work!

Taking care of grandma is work– no doubt about that.  But it’s not intellectually challenging work, or hard physical labor.  It’s emotionally draining work.  She’s got terminal cancer, is in pain all the time, and suffers from anxiety.  At least she is fairly well-medicated on the anxiety front.  The anxiety attacks and temper tantrums are in the past, and everything is more or less even-keel.  I sometimes check to see if she’s breathing during her naps, but she’s in pretty good shape, considering.

For myself, on the other hand, I’m mixed.  I don’t mean to be ungrateful for having a safe place, and an income, and being near to my family.  Oh yeah, and I certainly have my health.  But besides my days off– 48 hours off each week, separated into two shifts off– I’m here all the fucking time unless I’m driving grandma to an AA meeting or doing errands, and sometimes I get away for a brief jog.  She sleeps decently at night, at least, but I am technically working during that time, too, which mainly consists of helping her out of bed for the bathroom and medicating her once or twice.

I’ve been slowing down.  I don’t read much and don’t write.  I do sudoku, at least, while I’m half-watching court TV with her.  We watch NCIS, Star Trek TNG, and Stargate Universe.

I laugh at commercials.  (And totally have a crush on the Progressive Insurance Lady, Flo.)  (Fuck me!  I know her goddamn name!)

I didn’t realize how I’d changed until last week, when I met with an old friend for tea.  He was a housemate and I consider him a brother; we were close and he is dear to me.  He hadn’t really changed since two years ago when I saw him last.  But me?  I was stuttering, nervous, hiding my face behind my cup… and generally just not with it.  I didn’t get it when he teased me.  At least I didn’t cry.  And finally he teased me again, and I felt myself just… stall, for lack of a better explanation.  I tried to shift into Joking Around With Friends Mode and just couldn’t.  He finally noticed, and said, “Wow, you look so uncomfortable right now.”

Well, I told him, guess what.  I’ve been sitting with granma for two months, and before that I was a mess from divorcing.  “Exciting” for me these days is bringing a Cadbury Egg home, clucking like the Easter Bunny, and dropping it into granma’s lap.  (Actually was pretty funny, if I may say so.)  Let me warm up a little before you start treating me like a young member of the human race.

I did get up to speed eventually.  We went to hang out at his place, watched videos on youtube, guitarred and sang together, and I settled into myself again.

Then I got home.  And the next day I felt pretty weird.  Had to dial myself back down to 2 and not think about what kind of person I’m going to be when this is all over.  I do not want to be a boring person.  I do not want to be depressed.  I want to have a lively social life, go out dancing, cook my wierd ethnic food, have a dumb simple little job that gives me time to garden like a motherfucker, I want to have my alone time, I want to sleep all night.

I want to have interests that I can pursue.  And I’m not sure what “pursuing” is going to look ike when I don’t really leave the house.

So.

Reading and writing.  The point being, giving myself something to think about and then articulating my thoughts.

Watching must-see movies.

And figuring out what strategies I am lacking in sudoku.  Fuckin game.

Well, time to go start dealing with dinner.  Luckily, tonight grandma wants Clam Chowder from The Fish Market, so either I’m going to pick that up to go or we’re going to eat it there.

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