November 19th, 2020

bearthatwasnt2

Empathy

I have survived a week so far with Mom. The one thing that has come out of this experience is that I really do have a shallow well of empathy. I don't think I have spent more than a week with her since Dad died 17 years ago. I have said that I want to retire next year to better care for her, but now I know I have to take it in small bites. I just can't deal with "old people issues." Of course Covid is adding an extra layer of shit to all of it. When I first arrived here I actually had her cooking dinner for me at 3:30 in the afternoon. I have been slowly pushing back the time and have gotten her to at least 5:30. I have been cooking for her so I know she's getting a nutritional meal and she can take as much as she wants. And the food has flavor! And then there is her hearing or lack thereof. Years ago her brother got a hearing aid and from then on complained about what a pain in the ass it was. So now that Mom can barely hear, she flatly refuses to do anything about it. This means that every TV in the house has the volume at 11. Every time you want to talk to her, you have to yell. My nerves get shot every time a friend/neighbor calls on the phone. The TV is blaring and she's yelling into the receiver. It's like those old sitcoms where the mother is trying to cook dinner while kids are running around, the TV is on, and the baby is crying. Calgon! Take me away! And every time she gets a phone call, she immediately has to put me on so that I can say "Hi" to whoever it is on the other end. And the TV is on all. the. time. And it's all commercial programming so I'm constantly being bombarded by its banality. And, of course, Mom has to comment about every commercial. We might see the same stupid ad a dozen times, and she'll have to say something about it every. time. I just want a little peace and quiet. And like in previous visits, my alcohol consumption goes way up as I try to get a little mental peace at the end of the day. So once again, I am quickly learning my capacity for human compassion. Some people may thrive on this, but I am coming to terms that perhaps I am a selfish person. I want/need MY life on MY terms. I want to be helpful and will gladly give my help, but it has its limits.