A Week in the Life of a Caregiver: Friday
I Finish Each Day Feeling I Should Do More for Her
My day is half over and already I feel like going back to bed! This morning was the worst. Mom was extremely anxious about not knowing if the home health aide and physical therapist were coming. At 7 a.m. she became so upset that she kept bothering me to call the service to check on their next appointments.
At 9:30 a.m. the aide appeared, and I convinced Mom to let the aide give her a sponge bath. Since the aide was staying only until 11 a.m., I ran out of the house like a crazy woman to do my grocery shopping. As usual, the supermarket was extremely crowded, and I didn't get home again until 11:15 a.m. By that time the aide had left.
During the past two months I have searched the Internet for Web sites that might offer solace to caregivers. I have come across numerous message boards and have even posted a few messages when I was feeling at my lowest. I have received many responses from other caregivers who have really lifted my spirits, but I found it easier to correspond one-on-one with a few ladies. The people on these boards are truly angels sent by God, and I've found that when we send our prayers and compassion to others, we get it back tenfold.
I'll write more later, dear diary. I have to get ready for our company.
Here I am again and I can't believe I am still standing after such a long day. I still have to put away the leftover pizza, and the dessert dishes are still waiting in the sink to be washed. I will get to them eventually.
Even with company over, Mom still acted up this evening. We have known the friend who came over today for six years, and she has been a source of encouragement for me in many ways. It might be because her morning medication is wearing off, but Mom becomes quite argumentative around 5 p.m., and as time goes by she wants to rush our dinnertime and her bedtime. I thought maybe, because we had company, she would control her outbursts. She repeats her requests to be put to bed, and each request becomes louder and more hysterical. I was so mortified my friend had to witness my mother's behavior that I could have cried. My friend rolled her eyes upward like a person does when they see a child having a tantrum. That "child" was my mother, and besides being mortified, I was angry at myself for feeling that way because I don't know exactly how much she can control her behavior anymore.
I know many of my friends mean well when they offer words of sympathy and praise for my efforts in caring for Mom. I might sound ungrateful, but I really don't want their sympathy and I don't want their praise. I am no saint, and I do get testy and short-tempered at times. I do what I do out of love for my mom, and I'd rather know someone is offering prayers for my mom rather than anything for me. I always finish each day feeling like I should be doing more for her.
This might seem like blasphemy, but sometimes my life seems like an episode out of the Book of Job in the Bible. I can't believe all the negative things happening all at once in our lives. When I speak with a few good friends, I always tell them about the latest episode of "As The Stomach Turns." That was the name of a skit on "The Carol Burnett Show" spoofing soap operas. I try to make light of a bad situation because I wouldn't be able to tolerate it any other way.
Before I finish tonight, diary, I just had to share with you something very important that happened tonight. I finally got Mom into bed, and on most nights I am so glad to finish my day with her that usually all I do is wish her a good night and leave her room. Tonight I took a very good look at Mom and saw the shell of a person that she has become, and I felt the need to hold her close to me. I took her in my arms and hugged her as if it were the last time I would see her and said a little prayer that God grant her a peaceful night's sleep. I never thought of myself as a "holy roller," but the only comfort I get is in meditation with God. I can depend on His strength when I have none and His love when I feel empty inside.
Just sharing my feelings with you, diary, makes me feel better. When I write things down on paper, I have to organize my thoughts and that helps me feel more in control of my life.
See you tomorrow!