Thursday, November 17, 2011

Where Have I Been? Exhaustion or Excuses?

Where has the past year gone?! I have all sorts of stories yet to tell, but I haven't had the energy or inclination to write them. They're written in my mind, I just couldn't put them on paper.
A lot has happened in 12 months. Mostly decline.
After two trips to the hospital, then a deplorable stay at a quote "rehab" facility -- My Mom became too weak to remain in my care. I've said since the beginning of this experience that I'd know when it was time to make a transition. I was right. I had no guilt and no remorse when she went to a private care home instead of back to my place last November.
What I didn't expect is how long it would take to recover from the exhaustion of caregiving.
It's been a full year since we made the move and I'm just starting to feel like myself again. I've got other excuses about why I haven't had time to journal my experiences. I've been busy finding work again, catching up on my social life and riding my horse a little more often (without worrying about My Mom escaping from the car!) I've also been trying to figure out how to find balance and make time for "visits" to the new home where I attempt to continue to spend quality time with My Mom.
But mostly, honestly, I think I have just been recovering from exhaustion. Two and half years of sleepless nights, the growing job of helping My Mom through daily activities, and the final duties of round the clock nursing really took a physical toll. More than I was willing to admit while I was still the main provider.
This week for a moment I thought the whole experience was coming to an end. My Mom is now pretty much wheel chair bound, and she's becoming increasingly unresponsive. Luckily, she's super content. Unlike most Alzheimer's patients, she still eats voraciously and she doesn't appear to be in any pain. Even when she's completely out of it, her hands and feet keep time with the music therapist who comes weekly to sing and play the guitar. Until this week the decline had been gradual, but Tuesday night My Mom took a dramatic shift for the worse. It turned out to be a bit of a false alarm. A 'bad day' as we call it when people age. But the episode made me confront the inevitable. She's definitely in the final stages of this horrid disease. I can't stand to watch her grow crumbly when there's nothing I can do about it. I think back to her vigor just a year ago and my exhaustion evaporates.
The truth is the time we had together wasn't nearly long enough.

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