ironic postscript

just an ironic little ps to add some perspective. this morning i was trying to think of more productive ways to kill time, when the phone rang. it was my neighbor, just a little younger than my mother (80s), who is mostly paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. her mind is still smart and active, and she still practices psychology. in fact, she was one of my shrinks when i was young. she had tried to set me straight, at my parents’ request, back when i was about to make a big mistake in my life. (i went ahead anyway, of course.) now, decades later, we often have productive conversations about hindsight and the current situation. too many ironies there to even get into.

anyway, she had again fallen and needed help being transferred, and her assistant as usual wasn’t being too effective. also, being so paralyzed, she’s like a dead weight, and can’t do much to help. somehow once again between all of us we got her re-situated in a wheelchair, possibly throwing my back out in the process.

because i’m here all the time, elderly neighbors have figured out that i’m the one to call for help. it reminds me once again that i have it relatively good compared to many folks, who even with home aides are often helpless and dependent. if i had to lift dead weights every day, i’d be incapacitated myself. some of these hired assistants aren’t much more useful. when it comes to common emergencies, they have no idea what to do, even though they supposedly have the training. i found this to be the case when we briefly had our own aides for dad, before he had to be moved to a facility. half the time i was showing them how to do what it was their job and training to know.

also, how humiliating must it be to have a brilliant mind but be utterly dependent upon help to do the most basic activities. and that’s with resources to acquire all the latest disabled gizmos and 24/7 assistance. my neighbor has always been a progressive, independent thinker, and still manages to engage in her profession from a wheelchair, appearing calm and professional. but behind the scenes are all the very real struggles to perform the simplest tasks.

so i suppose i’m not entirely useless. i’m the default setting for oldster rescue operations, when no one else can get it right. and some time was not entirely killed. who knows what i’ll get to do next?0929021039

stuckhome syndrome


i’m sure my title isn’t original, but on the off chance that it is, copyright, trademark, etc.

stuckhome syndrome:  a hostage-like mental condition arising from being stuck ‘home’ caregiving for someone who can’t be left alone.   symptoms of the syndrome include: forgetting how to think and act like a person on the outside, and feeling compelled to stay incarcerated, kill time, and follow rigid ritualistic routines to fend off chaos and insanity.  and so on.

this sounds like a first-world problem.  i have a roof over my head, don’t pay rent (for now), have more than the basic necessities, a laptop to keep me connected to the world.  and time to kill.  on the other hand, i don’t have many actual real-live people to talk to, the freedom to just leave and visit family and friends, a real job, a doctor or insurance if i get sick or hurt, or any prospects or options for if/when i get out of here, but you can’t have it all.  like i always say, i have it much better than most of the world.  so why am i still here bitching and bemoaning my fate?

everyone thinks they want something they don’t have that they imagine someone else has.  for example, i have all this dead time on my hands.  i absolutely HATE killing time.  i’ve made a lot of misguided choices in my life, resulting in pain to others and a dead end life for myself.  just when i thought i had at least gotten somewhat straightened out, stable, and able to try to make up for some of the lost time and damage done, i had to lose it all to come here and basically take up space managing parents who didn’t make the right decisions for themselves while they still had time and resources.  this isn’t a scenario i chose, but one i needed to see to all the same.  no one else was going to do it for me.  so here i am, with all this time slipping away, and nothing to show for it.

i do remember a time when life was hectic, frantic, and time to chill or kill seemed like an unattainable luxury.  i had made some life choices, for better or worse, and that was one of the job descriptions.  you can’t have it both ways.  you choose a course, and you live with the consequences, or you change course if you can’t live with that, if the opportunity arises.  sometimes i feel like my karma is catching up with me, and i’m paying the price.  i had my chance to get it right, i screwed it up, and now here i am, doing time.

time is finite, but it comes in different varieties.  there’s that nebulous fantasy time that we imagine others not us enjoy, and we can never seem to get ahold of.  and then there’s doing time that you never signed up for.  it’s two different qualities of time, not to be confused.  ask any inmate what they think of having so much time to chill in their cell, with no real responsibilities or screaming kids, and they’ll set you straight.  they would do anything to be free with no time to spare, and without the unrelenting isolation.  it’s just a matter of perspective.

time…i guess i have a lot of it to think about–time.  be careful what you wish for!  i used to work for a living, and long for some time off to just do whatever, without demands.  all humans need that.  without a break, we’re just cogs in a machine, working and dying.  but too much imposed time without a meaningful occupation or relationships can also kill.  it kills hope, aspirations, and incentive.  humans are not built to stay sane under those conditions.

so here i sit, typing crazy words out into the void, while my zombie mother sits staring out the window into some empty vacuum of her own.  i can’t go far, because she might fall or overdose or something.  it’s a travesty that humans have to be reduced to that.  that’s all it boils down to, after all the pandemonium of living.

i just wanted to say to whoever cares, live mindfully and with consideration toward  those you choose to live with and bring into the world, because those are the same people who you may find yourself depending upon later on.  model the civility, tolerance, and compassion you would hope to receive from them, because your decisions and behaviors will come back to you, for better or for worse.  time is finite and can’t be redeemed or done over, so use it to invest in what really matters, and work to eliminate what’s pointless and destructive.  we can’t go back and change the ignorance of our parents, or the pain we inherited and passed down, but we can use whatever little time we’ve been given to try to turn things around and rebuild trust.  when all the money and stuff is gone, that’s what will keep going.