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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Caretaker blues

Most of the time I am up beat and can roll with the punches – but sometimes events conspire to drag me down.,

I was exceptionally upbeat this morning and trotted happily into work, where unfortunately some people were grumpy and bound and determined to pass that grumpiness along. Well, mission accomplished.

However I did manage to bounce myself back in the afternoon a bit and felt pretty good coming home. But then I get home and just the reality of how far my mother has failed slapped me in the face. I am going to call the neurosurgeon’s office again tomorrow. But the reality is that I need to take over almost everything she has been doing. The bills she pays are in a mess. Her medical stuff is a mystery to me and I am really going to have to dive into it. Who knows if she has been paying balances we should have challenged – if they have double billed us for things or not. Who knows?

And the reality is that she is never going to be that much better. I had hoped that we could do a trip this spring maybe to Denmark. But that is going to take work – she needs to build up strength – she needs to get more limber. But with me at work she does nothing but watch TV. Sunday morning I yelled and yelled and managed to get her up and dressed and doing something. I set her up to write her Christmas cards, but then she needed to eat and then eat a little more and take her pills and literally that took and hour and a half. After which she told me that she had to lie down she was so tired. But I didn’t let her – I made her do her exercises in front of me – because I don’t think she does them even when she says she does. And then I made her do her breathing exercise with the incentive spirometer. And that was a joke – she doesn’t even move the marker at all.

I have talked to her and said that she has to TRY and try hard. Not just going through the paces without really making an effort. And she just looks at me kind of blankly. This is not the old lady I know.

All her blood tests etc. have come back negative. There doesn’t look like there is any reason (other than perhaps the pressure in her head) that she should be this way. She is a few days into the anti-depressant and I know it takes a while to kick in – but man I wish it would make a difference.

It is depressing and a daunting task to have to take care of her and know that it will be an uphill battle where I have less and less time to do anything but what is necessary. I mean I feel like I am just spending all my time picking up after her and checking that she has what she needs and then having to yell at her to get her to do anything. I just went in and turned off the TV and took the remote away and told her that she HAD to do those breathing exercises and then I stayed and made sure she did it – so there you are – 20 minutes gone just on that. Oh lord. It makes me want to cry and I still need to try and organize all these bills and medical statements in the file folder I bought this weekend.

4 comments:

exit said...

love expects no rewards

kstorm said...

That's a laugh - men expect rewards from love. And mind you most caretakers are women. Better to say "men expect no responsibility" because their sisters, wives, mothers and daughters will step in and do it all anyway.

Karry said...

I totally hear you about being caretaker. I couldn't handle it when my father passed away. I wasn't even the primary caretaker as he failed and failed.

I found something recently that might bring a smile or a tear depending where you are inside at the moment you read it. Wonderful poem - not mine - all I could find was that it's by anonymous. (sure wich I wcould write like Anonymous - that person's prolific! Hahaha)

Here it is:

What do you see, nurses?
What do you see?
What are you thinking
When you're looking at me?

A crabby old woman,
Not very wise,
Uncertain of habit,
With faraway eyes?

Who dribbles her food
And makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice,
"I do wish you'd try!"

Who seems not to notice
The things that you do,
And forever is losing
A stocking or shoe?

Who, resisting or not,
Lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding,
The long day to fill?

Is that what you're thinking?
Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse,
You're not looking at me.

I'll tell you who I am
As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding,
As I eat at your will.

I'm a small child of ten
With a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters,
Who love one another.

A young girl of sixteen
With wings on her feet
Dreaming that soon now
A lover she'll meet.

A bride soon at twenty,
My heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows
That I promised to keep.

At twenty-five now,
I have young of my own,
Who need me to guide
And a secure happy home.

A woman of thirty,
My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other
With ties that should last.

At forty, my young sons
Have grown and are gone,
But my man's beside me
To see I don't mourn.

At fifty once more,
Babies play round my knee,
Again we know children,
My loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me,
My husband is dead,
I look at the future,
I shudder with dread.

For my young are all rearing
Young of their own,
And I think of the years
And the love that I've known.

I'm now an old woman
And nature is cruel;
'Tis jest to make old age
Look like a fool.

The body, it crumbles,
Grace and vigor depart,
There is now a stone
Where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass
A young girl still dwells,
And now and again,
My battered heart swells.

I remember the joys,
I remember the pain,
And I'm loving and living
Life over again.

I think of the years
All too few, gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact
That nothing can last.

So open your eyes, people,
Open and see,
Not a crabby old woman;
Look closer . . . see ME!!

I'm Boer'd said...

Well, now I feel horribly guilty! I know I'm a million miles away, but is there anything I can do to help? I'd bring her here for a while, if it was possible, but even if she was better, I doubt she would come. I guess that's what you get for being the favorite!

And screw that stupid "love expects no rewards" crap. It irritated the hell out of me to read that - takes some nerve to make a comment like that without knowing the entire story, or what it's like to deal with all you do, day in and day out. And as if you've ever asked for a reward! Although, I do feel you deserve one. You're the best sister ever!