It occurred to me that in the past 8 months, I have not had a day off, an afternoon off, or even a few hours off.
This is the plight of a full time caregiver.
In California,I could get as many as three hours away from the house on occasion. I could spend this time with a friend, shopping, or just playing nickels at the casino that was 20 minutes away, and much of the time Jack would go with me.
Jack is becoming more and more self-sufficient so that it would be easy for me to be gone several hours at a time now, or we could find adventures together.
But by moving and accepting the responsibility of my mother, I have eliminated many opportunities. She feels I am going off and leaving her if I even go to shop at the neighborhood store, or the town that is 8 miles away. We have wanted to go out to breakfast, lunch, or an evening meal but she only wants to go to certain places and actually refuses to go to some restaurants. Taking Mom with us isn't always an answer, she can't always set in the car if we want to shop and she isn't able to navigate some large stores. Some stores do not have a "waiting" area.
Exercising the option of a few hours of licensed homecare is beginning to be a probabilitiy that she won't like but might be a necessity. I have to look to the future and aging isn't something that goes in reverse.
My goal in moving was to spend quality time with my mother while I could. I don't think I realized how complicated this would be .
Taking care of Jack is something we have worked out to be a "together" task that gave us an unusual closeness and an enjoyable time together.
What I am finding with my mother is her constant struggle to "control" her environment and me within that environment. I understand this struggle far better than she realizes and Jack is helpful in supporting me and listening when I really need to "talk".
I think I am chaffing under this "control".
The last couple of days I have experienced a feeling of "need" to break the routine.
Going to church this morning was my choice. But I wonder if this was a good choice for today. I am having difficulty with the complexity of the socio-structure of even a country church. A friend told me to wait a year before I tried to understand, that small towns were very complex in their simplicity.
Selling our home, doing away with most of our personal and household items, moving to another state, acquiring a whole different system of medical insurance and care, leaving behind our whole social structure of friends and family, living in someone else's home and essentially under their subtle control, and down-sizing to one room has been more than an adventure.
Have I taken caregiving to a whole different level? I believe my extensive educational background, 40+years experience of dealing with gifted and also troublesome children, and annoying administration (lol) has given me the ability to do this job! Does that sound like my resume?