Tuesday, May 4, 2010

She's not Old, She's my Grandma

Cristina M., author

It had gotten to the point that others began to wonder about whether or not it was time to place my grandmother in a skilled nursing facility. My grandmother was able to care for and dress herself. She also prepared her own meals and took all of her prescribed medications on time. I remembered as a child how she had loved to quilt. One day as we were discussing quilting, I noticed that my grandmother just did not seem to understand what I was saying. Grandmother was also using words in the wrong context. I began to wonder if others had been right. Was my grandmother in the beginning stages of dementia or Alzheimer's? Was I not able to provide the loving and caring home that my grandmother had once provided for me? A television commercial for Miracle Ear suddenly came on. I then wondered if Grandmother’s problem wasn’t not understanding me, could it possibly be that she was having difficulty hearing me?

My grandmother had not been letting on that she was having difficulties hearing. Rather, my grandmother would answer the questions that she thought were being asked. What I and everyone else had concluded, that grandmother's memory was fading, was incorrect. My grandmother was just too proud to tell anyone that she could not hear clearly. Grandmother told me that there was no need for a hearing testing because she was not going to wear one of those monstrous hearing aids; that a hearing aid would not improve her hearing and, worse yet, was it would make her look old. Yes, my grandmother was vain - at age 85. So I took my usually pleasant grandmother for her hearing test. The evaluator was patient, understanding and informative. My grandmother liked him. He showed her different types of hearing aids that would work for her. My grandmother thought that some of the hearing aids were too small. We all laughed when she explained what her mother's hearing aid had looked like. "Boy, how things have changed,” is all that my grandmother had to say.

My grandmother was fitted with a hearing aid. Guess what, Grandma's mental acuity is still there! Now we go shopping, to restaurants to movies and other places that she avoided. Now age 92, grandmother told me the other day that she "will leave the quilting to old people.”

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