Back in March I kept track of a whole day, figuring I’d add it to my “day in the life” from 2013, and eventually I’ll have a collection.
But then the day actually happened and it was a bizarre and difficult type of day! I needed time to recover, in fact, and no I did not feel like talking about it. Only now with some distance, (and knowing that it turned out fine in the end, spoiler alert) am I ready to re-visit this particular Tuesday!
7:15-9:30 One of the perks of my odd schedule is I often have time in the mornings. I can take a walk, be productive (yeah right), or like today- just make breakfast and read the entire time.
9:45 Pull out of my driveway. Wave at Elmer the beagle & the neighbor boy out for their walk.
10:00-3 My first shift. It’s with the same lady as this day last year, only just her, since her husband died in August. I fold laundry, make a little lunch for us (tomato soup and pb & j) and we drive to her dentist’s appointment.
She is a kid at heart, so after that we stopped at McDonald’s and got hot fudge sundaes and ate them in the car! :) When it’s a bad health, bad news kind of day, you need a little ice cream. “Frances, don’t you ever get old,” she recommends.
We make a Walgreen’s stop and then go back to her place. I want to give a quick shout-out to awesome employees who go out of their way to be friendly to seniors. She calls a man at this store “her son” because he always jokes & talks with her. It’s a small thing but means a lot!
I take a sweater vest of hers with me so I can sew on a button at home.
3:05 Leave her independent living facility which involves multiple floors and a long walk, cause it’s huge. I try not to use my phone in the building (where elderly people might see me) because I like to fight against the stereotype of “crazy young girl rushing around using her cell phone” but this is the only chance I have to listen to my voice mail. It’s from my friend Yaneshia in Jamaica, just saying hello! Aww.
3:10-3:30 Shut my scarf in the car door. Drive amongst the crazy teens just getting out of school. Pass an accident. Feel like I’m taking my life in my hands.
6:30, actually, make that 10 P.M. My second shift. Let’s just say it involved a trip to Urgent Care. My client had a fall, I would not have been able to prevent it but I still felt terrible. She cut open her finger and it was bleeding all over. I called her daughter and she came and we headed to the clinic.
The tricky part was my client had Alzheimer’s, and kept forgetting she had hurt herself- I don’t think she had much feeling in her fingers- so she kept trying to use her hand! And re-opening the wound! And asking why we were there, what we were doing, etc. It took a while for us to actually get in to see the doctor, and it was so stressful trying to keep her calm and still. There were a few other factors involved that made it stressful.
When we got back from the clinic, the daughter left, saying if anyone could get her calmed down and into bed, it was me. Well I thought I could too, and came close, but all the hubbub was too much for my client. Alzheimer’s patients do not take well to stress and unfamiliar happenings. So she became very resistant to me although I was trying to help her and keep her safe. Normally she trusts me but that night, she did not, and so finally I just had to leave.
There was nothing I could do. That stung! I love this woman dearly and it felt like I was letting her down.
So after that long crazy day, I sat in my car and cried an ugly cry of overwhelmed emotions.
And I wondered why I had arbitrarily chosen that day to be my “day in the life” day. What a giant mixture of everything- the good, the fun, the awful, the defeat. More dramatic than an average day, for sure.
And I went to bed and got up the next morning and kept on being a caregiver.