I'm not quite sure where this is going. But I do know it's going to be honest. You've been warned. If you're the type of person who can't deal with straightforwardness, I'd suggest grabbing the Sunday comic section from last weekend's paper. I've had it. And not just today. It seems to be happening on a day-to-day basis. I keep on saying to myself and my partner, "I've had it." I'm edgy, irritated, upset, and angry and the slightest, oh say, driver who doesn't signal or people who stop at the bottom of escalators in spite of the fact there are a hundred more folks coming right behind them. Even taking the dog for a walk is getting on my nerves. Those are the sorts of things that are like pouring gasoline on a small fire.
As you well know, my MIL has been in the hospital and now in a rehabilitation center for two weeks. She's a horrible patient with even worse patience. It's always like dealing with a child in an adult's clothing. Yeah, okay, so I can sort through that on my better days -- I've known her long enough. But what I can't deal with is the effect that her actions, words, and thought processes continue to have on me, us, both of us. She has officially set "Wednesday as the day I'm going home." Oh, really? No doctors have been consulted, no social workers have advised, no home care has been arranged, and she can't even walk more than around 20 feet at a time. At home she's got an aging dog with breathing difficulties, has to cook and clean for herself, and her apartment is filled with so much furniture that you wouldn't believe it -- all things that we've tried to get rid of for years in an effort to simplify but are all things that she just has to have. She lives in a senior apartment without assistance or care. By herself. I told her yesterday that her going home has a giant mental heaviness that sits on my head because we are the only two responsible for her -- that I'm concerned for her being by herself and that it's us that have to deal with her continued issues. It's like talking to a doorknob. She doesn't care. "I can do it -- I just have to get out of here," she says with that wild-eyed, throw-caution-to-the-wind sort of look in her eyes. Um, yeah....okay, we'll see how that goes. And all of this from a woman who, in a fit of rage and anger, told me several years ago to "Get the hell out of my house and don't ever darken my doorway again." Makes it really tough to even want to help out. And it's not like I don't think she doesn't appreciate our caring....it's simply that I don't think it just doesn't make any real difference many times. It's never quite good enough. (Note to self: Remember this paragraph when we get a phone call in the middle of the night......)
I'm the sole driver in our family -- neither she nor my partner drive. And her other two sons don't live here and have minimal involvement on any sort of productive, essential level in her day-to-day care. Remember, you never know exactly who is going to be wiping your ass at any given point in your life. And if you're looking for a "thank you" from those that you should be receiving a "thank you" from, good luck with that. Caregiving is a real bitch sometimes. And I've honestly really had to sort through that in my mind for years now. And at times like this, I don't do a very good job at it and realize the brutal harshness that is my frail humanity. The pressure's on and there a lot of extra things that have to be done right now. I am solely responsible for anything that requires driving -- her trips to the grocery store, to get her prescriptions, to take her to doctor's visits, to get dog food when she runs out, and and and and........ and, again, I've reached my limit. I don't have the luxury of saying, "No." Occasionally I do. But I feel badly for knowing that I've denied an elderly person their sense of well being and that I'm not being nice. But I just have to draw the lines sometimes. I just cannot do it all.
Whiner? Perhaps. I'm not above confessing and sorting through my shortcomings. Just serve me a nice Brie with the whine, would you please? And a glass of chilled pinot gris would be lovely as well. I do it rarely but I'm afraid that I'm about to be doing it more and more often. These are issues that started long ago and battles that I've waged in my own head and soul for many years. And the feelings have not been resolved. And it's these pressure cooker sort of times that bring out either the best or the worst in folks, you know. I'm an organized, straightforward, logical, common sense thinker sort of guy. I get things done. A mover-and-shaker sort of dweeb. I do not do well at playing games, living with drama and the same old tired stories that I've heard for years. And that doesn't play out well in the land of Oz -- where fantasy, dreams, wishes, and hopes rarely come true.
I wish I were more like my own Mother sometimes. She's quite the woman -- always putting herself second and others first. I consider her and my long-passed grandmother frequently. They both had that innate quality of beauty, consideration for others always, and the gift of providing for others at all costs without complaint or the bad attitudes that pervade me today. I wonder if I can buy, purchase or even steal a better attitude? Either that or somebody's going to strangle somebody.....I swear it. I'm looking for duct tape, bed sheets, and razor blades as we speak.