I've had quite the awakening in the two weeks since I've moved Dad in with me. It has been challenging to say the least, but he seems much happier and we've gotten a lot of the "issues" (translation: negiligence) he was dealing with at the AL under control. The incontinence, though still there, has balanced out and he's getting on a bathroom schedule to help. He's even put on three pounds!!
...but I'm in a situation in which I thought I'd never find myself. I knew in my 20's that motherhood wasn't on my list of "must do's". I was going to be the corporate gal and take girls trips and sip mimosas with my other unwed and unbred girlfriends and live the life of the urban chic.
Hello caregiving. At 41, I'm changing diapers, not getting much sleep, doing massive amounts of laundry... I even carry a "diaper bag" with a change of clothes, wet-wipes, fresh incontinence briefs and spill proof cups with straws for my Dad.
I never wanted to be a mother... but I AM one. It's interesting that someone overhearing my challenges could easily assume that I'm talking about caring for a child. It just made me think... which is easier?
They both have their challenges, but I'm led to believe that at least a parent knows that a child will eventually grow out of some of the challenging behaviors (potty training, dressing self, etc.) whereas a senior most likely will grow INTO more issues as time presses on.
It truly is a very sad state of existence. I don't even call my Dad's current state LIVING. He doesn't feel well most of the time. He's in a constant state of confusion. He needs help with EVERYTHING (which is hard for the proud sailor he used to be) and it takes 22 pills a day and 24-hour oxygen just to keep his feeble body functioning.
Watching him makes me sincerely hope that I leave this world before I end up like that. It breaks my heart.