His Life Is Full Of What He Can’t Do

My father wants to drink Coke. The doctor says water. My sister stepped up on this one. “He’s ninety two. Let him enjoy something.”

Charlotte and Great Grandpa Harold earlier today
Lots of buzzing today. Family conferences taking place between my sister, me, our dad and LaTonya, his aide.

My dad went to the hospital after his fall, then on to rehab. He has returned to his apartment weakened. Yesterday he got a bag of iron via IV and he’s wearing a cannula for oxygen. He’s stronger Saturday than he was Wednesday.

He’s brain sharp but physically weary. No one is really healthy at ninety two. You’re always on the edge.

The good news is my dad can regain what strength he had. The bad news is that means doing things which are uncomfortable or bothersome including exercise. At ninety two my dad should stand every hour and walk up and down the hall a few times a day. This is at the edge of his abilities.

I’m not sure I could blame him for saying, “Screw this.” He says he wants to get stronger, but sometimes it’s tough to match action to those words.

At ninety two you can get away with a lot of shit. I asked him not to be a schmuck to others. I’m sure it’s frustrating to have physical life become so difficult. He said he understands.

Few of us can know what it’s like to be trapped inside a body that no longer works right. If my dad drops something it might as well be on Mars. He could bend down to pick it up, but he’d never get back up!

Part of today’s conversation centered on drinking more water. That my father’s kidneys work at all is a surprise. Allowing more fluid in his body makes their job easier.

My father wants to drink Coke. The doctor favors water.

My sister stepped up on this one. “He’s ninety two. Let him enjoy something.”

She’s right. Water is better than Coke, but he’ll probably drink more this way which is good.

I texted LaTonya. “I think we need to consider his life is full of what he can’t do.”

And so we’re all agreed. Let him drink Coke!

18 thoughts on “His Life Is Full Of What He Can’t Do”

  1. Hi Geoff,
    I am a retired RN, BSN and am almost 81. One of my friends stayed with me for 2 days. He will be 96 in April. Mentally he is just fine, but his physical status is poor. He needs to go to pt but he says”Screw it.” (His words not mine) Another of my friends just turned 94. He hikes every day. He has a great walking stick from Ireland. The difference between the two is very striking. Would your Dad qualify for a therapist 2 or 3 days a week at home? It is covered by Medicare. His doctor just needs to order it.

  2. As a nurse of 40yrs, I agree, let him drink coke. I live in a senior building. I’m almost one of the youngest at 70. One of my best friends is Jim, 93, sharp as a tack just like your dad. His theory is he served his country for 10 years in the war, married, had a daughter and worked for 40 years at Sikorsky and a part-time job to support his family and now, alone, he’ s going to eat what he wants and do as he pleases. He’s funny as hell. He goes to the casino once a month and we all play a dice game called Farkle every night. Oh, and best of all, he watches his “girls” on TV every night. They are women wrestlers who wear skimpy outfits and he loves it. Watches the time each night to make sure he’s up in his apt. At 8pm when they come on TV.

  3. Geoff,your dad reminds me of things my dad would want to do before he died! My dad was 81 when he passed away, he was legally blind too! He would tell my mom that he wanted to do something even though he wasn’t able to do it anymore! His favorite thing was wanting a cigarette, which when he wanted one was before all of the dangerous things were not part of cigarette! I kept telling mom that she should give him one! After all he was older and wiser. So she would give him one and only one! When a person is in their final years,let them have the best life they want!
    I feel bad that my mother couldn’t go home when she wanted to!

  4. Geoff, Before my Dad passed away, I had the same problem. All he would drink was root beer. The doctor told me to let him drink all he wanted. It was better than nothing.

  5. Absolutely!!!! Enjoy that Coke!!! At 92 if your mind’s fairly ok, do whatever the hell ya want! You’ve earned it! What a great guy, wish we were pals.

  6. At 92, give him what he wants!!! At this point, what difference will it make, as long as he’s happy.

    By the way, Geoff, we’re going to get 6-10 inches of snow in CT tonight … tomorrow in the 50’s …. We miss you here!!!

    All the best!

  7. My dad will be 96 in May. He lives alone (but very near my brother, my nephew, and me, and he’s checked on all the time, as well as having an occasional visitor stop in — though that’s tough, as Dad’s hearing is TERRIBLE). He cooks, bakes, takes care of his own personal hygiene, reads voraciously, and naps a lot. We do the laundry and clean the house. He still drives around the block during daylight hours and gets his own mail and puts his garbage cans out, though his mobility isn’t good due to severe arthritis in his knees. His mind is better than mine. He has 3 heart stents, a touch of emphysema from longtime pipe smoking, prostate stuff going on, and a bad stomach (takes a lot of Tums). He is a veteran of the Army Air Corps (overseas) and kept my mother home until she was 90. He is our hero. He needs to drink more water. He wants to drink Gatorade. His doctor says she prefers water as it’s much better for his kidneys. We let him drink Gatorade.

  8. Good job with your Dad Geoff….let him drink Coke! My 97 year mother lives with me and
    doesnt have many health problems but to say it is simply challenging would put it mildly!
    Wishing you and your family good and happy days in the future.

  9. Geoff I heartily agree let him drink Coke! My beautiful Mom was in an assisted living facility and did not want to eat. She loved my homemade family recipe cookies. So, I would make batches of her favorites and send them to her.(me in CT, her in GA). My sister on site says she can’t have them, her nurse days sure she can. Long story short, they hid them in her bureau, and she delightedly called and told me she snuck them out and she ate them for breakfast. She passed away two years ago at almost 91 years old. I don’t regret for one second senfing her those cookies on a regular basis. After raising 11 children? She deserved them. They were her lobster and cavier.
    Harold, enjoy your Coke!

  10. Have you seen THIS IS US? The adopted son of this family finds his biological dad late in years, dying of cancer. He locks his nurse outside because she won’t let him have coke vs. Water.
    it is a known fact the last taste buds to fail are sweet. While a Zabar’s Ruben might taste like a rice cake to him, a coke probably is a Ruben.
    at 92, be glad he wants cookies and ice cream. He can have vitamins later.
    God Bless Mr. Fox.

  11. I agree let him drink, eat and do whatever he wants to do. His time on Earth is not long and he has had as great run. Let him enjoy the small stuff… Make it great for him enjoy every second.?

  12. I have no comments that haven’t already been said, except for telling you the next time you visit him to enjoy a nice BIG coke WITH him! He” love that you did and you’ll have a wonderful memory.

  13. Sorry to hear about your Dad. I went through the same thing with my Mom. It wasn’t to bad in the beginning with my two sisters and myself trying to steer mom in the right direction. Unfortunatly, both my sisters passed away and I was on my own. I had an aid during the day and at night her neighbor would check on her. She fell and broke her hip while the aid was there and wound up in the hospital and then a convalesant home. While she was on the road to recovery she got very independent and got up on her own to go to the bathroom fell and broke her hip again. When she left the hospital she went to the same convalesant home and they put her in a room right outside the nurses station. My mom was always very independent all her life and she just thought she could be independent forever. It broke my heart to see this beautiful fisty person just laying there not being able to move. Mom passed at the beautiful age of 97 years old. I love and miss her.

  14. Let him enjoy what time he has left, and if drinking Coca Cola makes him happy, then God Bless Him, He’s not asking alot.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *