My day starts with my father's suite smelling awful. Old man smell. Every day we clean it, I light candles, but by the end of the day, it just smells old and sick. I go to my own bed wanting to scald off my skin so I can't smell it. This weekend, I was gearing up for today - the ONE day where I could do work - complicated work, that involved multiple locations and video shoots. I told everyone - I MUST GO TO WORK ON MONDAY. MUST. DO. MY. WORK. This morning, the aide comes and she's new, so once again, I have to explain the big dog, the keurig coffee maker, location of silverware, on and on and on. Then dad starts to complain that he is in terrific pain - he has JUST gotten out of rehab last thursday - way too soon in my opinion, with a fractures (no surgery needed) hip. He wants to go to the hospital - unusual for the pain. Thus, while I'm trying to get ready for work, I have an ambulance coming, the aide is upset because her patient isn't around for our four hours, and dad is barking at everyone. In the midst of all of this, EMTs are looking for his current list of meds and asking me questions, while I attempt to put on mascara.
Finally, because the DH, probably sensing I'm going to stroke out, tells me to go to work and he'll handle. I DO. This is first time I have NOT gone to the hospital with my dad. Because could we be honest - for all that cheery "family first" rhetoric, no one gives a damn about my dad. They want their work done.
I have been an editor and an executive consultant forever. My work has been my greatest pride, other than my wonderful children. I am literally watching my career - essentially my life - be shredded before my eyes as I handle my father's care, month after month, year after year.
Naively, I thought everything could be solved with a hospital bed and day aides. I really thought this would help - and it did, sort of - except there were still other endless tasks at night - now changing diapers, helping him use the toilet, picking up everything that falls off the bed, endless endless searching for the remotes he's lost...I am NOT relieved of my run-and-fetch role with my dad, and often, he'll call out for something at 1 or 2 a.m.
But that run-and-fetch gig is fracturing my concentration to hell, and it's killing one of the sweetest, most flexible contracts I could ever get. I feel murderous - not toward Dad - I feel so BAD that he's having to deal with this, but toward fate and God. I want to rant and cry, but I'm taking Xanax instead, just so I don't stroke out. I pray for this to end - and then I feel guilty, because i don't want dad to die, I just want him to feel and be better. But as we all know, you get into that spiral, and I don't think there's any cure. Sigh. And the old man smell. Every day, the old man smell.