It's been six months (I can't even believe it myself) since my surgery. Six whole months. The mind boggles. I'm back to pre-op strength. I'm working out with Jillian Michaels like it's nothing. Ripped in Thirty Week 4. You should try it (but seriously, talk to a doctor first, it's crazy hard). All that said, while my body is largely healed, parts of my life remain severely injured.
This is possibly the last post on this blog. Mummy is in full time care and so the full time caregiver part of the journey is at an end. While she has transitioned seamlessly (to her) to her new situation, my own transition back to my life has not been nearly as seamless. Or as successful.
here) that when you jump off the merry-go-round there's no guarantee that anyone will slow it down for you to jump back on. I'm still trying to jump. It has been a long haul. I'm ready, willing and more than able but the jump-portunities are slow in coming. I have to keep looking, trying, hoping. Meanwhile though, Mummy's life continues along, smoothly sailing. Her needs are all amply met. Her finances are managed, her bills paid, her medications bought and administered in a timely manner, her meals served hot and from time to time, someone is actually there to feed one to her. Her personal needs are met. Meanwhile, her former full time caregiver is still waiting to jump back on the merry-go-round.
I recognize the value of this valley both to self and to others. I actually think that this chaos (and my willingness to write about it) is perhaps the very thing that might cause a few folks to make the absolutely necessary moves to make a plan. I know I'm a bore with this, but hear me well: you don't want to travel this road unprepared. The knowledge that I might have influenced a few people to do something, anything, will suffice as my 'compensation'.
Mummy's current care costs just over $60k per annum. Thank God for Long Term Care insurance! You got that to spare? If not, make a plan.
During the time that she was at home with me, I had to forgo some pretty basic health care. That 'choice' landed me in a hospital. You got body parts to spare? If not, make a plan. I'm trying to figure out how to talk about my surgery without violating my own HIPAA rights. LOL. Suffice to say that things were entirely out of control and while I am deeply grateful to be alive at all (many caregivers deal with medical issues that end their lives), I am not happy to have had myself sliced open to fix that which could have been fixed much more easily had it been diagnosed 2 or 3 years sooner. Never mind the knowledge that there are still other things in the background still awaiting my attention.
As for the derailment of my professional life, that's a whole other story. You got savings to carry you through five years as an unpaid caregiver? If not, make a plan.You've no earthly idea how long caregiving can go on. Financial anxiety on top of emotional upheaval do not a pretty combo make.
My professional derailment is a cost and a consequence of choices I made. You want to have to choose between yourself and your aging parent? If not, make a plan.
Given the opportunity, I cannot honestly say I'd make the same choices again. I really can't. As a matter of fact, knowing what I know now, I most certainly would not make the same choices but that would have landed us in a completely different monkey pants, as we say in Trinidad. Truth to tell, someone would have likely ended up dead. Caregiving while holding a fulltime job had me dangerously exhausted, dizzy and experiencing mental confusion in just two weeks, so perhaps I'm only fooling myself when I say I had a choice. If you make even a half a plan, it might never come to this for you.
The fight with my self-preservatory instincts (which instincts only kicked in recently - after the damage had already been wrought) continues to this day. The journey away from a place of blame and fault-finding to a place of peace and acceptance continues. It's a slow journey, one fraught with u-turns and back tracking. It's a journey that may never end. Make a plan and you may never have to see these roads. For the love of self and other, make a plan.
And with that, I'm out.
Just for your reading pleasure........The Road Not Taken