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

All In a Day’s Work, Part 1

Caregiver’s Log: Day 985

4:00 am:      Awaken, astonished by your internal body clock’s ability to snap you out of a deep sleep at precisely 4:00 am. Every single morning, like a mother with a newborn. Mutter a quick request of the Universe to be open to whatever comes next and help you help others. Stand in front of mirror repeating the three pages of affirmations your AA sponsor has you write as part of the amends you’ve never made to yourself, even after twenty years of sobriety.

4:05 am:      Arm yourself with a pot of Dark Magic coffee. Write for a half hour in your Clairefontaine notebook, purchased a half dozen at a time. Draft this week’s blog post, “Drama Mama.”

5:00 am:      Prepare Round One of your husband’s three-a-day IV antibiotic infusions. Administer with freshly-scoured and gloved hands. Scrub PICC line with alcohol wipe. Inject saline flush. Alcohol wipe. Inject antibiotic over the span of the longest five minutes of your life. Alcohol wipe. Inject saline flush. Alcohol wipe. Inject Heparin. Alcohol wipe. Smile when he says, “This better fucking work,” and respond a little too brightly: “It will! Stay positive!”

Dispose of medical waste accordingly. Wash hands.