Every once in awhile, the only way I can deal with anxiety is to dig. When I comment that I am going outside to "dig the back forty" people who know me are aware that I am hugely overwhelmed.
I can't dig as well or as long as I used to. Aches and pains get in the way. Besides which, the back lawn, which now takes the place of the "back forty", is covered in six inches of snow at the moment, or it is raining outside or there is a wind chill of many minus degrees. So I pace.
I have worn a path in the floor in the living room from trying to expend excess negative energy that stems from trying to make nurses, careworkers and government officials see united sense about my mother's care.
During these many bouts of pacing, I find once I've found a solution, I can put that particular problem to rest. But during the last while, once one dilemma is solved, another crops up...and then, sometimes there are so many complications, I don't know which one to choose to unravel.
I attempt to still my mind, to find my centre. To take each convoluted thought and painstakingly smooth out its path...
My mother's care is the biggest conundrum. There are so many people involved in her care, each one having a different view of the reality involved.
She can't walk.
She doesn't know how to use her powered wheelchair, with an oxygen tube attached to her nostrils.
She can't stand for long enough to transfer herself from chair to chair.
She is confused, falling further and further into senile dementia.
Any activity of any kind tires her to where she has trouble speaking. She has one infection after another. And yet, she has managed to convince others who have power that she knows of what she speaks...leaving no prisoners in her quest to go home.
So the family begins a kind of dance.
The prognosis by her doctor for my mom to live at home, largely by herself, is not good. Each person, her daughters included, after having spoken with Mom, comes out of her room feeling differently than the other...
All this makes for much discussion amongst the professionals and Mom's family. I think about many different viewpoints, as I pace.
And what is my hope for Mom? I see her, through my admittedly only 55 year old rose- coloured glasses, being cared for, in a room with the morning sun streaming in. I see her sitting in her favourite recliner, in a room where there are many aids to health and help within easy reach. I see her living her remaining time in reflection, without the incessant fear that has plagued her all her life. I see her sitting in her chair, watching the gardens flower...the gardens that surround a care home.
My viewpoint is admittedly selfish. I no longer want to receive telephone calls from my Mom, where she begs me to find help for her. I no longer want to feel so helpless, from those breathless calls. I no longer want my body to tense each time the telephone rings, especially if it is at night. I live at least 3/4 of an hour away from my Mom.
I have no experience with picking up a body that becomes limp and unresponsive. Even if my body allowed me to. When she falls, I have the most horrendously helpless feeling...this is my Mother that is lying at my feet. So I will push my body to its limits, trying to help her up. This has happened to me a couple of times...it has occurred many different times, with others. But Mom expects the help, and always manages to convince the helper to do it.
And Mom expects to go home. She has the right to live at risk, I tell myself. I would leave her be, to do as she likes, if she could only do it. Mom's spirit is willing; her body is failing. And she is afraid of recognizing it, of accepting it, as so many of us are, when we reach the last mile or so on the path of life.
Mom recognizes too, that her memory is failing, that one day is blending into the next. She counts, does my mother. She counts the days on her calendar; she counts the hours on the clock. She asks which day it is, over and over. She struggles to grasp and remember the day and sometimes, she's successful. But, increasingly, she's not.
But she has not forgotten that she wants to go home...she just does not remember the horrible times she had just so very recently, when she was home. And since this memory is not allowed to surface, she chooses, instead, to remember a time when she was able.
This is the memory that urges her to go home.
But the other memory...that is the one that makes me pace.