Jun 24 2009
Before blood work confirmed that a tick indeed infected me with Lyme disease — the gift that keeps on giving — my doctor started me on antibiotics. Within a couple of days the drugs knocked out the joint pain and lessened my headaches, but I’m still feeling tired and mentally checked out. There are some days…..when i really struggle….. to string….
Which is especially frustrating when you’re supposed to write for a living.
I’m not exactly churning out copy at an earth-shattering rate. All too often, I find myself spacing out and staring at the dog. Who stares right back at me, her eyes pleading, “When are you going to ride one of those good-for-nothing horses?? I’m bored, entertain me!!”
Martin gets home in the evening, sizes me up and tries to gauge: is she normal or nutty today? He already thinks I’ve melted my brain by sitting in a hot-house all day long.
But ever since I paid the last electricity bill, I’m determined to keep the AC turned off during the day, even though I prefer refrigerated bliss. Now it’s a matter of pride, beating the heat. I’m being frugal! I announce.
No, says Martin, you’re being crazy. Crazier than usual.
Spending time with Dad hasn’t improved my sanity. I’ve been babysitting my father at night while Mom’s on the west coast, babysitting her mom through pacemaker surgery.
In case you don’t know, my Dad has dementia which means he doesn’t know what day it is (nor does he care), he doesn’t remember if he’s eaten, and he’s always asking where my mom is, and when she’s coming home. I tell him: she’ll be back Thursday — which is pretty meaningless when you don’t know — and don’t care — what day it is. Typically, 5 minutes after arrival, I’ve exhausted topics of conversation: where Mom is, when she’ll be home, what the kids are up to, the weather. In the end, we watch CNN which is always blaring full-volume from every TV in the house.
The first night I sleep over, my ears are pricked all night, listening for footsteps, expecting Dad to barge in and wake me up. He makes it most of the night before the lights in my bedroom blaze to life. “There you are!” he announces victoriously, as if he’s just discovered me hiding out, nose buried a tabloid, eating peanut butter from a jar, with my bare feet on the coffee table.
Disoriented, I look at my watch. It’s 4:05 am. Dad’s wearing jeans and a polo, which either means he’s dressed himself in the middle of the night, or went to bed fully clothed.
Yes, you found me, I say. What are you doing?
Looking for you, he says.
Dad you should go to bed, it’s the middle of the night.
Okay, he says. I follow him and the path of lights left in his wake. I’m not kidding when I say that my parents’ house is illuminated by about 200 lights controlled by 80 light switches. And Dad turns them all on as he advances from room to room. Man, talk about electricity bills.
In the morning Dad doesn’t remember that he woke me up. Actually, he says he was looking for me and couldn’t find me anywhere. Well, here I am I say, what do you need? A cigar, he says. It’s only 8 am, but what the hell? The cigars are stashed in a china cabinet; otherwise Dad would puff though a box in one day. I read the newspaper headlines, Dad lights up and we wait for his caregiver to arrive.
The truth is, I’m off the hook pretty easy. Sleeping over for a few nights isn’t especially stressful. But after an early dose of Dad coupled with my lingering Lyme disease haze, I drive home wondering, what day is this? Is this a Tuesday or a Wednesday?
Fortunately, the dog sets me right when I get home. She gives me that look: “It doesn’t matter what day it is! Any day is a good day to go ride. So get moving!!”
**Note: today’s graphic is brought to you by Google Images. It’s the first thing that pops up under image search and the word “crazy.” Kinda strange…