computer chair, and he now barely manages a step or two before his legs collapse under him. Sadly, his eyesight has deteriorated even further, and so he manages to read far less than formerly. He has also been hearing sounds that disturb him a great deal. After several attempts at trying to figure out what was disturbing him, I realized that he was probably hearing sounds inside his head. Our GP suggested the name of a psychiatrist who was willing to make home visits, and this kind gentleman spent ample time trying to assess the situation. He has prescribed certain medicines which are helping my father sleep better, but have not yet got rid of the auditory hallucinations. My father is still amazingly stoic, and was pleased to learn that the psychiatrist found his memory and general alertness excellent for his age. He is still gentle and courteous, and bears his myriad infirmities without complaint. The home nurse seems to be genuinely fond of him, and tends to his needs with tenderness and devotion, God bless her.

This birthday was celebrated with prayers, sung rather tunelessly by moi. Dad was always the one who led our singing as he was most familiar with the bhajans, but now he hasn't the strength.
I'd made a favourite dish of his for lunch, chosen from his now very limited menu of foods that he can manage to chew and digest , followed by kheer (payasam) which both he and my mother enjoyed thoroughly. My mother was going in for cataract surgery the following morning, so she was being subjected to intermittent dosing with preparatory eyedrops. She celebrated Dad's birthday by generously tipping the maid and the home nurse.

The ravages of time are hard to bear and hard to witness, but they seem impervious against Dad's indomitable spirit. I cannot wish him many more years of this difficult life. But I do pray that however long he lives, he continues to find the small joys that still make his life worth living.

27 comments:

Ritu said...

{{Hugs}} Every word of yours had love for your parents in it. It is tough caring for one's elders but its so rewarding. I salute you

eve's lungs said...

That you are devoted to your parents is evident in your post.I wish this brave gentleman a belated happy birthday . A hug for you too :)

Goofy Mumma said...

Belated Happy Birthday to your father Dipali. Its wonderful to see the love and affection you have for him.

Ra said...

We join you in your prayers for him, darling D.

Aneela Z said...

What about books on tapes? or asking a young student in your building to record his favourites...its just not eyesight at times our elders tire out by the 'effort' of reading.
I realise it breaks our heart when we see our 'grown ups' grow weary however Im sure they do draw strength from us so chin up. You are blessed to have your father around you...somehow I always feel that a home prospers when the prayers and presence of elders are around.

SBora said...

D, I have been reading your blog for a while now, finally delurking ( came through TCs blog) ...your writing is beautiful.
Its very hard to see parents age...my dad is 81 but thankfully he is in good health...but am not sure for howlong. its a scary thought.
its wonderful to see that you are taking such good care of them....well my prayer are with you.

Space Bar said...

A very happy birthday to him. And I wish you whatever it is you need to be able to do what you do every day with so much love and patience.

Mamma mia! Me a mamma? said...

Your love and devotion came shining through each and every word you used.

Amen to your prayers and belted birthday wishes for your dad.

I hope your mom's surgery went well?

Maddy said...

Belated Birthday Greetings to your dad.

You are very realistic when I read those last few lines. Wish he and all the people around him enjoy his presence and let him share the wisdom with you guys. Pranaam to your amma.

maidinmalaysia said...

"I do pray that however long he lives, he continues to find the small joys that still make his life worth living..."

this was my mum's prayer too... she looked after my grandparents, just like you do...

i should show her this post

Renu said...

I can so much identify with ur post, my mom is though 68 only but she cant walk due to arthritis, can read due to failing eyesight and i know how difficult it is for her to enjoy the time,and here my MIL is also around 88, but thankgod she has no health problems, but she doesnt enjoy TV, movies or reading. Whenevr i see her sitting Idle for the whole day, I feel very bad,because withoung young children in the house, life for the elderly is very boring.

Gauri said...

Lovely post Dipali.

Here's wishing your father a belated Happy Birthday.

Hugs

G

hitch writer said...

Happy belated birthday to your dad !

Just Like That said...

It is so hard to see people you love losing their health and independence. I don't know for whom it is sadder- for them or for us. My good wishes and prayers for a healthy, happy life for your Dad. Hugs.

churningthewordmill.wordpress.com said...

you do the nicest posts on your parents.
i'll pray for a health, happy, long life for you father too.
mandira

mummyjaan said...

A belated happy birthday to your father, Dips. Whenever I read about you and your parents, it makes me think of my own parents' future. If and when they need me, I hope I will be able to look after them and serve them with love, tenderness and humility.

Artnavy said...

Such mature senitments -
Very difficult to watch loved ones age though

Usha said...

I know it is tough to watch one's parents struggle through old age but it is wonderful to be able to be by their side to help them through it.
Wishing him health and happiness.

Aneela Z said...

yeh cup aap ka hua:
http://golkamra.blogspot.com/2009/01/lest-i-forget.html
and all my prayers for the days ahead.

2 B's mommy said...

That was a touching post. Belated birthday wishes to your dad.

Mimi said...

Ohh dipali,belated wishes to your dad..this is such a touching post..hugs

Mampi said...

So very touching in your words and brave in your spirit.
May all the parents get offsprings like you.
i am proud to know you.

dipali said...

@everyone: Thanks for the good wishes and kind words. Dad was touched and pleased, and, as ever, bemused by the wishes from so many of you. And yes, the cataract surgery went off well, m4, thanks.
@SBora: Lovely to see you here- your name was familiar from TC's blog.
I hope that your father remains healthy for the rest of his days.
@Maddy:Thanks and welcome here.
@Renu: Hello and welcome here. I'm sorry to hear that your mother is suffering such pain. Its a pity that your mother-in-law is not enjoying these golden years in which she is so fortunate to enjoy good health.
@hitch writer: Thank you!
Artnavy: Lovely seeing you here:)

D said...

I don't want to sound too morbid but old age is like the worst ailment. It has no cure. It's a scary thought to have to give up your parents to it.

dipali said...

@D: Truer words were never spoken. It remains constantly challenging, trying to make their lives as comfortable as possible.

wordjunkie said...

Lovely post, Dipali. Echoes so much of how I feel watching my parents age.

Sue said...

I'm glad he was around family. Hope this year's nicer than the last for us all.