Tuesday, January 18, 2011

One day's troubles

It was a heck-of-a-day with my mother-in-law.  I mean it, such a day that I'd just as soon crawl back into bed, pull the covers up, and try to start over again.  At least one of us started the day wrong...and it wasn't me, if you catch my drift. By the time we were loaded up and on our way to her vein clinic appointment (do these people EVER do anything other than go to doctors' appointments? You're asking this, aren't you?), tempers were frayed.  The poor nurse walked into the examine room, told me a few things that had happened while I was gone a week or so ago, and that frayed temper exploded.  The poor nurse didn't have time to duck, but she sure flew out the door quickly enough. Unfortunately, I had no such option.  It was a long, confusing afternoon, and by the time I got home, I was exhausted.

The thing is...I have to be way up in the private business of this formerly private woman, and she really hates it.  I'm not her child, nor even the wife of her child.  The longer she lives here, the more tired she becomes of the need to depend on someone who isn't one of her family.  That an 'outsider' should be so intimately acquainted with all her ways, it just feels wrong to her. I get that. I get that she always wants to run everything past her daughter back in Maryland, even such decisions as when to have the next appointment--though it impacts my life wholly, and she doesn't remember  that.  I get that in some ways when she gets angry at me, she's actually angry at her own inability to remember or walk or do what she always trusted her very able brain and body to do.  The veneer of gratefulness wears thin after so long.  It does for all of us, so I get it.

Still, it's hard to bear the brunt of someone's illogical anger.  I remember this well with Mom.  Remember how her illogical emotions made me grit my teeth to be around her.  Never knowing what to expect, or what would set her off.  And even when one emotional catastrophe had been dodged, it was inevitable that another would crop up momentarily.  It was the nature of the disease we learned...but too late to keep us from feeling we were going crazy.  No, it's clear that we're back on that same topsy, turvy, stomach-dropping roller-coaster.   And it's definitely a two-fer, because while I was with Thyrza this afternoon, Beve was with his dad, which is also always quite the ride (you should see him when he tries to show off with his walker and loses his balance.  Literally, quite the ride!).

I don't think I realized when I started this blog that so much of it would center around the care of elderly/dying parents.  Parents with dementia.  But for all the miserable days, like today, there were days when we were the ones being cared for by these people, and days when they cared for our children.  If they have their grumpy, two-year-old tantrum moments, well, I suppose we put them through the ringers at times too. AND...and this is no small thing, I know there are others out there like us.  The sandwich generations, we're called, I think--still parenting our kids, but also parenting our parents--who might feel encouraged to know they aren't alone.

This afternoon after taking Thyrza home, I called her daughter back in Maryland, just to give her an update (see, I am dutiful!).  Then I sat in my car quietly for a few moments and pondered the idea of driving to Canada.  Just driving away from it--her and her not wanting the help she needs that is feels so sacrificial about half the time.  But my passport's expired, Beve wasn't free to go with me, and I really just wanted to go home.  And live to fight another day.  Isn't that what Jesus said?  One day's troubles is enough for that day.

No comments: