A Day in the Life…
No Crying for Caregivers
I called Granddad this morning to reassure him that I will be there shortly after the nurse leaves. He sounded weary and irritable when I called. All my effort, and energy from my mother this weekend wasn’t enough. He’s pissed that his son, his only son and only child by birth, hasn’t stepped up to the plate to do what needs to be done. In Granddad’s ornery opinion his son doesn’t do anything. “Work” to Granddad looks like labor – at the very least cooking, cleaning, being busy. I’ve suggested that my uncle “just being there” is helpful, but Granddad doesn’t buy it. So, when I get there in an hour or so I’m expecting to have to engage Granddad so he can vent even as I keep an ear open for Grandma so she doesn’t dart out the door and wander off – again.
If I had more time right now I could write about the incredibly interesting day we had together Saturday and write about my day yesterday cheering from the sidelines. Saturday came with the coincidence of me being in front of the TV just in time to happen upon a documentary about the Coca Cola company, where Granddad worked with his father right around the era of The Great Depression. Also on Saturday I took them to a Farmer’s Market and was delighted to find on sale Mascato grapes just like the ones they grew in their backyard the whole while I was growing up. We returned from the market just in time to happen upon a broadcast discussion about caregiving for people with Alzheimer’s disease.
“See Granddad, somebody else does understand what you’ve been going through,” I said, referring to what he’s been trying to explain for months. Being the primary caregiver for Grandma the past four years has taken a toll on him.
Geeze, I’m out of time for now. Gottat run to get there by 1 as promised. There will be more time to write in days to come.
I arrived about ten minutes earlier than promised but had to circle the block a few times looking for a parking space. Lots of ideas about correcting the parking situation for taxpaying residents and their visitors like me crossed my mind as I hunted for a space. While seeing some of the side streets with signs reserving parking for the residents of that block, I was reminded of learning – just recently – that Granddad had long ago requested speed bumps for his street. His effort failed because he couldn’t get the support of the school officials in the school for special needs children located on his corner. Finally, Granddad concluded that if it wasn’t important enough for the school authorities to protect their children then it simply wasn’t important enough. He gave up. I was delighted to hear that he had made such an effort for people outside of his family and church group. All my life I’d known Granddad to love, protect, and provide for his family. I knew that together he and Grandma served lunch to “the homeless people” in their church until the homeless people “abused the privilege” by bathing in the bathroom sinks, stealing the toiletries, and fighting over the food.
I rang the doorbell instead of using my key, and when Granddad opened the door he looked absolutely terrorized.
“She just finished beating me. The nurse had to pull her off me,” he said. He couldn’t cry at the moment so I knew I couldn’t either.