Friday, January 11, 2013
It's been about 3 months since my last blog entry. But that does not mean that I have not had to opportunity to practice being "beneficially selfish". Learning to let go of some of the control of overseeing my parents' healthcare has been a challenge, especially when my mother cries the blues over my not being at doctor appointments with them, etc. I have had to trust that others are capable of much of the "hands-on" care that my parents need, even though things are not done as I would have done them, or even meet my standards. For example, when my parents along with the caretaker packed clothes for a few nights out of town, my mother only brought light, summery clothing and no sweaters, earmuffs, etc for cold weather. Not earth shattering, as I pulled out extra clothing that I had for her to wear. Note to self: I need to have more direct communication with the caretaker and give more detailed instructions.
One major step in being "beneficially selfishness" was to take two trips in our new RV. We went for 5 weeks to northern California to see our son, and then on up to the state of Washington to visit with some of my husband's family over the Thanksgiving holiday. I made arrangements for my parents to spend the holiday with my dad's cousin, aunt and family. Then, right after Christmas, we went to visit friends in Arizona. We expected to be gone only one week, but ended up staying for two (one of the perks of being retired!). I need to view this as a learning experience for both myself and my parents. They actually survived without me physically present, or even close by.
One of the hardest thing about having elderly parents with dementia is the reversal of roles. Where they have always been the adult and me the child, I suddenly find myself in the parenting role. Having them depend on me for everything has been quite a shocker for me, as they have always been "fiercely independent"! But I can't carry the burden alone, and therefore, have hired the best possible care for them, as I would like as much as possible to continue to be the daughter. My only brother lives on the east coast, and is therefore limited as to the kinds of things he can do to share the load.
Over the holidays, I gained 4 lbs. I thought that was pretty good, because in my mind, it felt like 20! But now it is time to get back to more self care: Bible study, prayer, taking my meds more diligently, tracking my food and water, journaling, blogging, and of course, the "e" word.
Proverbs 31:25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future (literally: at her latter days). Lord, may it be so for me today and all the days of my life.