Life With Aging Parents – the Self Sacrifice Edition


IMG_5766It had dawned on me that those who have a tendency to wax poetic about a family member who is suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, how it hurts them to watch them deteriorate, how hard it is to watch the changes in dear mama or dear papa are the ones who are not the actual day in and day out caregivers.  You care give and you no longer wax poetic about dear mama or dear papa.  You’re too annoyed with the stopped up toilet, the ventures outside, the exhausted parent who is trying to care for the spouse with AD, and too generally pissed off with them to wax poetic about the changes in their life.  Frankly, by a certain point, you really don’t give a damn. You can’t see beyond the absolutely mind-numbing day in and day out problems to be sentimental.

Friday morning, when my mother told me she was feeling much better, I told her to sit down and don’t hurt herself. Yada Yada Yada. According to Maggie, she moved a chair in the garage, helped clean out the freezer, then fell twice. By the time I reached San Pat (with a pizza) she was in agony. She does this to herself. Now, I’m up all night. She can’t even stand up on her own she hurts so badly.

Once upon a time, before her back started hurting in August, I was writing 3500 words a day. Now, I’m lucky if I get in 35 words a day. I’m too tired to write. It doesn’t really matter, though, right? Writing is not a viable career choice. If I were a viable offspring I would be doing something more lucrative. Unfortunately, I suspect I’m just a spoiled, selfish bitch for wanting to continue being a writer. I’m so tired, such a wreck, I can’t prepare anything for publication. The current count is 5.75 completed murder mysteries, 1 fashion book, 1 book of essays about Wyatt, 1 book of political essays, 1 yearly devotional, 1 book of inspirational essays, and 1 nearly completed book of inspirational essays nearly completed. My mind is so tired and stressed over the parents, I can’t even begin proofing and editing.

Along those lines, I do need to sell the blasted condo and move to San Pat to be near them. Thus far, I’ve had 4 people suggest I get a camper and live in it. (I individual was being humorous – and you know who you are). The others were serious. If 1 more person tells me I just need to put my life in storage and move in with the parents, I swear I’m going to star telling people what I think of them. Evidently, for some strange reason, my life is not worthy of being a real life. It’s okay for me to get rid of what I own, sacrifice what remains of my career, and I guess have my cats slaughtered (because there’s no place to put them in the parents’ house). I’m not worthy of having the same rights that others have. I gather I’m just half a person. And, no I’m not moving in to the storage building I detest so much. It’s full of my mother’s things. My things and my life, evidently, are not worth-while.

Yes, I’m ranting. I’m tired, exhausted. I can rent the damn condo for $800 a month. 10 yrs ago they were renting for $1200/month, but I was told that’s the problem with today’s economy in New Mexico. I can rent it nightly, and get about $90 – with maybe 55 nights a year being rented. That won’t pay the obscene HOA fees, nor the taxes, nor cover electricity. The fools who own the other units are willing to believe the you know what that they should basically give them away at $800 a month, when the house I want to rent goes for at least $2500. Yep, that’s life. It sucks, then your parents get old and you are required to sacrifice everything you have and ever will be to help them.

I want to help them. I don’t mind doing this. It just seems as though I could get a break, once in awhile. This is going on 3 years of pure stress. I guess I resent having my writing taken away from me. You take that away from me and you may as well just shoot me and get it over with. Forget being able to interact with colleagues. That’s a thing of the past. It has dawned on me that even when i finally get around to doing the edits and getting a book published, I won’t even be allowed to get away to do a book signing, unless it’s in town, and no one gives a damn about my writing, there.

With Alzheimer’s you don’t get a pass, not if you keep your aging parent at home.  Those who are there, most often, don’t have time for sentimentality.  Forget about that.  You also learn not to pity the person who is suffering from AD, but to have compassion for the caregiver.  They are the ones having their lives ruined doing a thankless job. I remember hearing Michael Reagan discuss how sad it was to see his father, who didn’t recognize him.  That tells me he did not spend much time with his father, or he wouldn’t give a damn.

When you hear a family member mention how hard it is to see their loved one the way they are, trust me, they’re only dropping by once in awhile, if that often. You can bet the toy poodle they certainly won’t have any compassion for those of us in the tranches.  They’re too busy feeling sorry for themselves.