Every weekday, we venture to the local cancer center for my mom’s daily radiation treatments. We get Christmas Day and New Year’s Day off. And weekends. Yeah. The photo above is from the door of the cancer center, looking south. Because it is winter, that is the sunset, at about 3:30pm. We enter when the sun is lowering, and when we leave, it is just about down.
Right now, she is making her way through getting dressed. The sighs and loud breaths overshadow “The Chew” and their discussion of “Grandma slices” of pizza. She resents having to get dressed and get out of the house. On the other hand, her radiologist is her “boyfriend” and she invited him over for beers, once her treatment plan is complete. They love her there. And she enjoys all the attention, every day. They are so very kind and loving. They do treat her extraordinarily well.
Yesterday, the skies were angry and it was so very windy, as we left the center. Every time we go out in these wintry days, mom tells me about her grandpa, and how he used to help her see the shapes in the clouds. Every time we go out. Every time. And the really weird part is that when she tells me, it is like I hit the rewind button. The tone, the inflection, the words – EXACTLY the same. Exactly. My world has shrunk to doctor’s offices, cancer treatments at the local cancer center, Walgreens for the myriad of medications she is on, and the grocery store. I see very few people outside that routine. And trust me, those people are my world right now. And I am blessed, my mom is blessed, to have some amazing people caring for her. For that, I am so happy.
But you know, this Alzheimer’s thing is so isolating. I don’t blame people. You talk about what the biggest thing is in your life when you socialize. And who wants to hear about all the dozens of issues involved in caring for someone with Alzheimer’s??? I am not a varied conversationalist these days. I bore myself. And mom is hard for a lot of people to be around. It is like taking your 3-year-old with you on “Moms Night Out” events, or a date with your husband. Mom cannot be left alone. And so, she is with me 24/7. I did not think that part through. Moving to the far north was hugely traumatic, for all the friends I lost along the way. And we have tried to make some new friends here. And connections were made. Some seem super important to me. And now, now I am alone so much of the time, and it is starting to weigh on me. Trust me – even though my mom is with me, she is dazed much of the time, and sits in silence, making pyramids with her fingers. So it is not like I can converse with her. If anyone read my Facebook post last night, you would understand our conversations. We spent about 20 minutes discussing her sore knee, applying a pain patch, and discussing why her knee is fine and what the patch was for. Over and over again we went. I went to bed, exhausted and with my head spinning and pounding. All I wanted to do was sleep. And then the caffeine from the iced tea I drank at 4:00pm kicked in. It was an ugly night.
I am whining. I know I am. I am in the dumps. And I am so very tired. The sun is out there today, and I may have to wear sunglasses in December in winter in Alaska. Yep. Not even a White Christmas! LOL! I have to get out of my recliner and get mom to move out the door. Off to the cancer center again today. Yippee. I needed to vent. And then I find perspective. God is good, my friends. God is good.
“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven— A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance. A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing. A time to search and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; A time to be silent and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace. What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils? I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-9