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.