Tag Archives: observations

Senior Moments

Contrary to popular belief, I actually have quite a few friends.

True, most of them don’t remember my name five minutes after I talk (loudly and repeatedly) to them. They often can’t fend for themselves in basic ways — food, drinks, the bathroom — and concern about personal appearance (and unfortunately in some cases, personal hygiene) is virtually non-existent.

While I realize this could probably describe a majority of people I went to college with, I am actually referring to the senior citizens under 24-hour medical care at my grandma’s senior community/residential/hospital facility. That sounds formal, so we’ll just go with old people.

They don’t mind when I say that, and if they do, they’ll forget five minutes later anyway.

I’ve talked about the relationship between my mom, my grandma and me before, so we won’t bring that back up. But if you’re just joining us, we’re pretty close—three generations of Polish snark not lacking authenticity or attitude—for better or for worse. My mom goes to see her every day and I generally go around her suppertime a few times a week.

The dining room is where our adventures will take us today.

Fill a dining room with 25 old people, dementia, 20 wheelchairs, chair alarms, oxygen tanks, “clothing protectors (bibs), dietary restrictions and no verbal filter within a 50-foot radius and you have yourself a reality show that will never be made, although perhaps it should.

So until I figure out how to add a few midgets, a cake competition or a rehabbing D-list celebrity to the mix to entice TLC to pick it up, I thought I would share a few observations and snippets of conversation from the last week alone.

*There’s no way I could ever touch on the genius that is my grandma, so she is mostly excluded from these examples. However, she makes an appearance. In fact, she always makes an appearance.

oldfolksSexIn reference to his hot dog dinner, 85-year old Leon will proclaim that his “wiener is limp.” His wife will reply with, “It has been for years, but I stuck around anyway.” True love.

*Every time Leon asks to be wheeled back to his room before anyone else, Gram interjects (from her wheelchair) with “There goes the president. Big Shit McGee.”

At the same table, Richard took a moment to educate us on the fact that the president has decided to let everyone smoke marijuana legally now. This is not really groundbreaking news for Richard though, as apparently he has been smoking marijuana since the war and shared that it tends to make him paranoid.

*At which point Gram looked at me and said, “He’s not paranoid. We do all want him to shut his goddamn mouth.”

There was a minor incident when Richard “allegedly” left the table without properly saying goodbye to Chet. Chet announced he would not be talking to Richard tomorrow and proceeded to steal a tater tot from Richard’s plate.

tater-tots4

*A tater tot was later thrown across the room in a rather impressive arc given the waning athletic abilities of the elderly. I am not accusing anyone…Chet.

Carrots were the topic of ridicule and disgust one evening, as they were proclaimed to be “disgusting rabbit food,” “orange crap” and “shit I wouldn’t feed a dead dog” by three separate women.

*Keep in mind that at least one of these women is still of the mind that if meat is cooked, it no longer has to be refrigerated. Ever. In fact, it can be left out directly in the sun.

Mashed up pills are mixed in with pudding. Mashed up pills mixed in with pudding are spit out, most likely by the same resident(s) that will wait with bated breath for the metal dessert cart to be wheeled into the dining room. If there is no pudding, chaos may ensue.

Back at Gram’s table, Margarite will eat four bites of her dinner before dozing off and knocking her oxygen tube out of her nose, waking her up just in time for dessert. She never misses dessert. She also doesn’t say much, but this could be because Gram—with a mouthful of food herself— is usually harping on her to eat more than four bites of her dinner.

cracker

*This is purely a formality, as Gram will wait until Margarite dozes off to tell me to take the extra packages of unopened crackers and French Vanilla coffee creamer from her spot. Like a chipmunk, Gram will store these supplies in case of a club cracker famine in the coming months. 

Like clockwork, Julia at the table behind us will get up five minutes into the meal and set off her chair alarm. Every night she’s told to wait, but every night she stands up and complains about the noisy beeps that follow.

*At this point, I have to give Gram a “look” and make sure she doesn’t offer helpful advice to Julia about “sitting her ass down for cripe’s sake” or shaking the ants out of her pants. I am usually unsuccessful.  

This same (ever-so shy) woman will loudly proclaim that new male nurse passing out drugs in the pudding is actually a woman. How does she know this? Because there was a bowling tournament and when he had to use the bathroom, they had to change the sign on the door to accommodate his “condition.”  Plus, “he talks like a queer.”

*He/she will not overhear this, although the other aides will and will find this highly amusing. Apparently “Bruce”  and his aloof attitude are not well-liked in the senior community, whereas this very shy and quiet woman is basically a rock star in the eyes of the staff.

An unintentional game of geriatric Marco Polo will be played across the room, while behind us the gossipy table of women will complain about the food being too hot or too cold, the horrible hair style Agnus is sporting (the one in the deluxe wheelchair being fed through a straw) and how they just don’t understand why so-and-so couldn’t meet them for that game of cards today.

cranky_old_lady

“Dialysis is no excuse. She’s just being rude.”

A priest will clutch his nightly bottle of root beer like a Budweiser and refuse to let go until the last drop is gone, even if it requires a straw, which it usually does. Requests will be made on the sly for me to add a secret shot of vodka to their cranberry juice refills.

*If they tipped, I might consider it.

Once the last crumb of “crap cakes”  has been consumed and the “clothing protector” has been removed, I then have to attempt to maneuver Gram’s horrifically awkward wheelchair out of the dining hall and down to her room before her “dupa” explodes. This activity is about as complicated as a secret ops mission involving a tank and hidden landmines.

wheelchair-ramping

And I always make sure to say good-bye to Chet, as we wouldn’t want to incite another tater tot torpedo.

Gram can—and most likely will—do that on her own.

So, this was simply the past week or so and fails to include the time the fire alarm went off and diners complained about the loud “music,” any references to bodily functions (and oh yes, they are rampant) or other conspiracy theories that reside in a pile of peas.

There are many, many senior moments.

And please keep in mind that I love these people, as (most of them) have good hearts (emotionally, not necessarily physically) and good intentions. They make me laugh, they get me out of my head and if nothing else, they make me feel better about going to bed by 10 pm and actually liking prunes.

Prunes are highly underrated.

So are old people.

I will never forget my senior moments.

Well, That’s Awkward

I find it appropriate that even the word “awkward” is awkward to spell and to say. The more you look at it, the weirder it gets.

Anyway, I don’t know about you, but for me there are some situations that are awkward. They’re not embarrassing or anything, just uncomfortable.

famguy

I have a few examples of my own that I’ve noticed lately.

Bathroom Break

Of course bodily functions are going to make an appearance on this list, but don’t worry—nothing gross. The thing is that at work, we have a bathroom for both sexes right next to each other. While there are two stalls each, it’s basically a one-person-lock-the-door-and-do-whatever deal.

Because of where they’re located though, you are constantly passing people as they’re going into the bathroom. This doesn’t sound awkward, but it kind of is. You smile and say “hi”—even though you’ve seen that person  a dozen times already that day—just as they’re walking in to do their thing. We all know what they’re doing, we all do it, but it’s still just kind of weird.

* It’s also awkward when you pass that person going into the bathroom, get up 20 mins later to go find them and discover they’re still in there. However, they will come out at the exact second you are walking by the bathroom to go back. Avoid eye contact and shoot them an e-mail instead. 

Run the Water

There is also the “run the water” moment. This happens when a woman is in the bathroom (not on the toilet) and another walks in to pee. Do you keep doing what you’re doing or run the water so you don’t both have to listen to the stream? Do you make conversation while she’s peeing?

Let’s move on.

Graceful Exit

This is going to sound ridiculous, but part of the reason I don’t always enjoy going to social things is that I never know how to leave. I’m usually one of the first people to leave a party—either because I’m old, bored or not drinking—and I never really know how to make a graceful exit.  No matter what I do, it’s weird to leave. I usually wait for someone else to head out and just join in the good-byes with them—group support.

Random Run-Ins

It seems that whenever I run into someone randomly—at the grocery store, book store, etc.—I will continue to run into that person multiple times in the following minutes. The first time around, chit chat is fine and expected, but what about subsequent run-ins? If I just talked to you in produce, do I have to talk to you again in dairy and then again in the cereal aisle?

Even though they probably don’t expect me to acknowledge them every time, it still feels weird  to see them and not say anything. However, it doesn’t really feel as weird as seeing them for the fifth time in five minutes and pretending to have something new to say.

Avoidance

It sounds rude, but don’t tell me you’ve never seen someone you know in public (see above situation) and purposely avoided them. Sometimes you don’t want to get stuck talking, sometimes you look like you fell off the white trash train—whatever the reason—you’ve done this. I’ve even done this with people that I like.

What stinks is when you let down your guard for one minute—maybe you sneeze, both blacking you out for a second and drawing attention to yourself—and they make their way over. They mention they saw you earlier but you must have missed their wave.

Nod. Yes, that’s exactly what happened.

Stick with that.

Miscellaneous Awkwardness

When you’re walking somewhere—a hallway, an aisle, etc.—and someone you know is really far away, but you don’t want to make eye contact too soon. However,  you don’t want to miss it, so you look at them then quickly look away, then look up again a second later.

Watching a movie rated anything above PG with people you’re not that familiar with and having a steamy scene last a little too long. 

Recognizing sexual innuendo (and perhaps giggling) when no one else does.

Giving an automatic reply, such as “You too,” “Love ya, “ etc. in situations where it absolutely makes no sense.

awkward

Saying goodbye to someone and then continuing to walk the same way as that person.           

Like I said, these are just a couple that I’ve come across lately. They’re not embarrassing, just uncomfortable—much like typing the work “awkward” entirely too much. But I’ll do it two more times…

To avoid that awkward blog silence, tell me I’m not alone in this. Do you have any reoccurring slightly awkward moments to share?