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2002-05-23 - 12:10 p.m.

We went to Chicago this weekend to visit my grandmother (my dad's mom). My dad was there too, down from the Far North. Unfortunately, it was colder in Chicago (by about 20 degrees) than in the Far North. Sunny, but cold. I of course wore unsuitable shoes. I can't help it--after May 1st I have a pathological aversion to socks unless I'm wearing sneakers. But back to the weather. Highs in the 50s (F). The 50s, people! It's mid-May. That is just wrong. Of course, more wrong was the snow they got in Boston, so I shouldn't be complaining.

My grandmother is doing ok. She turns 92 this fall and lives in an assisted living facility, but the part she lives in is more like a high-class hotel. She has her own apartment (kitchen, living room, dining room, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms) and eats in the communal dining room at least once a day. It's a swanky place--there's security at the door, a fountain in the lobby, a roof-top view of Lake Michigan and downtown Chicago, and it's right by the Northwestern campus. A lot of retired professors live there--she has interesting people to talk to and has made friends. Still, I think it's sometimes hard for her. She sold her house 5 years ago and thought that the nice young couple who bought it would do some renovations and take care of it. She'd lived there since my dad was a boy (we're talking almost 40 years) and wanted another family to enjoy it. Instead, the nice young couple tore it down completely and built a new house on the lot. Nice for them, hard for my grandmother.

She's lost a lot of her mobility in the last few years. Arthritis has set in and she won't take any painkillers (not even Tylenol). I'm not sure why--my mom says it's because she's already taking "too much medication" ("too much" in my grandmother's opinion, that is) and doesn't want to take any more, not even if it might help her move around better. Evidently there was an incident where she didn't renew her prescriptions and stopped taking her medications because she just didn't like them. Strong-willed women run in my family.

She fell earlier this week while talking to my dad on the phone and strained her ankle, so her mobility was even worse than usual. I'm glad we could be there and encourage her to get out of the apartment. Going down to the dining room was a big event. She didn't leave the building while we were there and I don't think she has in a while. It's hard because I want her to be more active, but she doesn't want it. This is from a woman who's been to South America and Alaska and many other places. She doesn't want the loss of control that comes with being pushed in a wheelchair, yet she isn't strong enough or mobile enough to get around by herself. She's still all there inside and has her memory, though. If I had to choose I'd take that over being able to walk around.

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This entry is taking me days to write. I have more to say about getting older, passing down heirlooms, and family connections, but I can't quite get it in gear right now. Maybe later.

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I'm officially Not Pregnant. Aunt Flo came to visit early Saturday morning. Maybe more about that later too. Meanwhile, Erin wrote about the baby dance.

 

 

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