I called my brother, Tony (second on the Phillips Lifeline emergency contact list) after talking with Miss Cathy.
It was somewhat of a comfort to hear him say that he didn’t pick up the call (for the same reason that he didn’t recognize the number) either.
“Jeez!”, I thought, if this were a DC comic we’d have made shitty superheroes because neither of us was there to answer the “Bat call”…. Oh well, at least my misery has company.
Tony knew that I was prone to beating myself up for things that went wrong so he was especially compassionate (which is not his ‘go to’ emotion being a product of our upbringing and a former career Marine and but he can be counted on to provide a shoulder when needed).
We talked for a bit, letting each other off the hook as only people in a situation like ours can. As the conversation was winding down and I knew that I had to get to the others on the list I decided to ask him for his advice before I let him get back to his life.
Should I continue with my evening or go back to aid and possibly enable Miss Cathy?
Should I call Ron, the upstairs son (and the one who thankfully answered the distress call) and ask him to go down (again) and do battle for me (knowing that’s not his role, his job or his responsibility)?
I was (after all) trying to have a life of my own, outside of her many needs, thinking that I could (hopefully) address some of my own.
But now I couldn’t help but wonder about the validity and timing of the crisis.
While I always take mom’s condition seriously I couldn’t help but wonder out loud if sometimes her confusion and panic were ways to get attention. The number of times that she seemed perfectly fine (fine being a relative term when you’re dealing with Alz) before I left home but after I was gone was another story (usually ending with my premature return).
And (interestingly) after I returned (and she calmed down) she was (back to) as she was before.
Whether this was conscious or not I couldn’t say, nor could my brother but he’d noticed the same thing himself when he had to care for Miss Cathy. There did seem to be times when her reaction to a situation seemed to spiral out of control and stabilize only after she got what she wanted.
Tony agreed that it was a conundrum and said that I could go back and do what was needed or I could stay out for the evening. But, if I did stay out, I’d have to find a way to make peace with my choice and not feel guilty.
I realized after talking about the situation that it didn’t matter if the crisis was manufactured or not, the end result was that she needed help and I needed to respond.