I rarely consider myself a writer per se but I was raised by a pack of English majors, some of their love for words and communicating via language is part of my fabric. I have many trapped thoughts that need a conduit to the outside world so I can be free of them or see them in front of me rather than inside of me. Ironically my current job title is Senior Editor, I was a past magazine editor and consider myself a communications consultant. I cannot diagram a sentence and often write in passive voice.
In perspective, life is amazing and grand and I have so much that complaining seems petty and small. But we all struggle with what we are asked to bear at any given moment. Without a list, it is difficult to inventory and take stock in just how much is taking place but suffice it to say that family, life, work, and balance are all of the things competing for priority currently. Is this any different from anyone else? No. Is it a bigger weight or challenge than most? Not at all. Yet it is new to me, and in my effort to keep things in control, in check, moving ahead, sometimes I feel I’m not doing enough.
Ailing parents are where we are now. One has a great support network and a loving spouse who could likely be certified as a registered nurse at this point since everything from heart surgery to hip replacement has passed through their lives. Currently, an infection of the colon is the present challenge. Prognosis is several weeks of recovery, at which point, the patient will more than likely have lost much patience.
The second, and closer in proximity to me, is on a journey through dementia, likely Alzheimer’s. This one has been fiercely independent, self-sufficient, stubborn, healthy, and head strong which can make providing care a bit of a challenge. As my role model for life, the best part of this journey for me has been spending time laughing and learning about a time before me. High school experiences, college stories, and things I’ve never heard before come out at times and whether they are true or not is a minor point. Hearing the internal reality is more the point than the actual truth.
Keeping safety and security at the top of the list is always a challenge. The ‘how’ of doing that is fluid. What constitutes “right”? Is employing a stranger who has a gentle personality and quick wit, with a heaping dose of patience and humor the way to go? Does that shield the patient and the care givers from the brunt of bursts of anger and occasional violence? When does it make sense to move to a better equipped facility to help manage the progression while allowing for a sense of independence and freedom?
So many moving parts, they’re tough to track and keep rolling. Finances, medical care, household chores and maintenance, personal hygiene, social engagement, mental engagement, just to name a few. There are experts, support groups, professionals, people who’ve been there before and are there now. I can’t absorb the information fast enough but in doing so, I become unbalanced and obsessed since other things in my life get pushed out. Exercise and my own health is beginning to suffer. My own marriage is impacted. I’m not willing to allow those to be casualties of caring for another. Is it expected that one must suffer to show how much of yourself is being vested into the patient? Is it overly selfish to set and enforce boundaries?
If there had been a plan for ongoing care, a road map of how the patient wanted to age all of this would have been a bit easier to take on. Yet, here we are, not in as bad shape as we could be but always feeling a bit off balance and out of control.
It feels good to write and as a control freak (really?!?) it’s still hard to just let it go, write whether it is linear, clear, understood, or “good”. This is less for you as it is for me.