Grandpa Hsiang-Hsien (Husband's paternal grandfather) seems to be doing just fine. I think they, The Royal "They", have hired a home care person to just be there for him so they wouldn't have to hang around him. It sounds like he still knows what's going on and is still in charge of his own faculties, no matter what they say about him. He's just a bit slower to remember things and put two and two together, but that's the way it goes at mid-80.
That's the way it goes at 90-some too. Grandma Xiao-E (Husband's maternal grandmother) is becoming more and more forgetful, less able to compute logic too.
The Number One thing that frustrates the elderly seems to be "where is my money?" They can't remember how much they have, where the receipts/vouchers/slips are, what things need to be done and, for time sensitive things, when they need to be done. They're too paranoid to tell anyone what they have, but they have trouble managing it themselves and need help from others.
MIL Woman was musing at what we would do when she got to that stage. I laughed that we'd make her keep a book diary and make her write stuff down every day, so she could look up everything for herself.
The Number Two thing is health. Geriatric diabetes, heart conditions and what-not are only a matter of controlling them so that they can live out the rest of their lives. At their age, it's not a matter of curing things anymore. Grandma still keeps asking when she can go off the medication and go back to eating and drinking the things she used to.
I worry about Grandma Xiao-E. She's had a tough life and psychologically, it's taken its toll. She's had one scary hallucination episode. The family keeps trying to cheer her up by saying that everyone who was evil to her is dead; only she's had the good fortune to live this long. I'm not sure if that's really helping. The last time I talked to my Mother-In-Law, I'd told them about the Geriatric Hallucinations, possible causes, symptoms and suggested a few things. The family resolved to try harder to be more patient with Grandma. There's a lot of pressure on everyone to take care of her and make sure she's happy and healthy.
The great-grand children must be helping though. I haven't seen the kids since our Engagement Trip back in 2001. They were barely toddling and babbling then.
I have to stop and explain this: my Mother-in-Law's family could probably invade Luxemburg (pop. 436K in January, 1999) and take it by force. I'm kidding, but it sure feels like it sometimes. There are zillions of other people, in-laws and children running around. But of all the kids, the ones we saw most frequently were the Little Whirlwind Boy, the Popular Boy, the Little Sister and the Little Brother.
The Little Whirlwind Boy is the first son of Cousin #1. He's four or five years old. He has ADHD and a learning disability, possibly even a mild case of Autism. I thought I saw stimming once or twice, but I'm not sure. He's very smart, you can tell. But he cannot sit still, cannot follow instructions more than one command long and even then, he can't do it for more than a few seconds. What I see is the family trying to find someone to blame. They keep talking about who he could have gotten these traits from, it can't be this person because s/he's very smart, it can't be that person, etc., etc. And it's so pointless.
Maybe I'll try planting a seed with my Mother-In-Law that it's probably the pollution in Taiwan. Cigarette smoke, pollution and other teratogens, both in utero and postpartum, have been shown to affect development in major ways. And goddess knows, there's plenty of smoky crap in the air in Taiwan. Maybe if they can blame something, they can accept it and move on to getting him the help he needs, for pete's sake.
The Popular Boy is the first son of Cousin #2. He's popular probably because he's a boy and compared to The Whirlwind Boy, he looks like a prodigy. Which I feel is completely unfair. The Popular Boy is also very finicky. He's moody and only goes to certain people. It was the first time I seriously questioned whether I wanted children at all. I found myself withdrawing and not wanting to try to play with him or bond with him. I'd never been that way with children before, ever. I'd always been a total child freak, kids have always loved me. I know that kids are all Id, they'll do whatever and I shouldn't take it personally. I feel like an absolute fool for letting it get to me. But it did. And I wasn't as thrilled as I should have been when he intentionally called me "Ma" (he couldn't get "Jiu-Ma" for "Mom's Brother's Wife").
The Little Sister is the first daughter of Cousin #3. The Little Sister didn't really mind who was holding her, so I picked her up more and played with her. And since the Popular Boy was always getting more attention, I think The Little Sister's Mom appreciated me doting on her daughter. She'd been hoping for a boy herself, so watching her sister's son constantly taking centre stage, must sting a little.
Of course, this made all the family think that I want a baby girl. It makes no difference to me. It's a child all the same. But if they want to think that, *shrug* it's okay. =)
The Little Brother is the Whirlwind Boy's brother. The Popular Boy, the Little Sister and the Little Brother were born about 3 months apart. The Little Brother was the youngest of the three, so he slept most of the time I was there.
Oy... and I haven't even gotten to the funny anecdotes yet. =} That's alright, I'm betting no one's even gotten this far anyway =D