I am overwhelmed. I am humbled.
Since my move to Sheridan, I’ve done the same thing every evening. Mom and I help grandma to the bathroom, get her nightgown on, help her take her pills, and put her into bed. We sing a few songs, give her a kiss, and turn the light off as we say our goodnights to each other. When I crawl into bed, I dig out my laptop, open a new word document and stare at the blank screen. My desire to write deepens every day, but somehow, I haven’t been able to put any words down until now.
I came into this move very confident in my abilities to care for my grandparents, specifically my grandma with dementia. I have a bachelor’s degree in mental health and have completed a semester of graduate school with a 4.0. I held my head high and told everyone that I had it in the bag. I knew exactly what my grandparents needed and how to accomplish it quickly and painlessly.
Soon after the move, grandma fell and fractured two vertebrae, resulting in a 3-day hospital stay and a very uncomfortable back brace.
A week after we got home from the hospital, grandpa’s pulse dropped so low it triggered previous stroke scar tissue, resulting in a one-night stay in the ICU.
Needless to say, my confidence flew out the window.
So, what do I have to say to my audience other than HELP ME!? I don’t have words of wisdom to offer other caregivers, and I certainly don’t have tips and tricks to make dementia easier. All I have is empathy.
Being a caregiver is hard; being a caregiver to a dementia patient is even harder.
The days when she doesn’t know who I am make me sick inside. When she desperately begs for the phone to call her mother, I fight back my tears as hard as I can. When my mom is in her room crying because her own mother doesn’t know who she is, I want to scream. When grandpa wants to know when his wife’s mind will get better all I can do is grab his hand and pray.
Why is this happening to us.
Why is this happening to me.
Why is this happening to her.
I never thought that at the age of 27 I would be back in my hometown, living in my grandparents’ front room, and supporting myself and my mother on a 13 dollar an hour salary, but here I am. I wouldn’t have guessed that I would be 124 miles away from my best friends, and that some nights I would feel so incredibly alone that the darkness of my room swallows me whole. It never crossed my mind that my grandmother would forget who I am.
But I would do it 100 times over if I had to.
So, I am back after a long break, but I don’t know what the future of this blog looks like. I’d like to say thank you to my readers and those who have reached out via Instagram and Facebook. I am excited to reconnect and regroup.