The faculty of making stupid discoveries by accident. The name of my first Fantasy Football Team. Neither of which have anything to do with this blog. I just like the word. Deal with it !!!!!!

When the Caregiver needs Caregiving (warning graphic descriptions herein)

It all started Saturday morning.  I woke up early to get ready for a Relay For Life breakfast at the local high school.  Unfortuneatly my body had other plans for the day.  After almost choking on a piece of toast I grabbed some oj to try and wash it down.  When that didn’t work I hightailed it into the bathroom to try and throw the little sucker up.  Lo and behold, instead of throwing up I was faced with a different problem.  I headed upstairs to shower and change.  I spent most of Saturday sleeping on and off and running to the bathroom about every 15 minutes.  Most times I made it, some I didn’t.  I tried to make dinner for mom and dad but didn’t have the energy to do much more than hold my head up and try to tell mom how to warm up some chili I had made for dinner on Friday night.  After dinner I grabbed a ginger ale and some plain cherrios thinking that I needed to put something in my stomach.  I wasn’t sure what but I needed something if I was going to stop the endless stream.  The cherrios and gingerale stayed down and Saturday night passed almost uneventfully.   I had one or two runs (to say the least) to the bathroom but I had ample warning and no more messes.  Sunday morning I got up and had a piece of toast and 1/2 cup of coffee. Anyone who knows me well, knows that 1/2 cup of coffee just doesn’t cut it for me but I wasn’t going to take any chances.  As the day progressed I felt better and better.  My jaunts to the bathroom slowed considerably and I was drinking more and more ginger ale and eating cherrios.  I felt that we had averted a real crisis and we could get on with it.  That changed in a New York City minute.

I was in the kitchen trying to clean up when Dad yelled at me to come quick.  Mom had fallen in the bathroom.  I literally pushed him out of the way and ran in.  She was lying on the floor.  When I spoke to her to ask her if she was hurt in anyway, she could barely speak, speech garbled and very incoherent.  She thought she was sitting on the toilet.  She was clammy and sweaty and by the time we got her up off the floor she was able to speak.  I got her into  bed, where she said she wanted to go and she drifted off. 

The next alarm came when I was called downstairs by a frantic dad.  As soon as I hit the ground floor I could “smell” what the problem was.  Great, she now had what I had previously.  We got the bathroom cleaned up as much as possible.  While doing so it became apparent that the bathroom sink was leaking. I mean apparent by the pool of water forming on the floor.  Dad was a real trooper, cleaning up what he could.  I, on the other hand had to leave the room several times.  The smell was overwhelming and in my already not feeling well state it seemed exaggerated 100fold.  I got mom into the tub and showered her off, redressed in some clean clothes and back to bed.  About 15 minutes later it happened again. I asked her how her stomach was feeling ans she said she was hungry. This is always a good sign from mom.  I have always said that if mom or Bosco stop eating there is a problem somewhere.

Not be able to cook a real meal I popped a couple of TV dinners into the oven.  The third time I knew we were in trouble.  I asked dad if he was ok on his own and headed out to the drugstore.  If we were going to get through the next 36 – 48 hours (based on the length of time I was not well) then I needed reinforcements.  It was 5:40 pm.

For what ever reason the closest drugstore was closed. The door said they were open til 6:00 but I guess in a small town, 6:00 pm comes early on a Sunday night.  Keep in mind I was in my pj’s and slippers with my winter coat thrown over top.  Quite a sight.  I jumped back into the car and headed for the next drugstore – ok, they were closed, but their sign in the door did sayt 5:30.  Off to No Frills.  Finally somewhere that was open.  I picked up the needed supplies and headed home.  Damn, I’m fast, 20 minutes and I was back in the house.

I loaded mom up on Imodium while dad ate his dinner.  She tried but couldn’t get anything down and went back to bed.  So far, so good.  I wasn’t eating but told dad I would have a coffee with him after dinner. 

It didn’t take long before mom was back in the bathroom.  She was pale, clammy again and had not quite made it in time.  However, the adult under garments I had gotten at the drugstore helped to stem the mess.  We got her cleaned up again and back to bed.

Dad and  I sat down to watch some television.  Everything was ok – mom was sleeping, Bosco was sleeping with her, dad and I were watching CSI:Miami.  At 10:00 I made us some toasted crumpets and coffee.  He went to bed and I went upstairs.  I had slept most of the last two days on and off so I was far from tired.  And since I haven’t had any real food for the same amount of time I didn’t think it was a good idea to take my meds.  I will probably pay for that in the long run.  So far my stomach isn’t too bad but the pain is. 

At 2:50 am I heard movement from downstairs.  By the time I hit the stairs running and got to the bottom I heard retching…I knew that sound – many times I had heard it coming from the bathroom when my father had a migraine.  This is wonderful – now him too.  When it rains it pours.  Luckily enough dad is still in some control of his facilities.  Aside from some memory failure and an arthritis problem he is, overall, not even close to the level of mom’s decline and/or progression of Alzheimers.  I got downstairs in time to help him into the bathroom.  He had the presence of mind to grab something when he started throwing up so there wasn’t a mess to clean up.  However, by the time I got back into the bedroom mom was up and throwing up.  She did not have the same quick thinking process and most of herself and the carpets on the floor were covered. 

The floors of the house are hardwood so I have strategically placed throw rugs all over the place.  I picked up the last 2 on the floor in their room and took them outside to put into the bag.  I think I will be spending sometime at the laundromat tomorrow.  Between mom, dad and myself there are 3 garbage bags full of dirty laundry…and it still isn’t daybreak yet.

So, it’s 3:45 am.  I am wide awake, afraid to even lie down in case mom and dad need me downstairs in a hurry.  I made Bosco come upstairs with me and he is sleeping soundly on my bed – straight across it – I couldn’t go to bed if I tried.

I can’t do this.  I feel totally out of control and like a complete failure.  I made a solemn vow to myself that I would do whatever it took to help mom and dad and today I dropped the ball big time.  I got angry, yelled at mom, wished I was somewhere else, anywhere else.  I cried to dad that I was sorry that I wasn’t taking care of them like I told them I would.  The house smells so bad that I am not sure if m own stomach will last until morning without revolting. I have washed floors, cleaned toilets, tried to maintain dignity for all concerned and failed miserably. 

I need help – the caregiver needs caregiving. For the first time in a long time I miss Jeff.  I miss having him to hug me and tell me that it’s going to be ok, his shoulder to fall asleep on.  I need a break, I can’t even get sick and it’s only some stupid stomach bug.  What happens if my cancer comes back?  Who will take care of them ?  Or me?   I must have been some nasty mofo in my last life, because I am sure paying for it now.


3 responses to “When the Caregiver needs Caregiving (warning graphic descriptions herein)

  1. Maxine Sullivan February 16, 2009 at 5:46 am

    My dear Nancy ~ You are way, way too close to this situation to see it for what it really is. You were doing an impossible job under extremely difficult circumstances. You have a 24 hour a day job and can’t even call in when you are sick. Rather than being a failure, you were a hero under fire. Instead of beating yourself up you deserve to be patting yourself on the back for going above and beyond the call of duty. Get well soon hugs & wishes.

  2. serendopeity February 16, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    Thank you Max. We all managed to finally get some sleep. The last time I saw the clock it was 6:11 am. I also managed some real food before drifting off – it was only Kraft Dinner but it was still better than toast LOL. I slept until 11:30. Dad was already up but as I write this mom is still sleeping. I feel much better than I did when I wrote the above but still. I know that I am doing the best I can under the circumstances. Getting sick just magnified everything. I am happy to say that under the light of a new day it doesn’t seem as bad as it did at 3:00 running up and down the stairs. I am just getting too old for this LOL. I hope you have a great day. And thank you for always being there and making me smile and not feeling like I am the bad guy. I truly appreciate it. xoxoxoxox

  3. Maggie February 20, 2009 at 9:50 am

    Nancy, hang in there, yes it is difficult if the caregiver gets sick. Keep the faith and let everything else go. I understand that feeling of wow if something happens who is going to care for the. I wish you quick recovery so you can take that nice walk with your dog. i don’t think I ever heard you mention Jeff, Who was this that you miss so much.

    Love to you

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