I'm sure you can't tell from the title of this story that this is an end of life story.
The poignant thing is that THIS part of the story is really wonderfully funny.
At least I think so.
You can judge for yourself.
I originally wrote this when my family member was near the end of her life and she passed away only a few days after I finished writing it.
NOW, More than being an anecdote, this story is a tribute to her, because she was the proverbial spit-fire…
The somber note is that Alzheimer’s slowly altered her memory, and her behavior and shortened her life.
For ANYONE out there with a family member or a friend suffering from Alzheimer's, my heart goes out to you! Educate yourself. Be patient and loving with YOURSELF AND your loved one. Times like this show us what we're made of.
For both for her privacy and for ease of writing. I am going to call her Ms. T. Ms. T lived a wonderful life full of family, friends, events, travel, parties, rubbing elbows with notables, golf games and real estate.
She was a whiz at selling real estate AND she was a great golfer. She played with some heavy hitters. In her prime real estate and golf went together extremely well. I imagine they still go together today - BIG deals being made on the 9th hole.
To the very end, in her late 80's, she was a classy woman - always well-dressed, always putting her best foot forward.
She had a closet that every woman with taste and style wanted to raid...
...and a smile that lit up a room. A big, broad smile.
Ms. T wore a specific color of Revlon lipstick. Revlon, not L'Oreal, or MAC or Urban Decay, but Revlon.
One day she noticed she was running out of her lipstick and asked her daughter to pick up another tube.
I’ll also add that Ms. T had a taste for good vodka. She loved her evening cocktail hour. Who can begrudge an 87 year-old woman her cocktail hour???
In addition to her favorite lipstick she also requested her favorite vodka in the convenient gallon economy size.
Her daughter, being the loving daughter she is, bought her mother TWO tubes of lipstick.
Ladies, we all know how this goes - eventually every cosmetic company stops making our favorite shade of lipstick and we have to find a new color that never quite matches or looks as good as the old color.
Two tubes is an assurance of continuing to have the right color.
The vodka, well, if you drink vodka you know what works.
(I personally don't drink vodka because it makes me mean. I don't really drink much at all. I can't hold my liquor now. I can hear a friend, whom I’ve known since college, saying: "YOU NEVER COULD DRINK, but you frequently field tested it”. It was college, what can I say?)
Later in the day loving daughter delivered the two tubes of lipstick and the bottle of vodka.
Ms. T asked why she bought her two tubes of lipstick?
In her daughter's mind it was for the aforementioned reasons. They make sense to me.
Ms. T said she may not live long enough to finish the two tubes of lipstick.
"Then why did I get you such a big bottle of vodka if you think you might not be around much longer?"
"Oh, I'll be around long enough to drink the vodka!"
That reminds me of a quote from The Godfather "Leave the gun, take the cannoli!"
"Forget the lipstick, get the vodka!"
(C) KaZ Cruse Akers
The Day My Son Saved My Life.
I look forward to seeing what the next generations do for themselves, us and our country in the coming years. (In this case our "countries" since my son and I are Canadian American.)
However, this story is about the life my son saved when he was 14.
It was mine.
I don’t mean it figuratively or as a “saying”. I mean, he ACTUALLY saved my life.
It was because of his quick thinking that I’m here today.
Here’s what happened:
I was very active in health and fitness. At that time I was dedicated to fitness for myself and for others.
I ate right, exercised 6 days a week to my optimum level, took supplements as needed, and meditated.
I was doing EVERYTHING right.
I was in the kitchen of the townhouse my son and I shared. He was watching television in the adjacent living room.
I had finished my workout and was eating my morning oatmeal. I loaded up my hand with a fistful of vitamins, put the entire handful of vitamins in my mouth, took a big gulp of water and swallowed.
TRUST ME when I say this was a VERY BIG MISTAKE.
I quickly realized they weren’t all going to go down.
I drank more water and THAT wouldn’t go down.
No water flow and no air flow.
I tried to cough.
I grabbed my throat knowing I was choking.
I couldn’t call out to my son because…
no air, no sound.
I stepped around the corner of the kitchen to face the living room and banged hard on the wall.
He finally looked over at me and saw the international sign for choking. (if you don’t know it, it’s two hands on your throat. Pretty simple, eh?)
As calm as a Buddhist monk he walked into the kitchen and immediately, AND PERFECTLY I might add, applied the Heimlich maneuver to me. It took several attempts and then the vitamins catapulted out of my throat across the kitchen.
I looked at him acknowledging what MIGHT have happened and what actually DID happen.
He hugged me, looked at me like a wise old soul and said “You ok now, Mom?”
With tears streaming down my face I nodded and hugged him again.
I said, ”You just saved my life. Do you realize that?"
He said, “Yea, ok, just don’t take so many vitamins next time.” Then he walked back into the living room and sat down and watched tv.
I thought to myself. “THAT GUY IS SO COOL! I want to be that cool. What did I do to deserve such a cool son? AND WHERE did he learn the Heimlich?”
He's a grown young man now and I hope he never has to use it again.
To this day I’ve never taken more than one supplement at a time. (I probably don't even need all the ones I take !)
Right after the incident I marched down to the nearest Red Cross for renewal of my First Aid, AED and CPR certifications.
I’ve used them more than once.
Most recently for a motorcyclist who crashed on the highway I was traveling.