Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Ok, so I can't call in sick any more cause I don't have a "job". My new job is taking the night shift and Saturdays and Sundays with Dad. In case you don't know, my dad is in late-stage Parkinson's Disease. Slow to sometimes no mobility. He needs help getting out of bed, getting dressed and into and out of his lift chair. He can't prepare meals, but at least he can feed himself. It takes almost 2 hours for him to eat a meal. He sits in his lift chair with a bib (from which he picks food and eats it) using a tray. About the only thing he can still do for himself is go to the bathroom, but he sometimes needs help getting onto and off of the toilet. He was never a big talker to begin with, but Parkinson's has made him mostly non-verbal. Lots of times you have to force him to make eye-contact with you in order for him to acknowledge what you are saying.
I am not complaining. This is much harder on him than on me. But the truth is, being the caregiver of a parent generally sucks ass. Yes, I have read all the motivational crap about this being a time to "bond" with said parent, especially since adulthood separates children and parents. It does, however, require the willingness of both parties to bridge that gap and TRY to make a relationship. When my dad first came to live with us, I sat on the couch next to him every..single..night for about 6 months. Watching the same shows over and over again (hmmm, reminds me of toddlerhood), commenting on said shows or even opening a different topic. I got zero response. It was like talking to a wall. I wracked my brain for the little extra things I could do for him. The things I do for people I love. Because I love them, not because I want kudos or reciprocation. Those things mattered less to him than my attempts at verbal communication,
Oh, did I mention yet that apathy goes hand-in-hand with a Parkinson's Disease diagnosis? Cause it does. Trying to help someone who could give a shit less about helping themselves is like banging your head against the wall. Why bother? I am a "fixer". And I can't fix this. It is not going to get better. In fact, it is going to get exponentially worse. There are plateaus in between the declines. A blessing? Somewhat, but they tend to lull you into a false sense of security of stabilization. There is no such thing as "stable" with Parkinson's. You fix one thing, and twelve other things go haywire. For instance, consequential reasoning is now gone. He can only walk with a walker (a rollator one). I can tell him all day long (and WHILE he is doing the thing), that if he leans over to pick something up off the floor, he will fall down. He still leans over. If I am not right there to stop him, he will fall. Sometimes, we have to call rescue for fall-assist. Because he is 130+ pounds of dead weight and I barely weigh 115. I have strained both wrists and pinched both sciatic nerves. Bumps, bruises, scrapes. Nothing compared to what he deals with every day, I know. I can only compare it to having a fully-grown toddler.
So, I still have Monday-Friday, 8:30am-5:00pm "to myself" when the daytime caregiver comes. Since I quit my job April 1, I have reworked my garden, cleaned out the garage and made 3 trips to Goodwill. I have completely re-done my kitchen and even repainted my kitchen table and chairs. I have cleaned out cabinets and closets. Done lots of beautification projects. Added a gazebo to my patio so I have a sanctuary. I have billions of reasons to be happy and content. My time off from caregiving is wonderful. But, somehow, it tends to make the time on-duty even more excruciating. A taste of freedom......Saturdays and Sunday have become exhausting. Getting him up, dressed and fed in the morning takes almost 2 hours. Then there is lunch. And dinner. And bedtime. Ah, bedtime, right? Nope. Parkinson's also comes with insomnia. Even when Dad can get to sleep, he doesn't stay asleep. Every time he wakes up, he wants to go to the bathroom. This is sometimes 5-6 times a night. He has a call button and I have the pager (receiver). I fucking hate the sound of that thing. Truly. He doesn't really have to pee. He is on dialysis now, so his kidneys make practically no output. He will sit in his lift chair ALL DAY LONG and never go to the bathroom. But, oh boy, at night??? Are you freaking kidding me?
I still have 2 teenagers, 2 cats, college and a household to maintain. I pay all the bills. I am responsible for household inventory control, management and procurement. Meal prep, serving and clean-up. Medication control, management and procurement and dispensing. Oh, and did I mention laundry? Someone said to me when I first got my dad, "Oh, you would be doing all those things anyway." Yeah, I would love for that person to come be me for a full 24 hours.
Sometimes, like right now writing this, I can't stand to hear myself.
I am not making fun of my Pops. But Parkinson's???? That is one real whackadoodle.
Friday, March 25, 2016
Well, Whackadoodle-doo, y'all! I did it. I finally quit the stinking job that was making me doubt my own awesomeness. Hell, it made me doubt there was any awesomeness left in the whole wide world. When I tell you it was soul-sucking, I am talking on a Dyson level.
I liked the process of what I did (mostly). I liked the actual place; and I made some really, truly, super-awesome great friends. Those are the things that kept me there far longer than was good for my mental, emotional, and physical health. I am sad to be leaving them. I know my friends will always be my friends and I can go and visit the place any time I want, without becoming entangled in the crap that finally flipped my switch.
I may have mentioned the...well.....not sure exactly what to call this manager. We have lots of nicknames for her, but they would only be relevant if you had the great misfortune of knowing her personally. Can you picture a dark, swirling, ANGRY vortex of crushing negative energy? Now, cram that inside a short, squat, human body; really stuff it down in there nice and tight so it is trying to explode constantly. (Kinda like the Tasmanian Devil on that cartoon. Seriously, some days there was actual snarling.) Now you got a pretty good idea of what I'm talking about. I wish I was kidding y'all.
Seven and a half years I dealt with this narcissistic, belittling, bullying, micromanaging mess. Can I just tell ya, I am SO grateful I found a way out. Want to throw a lifeline to my BFFL; hope she finds a way out soon!
I just wanted to tell y'all the good news. Not sure where the road is heading from here, but I am glad to say that within a week, I'll be looking at that sh*t in the rearview. Hopefully, now I will have time to talk to y'all again. Till next time, Whackadoodle-doo, y'all!
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
So, Christmas, right? The struggle is real, yo. Not only have the cats pulled ornaments off the tree, they've torn open wrapping paper and destroyed bows. Ok, so no bows and double-wrap ALL the presents. Crap.
Also, my dad's daytime caregiver picked the 12 days of Christmas to go off the rails; or at least, this is when the truth came to light. Lying about her mileage, leaving during her shift to run a personal errand, during which time he fell, taking him with her on another personal errand, and being an hour late without letting me know. So, she's getting fired for Christmas.
Then, my 12-year-old son decided he is not coming home for Christmas due to his father's Jehovah's Witness cult bullshit. I totally lost my shit for a minute or ten - with his dad, not him. I understand he is torn. At first, I thought, "well, this ruins Christmas". But guess what? I get to spend it with my daughter - just the two of us like before my son was born. Well, the three of us, since my Dad lives here, too. :)
Oh, yeah, and Dad; well, only one of his other children has made plans to see him for Christmas. Seriously? Merry freaking Noel. So, Happy Holidays, Dad, and thanks for always supporting us, but eff you, we're too busy having fun to show you any love and respect. About what I expected, but still disappointing, to say the least. This will be his first Christmas as a widow, too.
So, Christmas, right? The struggle is too real.
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Ever get a truly nasty communication from someone you condsidered (and who claimed to be) your best friend? I mean, an email that started off with, "First of all, Fuck you." Followed by pages and pages of putrid verbal vilification,
Obviously, this kind of attack is nothing less than incendiary and solves absolutely nothing. However, I consider it a gift from the Universe. Totally. Because no matter how angry I am at a friend, I would never say the big FU to them unless I was ready for that relationship to be O.V.E.R. Not saying I have never been guilty of letting my anger direct a communication. But I rarely go for the jugular and sling all kinds of character assassinations at people.
In this particular instance, a true friend told me that this person seems to be speaking from a perspective of guilt and is projecting a bunch of their own psychoses onto me. Whatever. Guess what? I do not have to allow it.
Still wading through the Whackadoodles, y'all.
Monday, June 15, 2015
Sure you do. Who wouldn't? But, what if you had THIS instead:
Imagine taking your dad to the drugstore because he wants sex lube.
That is all.
Sunday, May 31, 2015
So, tomorrow, my daughter graduates from high school. Everyone asks me if I will cry...HELLZ, YEAH, tears of JOY and RELIEF, cause I never thought we'd make it! My daughter is very smart, but she doesn't give a rat's fat hairy ass what anyone else thinks of her (GOOD FOR HER!), including people who want to grade her on something. I understand this because I was outraged in junior high that you could actually fail art class. I was infuriated when my teacher gave me a less-than-satisfactory grade on something I created. And, I kind of had the same melt-down in Lit class when a teacher said someone's interpretation of a poem we were studying was incorrect. HELLO, people, art is subjective. All art. Including music, thank you very much to my
I have done my best to foster her sense of individuality; I don't want her to be like the majority of society. That said, I have also tried to impress upon her the importance of following some of the rules. You know, the ones that will only cause you incredible difficulty if you don't obey them. Legal things aside, I mean how to appear to conform without actually conforming. Unfortunately, I think DNA from her father negates her ability to understand. One of my greatest heartaches.
I know I have to let her follow her own path. Watching it all unfold is the heartache. My friend Sadie said it best when she called this Mommyaches. Here's a link to her story:
Monday, May 25, 2015
So, today, on a
He asked if I was cleaning out cabinets and I said, "Yes, am I bothering you?" He said, "It's a lot of noise." Now, that was my perfect opportunity to remind him that he has a tv and a recliner in his room. But, I followed my "raising" and stuffed those emotions right back down where they belong. And promptly put my earbuds back in, turned up my music, and started intentionally making a lot more noise. Childish, I know, but it FELT GOOD. :)
My creative outlet has been cooking for a very long time, but there IS no time for that now. So, I have adopted the "store-bought" approach to nearly everything. I feel a twinge that I am not giving my loved ones the best possible nutrition. But at this point, it is their health versus my sanity. Sanity wins. In a very big way.
Gotta run. Lots more noise to make.