Paradise lost (and found)


It’s been a little over a year since the diagnosis and about seven month since I moved in with Miss Cathy (but who’s counting right-well, obviously I am). So I guess it’s normal to be feeling a little malaise. It’s interesting that while I’m very clear that I know this is where I’m suppose to be I’m amazed that I’m still adjusting. It’s not like I thought this was going to be a cake walk, quite the contrary, I knew it was going to be hard-I just didn’t know “what” was going to be hard and “how” it was going to affect me.

I’ve been back almost a week now from a much needed vacation at the Paradise Pointe Island Resort in San Diego, CA. I have to say, I didn’t much miss being in the cold on the East coast or the chill that was in the air between Miss Cathy and me in the days leading up to our different destinations (she: down south-me: to the mid and west).

After spending a few days in Kansas City, Chad and I fly (between snowstorms) to the resort for five days of heaven. The trip was just what I needed it to be: long, quiet sunny days and starlit nights. I didn’t do much but walk on the beach, eat at one the island’s two restaurants (a lot), read, sleep and I did the requisite time in the jacuzzi.

I must admit I did very little (or no) thinking about life back here (at the laugh factory). It’s amazing how quickly I just shut it all off, I wonder if parents are able to do that if/when they can manage some time away from their children?

All’s quiet here at the apartment because Tony called to tell me that Miss Cathy decided to stay in North Carolina for an extra week. I swear to God when he told me that I felt like a death row inmate getting a reprieve from the Governor.

It’s also given me some time to sort out the confusion I was feeling before I left in search of paradise. In addition to worrying if I’m doing the right thing by Miss Cathy, selfishly what I think I’m having trouble dealing with is the thought that I’m looking at (and dealing with) my own future.

We all know that Alzheimer’s could be hereditary so I could be headed down the same road-except I don’t have any children to take the wheel and steer me in the right direction when I drive off into the dementia ditch. Oh my, listen to me, I can hear my grandmother saying, “Don’t worry about the mule going blind!” (Translation: the worst hasn’t happened so there’s no point worrying about it now).

As much trouble as Miss Cathy is having accepting her situation who’s to say I won’t be worse if (heaven forbid) I end up with Alzheimer’s. So, with that thought in mind, I’m trying to be more empathic and patient,“ There but for the grace of God go I”. A lot was left unresolved before the break but I’m back from my vacation, rested and ready for round two (this being the second time I’ve gone away for one of my quarterly “mental health breaks”).

Yesterday, I was out on long walk turning all this unresolved “stuff” over in my head when I got a call from a relative (who wishes to remain anonymous. “Anonymous” called to tell me that she’s been spending a lot of time with Miss Cathy and she thinks Tony and I are doing a wonderful job of caring for her (regardless of Miss Cathy’s apparent bitching to the contrary that we’re taking away her freedom and she’d be “fine” on her own). “Anonymous” also made a point of saying that we’re doing the right thing by NOT letting her stay by herself. She told me that from what she’s observed Miss Cathy is fine for the most part but she does have her “moments” (and you never can tell when that’ll be) when she gets confused or something just isn’t “quite right”.

“Anonymous” also said that she’s noticed that mom is very quick to temper and appears to be sitting on a lot of anger.

I gotta say, I was quite surprised by the call but since I don’t believe in coincidences I took it as a sign (and an unsolicited testimonial) that we (Tony, Suemi and I) are doing the right thing. I was almost convinced that maybe Miss Cathy had a point the last time we talked/argued (albeit a very loud one) that she could stay by herself sometime.

I was glad to get another perspective, it made me realize that it gets kinda cloudy here living in the “fish bowl”, sometimes you can’t see too clearly and the fish ahead of you looks like it’s making sense so you start to follow it-even if it looks like it’s trying to jump out of the bowl. So, armed with this new information and support I think I can hold onto the serenity I found at paradise Pointe. I just have to maintain some distance-and talk to some other fish.

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