Nut graf: Respite means I should be resting, but …
Dad got sick about a week ago and had to go to the hospital, and he’s now in skilled nursing. At least he’s in the hands of professionals and I get a break, right?
It ain’t necessarily so.
I visit every day, about two or three hours. Just hanging out. He’ll sleep through some of it, and I get to see him get real restless when he’s up. He wants to escape, and he has asked me if the car’s outside. True fact. He gets the separation anxiety when I leave, so I usually wait until he falls asleep or make a show of handing him off to one of the professionals. Kind of like changing of the guard.
Meanwhile, I’m getting some rest. Need it.
Doing things around the house. Packed up Mom’s old cookware and loaded it in the garage (still wondering why a person who didn’t cook have a dozen measuring cups).
A little bit more running around.
Catching up on my reading.
Even treated myself to a pizza.
Things like that. Plus I have enough personal irons in the fire; a few projects that I’m working on.
So why am I bored silly?
Breaks in a routine do that to me. I never did vacations well when I was in the work force. After about three-four days I’m ready to go back to the salt mine. Just part of my nature.
I guess this means the caregiving thing has pretty much taken over my life.
Talk to me:Does unscheduled respite disrupt things for you? How do you handle it?
Thanks to the folks from the Purple City Alliance — here it’s Riverside CA, a bunch of caregivers & care recipients got together for food, music, & fun at a local senior center a few days ago. It’s a monthly get-together called Nights Of Hope And Joy, with a live band and all. Dad had a good time, and he did some socializing, which is always good for him.
See, socializing is good. Gets Dad out among them. This sounds terrible, but this means other people are watching him for a couple of hours and I get a little respite. I’ll take it.
Unabashed pitch here: This one’s at the Janet Goeske Senior Center at Sierra Ave (at Streeter), Riverside CA. Second Tuesday of the month, at 6 pm. Rich Gardner is the front man here. We’ve been doing this about six months, and it’s growing.
Not just fun, but it’s a resource. One of many, and it’s really fun.
We went to see a play the other night, something Dad always likes to do. This isn’t exactly a time-in-the-barrel assignment for me ’cause I enjoy it, but there are a couple of alarming things. From the journal:
He wasn’t as social as before, and he looked lost. Almost getting to where he really has no business going out, but what am I supposed to do? Hide him? Lock him in the bedroom and shove bread and water under the door? Stick him in The Home? Over my dead body on all three.
I’ll unpack this one another time. Too depressing to think about now.
This also complicates things when I want to take off for an evening. Like I have a one-night gig in another town (I’m a working musician), and my original plan was to bring him. Not so:
Now I’m beginning to wonder if I can actually make it out to Bellflower without incident & leave him home. No way can I bring him; the travel will be too much for him. By the time we get there he’ll be for crap.
About the only thing I can think of is prepare in advance. This means:
His phone charged up.
I’m on speed dial.
Dinner in the freezer. It’s one of those microwavable meals he likes, and it’ll be right there in front where he can see it.
I should clue in the neighbors so they can stop by and say hello, or let me know if anything really weird happens.
His stereo’s on and cranked up the way he likes it.
Thank God he’s not prone to wandering off the property.
Do I feel bad about leaving him like this? Uhh, yeah. But he’ll be okay.