Today completes two weeks of looking after my grandmother.
Just two weeks, and already I’m tired. I don’t know if I’m cut out for this. Half the time I feel like I’m hovering, and the other half I feel like I’m negligent.
Diapers and piss and pills and dinners and laundry and lunches and visits from all sorts of concerned, unhelpful therapists and nurses. Listening to the baby monitor while she sleeps and jumping up every time she moves and waiting while she pees and helping her from room to room and keeping her company while she’s awake and always having to shout to be heard. This is harder than I thought it would be.
But it’s okay. I can do it for a while.
Day 10 at Grandma’s. Watching her isn’t hard, exactly. It’s just all the time. She’s unsteady on her feet. Going to the bathroom is a precarious operation. There’s a transfer from the wheelchair to the walker , and then from the walker to the toilet. She always wants to go in with the walker on the toilet-side where she’ll get tangled with it. So she’s in jeopardy of falling ten times a day.
Today she did fall. It was just a sort of collapse onto the carpet and she wasn’t hurt, but it’s the first time she’s wound up on the floor under my watch. I felt like shit.
People keep saying I’m a saint. Because I’m doing a tiny stint of hospice care. I resent it, vaguely. I’m a selfish dolt. Surely they know.
Better than digestion or circulation, if you have to lose something. I guess.
I’ve just been released from prison, and now I’m volunteering for a different kind of bondage. Responsibility for my Grandma. Living in Grandma’s house. I’ll get three hours furlough each day, while the nurse is there. The other 21 hours a day I’m stuck, unable to leave, in case the moment I do is the moment she chooses to fall down the stairs.
There are some distinct advantages over Prison prison. My own food. My computer. More space. A yard with grass and a tree.
Even so, I long for real freedom. Living in a town I love. In a place of my choosing. Some sort of obligations that ends at six o’clock and the rest of the day to fill in any way I want. The feeling of being an independent adult. At the moment, that normal life seems like a far-off dream.