Caregiving 24/7 often feels like a rollercoaster of emotions. The two up there in the title are Big and Frequent for me. Compassion: How horrible it must be to literally lose one’s mind! How awful to be so dependent! How frightening to search for words and not find them!
Reality intervenes. Is it anxiety or forgetfulness that prompts the persistent questions I get daily: Where are we going? (4 times en route), Do the tulips need water? (three times during breakfast). Who is coming over? When are we getting the car back from the mechanic? I can’t discern whether it’s his anxiety or memory, but–alas!–I do become impatient.
So then comes the guilt. I “should” on myself. I shouldn’t snap back. I shouldn’t use that tone of voice. He can’t help it. I should be kinder, more patient, more forgiving, more COMPASSIONATE, more–more–more. Give me my hairshirt and lash.
Compassion does come from the outside as well. Some friends offer visits, outings, understanding, golden ears that just listen to me whine. But there’s another kind of compassion that isn’t necessarily helpful. There are folks who want to help by offering ways to fix the problem. They provide suggestions about herbal supplements and links to websites that tell how to reverse dementia.
I’m ashamed to say that my initial reaction is negative. You’re asking me to do more than I’m doing already? I already make weekly rounds with doctors, provide activities and entertainment, meals, transportation–and now I have to watch infomercials and read articles about magic bullets? My first thought is No, thanks.
But then I think: What if? What if the brain tonic helps? And so off I go into cyberspace, just in case.
If I find a cure, I’ll certainly let you know.