I shudder to think how my parents would have survived in today's anything-goes, nothing-is-sacred, sexually charged society. Their values were black and white, wrong and right, good and bad, with little wiggle room for compromise. My father banned me from the TV room when Elvis started his hip gyrations on the Ed Sullivan Show, so I'm certain he would not have endured today's reality shows or television commercials with ads about incontinence, constipation, menstruation, toilet paper and erectile dysfunction. Truth be known, I'm not doing so well either.
Included on my list of "Things I Could Have Lived Without," is information I acquired from a show I saw about famous people found dead in their bathroom. Elvis and Catherine the Great are just two of them. Given the many hours I spend in my bathroom, I was struck with the chilling thought that my final moments could take place on the cold tile floor of that room.
I read somewhere that older people spend a lot of time in the bathroom. Only now do I understand why. Applying makeup now includes spackling my upper lip crevasses. And now I have to shave chin and mustache hair that I never had before. Doling out pills requires time and concentration. I never want to repeat the mistake I once made when I mixed up my morning diuretic and my evening sleeping pill, which had me sleeping all day and peeing all night.
I summoned my husband.
"You know how much time I spend in the bathroom, right?"
He rolled his eyes. "Yes, dear. I'm well aware."
"Promise that if you find me dead on the bathroom floor with my pants draped around my ankles, you'll pull 'em up, or pull 'em off."
His eyes narrowed. "What the hell are you talking about?"
"I can't think of anything more disgraceful than underpants draped around the ankles. I do not want to be found in that unladylike position. I want you to drag me into the bedroom, hoist me onto the bed and under the covers. Then, place my arms on my chest, with a book - preferably something by Shakespeare or Tolstoy. Better yet...the Bible. And, you must do all this before you call 911."
"Please put my mind to rest by promising you'll do this for me."
"You do know you're certifiable, right?"
People make fun of adult diapers. Even I have. But, an incident occurred while we were vacationing, that has me thinking I won't do that anymore.
The resort was so enormous that shuttles were provided to transport us to every campus venue: restaurants, pools, shopping and night spots. Once we reached our destination a fair amount of walking was often required, so we would bring along my 50 pound, collapsible, battery-run wheelchair.
One evening, we had just seen a wonderful Cirque du Soleil production, and were waiting with several others for the shuttle to arrive. When it pulled up, Mighty Marc collapsed the wheelchair, placed it onto the shuttle and found a seat. I ended up alongside a young couple who looked to be in their late twenties.
The young man had watched Marc load my wheelchair onto the shuttle. He turned to me and said in a voice loud enough for everyone to hear, "My grandma is cool. Nothing stops her from doing anything she wants. She's one busy old lady. She just straps on a diaper and heads for the mall. She never has to stop to take a leak. She just pisses her pants and keeps on goin'. Just like the Energizer bunny."
I have been home for over a month and am unable to get the picture of his grandma out of my head. If this is what the younger generation envisions when they see me actively enjoying life I don't think I'll ever leave the house again.