Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Messy Life, Messy House, Messy Mind

As my very dear friend Susan says, I haven’t been the sharpest crayon in the box lately. (I also haven’t blogged lately…but that’s another story.) My father has been in rehab, after a couple of falls, and I transferred him on Saturday to an assisted living facility. I have to say that it wasn’t fun, and I’m feeling very ambivalent about it…although everyone tells me this is the right decision: [1] he is safe (and I’m not worrying about him when I’m at work); [2] he’s getting three meals a day (where before he would eat…oh, say…pretzels and Diet DP for breakfast); [3] there are people there all the time (instead of him sitting alone in front of the window for ten hours); and [4] I am no longer “on call” for the 118 hours a week that I’m not at work.

I still feel, though, as if I am sort of on call…while he was in rehab I would often go and see him on my lunch hour. And every night I would race home, feed the cat (who must have canned food three times a day), change clothes and then go spend at least an hour and a half with him in the evening. As a result I would get home around 7:00-ish (sometimes later), and I ask you, who wants to cook a good, healthy meal at 7:00?? (Well, maybe some people do…but I am not one of them!) Therefore I was eating pretty poorly (embarrassingly, because of the “pretzels and Diet DP for breakfast” reference above). I was also stressed and tired – physically as well as emotionally. Whatever I had in my hands when I walked in the door – tote bag/purse, groceries, laundry from the rehab – went on the kitchen table (or under it)…and stayed there. I just didn’t have the emotional energy to try to keep up with the house and what was going on with Dad.

Fortunately I’ve just had a four-day weekend. And even though all of Saturday was spent moving things into his new room and getting him discharged from rehab and moved into the new facility, I managed to straighten up most of the house. My mother, years ago when I was living alone in an apartment in the California Bay Area, said to me: “Honey, I think you’d be a much happier person if you kept your kitchen cleaned up.” I’m sorry…’scuze me????? What did the one thing have to do with the other??? Well, as in every other thing, my mother was absolutely right. I am happier if my kitchen isn’t covered with dirty dishes…and that goes for the living room (I don’t mean dishes, but I do mean clutter), and the family room and every other room in the house. (I must delete the craft room from the list…because it’s so bad right now I’m pretending it’s located in a different time zone. Hopefully this problem will be addressed in the near future.)

The room my Dad is in is very nice (it’s larger than the other option I was given – and of course more money, but I think he’s worth it - and with the other one, he would have had to leave the room to change his mind). It’s got two windows, so it’s light and airy and bright. There's room enough for his motorized recliner and a second nightstand, plus his wheelchair and walker. My brother bought him a new 26” flat screen TV which will hopefully be installed this week. And it’s neat as a pin. (And I’d like to move there myself. I mean, after all, his meals are fixed for him, his laundry is done, they check on him regularly, there’s a nice living room and a gazebo out back…sounds idyllic to me.) I imagine, however, that when I get to that stage in life it won’t seem so ideal. For now, though, I’m trying to find the positive aspects of this for Dad, and trying even harder to find peace within myself that all will work out in the best way for both of us.


  1. It's the best thing for both of you even if it doesn't quite feel like it right now. Like your mom's advice about keeping tidy, the time will come when you see the wisdom of it and feel the peace. Until then... I'm praying for you!

  2. i sort pf know how feel about putting your dad in to an assisted living place. i believe that it is the best thing for him. having people around all the time s a great thing and a great blessing for him even if he doesn't think so right now. i hope you can now begin to enjoy some of your time with out worrying about him so much. i will hope with you.