Pre-Christmas Travel Writing
I jump from one app to another. Jigsaw puzzle to reading to writing. Back and forth, writing and jigsaw. Uneasy. Jittery.
Uneasy. Not at ease. Tense. Guilty. Dramatic, yes, but so fucking what. That’s who I am. I have no desire to change that about myself. Besides, honestly, I keep most of my drama inside.
Back Home Organizing My Thoughts
Haven’t been writing much over this past holiday season. Left my time and energy for family and myself. Since my post-Thanksgiving chest cold, I’ve been doing jigsaw puzzles and not engaging in as many verbal activities.
Kind of like my mother. She nods yes, shakes her head no, or stares blankly not seeming to understand. She no longer reads the newspaper. Just turns the pages, pulls out the ads, and organizes the paper by section. Reassuring daily routine, even if she can no longer read.
Although I visited both my parents before both Thanksgiving and Christmas, I felt guilty leaving them behind when I visited my sister and in-laws. Broke my heart. So much guilt, even though I know after trial and error that we are giving our parents the best of care. Just can’t be in two places at once.
Last year around Christmas time, my Mom was psychiatrically hospitalized. More to the point, I had her psychiatrically hospitalized. Heart breaking decision, but I tried to do the right thing every step of the way.
We had hoped to have them living together back then. Our mother went from stroke rehab to the psychiatric hospital, then to another stroke rehab before moving into a board and care with my father. They did not do well in the board and care, so we ended up moving them into a high-quality memory care community.
Since that time, we’ve found that they do better apart in separate communities. I feel terrible that I’ve had her in so many places, but she’s stable now and my father’s health has improved. They both seem to be happy, even though they miss each other. Their memory communities arrange a weekly Skype session so they can “see” each other.
Visited My Parents This Week
The new year begins. I visited my parents before and after the holidays. When visiting my mother on Sunday, I took her out shopping. We terrorized fellow shoppers as we tried to navigate using an automated cart.
Once I got back home I debated whether I could bring her home to live with me. Our house, though, is not well suited for a stroke survivor. Bedrooms are upstairs. Our flooring is tile and hardwood. Our stairs steep and without a landing.
Just thinking about moving my mother in, I started to ramp up, to get mildly hypomanic. I found myself unable to sleep. Instead of sleeping, I researched stair treads, hand rails, stair elevators, and purchasing a single-level home.
The fact remains that my own mental health is stable because I avoid stressors that trigger symptoms and cycling. I give myself time to recover. If I was a full-time caregiver of my mother, I would not be well.
Yesterday I visited my father and brought my teen son along. My son continues to miss far too much school due to illness and migraines, which frustrates me. I try. I really do. But, I can’t carry a sixteen-year-old adolescent to school when he has a fever, is vomiting, or is coughing. I’m at my wit’s end.
My sister and I decided to give our parents’ living situation a year. They are both doing well. The quality care they receive is why.