How I went crazy -- A day in the life.

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Today was a normal day. I woke up, made myself a cup of coffee, gave the rabbits their breakfast, and turned on the computer to see if I had any orders. Nope, no orders. Looks like I may have to dip into my retirement savings again this month. Ah, well... I check Facebook and Aging Care to see what is going on with friends while I finish my coffee. The day begins.

Mom just got up. I join her for a few minutes while we eat some breakfast. She talks of how we need to call the foundation people to fix the problem with the floor. I tell her there is no problem now, that the foundation people have already been back three times. "No they haven't," she screams. I leave it alone. This has been our normal morning conversation for a year now. "Well, I won't call them," she says. "But you'll be sorry when the house caves down around our ears."

So I clean the rabbit room, the bedroom, and tidy up the bathroom before I go to the grocery store. At least we don't need a lot from the store today. On the way out, I check to see how the herbicide I applied to some weeds yesterday was doing. Good, some weeds were dying. I wished I could apply it to all the flower beds, but there are pesky irises all around the house. Hundreds of them everywhere. The flower beds will have to be cleared by hand. It will take hours.

I get home, get her insulin and afternoon pills ready, then eat some lunch. Then it is to the flower bed to get it cleared. It has been raining a lot, so they are overgrown badly. I leave Mom watching TV -- her normal thing to do all day.

I spend the next four hours clearing weeds from the flower bed. I need some lawn/leaf bags to put the weeds into, so come inside for a few minutes. The mail comes, so I go get it, then remember I have to put the garbage out before cooking dinner.

"Could you water the grass and new bushes, since you're not busy?" she asks. Now, it was hot outside and I was tired and sweaty. My knuckles were almost dragging the ground. I told her I had to rake the weeds up and put them in the bags. "You can't do just one thing for me!" she screams. "All you do is sit around all day and do nothing. And I ask you to do one thing. You need to get a job and stop sitting around all day."

She's yelling and her face is red like a bull, but I really do want to get all the weeds in the bag. It's just a day in the life, and I do need to get the garbage out and dinner cooked. Now, what's really crazy is that all this seems normal now to me. I never thought I would be spending my retirement years working this hard and being appreciated so little.

If you made it this far, thanks for listening. :)

23 Comments

You don't sound crazy to me. You are doing what you have to do and maintain around a less than reasonable person. Seriously, it didn't sound too bad to me.
Maybe I'm used to it, too? You are good, JessieBelle. God Bless You. xo
Thanks, Christina. I ran across a thread earlier on AC about rating our compassion. I couldn't answer it. It is like this has become just an unpaid job that I do for a less than agreeable boss/client. I wish it could be more loving, but it isn't.
(((((hugs))))) Jessie - you are surviving. I wonder what keeps you there, Is it love and compassion - or something else? Either way, your mother is very fortunate to have you looking after her. Take care of you.
So mom really thinks you are not doing anything all day? Hmmmm...Just like what she is doing, but she thinks its you, not her. I'd say don't even try to correct her, just say "that's a good idea, Mom, I'll definitely do that right after I do _______ and thanks for reminding me." You are just not ever going to get reasonableness or perspective from Mom, with her dementia plus or minus pre-exisitng personality, whenit comes to making sense, she just can't or won't or both.

Is there any little part of any task Mom could actually do? Can she go outside and see the weeds bagged up, or turn the hose on or off or anything? Water a couple indoor plants? Given the quality of daytime TV she's probably bored silly to top it all off. YOU are not the least bit crazy, but without a little outside perspective it can be hard to tell, that's for sure!
You lazy thing, you! She's just asking for ONE thing and you turn her down. Sheesh.

LOL ... You know that you are a caregiver when this kind of day seems normal! Hang in there! You are doing an awesome job.

When is your next planned respite?
Compassion is an element within you. One does not have to show emotion to be compassionate, if that is what you mean, JessieBelle. I don't recall Mother Teresa getting too worked up over her daily drama. You are mature and responsible and taking care of business every day. ( I feel a song coming on)
"Taking care of business and working overtime!" WhooHoo! Yep. xoxo
I guess what I am trying to say is Mom is needing to feel like she can make something happen even though she really can't any more. And that shaky foundation and floor must be what makes her feel so unsteady on her feet, right? Hard to believe you don't notice it or can't be bothered to get it fixed :-)...
It is not really so bad. I don't know what I would do if I had to clean poop or tend to her too closely. I just clean house, do yard work, cook, manage finances, shop... IOW, all the normal chores of living for two people. I have already told her I would keep her home as long as I could, but she would have to go to a facility when it gets to be too much for me. I didn't make any promises, thank goodness.

I could fill a book with all the crazy-making things that go on here. Yesterday she wanted me to do some work in the yard that I didn't want to. She got mad and she told me that this was my home and I needed to start acting like it. I pondered what could be done and got the idea of taking up some of the irises and planting the new bushy red rose plants. They are gorgeous. I told her about it. Bad mistake. She got mad and told me I was NOT going to take up her irises. This was HER house. I reminded her she said it was my house and she said, "I said no such thing." I don't put much stock in anything she says anymore. Wait five minutes and it will change. :)
Hi JessieBelle,
I like your writing style. I don't want to say I enjoyed your post because that sounds mean- like I enjoyed your frustrating day --but it was interesting to read about your day. I love to read and you captured your day very well. If you ever feel like sharing your days on here I would love to read more. It is a good picture of what a caregiver of someone with dementia goes through. I love the little details you supplied!

I am sorry it is so darn mind numbing for you. I know what you mean when you said "it seems normal to you". I feel that way with my girl. And it was pointed out to me by her psychiatrist that we are not seeing things clearly as we have gotten used to her behavior.(you mean not everyone gets spit on when they sing? --you mean you don't have to unplug the microwave and hide the plug for fear of what will put in and turned on? ) . The psychiatrist had me so upset -that we were crazy for putting up with the stuff we do and we should medicate but , you know, 'eff her' - maybe it is just our normal for now. Not my neighbor's normal or my sister's normal but our normal.

That being said I hope you get some respite, as mentioned, because those with "our normals" need them!!

((((hugs)))))
Today I spent the day doing my own work. I figured that I'd better put an effort in to making some money. Hope the bucks start pouring in soon. :)

I don't know if people would get very excited about my days. One thing about caregiving is there is always work to do, but it is rarely very exciting. The day is like a series of chores spread out between the medication times. Even the ER and hospital visits become routine. I have to say there is nothing more boring than waiting at the ER. I've spent a few days just waiting for transfer or release.

I would have been very upset by what the psychiatrist said about your daughter, Mishka. It could be that he doesn't realize that normal varies among families. What is normal to you may seem foreign to him. You will know best when to medicate, because you know what is normal for your family. You wouldn't want to be normal like anyone else -- hope that makes sense.

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