Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Report from Pillville: Seeing Where You're Going and Going to What You See

While I'd say that my Mom's overall health is a tad bit more robust than it was when she arrived in Margaritaville, her feet continue to hurt her, and lately she's complained about her eyes, too. We went to the eye doctor today and found out that there is a bit of cloudiness in her lenses (the ones implanted in her now more than a decade old cataract surgery) and that there's a simple laser procedure to correct it.

I'm a tough customer when a doctor or a nurse tells me whatever cure they're hawking will be simple. These things are simple for 50-year-olds, maybe even 70-year-olds. They are most decidedly not simple for 89-year-olds. Even getting in an out of the exam chair flanked by equipment in a dimly lit exam room is not simple.

I'm pretty sure that on someone's death certificate somewhere the cause of death is listed as "foot rest on optometrist's chair."

In my high school creative writing class we once spent an afternoon leading one another around outside with one person in each pair of us blindfolded. The idea was to experience the world with our remaining senses in order to put more tools in our writer's toolbox. I wish someone would invent an old person suit--something one could zip into to experience the lack of strength and flexibility and balance along with a fairly constant level of pain and impaired hearing and sight and cognitive powers. Zip into that and then try to get in and out of that chair--or a car--or whatever. Been nice knowin' ya.

Geriatric Pain Simulator

So I asked about the eye procedure--is there any pain at all? Is there any recovery time required? Does this procedure work on people my mom's age? Seems like a go, but you know that I will have to Google it and read at least a few horror stories. And I did not schedule it right before the Christmas Holidays office closure. Having kids taught me that those frightening little medical things always happen at 5:01 p.m. on Friday evening so you have to tear your hair out all weekend wondering if you should take your kid to the ER for a dose of pink eye and meningitis while you're trying to find out what's wrong them. 

A few weeks back my mom got custom-made orthotics from her podiatrist. They were supposed to provide more cushioning that would relieve the pain from her bones spurs and disappeared fad pads. Things disappear when you get really old. Did you know that? Tonsils, for example, according to one of mother's doctors back in Maryland. Nope, he told her, your sore throat can't be from your tonsils. Your tonsils dried up. Boobs disappear. And body hair. If you live to be 90, you might want that stuff you're waxing off now--so save it for a transplant. And the fat pads on the bottoms of your feet? Poof.   They ran away with the tonsils. 

That's a tonsil on the left, below. Fat pad on the right.
About an hour after we got home with the orthotics, my mom said the right one hurt her foot, so I took it out and put it in my going-to-the-doctor purse. Two weeks later when it was time for the follow up, I asked her to put it back in her shoe about an hour before we left the house so she could provide some good specifics for the doctor regarding how it wasn't working for her. The other orthotic was missing. We looked in every drawer and pair of shoes and ended up driving across town to tell the doctor that we lost one of  the orthotics. Even though we still had the troublesome one, she thought it was best to have my mom wear both of them before an adjustment was made. A couple of days ago the missing orthotic turned up in mom's bedroom slipper. I thought I'd put the other other one in her sock drawer. It wasn't there, but I'm happy to report that it was still in the purse.

A friend in the know about Hollywood things suggested the injectable plumpers/fillers starlets use to pad their feet for their 5-inch heels, but it's probably not workable for someone like my mom who is on blood thinners. New idea: remember this photo from its roundabout on the Internet a few months back? 

Wouldn't those feel like pillows under a pair of bony feet?


Ms. Moon said...

I'm sorry. After that last photo which for some reason I have never seen before, I am speechless.
Just effing speechless.

Elizabeth said...

I was all set to leave a comment, but that last photo has just -- well -- I just don't know what to say.

Andrea said...

Yes, that goddam foot rest on the optometrist's chair, and then the way it tilts so that old feet and legs, out of the constant habit of balance, cannot settle. The whole world is made for the young and able.
And oh the disappearance of things, including padding. Yikes! The blasted orthotics. All of it!! You have captured so much here. I wish Alice could hear better. I would read this to her. But as a caretaker I just want to say thanks, and more thanks.

Allison said...

Sorry about your Mom and her feet. Losing the fat pads is beyond awful.
You might want to check out these out. They don't stick when your feet are sweating, but for just walking around they tend to stay put. I was hoping to use them for mountain biking, but there was no joy.


Also, Superfeet is now making a foot bed with memory foam, they're the copper ones.
All this presupposes the orthotics can't be made to work.