The past year has been one of the long haul ones. It was this time last year that I started treatments in Alaska for my illness, (on top of the infusions I was already getting on a regular basis). Fun times never end. In addition to my own health issues, my parents in the Midwest are getting older and having issues. So I made the decision to come back to Illinois for a bit. Like I said fun times never end.
So, here I am, in Illinois, enjoying the comforts of various couches. Why couches and not my own place you may wonder. I know, after the past few weeks, I am wondering. I think it is because I do not want to establish a place of my own. I do not want to give up on my living in Alaska, (or Kentucky), dream. Alaska is an amazing place to live. The beauty and wildlife adventure cannot be beat. The cost of living is higher than I like but it is getting like that every where. So, in my mind, if I do not get my own place, I will eventually leave to find my place. Right? Help me out and say right.
In case anyone is wondering just what kind of wonderland I have signed up for my mom has been diagnosed with diabetes and dementia, (testing for exact diagnosis starting now). My dad has diabetes. So I am learning a healthier lifestyle cooking for them. My dad is the easy one. He knows I am using diabetes meal planning and will eat what I put in front of him. My mom though is a whole another story. She is a picky, junk food loving type of eater. One who has no memory of the Doctor saying she has diabetes and needs to test once a day. I have to watch her carefully or she will pop something in to munch as I get the test ready. I find myself in the strange position of being an adult child living in my parents home where I need to be the parent. It is such a strange position. I have to admit I am having difficulty with it. I haven't found the combo that lets me fulfill all the roles I play now. I try to respect the fact that this is my mom's home and she recognizes me as her child. The role I have to play though interferes with this though. I have to tell her things to do, what to wear and what/when to eat. I worry that she will feel that I am taking over, that she will feel useless. I worry that I will fail at this. I freely admit that I don't know what the hell I am doing or how to do it. I feel like I am learning to swim - not a good thing. I can't swim today because of memories I have of nearly drowning when I went for swim lessons. Good start right? I keep telling myself that I will do this. That I can do this. After all I raised children with no help. I had no instructions for that. I married and divorced three times, obviously no instructions there. I have infusions regularly to survive and I have had radiation. No fun there, (though when I got the first treatment I bought glow sticks. When I got in bed I broke them open and placed them under the sheet around my body. Seeing the reactions of my friends who were helping me was pretty funny so I guess there were moments of fun). I had my first grandson with me while both his parents worked, (me during the week, weekends with mom and dad deal). No instructions. And then I had another grandson with me for 5 years. Six months into it I knew something was wrong. Another six months and I was told autism. Trust me when I say I had no freaking idea of anything then. All I knew was Dustin Hoffman in Rainman at that point. I looked at the doctor and said what is the most important thing for him to know. He told me communication. So I learned sign language, we watched every word show I could find, I read to him, we played find the happy face, sad face, mad face, etc face for hours and I read every book I could find on autism. I searched out blogs and looked for products to help. I might have been lost but I had a map. And now he is verbal, loving, smart and fun though he still misses a lot of clues that come so easy to most of us. He taught me as much as I taught him. But this dementia thing I don't know what to do with. I already know the answer to what is most important - my mom being happy as I let her go. What the hell is that? I know we have to let go - death is part of life- but my heart screams not yet. So what do I do? I'm not even certain I am strong enough for this. I have no experience with diabetes or dementia. I am reading up but everything is contradicted. If you have any ideas, suggestions or want to share an experience please leave a comment. My sanity may depend on it. Haha.