Sunday, January 5, 2014

Little Victories

I had it all figured out at the beginning of the week. After the four ER visits in one month with my mom, it was clear that I needed to change everything.

I ordered the fall detector button. My mother and I went adult day care shopping. "The second one is the best one," she said enthusiastically, her smile for the camera smile frozen onto her face. I told various people, including the social worker at the day care place that I needed someone to come into my house a few mornings a week as well. Following what seemed to be other prudent advice, I bought keyed doorknobs for my bedroom and the daughters bedrooms--what with "strangers" coming and going--and made arrangements to have them installed. The schedule for the day care place was worked out including the pick-up and drop-off. My world cracked opened so wide I almost felt agoraphobic. What would I do until 2:30 on Tuesdays and Fridays? Would the placid silence inspire me to write? Would I be able to read without getting up to see if the moaning or swearing or banging around was something more than crying wolf? Would I go out to lunch with a friend? Take off early for a weekend away if M could come by on Friday afternoon? I could do anything I wanted for six straight hours, knowing that someone else was responsible for my mom.

Friday evening she told me she wasn't going to get on a bus so early (9:00 a.m.) in the morning. She simply was not going to do it. The therapy chairs, the hot packs, the massage for arthritis pain, live entertainment, other ladies to crochet with, physical therapy, dancing--none of it could change her mind. "Well, great," I said, Now, I'm a prisoner."
"Then have someone come in to babysit me," she said, obviously not happy about that either.

Meanwhile the man who loves me and I were squabbling. "But you said..."
"That's not what I meant...."
"You absolutely said that."

In a completely black mood all day yesterday after the glow of yoga quickly dissipated, I raged and mulled unable to do much of anything except walk around and around my neighborhood. I woke every hour last night asking myself what sort of a person picked fights with old ladies and guys with lung cancer doped up on pain killers.

Today I decided I would read in my room with the door closed and some non-distracting background music to muffle whatever was going on downstairs. An easy book. Something engaging. So I picked up an Elmore Leonard novel and napped every ten pages or so feeling like perhaps I should be the one going to adult day care, and asking someone to accompany me on my doctor's appointments. At 4 p.m. I woke in time for a sunset walk.

I didn't jump in the marina or stop a boat and ask to get on. I didn't go to a bar and drink ten margaritas.


Elizabeth said...

As my sisters and I say to one another, "I hear you barking, big dog."

lily cedar said...

"what sort of a person picked fights with old ladies and guys with lung cancer doped up on pain killers."

A stressed out woman who has to take care of everyone else and has no time for herself. That's who. I loved my mum big time but I know I was short with her, impatient, etc. It was stressful caring for her and she didn't live with me, she was three blocks away.

You are allowed to have time to yourself, in fact you need it, to recharge your batteries. It is just hard work caring for others, even when you love them deeply, sometimes that makes it even harder because fear of losing them gets mixed into everything.

Sending hugs.

Allison said...

Please cut yourself some slack. These are difficult times. It's just hard.