Thursday, April 4, 2019

An update from the caregiver

I'm just checking in so that if anyone is out there and still remembers me, I will feel less invisible. That's the way caregivers feel sometimes. I am considering myself to be one these days. Not to be disrespectful to those who truly are and are astonishing in their fortitude and integrity. This is a different kind of caregiving.

My Thai roommate, I blogged about her last year, has moved on to her world travels. She's seen 30 countries and is doing 10 in this trip (why she  left) and is determined to do a total of 100. I didn't even know there were 100.... Google now tells me there are 195, I live such a shallow life.
Anyway, we had our ups and downs and even though she was 49, I wound up being her surrogate mom/sister/auntie/granny, I was the single shoulder in her life that she could count on and lean on. It was taxing. But I learned a lot about being a giver and not getting hung up in reciprocation, knowledge put to good use - if I want to stay sane.

Then there was the Idaho transplant. A very nice guy (I do not discriminate), 6"3"! who came here to find a job and leave the confines of Boise. I guess if you live there it seems like a small town. He was only here for two months because it is very hard to find a job around here unless you are looking in the tech industry. He was not. So in the end it turned out that he really just spent all his time locked in his room with his girlfriend - not necessarily a bad thing. However any time that she was gone, he was by my side looking for guidance and inspiration, I guess. He couldn't really cook, he brought a 20# bag of pinto beans with him.... so I helped him a bit with that. He was only 33 - it's understandable, sort of. Right? (eye roll) But both roommies took a lot of energy and patience, patience, patience.

Now he has gone back to Boise to his more reliable old job and the girlfriend is probably still sobbing. She was so sweet, really, but only 21 to his 33. They have a long way to go.

The next step, if I don't fall off the cliff, is that my beautiful daughter is moving back in. Since the suicide attempt, you'd have to go back a little ways to read that one, she has not been coping well. The adjustment to "normal" life has been extremely difficult for her. Lots and lots of anxiety and catastrophic thinking. The drinking is back, albeit in a much more controlled way and she is trying very hard with two days sober to one drinking, that seems to be the pattern now. But even though in the face of this stuff, I can tell you that the medication is still working - as much as possible. I have spent the last 11 months being her sole (soul) support and believe me, I adore her but my shoulders ache from the weight. And yes, I am very nervous. Financially this is the only solution for a lot of reasons - no need to go there. But can this be done? Will it be ok? Yet I walk on, go forward. Even if I get pulled back, I go forward.

So I feel like a caregiver, of a sort, and am acutely aware of what an invisible and unacknowledged job that can be. My heart gets ripped think of those who never have a break. At least in my life they go to work each day, thank God.

On the cancer front, well, it's just the boob front now (I hate that word) I am doing ok. I've had this saline implant in for about 2 months - my God! - and I have opted for another month before the operation to put the real implant in and reduce the other side, as an operation of that magnitude would obviously just be too much right now. The next surgery will be around the first week of May. May is my birthday month. I am turning 69, although I will not be using that number, so I will, out of necessity, have to stay 68 for the next year.

We've had a lot of sun and the camellia bush is blossoming heavenly pink, peony like flowers. I've grabbed as much quiet time in between the demands of these three that I possibly could and I've been able to spend some quality time with my friend, Nina. But I'm gaining weight. I've discovered Trader Joe's intense chocolate ice cream and I should be ashamed at the quantity I have consumed in the last two month. That will stop right here and now....I've run out.

So, will I be ok? Will it be ok? All of it? Any of it? -- Maybe.
But right here, right now, I am ok.

I'm only putting this in because it is stunningly beautiful. And I hope my breasts look that good when this is done.....ha!
                                                                              
                                                                                                     Irving Pen

And then there's this.                                            







17 comments:

  1. Oh, liv, you have been holding up the sky! So much neediness has found you at a time when perhaps you could have used a shoulder yourself. And yet you write with such equanimity as if you’re standing firm. I’m so sorry your daughter is struggling. You are certainly caregiving in an extreme circumstance. I think the great love and worry you feel for your girl may make things painful sometimes but thank God she has you. Please take care of yourself too. ❤️

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  2. Feels like you just took care of me for a minute. Thank you so very much for your loving words.

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  3. Dear strong Liv. Holding out and carrying the burdens of others. I wish I could offer you my shoulder for a while. Go easy on yourself.

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    1. Why is that so hard, Sabine? Thank you for the reminder, my strong friend.

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  4. Oh dear. You've had a lot on your plate. I hope it works out with your daughter. I can't deal with people drinking until they're drunk, too many bad memories, my ex-husband and my brother-in-law left me with some PTSD.

    Please don't forget to take care of yourself.

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    1. It can really get to you, can't it. So often the drinker has no idea what they are inflicting. Sorry to hear you have repercussions. You're too gentle to go through that.

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  5. what 37paddington says. don't forget to nourish yourself.

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  6. Reading you is a nourishment, Ellen. Your lovely posts take me to another world and I love that.

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  7. I admire your strength, Liv. - Linda

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    1. Oh Linda, I wish I was as strong as you think I am. But I am really grateful for your longstanding support. Thank you

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  8. I’ve been thinking of you! Of course. I always will remember your kind words at such shitty times in my life. I hope you and your daughter can settle into a routine that works for you both, I’m sure this is going to be an adjustment. Both roommates sound like a trip! You’ve been mothering everybody it sounds like. Keep checking in with us. Much much love. SJ

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    1. I'm so glad! I miss you and our little sisterhood. I hope all is truly well with you and you know I miss reading you. Take good care of yourself, you wonderful and pretty woman xo

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  9. It's a lot, Liv. I know it well. Never undermine what you do because what you do is what you do, and you are enough. Take care of yourself and be well.

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  10. I've learned a lot from you over the years. Fortitude and grace at the top of the list. Thanks for your support, dear friend.

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  11. Good to hear from you. Life is so damn complicated, and I always wish you the best. I hope you are making art.

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    1. Well, I'm thinkin' about it.
      It is complicated, but somehow you always seem to make it seem easy. Loved that last post.

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  12. JOANNE! I don't know what happened with your lovely comment. I hit publish but it hasn't shown up. Although it does show up on my dashboard as being published and it showed up in my email....so sorry.
    Anyway, I'm sorry to hear about your sister. A double is massively difficult. And what you are having to go through with all of this around you, my heart goes out to you.
    Thank you so much for thinking of me and being so understanding and supportive. You've always been a loving soul and that is so needed. xox

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