Song Number 24 of 50 (I Hope)

I mixed three songs tonight. Hot Damn! My brain feels like mush now, so I am going to bed.

My mother was asleep when I checked on her a minute ago, but she was still up. Explain? Okay. She’s sitting up on the edge of her bed, slumped over to one side asleep. I woke her up and told her she should lie down. She said she will and then went back to sleep without moving. Her back is going to be searing agony tomorrow. It’s like talking to a brick wall sometimes, except you can usually get pissed off when people act like that. I can’t get pissed off now. I don’t think she can actually process that she’s doing anything that will have a negative consequence.

It’s pretty friggin’ frustrating.

Late Lunch

I had a late start to my lunch break today. Hopefully that will make the second half of the day feel a little quicker. I often play mind games with the clock like that. Does it make a difference? Probably not.

I am feeling really stressed out today. I am trying so hard to keep a level head, but I feel like a temper tantrum is coming at any moment. I’m suddenly feeling really tired. Probably because I just ate a nice PB&J lunch and I’m full and my brain thinks some shut eye is a good idea. Instead I am taking diet pepsi through an IV directly into my heart. The caffeine is helping, but I fear it won’t be enough.

I have actually been able to get some good work done today, but my mother is having a rough day today and everything is getting under my skin. She’s not complaining about pain at all. She did for a while, but mostly today it’s just been memory. She asked me where her husband was. I said he’s in the bed in the next room. She said no he wasn’t. She said she wanted to go home. I told her she was home and that this has been her home for more than 50 years. She said it used to be her home but not anymore and she wanted to go home to her parents house. I had to tell her that her parents weren’t in their old house anymore. Because they are both dead, she said. Yes. She said her mother died recently. I told her it’s been 23 years.

It’s so stressful, and feeling like I’m leaning against the tipping point isn’t making it any easier to deal with. I really need to go home and see my family. I haven’t seen my wife in almost 48 hours. I haven’t seen my step son in 24 hours. I haven’t talked to my step daughter in over a week. I’m just feeling crushed right now and they are the only thing that can straighten me out. I love my parents and clearly I’ll do anything for them, but for fucks sake I have a family of my own and I miss them so much.

Ugh… I don’t even remember what I was going to talk about. Give me a second, I have something in my eyes. No, I’m not crying, you’re crying. Wimp.

Okay, I have to get back to work. Talk to ya’ll later.

Long Day

I’m a little more than half way through my 48 hour parent sitting shift. I have been here for approximately 28 hours but I swear it has felt like 9,000.

Nothing bad happened today, it just seemed to drag on forever. My father has been fine. The home health worker sat around bored for most of her shift, but she was able to pitch in with dad on the couple of instances where he needed a little help. My mother hasn’t had a bad day pain-wise, but memory wise has been difficult. They were supposed to go and get their haircut at 1:00pm. My sister was going to come over and pick them up and drive them to the appointment. On the way over the woman who cuts their hair called her and said she was on her way to the house. What?

So instead of my sister and my nephew coming over and then everyone leaving the house but me, every one stayed and we added the hair stylist too. It was really hard to work while all 600 people were here. My step son coming over for lunch made it all better, but I ended up putting noise canceling headphones on and cranking the volume so that I could almost shut them all out. It didn’t work that well, but it was better.

The whole time the hair dresser was here my mother kept asking her how she found them. She was constantly insisting that this is not her house even though all of us assured her that this is the house she’s been living in since 1969 or so. She wouldn’t have it. She was positive she wasn’t in her house and she didn’t know where she was and therefore the hair dresser should not have been able to find them. My father whispered to me that she is getting much worse. She is. It’s heartbreaking and it’s awful.

Tomorrow is another day. They have another appointment in the afternoon, but it’s a tele-health appointment with their primary care physician. My brother is going to come over and take the call with them. I have a meeting at about that time so I don’t know if I will be able to join them. My father has been plowing through bottled water this week and we ran out of his favorite kind. Also, strangely, he is craving Rice Krispies. My sister stocked up on both today and will bring them by tomorrow. My goal is to focus on work as much as the situation will let me, and then when 6:30-7:00pm finally arrives I will get the fuck out of here, go home and watch The Suicide Squad with my wife and my step son, and not come back here until Tuesday night.

I need this to be over. I need to spend time with my wife. I need to spend time with my step son before he leaves for school in a couple of weeks. After that, I need my fucking band to get back together and that can’t happen while I’m parent sitting. I need this to be over.

Baby Step

Looking toward the future, my father just sat my mother down and had a talk about some next steps. The response was positive. Not perfect, but good. Let’s call it progress of the baby steps variety. Another, slightly more impressive, step will happen tomorrow while I’m at work.

Raise a glass to forward momentum. May a wave of good news wash us away to a newer, better, safer place because I really need this to end. I can handle a lot, and I don’t think I am quite to the snapping point yet, but it’s getting close. Way to close for comfort.

Oh, gentle readers, could you do your humble narrator a solid and cross those fingers and keep ’em crossed? We need all the help we can get.

A Literal Note to Self

We have had a home health professional in the house for three days now. When we first talked about bringing in help we discussed it with my parents. They were both on board. Given my mother’s memory issues, someone came up with the idea of having her write a letter to herself detailing how she felt about the situation at that time.

I had to use it today.

A literal note to herself.

It was rough. We were in one room and she was telling me how she wanted the woman out of the house and she didn’t like her and she liked the woman who was here yesterday and she wanted to know who allowed this to happen and can I call them and tell them not to come back. All through this, the woman who is helping us today, dare I say heroically helping us today, was in the next room hearing every word.

I had forgotten about the note to self but when I let my siblings know what was happening they reminded me. Mom wasn’t happy when she read it, but said she remembered writing the letter and she’s been okay ever since.

I made sure to tell the woman that she shouldn’t take anything my mother said personally, and that it was likely by the end of her shift my mother would be her best friend. That’s kinda how it goes. She was nothing but understanding and professional and I am so thankful for her attitude, not to mention her help.

Now though, my group at work is short handed this afternoon and I just had a task mailed to me. I’ll get on it.

Here’s hoping it will be a quiet afternoon in the house and at work. I need me some weekend.

It’s not Sundowning When the Sun is Still Up

Yikes, that was a weird one.

It was just after 4:30 in the afternoon. My mother asked me what time work ended. I am working from her dining room table right now so I assumed she meant me. I told her 5:30. She said she thinks she’s done at 4:30. Okay, maybe her last job let out at 4:30. She said the best part about getting old was not having to go to work anymore. I figured that was the end of the topic.

That’s when it went off the rails. She said that the house we are in right now, the same house that has been her home for 50 years, was just where she worked and that she had to go home. I told her she was already home. She said she had to go to her mother and father’s house. Ummm… She hasn’t lived there since 1967, as far as I know. I told her that her parents were gone. She then changed gears a bit. Yes, her parents are both dead, but her sisters are still at their house. I told her that her brother and sisters all had their own house. She said no, she had to go there to see them. She said she really needed to see them. There was a break in her voice that sounded like it might have been the start of tears, or a little desperation, or maybe just frustration.

Damn. I know she talked on the phone to her younger sister the last time I was here. Her older sister, my godmother, is in Alabama and I’m not sure what kind of mental state she’s in. Her brother is still around, with a slew of health problems of his own, and he has always sort of kept to himself. Not in a bad way, we just never heard from him as much as from my aunts. Needless to say, none of them are living in their parents’ old house, and none of them are expecting a visit today.

I tried to bring her around to something she talks about regularly and eventually I did and it seemed to ground her again, though I am not sure she actually realized it. One of her go to subjects is her parents’ deaths, and another is where her kids’ names came from. I said her father died when I was a baby. She came back with he died in 1972. Yup. I asked if her mother died in 1998 and she said yes. She asked if I was working here then. No, I was living here and I had just gone back to college. I was 27 and I had a Sociology final exam on the day she died (I think… it might have been the day of her funeral). She said her brother was near her when she died. I said one of her brother’s daughters was actually with her.

She looked a little surprised and asked how I knew all of this. I told her because I was her son and her brother’s kids are my cousins. Really? Yes, really. Back to this again, I thought. Who is your father? Your husband, I am named after him. Really? That brought us back to the other go to subject. I told her that when she was a kid she decided her first born son would be named after his father, and her second son would be named after her father. That’s exactly how it worked out. I was first and am named after my father, and my brother was second and he’s named after our grandfather. That lead to a discussion of where my sister’s name came from and how it was Dad’s suggestion. After that she seemed to be back to normal.

So to sum up… Yikes!