Saturday, June 9, 2012
When a caretaker can't take care part III
While my knee heals, I am finding out how well my life functions despite being unable to keep up with my domestic chores and obligations.
Sheets were not washed for three weeks, but no one cared except me.
My husband learned how to run the vacuum cleaner, and my daughter was as kind and caring to me as I had been to her during her surgeries and illnesses.
Daughter, husband and grandson were shocked when there were no clean socks or underwear in their closets and drawers. Now they are grateful. They praise me like children in detergent commercials, marveling at "the feel, the touch of cotton" and my skill at discovering and defeating stains.
I couldn't shop, so my husband tried to, discovering that bread no longer costs eighty cents a loaf or green peppers, three for a dollar. He was so overwhelmed by the size of the grocery store and the cost of the produce, he came home with only a bag of candy and sodas for his dinner.
I didn't argue about his diabetes or nutrition. Two hours later when he was hungry again, he went to a fast food restaurant for a hamburger and fries and he liked that so much, he started eating all his meals at fast-food restaurants. The old me would have scolded about his high cholesterol and high blood sugar but I was too sick to argue and within a few days of feeding himself, he was sick, too. He has new respect for the cost and nutrition of a tomato or casserole, as well as the effort and expense I put into all those meals he said he didn't want to eat before I took my hiatus from cooking.
At first my grandson was pleased he did not have to come to my house for dinner and to do homework. He began playing outdoors until dark, eating leftovers, watching a lot of television and guessing at his math and science questions. Then he failed the first math test of his life and his grades fell, just a month before the semester ended. He fell asleep on the drive to school.
He told me to scold him about schedules and homework, and thanked me for scolding him in the past. He is angry with his mother for being ill and she is hurt by what she perceives as his rejection.
My daughter grows thinner, shaking more with chills and tremors. She's gotten the run-around from the insurance company, her doctor and the hospital so the tests she needed "tomorrow" cannot even be scheduled, a week later.
Jenny and I speak in a hit-and-run fashion about misunderstandings from the past and her fears for the future. When a memory or fear upsets her, she bolts.
It's very difficult, letting go. But I think being sick has shown me that I never really had a hold.