Yep, the "I'm doing good enough to go home," dialogue has resurfaced again.
Right at this moment I bravely or stupidly put her in the car service vehicle all by herself. I sit outside here in front of my building without the relief I expected to feel.
Her caretaker is meeting her at today's bridge game location. It'll be alright, she's routinely told me. Since my work day begins later today I figured this was a good day to start teaching my mom how to do this.
To be honest, I feel so out of touch with my emotions. For example, I naively thought I was okay with this, agreeing to even allow my mom to meet the caretaker at other locations. I have just been making schedules for my mom and myself, making our meals, getting summer clothes together for her, cleaning in small sprints, missing every call with my own friends...I just go go go.
This put her in the car herself business came out of necessity due to her caretaker's wee little attendance problem. She does show up, just not always on time. And it's often my mom who loses out. A few times she's arrived at bridge too late to play. I watched her one of those times sit pathetically by having to only watch others play the game while she obediently kept quiet. I felt sorry for her.
I still have to go to work though, and the caretaker does run late at times or mixes up dates and addresses and...huge sigh.
I want to stop penalizing my mom for this issue. So I decided to just have the caretaker meet her there. Last week as the caretaker, late, raced to our home, I prepared my mom to meet her at the senior center, to leave the apartment and get in the car alone. However, If I had to grade my mom's efforts, that day she received a B-. She did dress, leave the apartment, had her walker, purse, money (I packed it before I left), and keys. She boarded the elevator, then the caretaker arrived just in time to meet the elevator on the ground floor. The car was already waiting for them. It worked out just fine. But when I got home, the front door of the apartment was unlocked. So not a perfect grade.
I know I have to be brave enough to let her learn, I guess, but I am not that brave. I think.
Last night I couldn't go back to sleep. I'd naively began to believe my mom was truly getting better and could do all of this on her own. Then at 12:39AM She came to my room to wake me because I forgot to give her a Melatonin supplement and an Aleve pill (which is actually a vitamin I swapped for Aleve).
I was grouchy times 10. I had been sleeping peacefully up until that moment. After she woke me, I stupidly said, "You need to use some common sense. An Aleve and a Melatonin shouldn't make you wake me up in the middle of the night."
As soon as I heard myself tell her to use common sense that was when I was reminded of who I'm dealing with and her biological short comings.
Afterwards as I laid in bed last night then WIDE AWAKE, I kept thinking about this coming Friday. The caretaker can't make it. This Friday's game is one of my mom's favorite places. Again I have a late start to my work day so I could take my mom or see her off on her own this Friday. But ugh!!!!!
And that's when I reached out to another potential caretaker, finally. We talk tomorrow.
So right now my mom is on her way to a game, riding in a car all alone, meeting her caretaker there. She dressed early, and even flat ironed her own bangs. We exited the apartment together. She learned how to actually lock the door. She boarded and exited the elevator as well as the front of the building with no help from me. Then she got outside and immediately got on her cellphone, called a neighbor back home, telling her what she had just done and how she's proving to me that she could go back home and do it all on her own. As she talked about the service car picking her up, it was then that I learned she didn't even know the name of the service.
The taxi arrived and she kept talking. The taxi honked and pulled in front of the building stopping. She kept talking. The driver got out of the car. She kept talking.
Get off the phone and concentrate.
Get off the phone.
I took the phone.
I don't know who this is but she has to focus.
I hung up the phone.
Go find out who he's here for.
She walked towards the driver leaving her purse and her walker behind.
Are you here for M------*?
He replied with a mangled pronunciation of her first name.
Then she actually threw her arms up to hug him. He looked at me. I gave a stupid sheepish emarrassed eh, smiled and shrugged my shoulders.
She got in the car putting her cushion down first. He put her walker in the back of the vehicle. She buckled up. He got in the car. Then holy shit she opened the damn door just before he pulled off to tell me one last thing.
Don't open that door!!!
I want to remind you about...
Close that door!!!
I just want to remind you...
Close that door. You want to talk to me call me.
The driver pulled off, made a u-turn, and they were on their way. My heart pounding in my throat. My stomach in knots. I'm there visualizing her opening the door on the highway or something.
Minutes later my mom calls me. It's the driver on the phone:
She's going to Queens?
You should have the address.
I did but it just vanished from my screen.
Damn. I gave him the address and cross streets again then realized I sent her off without giving her the information. Of course whenever I've travelled with her, all systems worked perfectly. Traffic delays happened all the time but all systems worked.
She was supposed to arrive at 11:30. Of course they're not there yet. But thankfully I'm not panicking yet.
I hope the interview with the other caretaker goes well tomorrow.
Oh, by the way, when I returned to the apartment, the flat iron was still on. A part of me wants to say I will never put her in another car service car alone ever again, but it's hard doing this alone.
When I returned home from work and class last night, and she was already home from her adventure, she asked me about going to bridge the next day. Starting that day the caretaker is no longer available to take her and while my work start time is later in the day again, I wouldn't be able to bring her home or even be home to meet her. I had to tell her no. That she wouldn't be going that day. I felt bad. She looked like and pleaded like a little kid begging to go play. And I had to say no.
I had to. I had visions of the unlocked door, the flat iron, how she walked to the driver (a stranger) throwing her arms up around him, how she walked away from her purse on the street. How she threw open the car door right before pulling off. How easily she gets distracted. How she can't figure out which car is for her. How she can't help the driver with directions. I can't let her go completely alone, which informs me (teaches me) that I can't allow this person to go home alone to her house in a different state and do all of any of this alone.
I was grumpy last night when I got home. I gave her her dinner and nighttime favorite pills (Melatonin and Aleve - wink wink), then grumpily marched back to my room getting out of sight. This morning I think I understand what emotion I was really feeling. She really is like a helpless little kid, and I really have to say no, at times, to her wanting to go play because I finally became an adult somewhere along the way and have to be responsible for the two of us. Also I truly feel so bad for having to say no every time I do.
I think I hid my sorrow for her under my grumpiness. I see its connection to my evening now: I ate two big bags of potato chips last night; I was exceptionally tired when I had a short work day and class. I am actually angry with myself for waiting this long to try to hire another caretaker. I have hated how the caretaker has been late often which has made my mom or me late, and buys her candy bars all the time, and cancels days of the week that are directly connected to my mom's favorite activities thus leaving me having to say no to my mom when she just wants to go play.
During this new journey...ugh...there's so much sh*t to learn about every thing.
My year of hate
I can't believe how angry I am so much of the time
But what I hate is..."