Things happen, and we learn to cope.

I am going to apologize in advance for the depressing, sappy nature of the following post. But there are a few unfortunate situations that I feel the need to blog about today.

First things first — I accidentally missed an appointment with my dermatologist last week that we had scheduled 3 months ago. I don’t know why the date wasn’t saved in my calendar, and unfortunately I missed the confirmation phone call that they made to me the day before. Had I noticed that they had called, and had I checked my messages in time, I would have cancelled the appointment as soon as possible seeing as I had to take a test during the time of the appointment anyway. But I went completely unawares of the appointment. It wasn’t in my calendar, and a lot has taken place between now and the time it was first scheduled. So I just completely blanked. I called, explained the situation and apologized furiously, but was still charged a $25 non-cancellation fee. Considering the number of doctor’s appointments I have had to keep track of this year alone, I would say I have done a pretty damned good job at staying on top of my scheduling. But this one appointment completely slipped by me. Of course since my father’s name is the primary name on our insurance, the bill came to him and he was not at all pleased. This series of events was all unfortunate, but I will pay the fee, put up with his bitching and move on….because things happen.

On a more serious note — Last night while studying for my physiological psychology test, I became sad upon reaching the section in chapter 7 that talked about Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly population. My grandmother suffers from the disease, and I was just at the nursing home visiting with her the other day. When she first was brought to the nursing home last year, she seemed to have no idea where she was and just assumed that she was at a luncheon with her church friends that just…never seemed to end. But when I talked to her the other day, she mentioned how she wanted to “get out of this place” and go to the grocery store. I asked her if she knew where she was, and she said that she was “in the hospital”. This was close enough to the truth for me to feel incredibly awful about her situation. She’s helpless. But what could I do? My dad, her only child, had placed her in this nursing home because we don’t have the resources or know-how to care for her in our own home. Had I been in his situation, what would I have done? What will I have to do once either or both of my parents begin to deteriorate and can no longer care for themselves? I often think about my grandmother in the nursing home and how awful it must seem to be in a place you don’t know, with strangers who are paid to look after you. My dad and I get depressed after just a one-hour visit to the nursing home…but grandmammy is left there…. day-in and day-out, marginalized from society with only a brain-ravaging disease to keep her company. I wanted to cry for her last night, but I knew that these things happen and have happened to millions of older people. My dwelling on it won’t help her situation, and so I moved on.

On yet an even graver note — 5 years ago I attended the Missouri Scholars Academy, aka nerd camp for MO high schoolers. During the three-week program, I met a girl named Jenna Dale. She was in my ‘minor’ course, which was an introductory level psychology course. She seemed like a nice girl, if not a bit shy. She was cute, but somewhat mysterious. We didn’t talk much over the course of the three weeks. I found out approximately one year later that she had been involved in a motorvehicle accident and had passed away. I barely knew this girl, and I barely knew anything about her. We weren’t schoolmates. We weren’t even friends really. We had just been acquaintances more or less. But I still cried for a good 15 to 20 minutes when I heard the news. For some reason, I was reminded of Jenna today. I wondered how her family and close friends were holding up, now 4 years removed from her passing. As someone who had little influence and presence in her life, I find myself eerily affected by her absence on the most random of days. But if this is possible for me, it blows my mind to think about how her family is reminded of her…probably every second of every day. Unfortunately however, accidents happen and can snatch loved ones (and acquaintances) away from us in a heartbeat. But for 4 years now, the people who were in her life have coped.

Having to just deal with something that probably won’t change or reverse itself any time in the near future takes a lot of….something…guts? I don’t want to sound cliché with this (too late), but…it takes a lot of something. Being unexpectedly stuck with a fee, a terminal illness or an incredible loss are all blows to our sense of control, albeit to varying degrees of severity. And to make matters worse, these are just a few of the possible ‘losses’ that people incur or become subject to in a lifetime. Nevertheless, people are fragile, and it’s hard to not be able to say ‘Stop’ or ‘No’ to these situations…or to have the foresight that might protect our wallets, minds and hearts.


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