I’ve neglected the blog-o-sphere. I’m sorry, my depression has definitely taken a back seat to life. Oh, it’s still very much there, somedays painfully real and there, but I’ve not been able to let it take over. It can’t win right now. So I’ve been shoving it outta the way and not paying attention to it. Is that the best thing, neh – but it’s not the worst thing either. I guess I’m ‘stable’ enough to be dealing with the other things in my life to just kind of let it be…
My mom’s been sick for a while. We’ve known about the dementia for a long time but she was only officially diagnosed once it got so bad that dad finally acquiesced to an MRI. This showed the expected atrophy and her Neuro started her on Aricept which has been a huge help. She’s responded very well to it and some of her confusion and disorientation has gone – for now. But from July of 2018 til February of 2019 she’s been hit with one thing after another – she lost her vision to macular edema – started injections in her eye (ya, no way I’d be strong enough to tolerate those – but she has!), we finally learned about her kidney disease – she’d been hiding how bad it was for years, but it became so bad that her cover was blown. She’s at the very lowest levels of stage 4 disease, and dialysis is staring at us. Add to this a blockage between her kidney and bladder, that if she would have made us aware of her issues, we could have intervened sooner and her overall kidney damage would have been reduced. But that’s neither here nor there now is it? And with all this, she’s got her own version of depression – her GP has started her on celexa but its too little to really help combat what she’s going through. She is either in bed or laying on the sofa watching tv – has zero mobility and has been hospitalized because she won’t eat or drink enough to sustain her life.
So this is my new reality – helping my parents live. I include my dad in this story because mom is his world. They’ve been married for over 53 years and I don’t know what either of them would do without the other. I help them happily as I think about what could have and should have been. Mom retired 2 years ago and I thought, at 69, theyd have many good years of making trips to visit friends in Seattle, or the East Coast – mom always wanted to do a tour of the light houses on the east coast, or to visit my siblings in Colorado or Kansas. This is not the life I wanted for her, for them. I wanted them to finally spend time together and enjoy what was left of life.
I watch my dad, and I see his heart breaking for his love. My dad is stoic. He comes from a small farming town in Minnesota, and is still part farm, part engineer. He’s conservative and keeps things to himself and is one of the most self-sufficient persons I know. He could fix anything and today still wants and tries to – even though his muscles are starting to fail him. He’s not an outwardly emotional guy, but you know when he loves you. Seeing him finally coming to grips with whats happening and whats coming is so hard. He embraced the land of denial for a long time and I think is now living with the guilt of what if – what if I’d done something sooner…. That question will never be answered, but it doesn’t matter – its where we are and what we are facing.
I’ve become a primary care-giver along with dad. Mom needs help walking, showering – you know normal daily activities. It’s hard to watch. It’s hard to live. But it’s the least I can do for the parents who have given me so much.
And while I deal with all this, I know I can’t neglect myself, and myself-care. I need to reach out and start therapy to help me deal with all of my emotions (mostly guilt). I know that ignoring depression is not a healthy thing – its what got me to my lowest of lows in 2014-5 and I do not wish to revisit that place ever again. So I’ll take this step, and see where it leads me. And in the meantime, I’ll be here for mom and dad and wherever this road leads us.