Thursday, August 16, 2007

Caregiving takes a village or maybe just a daddy

A few days ago, there was an article in the paper about a woman, 60, who had picked up her mother, who has Alzheimer's and is 92, from a care facility and then went to a local cemetery. Once there, apparently, the woman shot her mother, killing her, and then turned the gun on herself, killing herself.

The editorial writer opined about how the job of caregiver is too large for just one person, yet that is often what happens: one person, a spouse or a child, often ends up with primary care responsibilities, many of which they are not prepared for. But they do it because they love the person and sometimes the cost is too high.

At some point, the writer made the gut-wrenching decision of putting her father into a facility for those with dementia. She came to the realization that, in spite of heroic efforts on her part , she just couldn't handle the stress and difficulty of caring for her father as he slipped away.

If it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to provide care for someone in decline, she argues, and speculates that maybe these womens' village wasn't large enough and the caregiving stress was just too great.

My village isn't large enough either. 99% of the time, I am the one who takes care of H. Just little ole me. His family will come to aid when there is a health crisis, but otherwise, they are "just glad that you take such good care of H." (Translation: we're happy we don't have to and don't know what we'd do if you weren't there.)

I used to joke that H didn't need a caregiver, he needs a staff. There's medication set up & dispensing, driving, Dr. appointments, food (and he's getting pickier and pickier in what he eats), help with chores, help with personal grooming, help with shopping, etc.…you get the idea. It is more than a one-person job, yet I continue to believe that I can soldier on.

Recently, H and I were having a tense discussion about sex (again). The last time we tried to have sex, I cried (how hot is that?) and couldn't get it up (grief is front and center for me lately)…neither could he. I've given up trying to be sexual with him.

So, we're sitting out on the deck, having this conversation and suddenly, he blurts out, "I'm going to get me a daddy that will give me sex and a Bentley convertible."

1 comment:

Einar said...

You might look for one of the Matchbook cars - see if you can at least deliver the Bentley. My house was hit - or very close to it - by lightning a couple days ago and I've had no www since. Took out my modum. So I can only do internet at KLDK, where I'm a volunterr DJ. Anyway, I just played Over the Rainbow for you. Then, what the heck, "Wang Dang Doodle_ all night long". Might help.