Disclaimer: This is an honest real account of what my life is like caring for a person with Alzheimer’s, and whilst I appreciate your concern please avoid giving me advice on what you think I ‘should‘ be doing. I have regular respite, I have regular counselling and have a great support network. Also, I swear a bit in here so if you aren’t into swearing, avert your eyes now. Thanks for reading.
It is 9:42pm on Friday the 4th of November 2016 and I have just thrown my guts up. Martha went number two in her diaper for the second time today and I couldn’t handle it. As soon as I saw it I just couldn’t even handle it, I felt this huge adrenaline surge that manifested itself physically. And whilst I was trying to clean Martha up, I am also trying to not throw up on her, literally trying not throw up on her and not on the carpet, and I’m running to the door with the diaper, yelling at Martha not to touch anything and I throw up on the doorstep while I reach for the bin outside. And Martha has gone into the bathroom and come out and is heading for the couch and I am screaming at her “get back in the fucking bathroom” while my body rejects most of what I have eaten today onto the kitchen floor.
And so I finally get to the bathroom and there is shit, everywhere. So for the second time I have to clean my bathroom, and by this stage I have a bucket and Martha is in the shower and I am simultaneously throwing up into my sad blue bucket, while I shower Martha. I give her instructions, I turn her around, I throw up, I cry, I yell, she tries to turn the shower off, I turn it back on and she is clean and it feels as though I am covered in vomit. I instruct her to dry herself while I attempt to clean the bathroom and I AM IN HELL, I have tears streaming down my face and I’m throwing up and I can’t handle it and my mind has gone crazy, and Martha has left the bathroom. I find her in bed, naked and I want to flip the fuck out. I honestly want to throw the biggest mutherfucking hissy fit, but I don’t, I tell her to get up, put this on, put this on, I walk away to finish cleaning up some of the mess and come back and she has at least got a new diaper on before she has gotten back to bed, so I stand her up and dress her. Get her meds give them to her and shut the door.
And it is as though my mind and my body are separate, because my mind is going mental, it is spiraling quickly somewhere deep and dark, but my body is carrying this sad blue bucket, throwing up and wiping shit off surfaces and cleaning vomit off the floor, and then when my mind and body finally sync up, I am able to ask; “is this my life now?” and “if this is my life, how long is it for?” Because I am exhausted and I am lonely, and I am trapped, I am burdened by a choice that I made to care for Martha. And tomorrow this will all change and of course I will be grateful, and I will care for her and respond to her as a daughter, but right now it feels impossible, because what I most want is for my Mum to rub my back, bring me water and tell me its ok, and instead all I can see is a stranger with sad eyes who won’t let me have a shower without trying to get in.