What The Day Was Like

LilMagill

What The Day Was Like

LilMagill
sunset-203188_640I just want to write this for my own memory - there is nothing special here, just what my life is like right now.

When I got up at 7:00, I went downstairs to have coffee and breakfast with Mom. She has gone back to making the coffee since her accident, and it's such a nice ritual. Whoever is the first to refill will offer the other a cup. I love that she can still do things for me!

We went to the early service at church, me, Mom and my son. There was a guest pastor who Mom knows and really likes, so that was especially nice for her. We hung out in the fellowship hall for awhile, and then I felt kind of guilty because I left her to have a conversation with a friend, hashing out some details about an upcoming event.

After church we went to the grocery store. She had wanted to go yesterday by herself (she is SO ready to drive again. . . ) but I asked if she would mind waiting a day so that we could go together and I could help her. She agreed, but commented, "You're still worried about me driving, aren't you?" So we had that conversation again, how I worry about her ability to react quickly, how I don't want to wait till she has an accident. How she thinks she's fine. So I've been trying to anticipate her needs and offer to drive everywhere. This is working now, but I'll be so much busier when I go back to work, I'm not sure how I can keep manipulating the driving situation. Anyway, we did the shopping, and I could see that it was so exhausting for her. It was hard for me to keep such a slow pace.

We got home and she sat down while I put away her groceries and my groceries, first cleaning her table so I would have a place to put the bags. That got done.

Then I installed her new phones which I had bought for her a few days ago. It was hard getting to the old phones unplugged because her space is very very very very crowded with many many things. And it was stressful reading the instruction manual and trying to figure out how to adjust the settings and record the message and all that, but it worked. So despite the stress, I did feel kind of proud of myself for doing the kind of thing I usually leave to my husband.

We separated for lunch, since I knew she had sandwich ingredients. I often ask her what she ate for a meal, and it's usually a bowl of cereal or a sandwich or yogurt. I try to offer one cooked meal with meat and vegetables per day, but some days, like today, I don't manage it.

After lunch I remembered to pick up yesterday's mail, and she had a bill and a new credit card, so I took those downstairs. She gets two regular bills aside from doctor bills, and I had given her the other one last week. I asked if she'd paid that, and she wasn't sure where it was. We found it under her table, not yet paid, so I asked if she would mind paying the two bills right then, and she did it. She did it sooo slowly - she's been using online bill pay for years and still knows how to do that, but she has to find her log in and password in her notebook and then type them in, an amazingly slow process. She also sent a check to the church, something I had thought she'd set up as an automatic payment. I checked to see, and sure enough, it is not automatic. I was shocked to see that she had done it in June, just a few weeks after her injury! I called and activated her credit card while I was there, which took much too long because she couldn't remember her ssn and we had to find it. But that eventually also got done.

I went upstairs again, but went right back down to see if she had taken her insulin. She had not, so she got a reminder. The needle per day seems to be working, except that today's needle was missing this morning. I panicked, thinking she had done it twice yesterday and we would need to change the system again, but we figured out that she had thrown away the new needle with the old one. She uses a sharps container, so it was easy to look through. I had to dig through sharp needles, but not through garbage.

After that, I worked on my own housekeeping chores for awhile, and took my son out for a book club at a local bookstore. While he was with the kids, I was reading a book about caregiving, A Bittersweet Season: Caring For Our Aging Parents - And Ourselves. I used the index to find parts about driving. I put it down later feeling sad and hopeless. There is hardly ever any system in place to evaluate elders' driving. It's always up to the family. Doctors usually hesitate to report people to the DMV because they lose patients and get sued. I've been counting on getting help for that. I also read horror stories of octogenarians who killed other people, including children, because of bad driving decisions. The author said something like, If you try to take away the car keys too early, you patronize and humiliate your parents. But if you wait too late, you risk something terrible happening. How do you know?? And I read about how many people - how many of us - are likely to spend the last two years of their lives completely dependent on others. What a depressing thought.

Anyway, I came home and checked in, made sure she had eaten dinner, then went upstairs to watch a movie with my husband and son. When the movie was over, my son went downstairs to spend his last half hour before bedtime with his grandma, and I made a very overdue phone call to a friend. I shared some of my worries with her, and she gave me a lot of encouragement.

The book just activated all my anxieties about the future, but I know I need to stay in the moment. And today, there was nothing that I couldn't cope with.

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5 Comments

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LilMagill

Thank you, Pegi!

yolanda

Thank God for the moments we can cope with! Wishing and praying each day is a good day.

Denise

Hi--First, I would say there's much that's special about your day and I'm so glad you're writing about it. A day that begins with your mom making coffee is a special one.\r\n\r\nWhile I do think it's very important to be educated about a disease process and what's next, I also think it's okay to know which material doesn't serve you. Some authors will approach caregiving and end-of-life with more of a \"the glass is half empty\" viewpoint. it's important to be informed and to be comforted and to decide what that looks like for you. \r\n\r\nI really believe you are handling the situation with your mom just right. Give yourself the flexibility to tweak and adjust, depending on how each day goes. \r\n\r\nOne other thought: While no one wants to be dependent at the end of life, the experience of caregiving gives us a chance to close out life, so to speak. The sudden-ness of a death can be so devastating because there wasn't a chance to say good-bye. We have chances to resolve relationships and say what's in our heart during the last experience of life when we receive care. We go out as we came in. :)