Another Caregiver Rant

Or whine, who knows anymore?

I am not good at doing that whole caregiver thing, yet I find myself in this position ALL THE TIME. How? I’m not people-y! I’m not a big fan of being helpy! But I end up doing it a lot. It’s probably the same thing that drives my fitness routine: if I hate it that much, it must be good for me.

But it wears on me, you see. I can see the evidence of it all around me right now. There are two cupboard doors open, which is not a thing I usually allow in my house (mostly because the cat is a big fan and I don’t like hoovering cat hair out of my cupboards). I could easily get up and close both of them but I haven’t done that yet. Because I just can’t. Also because I’m sat in front of the computer, pounding out this whine.

But it’s visual, this wearing-down. Or maybe it’s an energy thing, I can’t decide. If I’m spending all this energy taking care of other people, the infrastructure of my life breaks down. Things pile up more than they normally do. Food goes bad because although I have good intentions, the effort involved is sometimes just too much and that’s when takeout happens. So it takes work to overcome this and that work takes energy which I just can’t spare because I have to keep all these other people afloat.

It’s a longer than normal list right now, too. As always, I have Jillian in the top spot, even though she’s healthy and doing okay. But school is about to start and we are jumping into a Whole New Great Unknown (with added Covid-19 restrictions) and that’s stressful for her and my job is to help her manage that. I’m also, as always, keeping an eye on What’s-His-Name, who took his bike to the bike shop last week so they could fix it up and stuff. I AM AGAINST THIS IDEA mostly because him getting on the bike fills me with anxiety and dread and screaming, but he’s a grown-ass man and he’s gonna do what he’s gonna do and I’m gonna scream “BE CAREFUL” and chew Xanax and whatever. I know he’ll be fine (probably) but that fear is always going to be there. And there are other things I keep my eye on, which are related to his TBI: he’s probably 98% all there but there are little things that go missing, such as the names of movies. He can describe a movie plot to me but he just can’t find the name of it, even if it’s something he’s watched over and over again. Weirdest thing, and not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but I imagine it’s frustrating. Luckily, I’ve been translating “you know, the one with the guy in the the thing” for 20+ years so I usually know what he’s talking about.

And then there are the Parental Units. One of the MAJOR reasons why we moved our sexy asses to Ohio was to keep an eye on my parents. After a couple of rounds of “oh, by the way, your dad has been in the hospital for three days” and me going “WHY THE FUCK DIDN’T YOU CALL ME” now I’m here on the ground and can keep an eye on those two crazy kids. WHICH IS GOOD, because Dad had himself a couple of strokes a few weeks ago and he’s improving nicely with various therapists coming to the house to irritate him a few times a week. He’s still moving slowly and his speech does not mix well with my hearing deficiencies, but apparently he’s allowed to get back on his riding mower and he’s been driving, WHICH I DO NOT AGREE WITH but again – he’s a grown-ass man and he’s gonna do what he’s gonna do. The best I can do is pop in and say hi and make sure he hasn’t fallen off the porch into the garden or crashed the car into the mailbox (again). This week, I’m keeping a closer eye on him that usual because…

MA IS IN THE HOSPITAL. My dad texted me on Friday and said “your mom hasn’t eaten for three days, I’m worried about her” and I’m like “THREE DAYS, WHAT THE FUCK, YOU GUYS” so we went over there and I did BIG YELLING at Ma. “Call your doctor!” “Oh I’ll call on Monday. It’s the weekend.” “CALL YOUR DOCTOR RIGHT NOW BY GOD OR I WILL DRAG YOU TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM.” I don’t usually do Big Yelling at Ma but it worked and she called the doctor and off to the hospital she went, like, NO DUH, WOMAN.

Turns out she has pneumonia (on top of All The Cancer) and some other fun things so she’s plopped in a bed and getting IV fluids (because she was dehydrated) and antibiotics and apparently also antifungal meds? She said yesterday that her room was considered and “isolation room” because they thought she had something that might be infectious and I’m like “uhhhh should I be here?” but whatever, if I get dengue fever or ebola or whatever she has, I’ll probably be all right.

So that’s another plate I have to spin.

And then there are The Pets. Main Dog was chewing the hell out of her rear end, so last week I took her to the emergency vet (we don’t have a vet established here yet and nobody is taking new patients until late August) and after 6 hours and $300, we discovered that she: a) has fleas; b) is allergic to fleas; and c) managed to chew her butt to the point where it got infected. I would have noticed earlier but she’s a Husky mix and has that thick, spiky fur. And she’s black, so it’s not like I would be able to see fleas crawling on her anyway! So flea treatments all around, antibiotics for Piper (which… getting those pills down her neck is a battle of wills between her and me and I win about 65% of the time), and vacuuming pretty much constantly. I think I have run the vacuum more in the past two weeks than I have in the past three years. The vacuum is like “ma’am, this is not in my work contract, please stop.”

So to sum up, my family is insane, expensive, terrifying and smelly. I love them all but they are a mess sometimes. And yeah, I know that I need to do my own self-care and not put myself last ALL the time but it’s hard when every time I try to sit down, there’s another fire or flood that I have to figure out how to handle. I am not built for this kind of responsibility and I don’t really know how to do it, but what else am I gonna do with my time? It’s not like I have a job. Well, THIS is my job but the hours are terrible and the pay is shit.

I can either lose my mind completely or complain. So I complain, which is a nice pressure release for me, and then I can go and get on with it.

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