Wednesday, December 28, 2022

...we'll muddle through somehow...

I have been thinking about time machines lately. What if I could go back to one day just for a bit and not interrupt anything but just live that day harder than before? The thing is I actually try to appreciate every day. Before the pandemic, I would say “TGIT” (Thank God it’s Tuesday) in class with my students because why live for Fridays or weekends? We might not even make it until the weekend. 

I remember the first day I was a teacher. I had graduated, completed a practicum and a student-teaching internship; I was as prepared as a teacher can be in this country. A super uncomfortable event occurred, and I immediately thought, “shit, get the teacher” which quickly changed in my head to “shit, I am the teacher.” After that moment, I realized no one really knows what to do in times of crisis. No one actually teaches us how to be adults. We just try our best. 

Since August when I made my last update post, I have been trying my best. That doesn’t read quite as scary as it’s been on this end. To make a very long story short, or to condense the last five months, my mother, who has struggled with her mental health, now has dementia. In the last few months, I’ve only started to understand dementia. My mother has had visual and auditory hallucinations, confusion, and an inability to pay attention to someone or something. She’s had sleep difficulties, apathy, and depression. My mother stopped recognizing my father. This was probably the most devastating aspect of her diagnosis to him. I just keep thinking how fortunate we are that she did not hit my father on the head with a hammer while he was sleeping, which is what she revealed to me later. In fact, she told me exactly how she was going to kill the man whom she ominously said, “that’s not your father.” 

Without much guidance and a whole lot of confusion, I was able to find assisted living with memory care. I could rant about American health care and how we treat elders but what’s the point. My working-class family saved all their money and lived like ants (as opposed to grasshoppers-- see the Aesop Fables if you’re not sure what I mean) only to have it all drained away. But we’re lucky. I’ll keep saying that because it could have been worse... it still could be worse. The last five months have proven that life gets worse. 

My mother-in-law’s kidneys failed and within a month, she has moved from her home being an independent woman living alone and caring for herself to a woman who is dying in hospice care. Even hospice care isn’t what I imagined nor is palliative care in this country. But we’re lucky that we have *vacation* time to use so that we can be there by her side. 

When my father’s visit to my mother became so stressful one day that his blood sugar dropped, a security guard found him parked on the side of the road. But we’re lucky that he had pulled over and not killed someone or himself.  

It’s been a hectic last half of the year. I’ve been medicated for stress that was affecting my blood pressure; I’ve started to dehoard my parents’ home (I was even able to make room for a Christmas tree. The first one in over 15 years. It's little but mighty). I’ve been journaling like mad and focusing on exactly what needs to get done. I’ve accepted that this is the new normal. I hate that phrase when it comes to the pandemic but having Silent Generation parents means that I have new responsibilities as a caregiver. As long as I have a plan, I’m okay. My plans keep changing and that’s okay too. I’m just trying my best and trying to muddle through somehow.

1 comment:

  1. Lots of hugs. Please don't be shy to message if you need to vent. Good luck with everything.