It's horrible. My momma is 83 and gave us a huge scare yesterday. She was unresponsive. Turns out she has bronchitis and some fluid around her heart. After 24 hours with plenty of drugs she is responsive and kind of sassy (typical). But I hate, hate, hate being 3,000 miles away from her as well. Ugh.
I always thought that I'd be the one living near my parents to be there as they aged, but the navy had other ideas. I planned to move closer to them after I got out of the navy, but I ended up marrying DH before I finished school. Luckily, my youngest brother still lives near them (which I think contributes to him being totally dependent on them, but that's a whole other post) and is there to help. A few years ago I was visiting, and my mom was telling me that her surgery had gone fine and she was healing well. That was the first time I had heard of anything she needed surgery for! I told her that I'd rather hear about this stuff before surgery happens, even though there really isn't anything I can do, and she's called me a few times just to give me a heads up about health stuff.