In last week’s post I filled you in on my absence. I had hoped that current stress levels might reduce a smidge. Mum is being cared for in a great community hospital and Dad seems to have adjusted to the situation, albeit with understandable reluctance. It seemed the stormy waters had reduced to a gentle swell of minor ups and downs.
Alas, It was not meant to be. You can imagine the upset that ensued following a call from the hospital care team to say that Mum was now not sick enough to stay with them. We had no idea when she was moved to this hospital that this was temporary situation. Apparently they don’t do long-term palliative care anymore. It would have been nice if we’d know this in advance. It would have prepared us for what’s coming.
The healthcare team want to move her to a care home. Dad is 100% against this as he is worried about COVID-19. Mum, with her cancers (secondaries in the lungs), would not survive an infection. To add to the complicated situation, the team say she cannot be cared for at home either as community care would not be able to provide 24/7 carers. Well that narrows the choices to none at all. Dad being the person he is, has stopped answering the phone to anyone, in case he gets news he doesn’t want to hear.
Life dealt him quite a nasty hand on Monday this week. He had a belated bladder check following surgery at Christmas to remove some cancerous tumours. The bad news is the little buggers are back again. He will have to wait 12 week for surgery to remove them, The good news is they are sitting on the surface, so very low-grade. Now add in Mum’s care dilemma and you can see how stress levels have reached defcon 10!
Dad want’s her home but needs care himself, especially when he goes for surgery and post-operatively. Mum, with dementia and cancer, needs round the clock attention. Although Scotland and England are reducing COVID lockdown rules, my sister and I need to be super-careful not to introduce any infection to Dad and are banned from seeing Mum. Gah! I’m back to trying to square circles again, riding the hamster-wheel of doom at 3am every morning.
How this type of stress manifests in me is centred on my communication area… throat, mouth and jaw tension. It’s quite painful. I’ve almost chewed through my night guard. As Dad is the only parent I can ‘talk’ to just now, this has triggered some crap from my teenage years.
I was, and still am, an avid journal writer. It was my only way to ‘feel’ my emotions in a house where this wasn’t tolerated. As you can imagine, I wrote some deeply personal stuff in my hidden journal. Only it wasn’t as hidden as I thought. Dad found it, read it, ripped it up and then confronted me about the contents. With that act, he destroyed my trust in him, my Daddy’s girl persona and the sanctity of my personal journal. He made me feel ashamed. And now he’s the only parent left to talk to. My teenage self is not a happy bunny.
EMDR is helping me deal with this long-forgotten memory. I will still remember it, but without the horrible physical symptoms which the memory currently stirs up. It’s a double whammy having symptoms where I do in the middle of COVID-19! The irony is not lost on me. The light at the end of the tunnel is I’ve had previous experience of EMDR and know how well it treats past traumas for me. I know this is a passing phase and it will end. I have to keep faith that things will work out for the best.
Some things turn out to be a blessing in disguise even when it feels like I’m falling apart at the seams! Just gotta stay strong!
Wishing you all safety and health.