As I start on Book # 2 it allows me a second chance to heal and understand the depths of human endurance I achieved.
I now know, that it was OK to feel like bashing the phone receiver into the wall after Mom’s 17th call of the night. Now I REALLY understand the toll it takes physically on one’s body and spirit. I did keep my sense of humor which I inherited from my Dad. Many a day my humor – sick and twisted at times – relieved the pounding in my chest and head.
For a little over 5 years, my main concern was my Mother, her welfare and safety. This included her mood swings, her rage, her frustration with not being able to remain independent. Her confusion, knowing something was askew, but unable to mask or do anything about it. She was scared and innocent. She was frantic and panicked many a day as I drove to her home to comfort her.
I can relate to all caregivers feelings, emotions, questions and pure adrenaline as the heart pumps faster from the stress bestowed by the brain. The physical aspect alone, was unbearable. My head pounded on many a day. I knew my blood pressure was up – but was too scared to have it checked. My neck and shoulders bore the strain of what seemed to be, the World. All the while working full-time with my own family which included a 14 year old son.
That phone. That Damn phone and its beckoning ring. By the time I got home from work, I had a full-time evening “job” answering Mom’s phone calls. The machine was full of messages as I walked in the back door of our home. What do I do about my insurance? When is my doctors appointment? What day is it again that I come to your house for dinner? I felt like walking to my bedroom, closing the door and hiding under the bed covers for the remainder of the night.
Instead, I just stood in the middle of the kitchen as the tears fell. What am I going to do?
This was not just today. This was every night of the week. Seven days seven nights. Mom just walked around in her living room with hundreds of little pieces of paper in hopes of scavenging a semblance of organization. I knew she didn’t remember the other 12 phone calls she made to me – but by 9:00 p.m. every night, I really didn’t care.
I got nothing done in my own home. My evenings were basically spent answering Mom’s never ending phone calls. By 10:00 p.m. I told Mom to not call back, I was exhausted and going to bed. Within 5 minutes, she was calling again, asking what I had just told her. I then, didn’t answer the phone – my energy was depleted. I could not function anymore, the only thing I wanted was sleep. Sleep. Sleep.
Then, Mom, at 10:00 p.m. — and the last time I answered the phone for the night…was indignant in expressing to me — that I needed to help her. She was rude about it also. Now I look back and it’s much easier to disseminate that it was the vicious disease, Alzheimer’s speaking….not my Mother.
Did that make it any easier? Any less stressful? No.