My current problem—at least the one I’m telling you about today—has been with me a couple of years. I didn’t know how to deal with it. I couldn’t find proper “do-it-yourself” improvement books about it. My husband just didn’t want to talk about it. So, I’ll subject you to it. Perhaps you have experienced these same “golden age” maladies. Here’s the scoop. They may not be life enhancing, but these conditions aren’t all that bad either.
I thought everybody knew what CRS was, but not everyone had heard my mom refer to it for years. It means “can’t remember s***.” She never used the “s” word or any profanity whatsoever, so she would giggle like a naughty little girl each time she told someone what was wrong with her. CRS is the euphemism for dementia setting in or even having arrived. Not so hard to dredge up those three letters—CRS. I’ve inherited it—both the disease and talking about it. Just think of all the things one now can forget—some by choice.
Additionally, some of us females suffer from OLS. Mom never referred to this, but she did suffer from CRS for about a decade before she died at almost 98 years of age. She never quite attained the OLS syndrome.
OLS stands for “old lady syndrome,” and you’re mistaken if you think such a thing doesn’t exist in some women. As a much younger person, I found elderly ladies with this syndrome rather charming, often cute and usually eccentric. Never mind. It was them then—not me.
Having a case of OLS isn’t always all bad, I suppose, but it was a bit embarrassing to me recently. I went for my six-month checkup with the doctor. My doc likes me—that’s why I go so often.
Anyhow, just before she entered the exam room, I glanced down and noticed some dried peach juice on my blouse. Horrors! I had scarfed down that first delicious peach of the season with too much gusto. I spit on my finger to clean it off, but my blouse was made of man-made materials refusing to absorb spittle.
When the doctor entered, I apologized for looking like a little old lady as I warned her that I had arrived with peach drool on blouse. Being the kind woman that she is, she assured me it could happen to any one of any age and laughed. Whew! What a relief she is so understanding. Just to prove to myself that a little peach juice couldn’t ruin my day, I forgot about it and wore the blouse for the duration. Or, CRS set in.
The larger problem than peach juice is that those suffering from both CRS and OLS simply have too many life experiences and a great deal of information stored away in their heads. Unfortunately, some move more slowly and forget to clean up the drool of breakfast before stepping out of the house into the public eye.
Although I’ve not arrived at a retirement community commune yet, those living conditions will give one a chance to observe these things in spades. Mom lived in one for about 10 years. With each visit from her family members, she would tell us another startling tale about the “inmates” as she called them. One particularly beautiful 95-year-old lady who had been a model wore three inch heels to dinner—never missing a step. I did witness her floating across the dining room wearing red stilettos one time. (Even in my prime I couldn’t have been that steady in such footwear). Another resident brought her vinegar and honey to breakfast each morning, because it helped her arthritis. She lived to be over 100. That was a good idea it seems. One lady arrived in her self-propelled wheel chair having forgotten to wear trousers that morning.
Of course, with each new day, some residents were meeting one another for the first time—or so they thought. Not bad—new friends each breakfast. On it goes. I’ll spare you the other stories.
There is a positive side to CRS and OLS diseases. Here’s what I’m aware of right now. Since one moves less than energetically these days, one has time for reflection. There are many moments for musing, which is what I’m subjecting you to here. Pondering is part of the process because you can leisurely sift through all those happy moments and experiences of your life to remember the good days before slobber shows up. It’s not a bad idea to share this dribble with your friends.
Recently I learned that our memories are memories of our last memory of that memory. Got it? We don’t remember the initial circumstance, but we do remember our last recollection of it. No telling how far I’ve roamed from initial situations. Since I’ve been writing about this and thinking about that peach juice, it morphed into a minuscule stain—barely noticeable—on my dark blue blouse which hardly ever showed spots. So, there you have it! OLS and CRS have combined to make one happy, fleeting memory. Of course, I am hoping this memory will eventually flee altogether. I presume you’re hoping the same.