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I love my Mom. I would do anything to spare her any sort of pain or discomfort, but I am still human. The situation at the hospital would try the patience of a saint. And believe you me, I am no saint. Love does go a long way towards forgiving a lot of sins, but there comes a time when something has to give. The wisest thing to do when you feel the breaking point nearing, is to take a hiatus – or in the vernacular – take a hike! I am very near to that point. I have been under tremendous pressure for the past three weeks, compounded with physical exhaustion and emotional drainage (sounds like the sewers, which sometimes I feel I am swimming in), so temper tantrums and childish behavior have a tendency to become the last straw before a gargantuan blowup.
I am the last person to blame someone who is in pain for being short tempered. Pain does that to people. But what is compounding the already sticky situation is Alzheimer’s disease. It rears it’s ugly head at the worst times ever. Venomous anger which turns into insults and even reaching a point of physical aggression has happened a few times. The young nurses are the epitome of patience and tolerance. But I must admit when that ire turns on me and she starts being sarcastic and even insulting, I have a very difficult time keeping my temper. She has no control and could very easily blame me for something that has nothing to do with me, like how dare I go to the bathroom when she needs me to arrange the pillows behind her back for the 17th time in 15 minutes! Then the sarcasm starts, the excessive politeness and sarcastic self blame, anything that would make me feel guilty is fair game. Yes I know, it’s the Alzheimer’s and yes I know she is physically hurting, and yes I know I should be more understanding, but there comes a time when enough is enough.
As I do not want to do something that I would certainly regret once done, and would haunt me with guilt later on, the best policy is that of the disappearing act. I have been locked up in that hospital room since 8 a.m. with not a single break. I am at her beck and call every single second of that excruciatingly long , endless day. Today has been one of her bad days where nothing makes her comfortable, where she needs constant, and I mean CONSTANT attention. Bathroom breaks are an imposition and service has to be immediate, even if the same thing is requested several times in two minutes. My back is starting to give out, but worse still my control on my temper is slipping. As punishment to me, she has now taken to asking the nurses for everything she needs. Little does she know what a relief that is to me. I just sat by and ignored the show. When this did not work, she is now in a temper tantrum, would not open her mouth to take the medication. When I told the nurse to come a little bit later, that didn’t go down very well, an annoyed frown appeared, which I ignored. When this went on for a few minutes, she appeared to be shuddering awake then started calling her mother. I answered and asked her what she wanted so we started playing the game of discomfort again. The pillows need to be rearranged. More on this side. Which side? This side. Yes, right or left? She points vaguely with her chin, so I just take my pick, and of course it’s the wrong side! Loud protests, no no, this was ok now it’s not, redo it the way it was. I do. Ok now? Yes. The other side is ok now? Yes. I sit. The middle of my back is uncomfortable. And we start all over again. It goes on for maybe fifteen minutes. Then we stay quiet for another fifteen. Last time I ask you for something. Yes Mom. The pillow at my back needs to be moved down from this side…..
This writing is my safety valve. I am venting. Otherwise I would probably lose my temper rather badly and regret it forever. My jaws are clenched so strongly my teeth hurt. My back aches, my legs hurt, the tension in my shoulders is tremendous they are like two slabs of concrete and am starting a spasm from my throat down to my stomach. I want to run away. I dream of those open deserted beaches with the lovely white sand, turquoise water and palm trees. Lazing there, served hand and foot and sleeping till I’m bored silly. Sleep. Heaven. My escape dream. Then am brought back to reality with a thud. The middle part of my back is uncomfortable!
The worst possible time starts when I get a telephone call! That is when all hell breaks loose with everything that could possibly go wrong with her posture, her well-being and her comfort. I simply have to concentrate all my attention on her again. So even the break of a conversation with a cousin or a friend is denied me. I have therefore decided to run away. I shall pack my little back-pack, lug along my bottle of chilled Chardonnay, and disappear for a few hours! I am running away. I will jump into that beautiful picture of a very empty beach I saw on Facebook and will go into my virtual world where there are no telephone calls, no nurses, no bloody pillows! I shall be floating on my back in warm waves of the sea, looking up into clear blue skies and hearing absolutely NOTHING. Heaven. A few hours of silence, a few hours of no demands, no obligations, a few hours to myself. Charging the batteries. R&R before venturing into the fray again.
The only way I can cope without permanent damage to me, her or our relationship, is for me to run away into my beautiful, tailored virtual world of total relaxation, quiet and being alone. My virtual world, here I come.
6 February 2014

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