Come September I broke the news to Clara about the cruise. Then I came up with the idea of having Clara arrange for her own care. Rather than me getting the phone call at the last minute for the arrangements I made, I thought let Clara take care of making arrangements with her own daughters. I had a hard time not getting involved. Clara mentioned to me she told her one daughter about the cruise. She related her reply was that is a busy time for her and she wouldn’t be available for anything extra. I would remind Clara to be sure to make her own arrangements. We were taking my mother along on the cruise as a thank you for all the luncheons she arranged each week for Clara, so Clara knew she wasn’t available to help care for her. Andy would ask me about the arrangements and I told him it was up to his mother and the more I asked, the more it involved me. He said his worry was we would have a problem days before the cruise and he didn’t want that stress before leaving on our first cruise. About three weeks before the cruise, I started pressing Clara regarding what her arrangements were. She was trying to involve anyone but her own daughters. When I asked her why, she said they were not available. I was not sure if it was their words or Clara not wanting to ask them. That would puzzle me how it could be so easy for her to ask her daughter-in-law to wipe her butt but not ask her own daughter for help in her care. Zack was going to be home the week of the cruise, but he said he would be cramming; studying for finals. He said he could care for the dog, but didn’t want the responsibility of caring for his grandmother this time. Since he tends to study late into the night, he said he didn’t want to be in the middle of studying, to have to stop to put his grandmother to bed. On one hand that seemed ridiculous, but on the other hand I thought we should be able to go away for a week and not have to be the only family members involved with Clara’s care. Zack was not a stranger to helping with Clara. The times when Clara would not be able to get up by herself and Zack was home, he would stop what he was doing to assist. Once when Andy met us at the car to help his mother in the house after dialysis, she demanded Zack help her. Andy is quite strong and was more than capable. Once Clara made up her mind there was no changing it. To me it was actually quite funny. Neither Andy nor Zack found the humor in it. Zack was in the middle of completing an assignment for college, and while he was accommodating to his grandmother, it was enough to break his concentration. I decided not to argue with him about his decision.
I was Clara’s full time caregiver for 8 years. I mentioned earlier in this blog that I am posting exerpts from my book, Life with Clara – One Caregiver’s Journey. My goal has always been that my experience and honesty could help others in this life changing role. My entire account is available at www.createspace.com/3469034