March 2, 2011
The light at the end of the tunnel has been snuffed out. I had thought that after years of endless care, I had finally reached a different point in my life, a time when not only Lauren would achieve independence, but I would as well. But, it’s over before it started.
My parents arrived Sunday afternoon. My mother is far worse than I thought...and I thought she would not be good. The motorhome my brother and sister-in-law rented to pick up my parents arrived in our driveway on a beautiful, sunny afternoon. I jumped in to greet them, took one look at my mother, and my sister-in-law said the color drained from my face. The woman lying on the bed was like a fragile shell of the woman I had been with only six weeks before. Trying to get her out of the motorhome and into the house was difficult and painful. It hurt her even to be touched. We had to put her on a chair and carry the chair inside. She could stand for only a minute at a time and it seemed like she had forgotten how to move her feet.
How would I care for her? How could I toilet her? Get her in and out of bed? She couldn’t move herself once on the bed, and we couldn’t do it for her without intense pain. How would I do all this on top of what I’m already doing? I have two intense months ahead of me. It will be a lot of work to get Lauren’s home ready and her into it. I need to get my own home ready to go on the market. We need to find a new place to live. We want something small and easy to care for. Where will I put my parents?
After a night’s sleep, some food, and more rest, Mom perked up a little. She could move her feet if we told her several times which foot to move, but barely long enough to transfer out of the wheelchair. We took her to the doctor on Tuesday. He gave her stronger pain medication. The doctor knows me, knows Lauren, knows what my life is like. I dreaded him telling me that my mother needed to be in a nursing home, and yet, was crushed when he didn’t.
It was a long morning today. I got Lauren up, dressed, fed, toileted, and in her stander. Nancy is off today. Then with my niece’s help I got my mother up, toileted, showered, dressed, and fed. I then went to take Lauren out of her stander and noticed that she had wet through everything. I then had to change Lauren and get her settled back in her chair with her mp3. I hadn’t even washed my face yet. I had planned to get up early and get myself put together for the day, but there had been too many sleepless hours during the night when I was trying to figure out the future, come to terms with the end of the life I was anticipating. I finally fell asleep in the early morning hours.
And what about George? I promised him that after all these years of my having to put Lauren first, that his time had come. If we don’t have this time together now to travel, to be spontaneous, to simply experience freedom like we never have....when will we? George is seventy-five – it’s now or never.
There are so many thoughts, fears, and a myriad of emotions dragging me through this day that it is overwhelming. Mental exhaustion on top of physical exhaustion....really bad mix. The tunnel that I thought that I glimpsed the end of, has gotten narrower and darker than ever before.