Archive for February, 2023

bigger than bargained for

Well I did say in the last post that this would be a big year — but I had no idea just how big.

A few days after I last wrote, my mother fell. She didn’t answer when I called her that morning, which was weird enough – but when she didn’t call back after I’d left a message, I knew something was wrong. So I drove over and found her lying on the floor of her bathroom, frustrated and hurting. No bones were broken, so over the course of a few hours I helped her up and back into bed (she absolutely refused to have an ambulance come). I’ve been living here ever since, taking care of things and carving out a space for myself in this sea of fake flower swags and Thomas Kinkade. As if to illustrate Murphy’s Law, the Life Alert emergency response system I’d ordered arrived on her doorstep later that same day.

And so we began a new journey, on a foggy road, with no clear path ahead and random raging storms. My mother will not accept nursing/medical care, so we’re kind of flying blind. She isn’t breathing well and she’s very shaky, but she enjoys her puzzles and her meals and her TV, and for the most part we are getting along.

Still, I regularly bitch to friends and family about how stubborn my mother is, how tropical she likes the heat, or how exhausted I am…but I’m also grateful. I’m grateful I’m not in my 20s, itching to play pool and drink margaritas with my friends at Café Hollywood on Lark Street. I’m grateful it’s not summertime and I’m not missing out on trips to music festivals or Hampton Beach. And I’m grateful I’ve got some stellar friends and family who have provided support, gifts, flowers, food, opportunities to get out, and company — all of which make a huge positive difference.

I marvel at how the experiences throughout my life have led me to this caregiver role. I had a child in diapers for 9 years, which better prepared me for this. The pandemic sent us home for work, which enabled me to move my office for both jobs here. Working as a caregiver some years ago taught me a trick or two in finding ways around difficult tasks, like changing sheets when someone’s lying in the bed. I reckon I was about as ready for this as I could be.

Luckily my mom loves cats, so it was a no-brainer to bring my two cats with me. And I’ve been able to get out for a few hours at a time here and there. When I visit Boo I’m gone for at least 5 or 6 hours, so on those days I serve my mom a hot meal for lunch and wrap up a peanut butter & jelly sandwich for her dinner while I’m away.

When I get frustrated, I try to put myself in her shoes. Her home has been invaded and she’s lost a lot of her independence. She doesn’t feel well, or strong, or in control of anything. She turned 80 in her bed. (I sang Happy Birthday and brought coffee, plus one blueberry muffin with a candle in it). We’re doing the best we can.

Speaking of birthdays, Boo is almost 21, and all our minds are blown. 21?! How did that happen?

I’ve had great visits where he devours his pizza & wings dinner, then we walk together around the campus, always with music on. His current favorite song is Attention by Charlie Puth, which is about as pop as pop gets, but he still requests Guster first and foremost, usually on a playlist I made that begins with Fa Fa. Last time I visited, it was a recording-breaking high temp of 64, so we ate at the picnic table!

I have a few new photos to share, too – Jonah likes his beard and always answers “no” when asked if he wants to shave it off.

I’d like to blog more often, because there are other things to say – but most days I’m too tired. There’s a meeting on Tuesday about Jonah’s “exit plan” from Anderson, which so far isn’t much of a plan. We shall see…

Be well, my peeps. Back soon, I hope!

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