Saturday, October 11, 2008

Caregivers have to take care of themselves!!!!

Today I am not a happy camper.
Let’s rephrase that.
“Happy” is such an elusive word, correct only in some rare special moments.
Today I am not a contented camper.

My b.p.was way too high so I had to bum a ride to the doctor.
Not my favorite place to go.
Doctors always find something wrong.
Like going for new tires and the guy tells you that you also
need new brakes , a cv joint and a host of other “little things” he is happy to announce to you.

Doctors have machines now, they whirl and spit out green numbers on little screens.
Could their machine ever be mistaken?
Could the nurse not read 880 when it is 000
I think so.

That peeve put aside I go into the office and tell the medical magician that I have back pain and signs of a kidney or bladder infection plus my blood pressure which
is going higher every day. I seem to follow the gold market not the dow.

I have a sweet doctor, he has known me for decades.
I told him ahead of time that I only have mild stress in life.
As he knows, my husband has dementia, my new widowed son is highly depressed, I have 3 dogs, one cat and a tank of crabs , part of this belonging to son.
I am losing my hair and will soon need to wear a small beanie like the monks
or the Jewish people at Temple. Take your pick.
I might consider a wig like Dolly Parton.
Anyway, my doctor he just smiles. Tells me to double my blood pressure meds and come back in one month.
Before he closes the door behind him he reminds me that it would be nice to
check my blood for cholesterol and diabetes.

I sit for a while and ponder what just happened.
Did he say a word about my kidney?
Daughter tells me he will find out with the blood work.

I go there once a year and every time he tells me the same sing song
“lets check for cholesterol”.
He thinks that every plump old lady has to have a high cholesterol number and be ready to jump into the diabetes category.

Three more days go by and I hear nada from the white coat person and his staff or nurses who now wear cute tops decorated with mums and or kittens.
Phone call done by daughter as I can’t hear very well on the phone.
Lets call it like it is I am now deaf. Low cholesterol but deaf.

The nurse tells daughter that my potassium is very low.
That my thyroid figure is low and I am to take thyroid meds like tout de suite.
Only my blood pressure is high.

How about my Mom’s discomfort? asks the dutiful daughter.
“Oh”answers the girl on the other end, there is no mention of this in
her chart. If she is uncomfortable she will need an anti-biotic.
I will send it all to the pharmacy of your choice.
A letter will follow explaining our findings.
Click, end of conversation.
So I thought I’d sleep on all this and star medicating in the morning.

I did not have a very good night sleep.
I had over drugged my husband.
He was quite stoned as my son put it.

I had purchased generic pills like Tylenol PM so he can sleep.
I did forget that one pill of the generic is the same volume as 2 Tylenol PM.
Ok , so I was a bit absent minded and gave him 2 generics.
If you follow that, it is like 4 Tylenol PM’s.
Well, not really ouch, he did not feel a thing. In fact the poor man could not
stand up to go to the bathroom. He sank to his knees and then fell, thank God, without hurting himself.
Called my son into the room for help. I said that I thought he had a stroke.
My son simply said: he is stoned, Mom.
Stoned? why is that I wanted to know.
OK, Mom, what meds did he take tonight ..........BINGO....the light went on
and then I remembered I had given two of the new generic pills.
I did not sleep much.
I kept looking and trying to see if the man next to me was dying and if the police were going to be at my door with arm bracelets that did not match my sterling jewelry.
Son kept telling me that he simply was going to sleep it off and of course he did,
he had the sleep of the angels, calm, quiet and a wreck for a wife next to him.

So this morning I took a long walk to the cemetary near my house, it is quiet there.
It is also an ancient place, most graves go back to the late 1800’s.
My daughter in law rests here. So does her mother.
I just go and talk to her, my head knows that all that is buried under
the dried grass is a gorgeous antique box and some ashes.
My head knows that. My head also knows that I can talk to her.
She is around if I beckon her. I tell her to watch over her husband.
He is not doing very well, he is lonely. Yes, she was a lot of tragedy combined with love and question marks. He loves her, he loved her through everything that was dished out for them.

I leave the grave and walk Toto while I am in a complete daze. It is like I half belong in here with the silent ones and half belong to this world with the leaves falling around me and Toto sniffling at every tree.
I do not even notice until it is too late that Toto just pooped on Mr Cagle’s grave.
I never allow him to do that. I was angry that I was so out of it.

All the literature about Alzheimer, all the people who have gone that route, all the friends and all the family have one mantra for me:
“Take care of yourself!”

I hear them and I do not know what that means.
For some people taking care of themselves would be to get a manicure, a facial.
I never went for that before so that thought is nixed.
For some people a trip by a pool and a martini is taking care of themselves.
I can’t truly leave this house for more than 1 day.
Taking care of yourself = eating lots of vegetables, fruit and excersize said my vegetarian friend.
My idea is and always has been that lettuce was God’s gift to rabbits.
Not a gift for me.
I walk and I seem to be running around the house all day long. I am not a couch potato. Oh but I am somewhat of a computer addicted personality and that, my friend, is the only way I know on how to take care of myself.
I can sit and write down how I feel and I will not hurt anyone with my words
or deeds, I can just write down what my ache is deep inside this chest.
I can write to tell my soul that all will be better tomorrow, that perhaps,
I can still touch a smigdeon of Faith, I can still know that somehow somewhere I will find the courage to see tomorrow. Perhaps see a rainbow. Perhaps I will know how to be good to myself.

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