Friday, December 18, 2009

Not All There

Do you ever feel like you aren't completely present in your life? Like you are entering a new phase where you are adjusting to new realities by halting steps, sometimes one forward and several back?

That's how I feel now. I have been through ups and downs of my dad's medical condition. We seem to be settling into a situation where he is getting stronger, no longer flirting with imminent death although you never know. But he is dealing with side effects of the treatment. He is able to do some things for himself and to complain to his caregivers (me at the moment and my niece and her husband when they were here). I suspect he'll be unhappy with the hired guns that are going to be his reality after I figure out just what he needs and can afford and get some help. He is adamant that he wants to stay in the house he's in which we own but for which he's been paying all the ongoing expenses (taxes, insurance, yard maintenance, utilities, phone, cable, cleaning, etc.). Add on top of that paying caregivers to come each day and help with daily housekeeping, laundry and bathing and such and it will be expensive for him. He can afford it for a few years so why not? But the details of managing hiring and also of absorbing complaints will fall to me. It occurs to me, though, that sometimes he is a little more forgiving of the outsiders. I'm just saying.

Anyway, I feel only partially present in my life. I keep absorbing new things each day, victories and defeats. I feel like I'm in a box with various slits that let you see forward but you have to shake your head to make the images come together to make any sense of it and then you get dizzy.

I'm neglecting things I want to do in organizing my own life...getting some computer issues resolved, getting my condo cleaned and better organized, organizing taxes for 2009, etc. Sometimes I'm just sitting around at Dad's, just babysitting or waiting for the home health people to come by or doing little chores like laundry or taking out trash or tidying up. I will pull out the laptop and do things (like posting Holidailies) and Dad will mildly complain about it. When my niece and her husband were here he complained that we were always on our laptops. He didn't know what we were doing with them. I guess he thought we ought to be doing something he saw as useful all the time. Of course, the elderly are absolved to nap between bouts of watching screeching on Fox News!

When I get away, I just want to go out with FFP, read, eat decadent food, drink. In other words live the decadent life until I arrive, partially present in some further broken down future like my Dad's.

If it sounds like I'm complaining, I'm not really. I'm just trying to come to terms with my dad's reality and my own and then live that life fully. I have lots of issues to solve but lots of resources to solve them with.

One foolish pursuit I hope to have more time for in the future is the taking, editing and displaying of shop window reflections like today's and the others I've been showing during Holidailies. I think the daily exercise of writing for the Holidailies challenge has been a good thing although I'm pretty sure it has been mostly a long screed against the duty of daughterhood. Ah, well. I'm a lousy caregiver and admitting it may make me a better one...or just get that off my chest.


Forrest Preece said...

I hate that you are feeling this way about the level of care and service you have provided your father. (From that first night when we had to race out there at 2:30.) I would like to know how anyone on the face of the planet could have done more!

Anyway, we'll see some old friends at the party tonight. Maybe we can go by Fonda on the way home.

Jennifer said...

You have my sympathies. It's always a struggle, isn't it?
I'm glad things are getting easier (or at least, not worse) for the moment.