Back home again. It’s always nice to get away and I always hope I’ll return refreshed and ready to meet my caregiving duties with joy–okay, not to get carried away here, at least a better attitude.
I landed with a thud this time, getting a call from Mom saying Dad was sick and needed medicine and the nurses wouldn’t give him anything. They didn’t have orders for Musinex, so I made the calls. The nurse called back from Kaiser, having already talked to the nurse at the facility, to say Dad already had an order for Guaifinisen, rather than Mucinex and that Dad should have, by now, been given a dose. The nurse at the facility had assured her that Dad’s lungs were clear and he wasn’t in any distress.
I went over anyway and visited for a little while, watching to see how Dad was doing. He was looking very tired, but that was not unusual. The cough is chronic, but flairs up worse from time to time. Otherwise, he was still asking about everyone and telling jokes. Mom complained again that Dad had not been given any medicine. I suggested they insist on it before bed. Back home I went, finally, and arrived to a phone message from the facility. They didn’t have any guaifinisen and would I bring some? …Of course. I’m afraid I was a wee bit grumbly on the phone. Back I went.
We’ve had an ongoing battle with stuff, as you all know. Among all the boxes of clothes, knickknacks, furniture, books, and other odds and ends, is my mother’s car: a 1987 Buick Skyhawk with less than 50,000 miles. It has been parked in our driveway for the last year. No insurance, no registration. Mom hasn’t been able to drive for the last five years and Dad made the decision to stop driving once they moved to assisted living. He knew it was time and wanted to make the decision himself.
When our son and daughter-in-law’s car died completely, my brother offered to pay full market price for the Buick and give it to our son. This was his way of thanking me for being the caregiver. (Yeah, I know I’m lucky.) Mom wouldn’t have anything to do with it. Didn’t matter if they couldn’t use it. She told me lots of people needed cars and didn’t have them and offered to give my son two large stuffed animals instead. (These came from a yard sale about 25 years ago and were leaking plastic pellets all over the place. We had trashed them long ago.) My brother wouldn’t do anything without Mom’s consent.
I was less angry about the car than just about how thoughtless and mean my mother can be.
Now, just as I get back from my second trip to the facility in one afternoon and am done with all the phone calls and errands, I find out Mom is planning on selling her car to one of the aides at the facility–a nice Ethiopian woman. The aide is lovely and I really, really like her. She’s good to Mom and Mom likes her, partly because she is Ethiopian. This is the only reason I mention the woman’s ethnic background. I hold absolutely no anger towards this aide and I actually hope she can buy the car.
But this has triggered more anger than I expected. Again, it’s not the car, it’s the thoughtlessness toward her family. This brought back memories of when Mom would go to all sorts of activities with the refugee families and not show up for her grandchildren’s school plays, of the time my brother came to town on business and Dad invited us over, only to have Mom uninvite us 10 minutes later and lie to us, saying my brother wasn’t coming after all, of the years when Dad had to shower down in the basement (even at 90) and keep his clothes in the basement because there wasn’t room upstairs with Mom’s three rooms filled with clothes and Mom didn’t want him using HER bathroom.
I’m still exhausted. Going to the PCORI meeting energized me in a good way and was great for keeping my brain active and I met some wonderful people. I’m still exhausted emotionally and physically.
I know I need to just express the anger and then let go of it.. and I will. I just have to take a deep breath and be patient with myself, too. There’s no guarantee my anger won’t be triggered by this again. I can’t pretend these things are not part of my life. Deep breath and let go–over and over.