The burnt-on black remains of pot roast gravy that my electronic self-cleaning oven missed got an extra strong scrubbing this morning between my reading of the articles in the science section of the New York Times. I scrubbed and scrubbed to release some of the tension I absorbed from the articles I read.
The first is a well-written example of unbelievable stress. Celia Watson Seupel, a live-in caregiver for her 93 year-old mother, writes in an Essay titled, An Incomprehensible Loss, Even Without Dementia, how concerned she is with her demented mother's understanding of the suicide of her college attending grandson, the author's son.
The second is Jane Brody's Personal Health article for this week, titled Caregiving as a ' Roller Coaster Ride From Hell,' wherein Jane Brody writes that "caregiving, after all, is a wife's expected role" which most "accept as a duty that offers precious time to express love and wishes, settle financial matters, and right past wrongs." She quotes from a new book by Diana Denholm "The Caregiving Wife's Handbook" and lists a bunch of advice do's and don'ts that are so easy to prescribe and so impossible for a spouse of an Alzheimer's diseased spouse to understand, act upon, feel free or able to do without emotional support from others who are or have experienced similar circumstances.
For example the first one is "Don't let your husband take advantage of you or be abusive in any way."
1. How? Confrontation doesn't work. You can't leave the man alone. He's perfectly fine when others are present.
2. To whom do you turn for help? Your children who live far and wide? your grandchildren who will forever alter their memories of Grandpa?
3. And if you do let your husband shout at you, and feel badly about the verbal abuse, often sexual in nature or about stealing money, now the author wants you to feel guilty about not fighting back??
Readers, please beware of gifts of advice from friends, relatives or professionals who are not walking in your shoes. Please get support as soon as you hear the diagnosis, from others, online and in person, who are living with situations similar to yours.
The oven door is shining!