A Change of Shift

It is pretty much a guarantee that as we age those who were caregivers will trade places with those who were formerly in their care. The child becomes the “parent” is a phrase that I’ve heard frequently throughout my nursing career. I’ve actually uttered it on more than one occasion while trying to help someone cope with the change of roles between they and their parents. Of course I knew that my day would eventually come but no matter how much you think about a thing you’re never fully ready when it happens.

My grandmother means more to me than most people in life. She has been so much to me throughout my life. My confidante, parent, role model, best friend, doctor, masseuse and the list goes on. The one person who I can tell anything without worrying about feeling any kind of judgement. My mother had me at an early age so in a sense I grow up alongside her calling both my grandmother and my mother; mom.

So the text that I received a few  weeks ago stating that mommy was having health issues caused my heart to stutter. Flashed me back to a memory of my cousins and I arguing over who loved her more. “If she died I would throw myself in the casket with her.” I vowed causing my cousins to yell at me for ever suggesting that she would ever die. In our young minds she would be around and healthy forever.

She’s so strong and up into a couple of weeks ago she was running around CT better than people twenty years her junior. Taking trains and taxis to the casino whenever the whim suited her. Traveling from state to state as if there were no barriers. Never needing any assistive device or any assistance from anyone. Now that has changed and I had been notified via text. Via text…

Even after I talked to my grandmother and she assured me that she was ok. “They’re always exaggerating. You ain’t got to worry about me baby.” Was how she phrased it laughing and downplaying the situation as my aunt continued to text message me about walkers and colonoscopies. The nurse in me needed to assess the situation with my own eyes.

Two flights later I was in her home wearing both the eyes of her daughter and the eyes of her nurse and while it was oh so easy to tell other people’s parents to get rid of their cat or their car, there are not many things more daunting than trying to decide how to tell your own mom that she needs to get rid of her throw rugs. That the table that she keeps lifting her walker over is unsafe as is the cellphone cord that she has stretched across the walkway to her bathroom. Or that yes, you do think that she needs one of those I’ve fallen and I can’t get up things.

I spent an entire twenty-four hours cringing every time she went to the restroom trying to find a way to broach the subject before I mentioned the placement of the table. Of course she lifted up the walker to display for me how light it was. It was not a problem and she would be “OK Baby.”

I don’t like conflict so when she went to the bathroom to get dressed for church I moved the table, plugged her cellphone charger up behind her bed and placed it on her nightstand, then I spent twenty minutes on Amazon ordering all of the things I had discovered she was low on during my assessment; toilet paper, paper towels, ivory spring bar soap, and her beloved beef ravioli.

I thanked God when she came out of the bathroom and laughed “I was going to ask you to put that table over there.” she said before sitting on the bed to finish getting dressed for church. I hope she meant to ask me to replenish her supply of Chef Boy A Dee as well. Either way I embrace the challenge of encouraging her to enjoy her autonomy while moving things out of her way for her own good.

I don’t however, embrace the fact that she may need a hip replacement for pain. I don’t believe that this is something that she has recently been struggling with. Lastly, I don’t know how I’m supposed to live in FL while she’s in CT where I can’t consistently see her with my own eyes.

I Deserved That and Chances Are You Did Too. Lets Be For Real.

Whenever I do something that causes me grief or discomfort I forgive myself and move on from the situation by saying “I deserved that”. I don’t do this as a way to come down on  myself or even as a way of excusing myself, but as a way of acknowledging to the Universe and myself that yes I put that out there and I understand why I received it back.

My most common misdeeds are: Not speaking up for myself or against something because I don’t like conflict. Not charging my phone when it is screaming that it needs to be charged. Being so inside my head that I don’t pay attention to what I’m doing and fall, bump into a wall, or even drop something. I’m also famous for knowing when someone is going to screw me and finding some reason why they won’t; only to get screwed in the end.

I could go on and on with examples but I’ll give you a big and a small.

My cellphone lives in my hand probably a good 8 hours out of the day. I do absolutely everything on it from reading to banking. So it’s no big surprise that my battery is frequently screaming out that it’s getting ready to die. I am also a horrible cell phone charger. My phone can be at five percent and I will be listening to an audiobook, texting my best friend, emailing a potential wedding vendor, and playing the Sims simultaneously while watching the battery percentage decrease before my eyes. Will I plug that phone in though? No because that would be the proper thing to do and I’m destined to not be proper in the most inopportune times. So it dies. Of course I can’t get mad. I just acknowledge that “I deserved that” and plug it in while shaking my head it myself.

I have an associate who did me a favor a few years ago by putting my vehicle in her name. I have always paid it and the insurance on time. Most of the time overpaying because I wanted it out of her name as soon as possible. She is horrendous with paying her own bills. I have known this for at least six years. She is also horrible with breaking leases and honoring her promise to pay. Eventually this caught up with her and she needed a place to say. Of course I feel like I owe her something and I just know that if I rent her an apartment in my name she is going to pay the bills on time and she’s not going to break the lease. NOT. Not only does she break the lease and make a promise to pay, but she doesn’t even tell me that she’s done this until after I’ve paid the car off. 1. I DESERVED THAT. 2. I will not allow her to ruin my credit by not honoring the promise to pay in my name.

You have to get to a point where you acknowledge foibles and take responsibility for the grief that they cause. Chances are if your boss is always breathing down your neck about your project being completed you may have been late with projects or caused them to question your timeliness with assignment completion in the past. Or if your children’s father sucks and he had previous kids before yours you probably ignored how much he sucked to those kids. Or if a friend or employee screwed you, you probably had previous knowledge of how they screwed other people.

Einstein says that the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. All of these instances remind me of this. SO don’t be insane. Or at least acknowledge that “You deserve that.” Even if that’s a hard pill to swallow.