Help has arrived. I now have four hours, three days a week, off. Yes, I can do whatever I want for FOUR straight hours. Guess what I chose to do!
I went to bed and slept for three and one-half hours, without worrying Alan might accidentally burn the house down.
Being caretaker for a dementia patient can be very confining. You're joined at the hip 7 days a week and 24 hours a day. That's how it's been for me for the last two years.
Now when I'm faced with being able to leave for a period of time, I have no idea what to do or where to go. It's a strange feeling. It's a mixture of apathy and just too freaking tired to get dressed and go anywhere. I know I've got to make myself get up and get moving.
I'm not sure what's happened to ME during this. I think I've taken the path of least resistance and just accepted the inevitable.
The caretaker is amazed Alan is so high-functioning. He plays the piano. He talked to the caretaker. He does NOT talk to me. I'm sure there's some resentment because he still doesn't believe he has alzheimer's. He has no memory of the past few years but he doesn't remember that he doesn't remember. He can't remember how to turn the television on. He can't remember to turn the stove off.
He doesn't seem to be cooperative with the new caretaker. He refused what she wanted to make him for lunch.
I've always valued time alone. I've had no time for myself for two years now. Maybe what I'm feeling is guilt at leaving him. Funny, considering I felt no guilt for divorcing him.
When I found out there was help on the way, I had a million ideas go through my head of things I could now do. A week later when help arrived, I went blank, having no idea what to do with myself for four hours.
Maybe I'm lonely? I don't think so but when sales people call, I trap them on the phone. They don't care what I'm telling them. I don't care that they don't care because I have a captive audience to listen to me.
Tomorrow I have another chance to get away. I'll have to think about that tonight.
Alan is certainly not hard to get along with at this point. Maybe things are just too quiet.
I miss my family terribly but seeing them is not an option either. Maybe I'll do something exciting like lock myself in my bedroom and write some of my other blogs. Not a bad idea. A 12-step meeting on Wednesday….oh yeah, I could certainly use that.
Interesting thing about writing a blog. It's amazing what you find out about yourself when you just sit down and start writing your thoughts sometimes.
When I thought I was through writing this one, I went over and googled "caretaker burnout". This whole blog is a classic of caretaker burnout and I didn't know it until after I wrote it.
So when I get up in the morning I will get dressed, do my hair, and go find something interesting to do. I WILL take care of me tomorrow, Wednesday and Friday.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
The only thing I can change is me. So I think I'll just do that, starting in the morning.