WARNING: This is "self therapy" of sorts. I've been encouraged to write when sad... I'm probably talking to myself more than anything. I just needed to get this OUT
Any caregiver knows that taking on the responsibility for an aging parent or loved one requires immense sacrifice and dedication, but this weekend the reality of the loneliness of caregiving slapped me in the face.
I ended up in the emergency room Sunday. At 5:30 am, I was awakened by a dull pain in my lower abdomen. When my home remedies didn't work, I resolved to visit Urgent Care as soon as it opened. By 7:30 AM, I couldn't stand, sleep or lie down comfortably. The dull ache had become a piercing pain that would literally double me over.
I made my way to Urgent Care hoping that a quick once over and a "take two of these and call me in the morning" would suffice, but as I feared, they sent me to the ER. I was irritated. I only had a few hours to "rest" before reporting to my second job, and now I would have a hefty bill in addition to precious lost "me time" (so much for that AM bubble bath). I also still found myself wondering if I would get out of the ER in time to visit Dad at the ALF and if I could effectively hide the fact that I felt like a mule had kicked me in the stomach.
Unrealistic expectations aside, I wasn't quite prepared for the realization that I, indeed, was ALL alone. As I cursed under my breath at the mountain of forms the admitting nurse shoved under my nose coupled with her irritation that I refused to sit in a wheelchair, the proverbial question mocked me like a high school bully: IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, CONTACT...
I drew a blank. The only person I "had" was Dad. I certainly couldn't put down the 88-year-old legally blind veteran with dementia. My friendships had long dwindled as a result of my inability to accept invitations to social outings due to work or caregiving. I stopped expecting the invitations. Those "friends" had moved on with their lives and continued communicating with people that had time to enjoy their company.
I hadn't dated in two years, and though I'm sure some of my ex's would have obliged, that just seemed strange. My dad had other offspring, but we certainly weren't close, not ONE of them had been to see Dad in over a year.
The weight of the proverbial bubble in which I found myself seemed to crush me to the point of suffocation. I felt alone and sad. As tears soaked the form that relentlessly mocked me, I held my breath and put my dog's name and my work phone number in the spaces provided.
...and after seven hours of waiting and every test imaginable, I went home with a healthy bill, a diagnosis of ovarian cysts and a recommendation to reduce stress...
I'm not even looking for a reaction or a reply here. I just needed to get this OUT, and for whatever reason, I find prose to be soothing.
Thanks for letting me share.