I'm happy to report that we survived the week that Dad was on vacation without any major incidences!
I think that this trip was a big eye opener for my brother. He insisted that we didn't need caregivers while he was there; he was working from home on his computer for the week. I told him what we were dealing with, but until you are here to see it firsthand, I don't think you can really understand. I think he mostly just thought he needed to be there to make sure there wasn't a fire or big emergency; much has changed since the last time he was here. Needless to say, I had to call the caregivers back to come in and help for a couple of those days. Natalie and I spent a lot of the day there as well, but it's difficult to keep the kids cooped up in dad's house all day (there isn't much for them to do there), especially when Joe was trying to work, so we had to get them out of the house for at least a little bit each day. All in all, Mom was safe and taken care of and Dad was able to go and have a good time away from the stress and sadness of his daily life. I am really grateful that I had Joe and Natalie here for the week to help out, if for nothing else than for my emotional sanity!
After dad returned, I went home with Joe and Natalie for a week. We started this tradition a few years ago-to spend a week together at each of our houses every summer. It gives the kids time to bond and play and it gives Natalie and me the chance to sew, stay up late watching movies and just hang out! Usually I drive out there for a week and bring her and the kids back with me, and then Joe will drive out to spend a long weekend with us and take his family home. This year it worked differently and most of our time here was watching Mom, so I was really looking forward to our time in Arizona.
It was really refreshing to spend a week away. Although I was still on the phone every day handling some things with caregivers and Mom's doctor/nurse (post to come on that topic), I was able to refresh and spend time with my best friend. This has been a very difficult summer for me. With Mom's disease progression and having to do things I never imagined I'd have to do, having the kids home full-time and fighting with each other, and me deciding a few months earlier to go off of my anti-depressant (probably not the best decision I've made), I have been overwhelmed emotionally. I don't like talking about the fact that I had to go on anti-depressants a couple of years ago, but it is what it is. It's a sad reality for a large number of family caregivers. The truth is, I've been extremely emotional. It seems like everyday I am on the verge of tears and probably once a week I end up with a crying fit. I have felt stressed out, tired, discouraged, angry and lonely...to name just a few emotions. One close friend of mine remarked to me that my countenance has changed over the past few months. Although it's hard for me to hear that, she is right. Many days the despair and grief are almost too much to bear; it's hard to see the sunshine with the dark clouds looming overhead.
Coming home from Arizona was hard. Don't get me wrong-I was happy to be with my husband again, I missed him while we were gone. But now I miss my bff. In a perfect world, we'd be neighbors and we would see each other everyday. Now that I'm home, it's back to reality. I feel like I'm back to where I was before she came; alone in managing these complicated emotions of caring for my mom. :(