Thursday, March 2, 2017

{introverts unite}

While I've never been accused of being a social butterfly, seems the last couple of weeks I've become more socially awkward than usual.  My mom's care has so depleted my brain that I find it hard to carry on a coherent conversation with folks outside our home.  It's all I can do to stay focused.

Tuesday night we had Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper at church.  Ate and talked.  Had to force myself to be sociable.  Hard.  And last night we had Ash Wednesday services.  More talk.  Hard.  The best way I can explain it is my brain feels like someone has squeezed it dry and it pulls when I have to make an effort. 

Thankfully we've figured out how to manage her and leave her at home alone for brief periods.  Put her in front of the TV watching a DVD, and she's good for about 2 hours.  Can't get up to change the disk, so we time it so she doesn't end up just sitting, looking at a blank screen.

There's a degree of dementia going on too.  Not with me, but with her (made you laugh).  Must be the strokes.  Her thinking isn't logical.  And she's having problems more often with choking.  The simplest thing can catch in her throat, and I'm talking soups with soft bits.  I thought we'd moved past this stage.

We had roast the other night, since my husband had been up in Pennsylvania visiting his folks, and my mom wanted to have a celebratory dinner for him when he got back.  She avoided the meat, but had soup and some of the roasted vegetables.  We cut up the potatoes and carrots for her.  Very soft.  She left the carrots on her plate, thinking they were sweet potatoes, which she choked on in rehab.  One choking spell over a soft food and she stays away from it, even though there are countless similar foods out there.  Gracious, she gags on water all the time.  Save me, please.  Exactly why she doesn't sit at the dinner table with us anymore.  A few weeks ago, our son and his newly pregnant wife came for dinner.  At one point, Mom had trouble swallowing.  It gets very noisy and messy.  Thankfully she was sitting in her chair with the tray behind our daughter-in-law.  Our DIL paused when Mom began having trouble, and I could see was waiting to see how Mom would handle it.  We all just stopped eating and waited.  I was thinking, okay, now there are two of you who are going to lose your dinners, but the moment passed.  For a minute there...

Nothing makes sense anymore.  My mom's issues are physical and very fluid.  Meaning they change all the time.  I'll have her symptoms nailed down and then her BP will dive around, she'll have odd symptoms she'll blame on her prescriptions which never alter, or her conversations will go way out in left field.  The constant words that pour out of her mouth amaze us all.  Off she goes as soon as she wakes up.  Question after question.

For an introvert, this a version of hell.

But on a positive note....oh wait, there is very little positive.  My mom is safe, which is a good thing, and we're trying to honor her, but I find very few things in a blessing category related to this situation.  It's too darn hard.  Draining all the way around.  I sometimes feel, and please don't scold me about it, but I feel as if the Lord doesn't care for what happens to me.  My health is a bit compromised (borderline migraines on an almost daily basis and this now-constant eczema on my hands that rises up when I'm stressed), but because of my mom taking center stage, I don't matter.  That's the way if feels.  Take care of your mom and to heck with you.  Might be immature, but there it is. 

I'm about to contradict what I've just said, though.  My prayers (which, yes, are still heard) are answered very quickly.  I send up these brief prayers and it's like the responses are there before I've even shut my mouth.  Not always huge, important stuff, but more often things related to this situation now.  It's more intense.  I don't have the leisure time to wear the Lord out, but I guess you could call them bullet prayers.  Maybe He's enjoying my sense of letting go of requests and not plaguing Him about them.

He's not removing the source of my despair (my mom), but is right here now with me.  I do know this.  In the mess with us.  I realize it's just a season, but it seems a lengthy time.  Mom has been here two months now.  Seems forever.  I just want it to go away.

How I stay sane?  Reading Diana Garbaldon's Outlander.  And getting into my genealogy work again.  Seems my dad's paternal side is pretty amazing with a strong Scottish line going way-way back.  Fun to do the research along with reading the book, which takes place mostly in Scotland.  Had no idea (even though my maiden name is Scottish) that that part of the family tree was so crisp and easily followed.  Lends some solid enjoyment to lose myself in.  Important for peace of mind.

Other helps:  Rescue Remedy.  Bach flower remedies.  Sweet chestnut and just finished Olive.  Vitamins and herbal teas.  Self-care.  Keeping a clean house, which seems to settle my mind.  Nice bar soap and incense burning in the house.  Sandalwood.  My husband says it smells like feet, but what does he know?  Pleasing my senses seems to be huge now. 

Today.  I can do that.  Do what needs doing and take care of myself.  Pays to be reminded.


podso said...

Oh my, life is full at your house. My husband is "introvertish" and being with people exhausts him, so I understand this. People energize me. What a combination we are.

If your mom's choking continues you could blenderize her food--it would still taste good, and there is also something you can get to thicken her drinks, even water, so she wouldn't choke, but it doesn't sound like she is at that point yet. Sigh, always the nurse, can't help the advice, sorry.

Bonnie said...

Came to catch up on what's up at your house. Praying.

Charm and Grace said...

Well, you ARE continuing to put one foot in front of the other, and you can certainly congratulate yourself on doing that. Yes, life as an introvert can be quite a task. I don't have your issues, rather I just have four adult people (and particularly one of them -- hubby) that think they need my attention and presence 24/7. They TRULY do not understand how to be alone. No possibility for an introvert to "recharge" or "decompress" in that situation. Thankful that God has given me a fairly even temperament, but I know what you mean about the tight shoulders. It's called stress.