I got home and greeted Carly, who was delirious with excitement that we finally came home. It was late, and Clara was already put to bed. The next morning, I went over, and none of Clara’s pill dispensers were filled. To me it looked like just enough were filled until I got home. Being sick, I had no patience for that and exaggerated the reason why in my mind. I felt like it was deliberately done to make a point that nothing more than the bare minimum was going to be done. There was debris lying on the floor and I told Clara that I got the point loud and clear from her daughter that she was not happy about our trip. I had a major attitude. Clara asked what I was talking about and I was all too eager to tell her about none of the pill dispensers being filled, although I was courteous enough to fill them up before I left. There were empty grocery bags and tags that were pulled off of clothes on the floor. Who was going to take care of these things? Clara wasn’t able. I was spitting mad. Part of it was the frustration of coming home sick and having to go right back into the caregiver’s role. Another part was the ongoing resentment I felt toward Clara’s daughters. I left for the doctor’s and sure enough had bronchitis again. I came home and crawled into bed. I was having a bad coughing spell when the phone rang and I thought there was no sense in answering it, because I couldn’t stop coughing. Whoever called left a message. When my coughing calmed down and I checked my voice mail, I had a nasty message from Clara’s daughter to call her at work. Clara must have called her daughter to either report my complaint or to scold her for leaving things the way she did. I called her back, and she was furious at my assumption that she purposely did not fill her mother’s medicine dispenser. She pointed out I had returned from my trip hours earlier than I had originally said and she had planned to refill them that day. I apologized if I came to a wrong conclusion and then she proceeded to angrily tell me how she has to get up for work at 5:00 a.m. and it was quite a burden for her to have to come out at night to come over to put her mother to bed. I commented that is what we have to do all the time; we have to revolve our lives around her mother’s bedtime. Then she got really hyper and said, “Yeah, but you didn’t have to come out at eleven at night in the cold nighttime air, then go home wide awake and have a hard time falling back to sleep.” At this point I asked her if her mother had told her I had come home sick and she said she mentioned it. I said, “You know that I’m sick but you still called to yell at me?” She said she wasn’t yelling, but didn’t appreciate being accused of not filling the pill dispenser on purpose. She added she hated how I always act like I do everything. I was surprised that she said that. I retorted that I hate how every time that she or her sister do something for their own mother, they act as if they are doing me a big favor. With that we ended the call and I went back to bed, coughing and hacking away. Somehow, the thought of her being inconvenienced made me happy, like it was her just due. At first I was feeling sorry for myself for having to deal with this crap, and then felt happy that Clara’s daughter felt like she had to deal with my crap! Then it was time to get back up to care for Clara, so I guess I didn’t have the last laugh after all. The delightful cruise was over and it was back to reality.
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