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Monday, July 6, 2009

The Old Mares

Sitting here to cool down, my mind wanders... My thoughts drift back and forth from my old mare in the pasture to my MIL. I see the parallel in their lives and yet there is an amazing contrast. (You can find the story of my old mare on my blahwg! blog.)

My thoroughbred is very old in horsey years. She is still very active and a great trail horse. She is trim and fit and has energy to boot! All indications are that she will be that rare horse out on the trails in her late 30's. That is comparable to the seniors you hear about on the news: 116 years old and bowled a perfect game!

I watched my mare trot out into the front pasture, her legs moving gracefully with full motion. There was no sign of stiffness. Her stride is as elegant as it was in her youth.

My MIL however, is not in great shape for her years. She is only 78. Rheumatoid arthritis and the accompanying medications have robbed her of ability to lead a normal life. The joints in her body that have not already been replaced have deteriorated to the point where their function is greatly limited. Her legs no longer support her. Her knees buckle in toward one another. It took great effort for her to pivot from her hospital bed to her lift chair. Now she cannot even do that.

My mare is enjoying her golden years. She is able to keep up with my other horses and has already bonded with them. They move together as a herd. I worried that they may take advantage of her age. I wonder what life in a few years will be for her. Caring for an aging horse can be a job. She already has special dietary needs, especially during the winter. There will come a time when she is not expected to do anything other than graze. Trail rides will be a distant memory. Her retirement home is a lush pasture with loyal friends. That is where she will spend her remaining years, months or days...

Today might be the day that MIL moves into a nursing home. We're waiting on Medicaid approval. She is not happy about it. Her mind is not what it once was, so she feels that we don't want to be bothered with her and are glad she is going. We love her and want her to be safe and have proper care. But I worry... Will the staff treat her well? Will they make sure she gets the proper nourishment? Will she be lonely, or will she make friends that will spend time with her?

Maggie is quite content in her field of horsey dreams. Someday MIL will run through a pasture too...


Rae said...

Nursing home placement is one of the hardest decisions a child has to make about their parent. When a parent gets to the point that they can't be cared for at home though, it is a wise decision for everyone. You and your husband are in my thoughts through this difficult time.

Ziggy Stardust said...

I am saddened by your problem, but that is a beautiful contrast. The story with Maggie. The whole Maggie thing makes me happy, I live vicariously though your stories of her. Thanks and God bless you


SquirrelQueen said...

We just placed my mom into an assisted living facility because of her failing health. We don't think this placement is going to be for very long and that means the nursing home is the next stop. I very much understand your concerns.
It's something we have to face and it's always going to be hard. We just have to do the best we can and hope it all works out.