All in A Day’s Work, Part 4

Caregiver’s Log: Day 985

10:00 am     Dust office and bedrooms. Decide against cleaning bathrooms, settling for a quick wipe-down of counters and toilets.

10:30 am     Jump on conference call with realtor, step-brother you’ve met exactly once who controls the family trust and father whose only response is “what?” approximately sixteen times during discussion of lowball—and only—offer in a month on the island cottage where your father lived and basically ran into the ground for the last thirty years. Yell, “TAKE THE OFFER!”

Text your father another reminder to get his hearing aids checked.                    

10:45 am      Pick up dogshit on lawn, empty catbox and wheel out trash barrel to curb. Fold the first of three loads of laundry, thinking how much you took for granted all the chores your husband used to do around the house.

11:00 am      Check on Greta and get the mail: a flyer from Realtor Bob who apparently has an unlimited advertising budget and still wants you to call him today. Agree with your husband about the molasses-like speed of Medicare claims processing. Reassure him that his eight-day stay in the hospital will not cost a half million dollars.

Let dogs in and out for the eighteenth time this morning, silently vowing to install a dog door if the cat dies before you do.

4th in a Series of 7. Read the rest here

All In a Day’s Work, Part 3

Caregiver’s Log: Day 985

8:00 am       Take your mother out for breakfast and drink a shit-ton of bitter IHOP coffee. Give her a new napkin because the one she started eating is, according to her, “broken.” Marvel at how she can power down a stack of pancakes the size of a turkey platter, scrambled eggs and a blueberry muffin and still stay skinny as a skeleton. Notice the tumor in her pancreas is now protruding from her belly like a full-term pregnancy.

9:00 am       Return home to assist husband with a shower, making sure the waterproof sleeve you finally found at the third CVS pharmacy yesterday covers his catheter. Avoid heavy sighs when he complains that the towel is too soft and the bar soap slips through his fingers. Remind yourself to add shower gel to shopping list.

9:30 am        Field latest batch of text rants from your 87-year-old father—who you moved two weeks ago into a senior living community three thousand miles away—about his new 65” TV being too small and impossible to hear. Order sound bar for $250, sign him up for a year of unlimited tech support and text him back: “Go to Best Buy and get whatever TV you want,” because if you get one more text about his A/V bullshit, you’ll lose it on him like you did on last week’s rant about his new place being full of with “uneducated slobs.”

3rd in a Series of 7. Read the rest here

All In a Day’s Work, Part 2

Caregiver’s Log: Day 985

5:30 am:      Run dogs before the sunup of another sultry 92-degree September morning. Return with new story idea on the recent demise of the neighborhood grocery store you’ve just jogged past. Hurriedly scribble “empty parking lot—metaphor for life purpose?” on the “Call Bob Today!” notepad recently left at front door by overzealous neighborhood realtor.

6:30 am        Walk over to feed Greta, the neighbor’s Chihuahua you’re petsitting for a week. Attempt to meditate in peace on neighbor’s couch. Give up after ten minutes of Greta licking your face.

6:45 am        Walk home. Dust living room. Drag vacuum cleaner from closet, causing immediate mass pet exodus. Decide dog hair dust bunnies can wait until tomorrow.

7:30 am        Drive to the memory care home where you moved your mother last year after quitting your job and taking care of her for three years in your East Coast childhood home. Park in space marked “Future Resident Parking,” because at the rate you’re going, it’s probably true. Unload gigantic box of Depends from your ten-year-old Ford Escape which has epically failed to live up to its name, still annoyed that the one and only time you shipped the Depends—which she calls “paper panties”—directly to her apartment, they mysteriously vanished. Wonder if there’s a black market for adult diapers.

Smile and respond, “Hi, dearie,” to her “Hi, Mummy,” greeting, when all you want to do at this point is either (a) sit in a dark room, eat a jar of peanut butter and cry; or (b) drop a hit of purple microdot and blast Pink Floyd on your headphones.

Second in a series of 7. Read Part 1 here