While it has always been difficult for non-Jews to marry Jews in Israel, it has now become virtually impossible for those new immigrants who are not already orthodox, to marry within Jewish law. Who cares, right?
Except that in Israel, there is no such thing as a civil wedding. Couples must marry within one of the religions recognized by the State. Israel does recognize foreign civil marriages, so Israelis who cannot or prefer not to marry in the Rabbinate usually go overseas for a quick courthouse wedding.
My previous post on Elder Care was universally ignored, except by some family members who weren’t happy that I had posted about my grandmother’s health situation. Considering today’s aging trends, people my age had better start considering where they will be living out their less-than-Golden-Years. Most importantly, who will care for us when we are too old to change our own diapers?
My 98 year old grandfather was born in 1912 and just recently moved to a nursing facility. He had sworn not to leave the house he built, except feet first. While he did manage to leave feet first on several occasions via ambulance, he isn’t going to end his days in his own home. Today he suffers from severe geriatric dementia. The primary reason he was placed in a facility was because of the dementia, but the other benefit was that he wouldn’t be living in a home with steps and other dangers. So after a few weeks in dementia care, he fell and broke his hip last week. They managed to operate on him with only local anesthesia, but now comes the real test. Will he survive a minimum of the six weeks that his movement will be limited. To ensure he doesn’t try to walk on his own, since he is non-compliant, he has had to have his legs restrained.
My 90 year old grandmother is back home, but she also has a hard time moving about without the help of her caretaker. She’s especially unhappy these days as it’s become more and more difficult for her to read, both because of the small fonts and because it’s hard for her to concentrate enough to get through a novel. Lately she’s read biographies of people she knows about, so it’s easier for her to follow.
Science is helping us live longer. But at some point, usually in the 80s, quality of life diminishes severely. I have heard my grandparents say, “it’s no great thing, this getting old bit”. I really see them getting to a place where living just becomes too much effort. They find little joy, even in their great-grandchildren because in many cases, they just don’t have the energy to follow what the little devils are doing or saying. Even looking through old photo albums tends to tire my grandmother.
It’s hard enough trying to find activities to keep kids busy during the summer break, but it’s almost impossible to find any activity for my two surviving grandparents. I used to bring my grandmother books to read, but she finds it too hard to read these days. TV just depresses her.
Are we just putting them out on ice drifts in a more modern and esthetically appealing manner?
Messing around all evening cleaning old files out of my computer instead of writing the post that has been in my head since my grandmother’s last hospitalization 2 weeks ago. Now she’s back in, after about 10 days of freedom at home. At 90, she is in bad health, and is apparently retaining water at an alarming rate.
What is worse than her actual health situation is the attitude of the medical decision-makers at one of Israel’s largest hospitals. Can you imagine a doctor in the US telling a next of kin that, “Look, she’s old and even if we run tests and get a positive, she is too sick to take treatment, so we have decided not to do the biopsy.”
She’s 90, and apparently very easily expendable according to the perhaps unstated medical policies alive and well in Israeli hospitals. Years ago, doctors here had a policy of never telling cancer patients that they had cancer. Can you imagine that happening in the US? No, neither can I.
This isn’t going to be an academic thesis on elder care, rather I find myself also wondering at what point do we decide to expend limited medical resources on “hopeless” cases, ie. the aged so that more resources can be used for child development and health matters that once resolved will help the sick person become a useful member of society.
Do the very old have a place in our society? They forget. They can’t hear well. They repeat themselves endlessly, and they are usually sad because they live in a memory of the past where the present lacks so many of their lifelong friends and spouse.
I’d like to write a more well thought out article about elder care, but only feel capable of posting this rant right now.
This is turning out to be such an exciting summer. I thought we were just sending Karen to a gymnastics camp, but it turns out she’s working out with members of the national gymnastics team. She is one of the youngest, with girls as old as sixth grade. Almost all the girls are already in elementary school. Karen starts kindergarten in September. She really seems to enjoy spending half her day there. We told her she could go back to her regular summer camp with her friends at preschool, but she prefers at least 2 weeks of playing with the big girls.
When she started complaining of a headache this week, I assumed she was dehydrated and pushed her to drink, but the headaches continued. Took her to the pediatrician but he gave her the all clear, and said she wasn’t even dehydrated. Apparently, she’s just suffering from stiff muscles and over-exertion. She’s not used to a 4 hour workout at national league standards and combined with daily visits to the pool in the late afternoon, she is literally wiped out.
Karen has always had a very high energy level, which is why this sudden headache complaint surprised me. I guess that even for Karen, national league workouts are tough…..I’m soooooo proud of her.
Matan is doing well, although he seems to be getting frustrated with his lack of speech. He tries to say things, and when no one understands him, he gets mad and makes hitting motions with his hand. Recently he’s also started hitting both me and Karen. He’s scared of DH. Karen also hit and bit in the beginning. I hope this is a short lived phase for him. The good part is that at least he’s talking, even if he’s still difficult to understand. He goes back for speech therapy evaluation next week.
Enjoy the old clip from last summer. Next post, photos. I promise!