Friday we dropped Mom off at Brunswick Cove for a festive five night stay in a nursing home so we could get a few days worth of rest from the caregiving life. Not that it’s a horrible life aside from having to constantly deal with urine and poo, but it’s kind of relentless. You can never really rest. You’re always on, even when the rare occasion comes up and you can get away.
But, getting away is part of the problem. Someone always has to be here. You might escape for a few stolen minutes as you run an errand or take the offspring to school, but you’ve always got one eye on the clock. Even when one of us can get away, not all of us can. That’s been the hardest thing. The three of us, my wife, my son, and myself, were always known as the three musketeers because we went everywhere and did everything together.
Nowadays, there’s almost always one of us missing unless we’ve been able to find someone to watch Mom while we’re out.
So, Friday afternoon, we went out. Every time we finished one thing, we would think, “oh, let’s go home… oh, wait, no let’s not!” and it was the most freeing thing. It was nothing special; just kind of wandering around aimlessly from store to store, ending up at Barnes & Noble somewhere around 10:30 that night.
“I don’t want to alarm anyone, but I think the Joker is about to pull a heist at Barnes & Noble.”
Saturday was leisurely. I slept in. I didn’t cook breakfast for anyone. I didn’t have to empty the bedside commode or remind anyone to drink water because they didn’t want to get dehydrated. I didn’t have to clean up food or walk anyone to the bathroom.
A little before noon we left the house to take the Offspring to his flag football game. Cookout for lunch and then back home to take a nap. My wife had a dance recital to go to for her niece, so me and the offspring ordered pizza and dis as close to nothing as we possibly could.
Sunday, we left for downtown to take in the Azalea Festival street fair and it’s wide array of questionable fashion choices that were on display for all to see. I hate crowds, but I loved spending the time together with my pack. We walked and looked at things we didn’t want to buy. Ate pizza at my favorite pizza joint and funnel cakes from sketchy looking food stands on Water St.
We finished off Sunday with some Jungle Golf and then home for dinner and more lounging.
Still, during all of this, I was worried about Mom at the nursing home. How was she? Were they taking god care of her? Did she feel safe? I knew she had friends visiting her and so I wasn’t too worried about her feeling alone. Her best friend around here lives just around the corner from the nursing home so it was easy for her to go see Mom after she got off work.
But, still, I kept worrying. I had to remind myself that Mom wasn’t in her room. I would think, “Oh, I need to ask her if she wants something to eat” but I didn’t need to because she was being taken care of by someone else. When I walked out the door I’d start to the back to say good-bye and let her know I was leaving, but then I’d remember she didn’t need to be told. I wondered how she was doing. I worried.
I worried because when you’re someone’s caregiver and it’s family, you’re always on. You never really get away from it, and when you finally do, it’s because someone has died. That’s the disturbing thing for me. Everyone says it’s going to be ok eventually, but it’s not really is it?