Today Mom turned 82. I haven’t been posting much these days as it is more of a painful process for me than the cathartic one I had hoped. Life just hasn’t been the same for Mom (or me) since she broke her hip on July 13, 2012. Last fall when we brought her home from the Carolton, we had brief hopes that we could at least get her to stand and transfer in and out of a car so she wouldn’t be housebound. Now I’m housebound too, except for the two hours a day I have a hospice aide come in the morning. That’s when I rush out to do my errands. And I do mean rush! I used to stand in line at Stop & Shop and impatiently watch the clock thinking to myself– got to get checked out of here and pack the car by 11:40 or it’s too late. “Too late” means I don’t have enough time to get back to the house by 12:00PM. You see it’s as if my Honda CRV turns into a pumpkin at noon! That’s when I have to be back home no matter what so that the aide can sign out. Well, when I used to get behind a coupon lady in the express lane I would just get out of line and leave my cart in the grocery store and try again the next day. Not anymore—Now I’ve become an expert in speed shopping. I run through stores like I’m a door buster on Black Friday heading straight for the good stuff. I have to because the clock is always ticking in my head like a time bomb about to go off! I think that’s where my greatest level of stress comes from. I feel like I’m racing against a time clock in some kind of game show contest each morning with a 4 hour to-do list and 2 hours to do it in.
Oh there are other stressors as well, I need to wake-up throughout the night to change Mom so I never really get an uninterrupted night of sleep. And then there’s knowing how helpless she feels when she starts talking and seems to know that what she’s saying isn’t coming out making any sense. Such a beautiful, creative and articulate woman shouldn’t have to end her life this way. She still has a great attitude, a sweet smile and a drive to survive. That’s why I love her so and have gone on this journey by her side. Years ago, I could have said she no longer has real quality of life but I would have been so wrong. She managed to still create art and participate in our family activities long after her projected decline. And then came the dreaded fall, the fall I had always been warned would be the beginning of the end. There’s no turning back time for someone with Alzheimer’s once they break a hip— and there’s no turning back for the caregiver.