I contemplated not writing my column this week.
I contemplated not writing my column this week. Like Dad says, "there's not enough room in my brain for any more information."
Not putting a pen to the weeks' events would be like not updating the one family member who gives you the most support. I am thankful so many of you have e-mailed or called to let me know that I'm not the only one who is struggling through what is referred to as the sandwich generation. This chapter in the life cycle feels more like a sandwich being squashed in a vise, and it's always comforting to know when you're not alone.
Dad started "daycare" last Friday after a trip to the emergency room and dentist confirmed that there's nothing physically wrong with him. Apparently his brain finally hit overload and began the process of shutting down. My heart said to continue the routine we had created, although my mind knew better. With the help of my boyfriend, we found a place that is homey, comforting and secure.
Sitting in the office of the nice lady whose "home" she shares with those who need a little extra TLC, I had a hard time listening to the instructions of the paperwork that needed to be found, filled out and returned.
My boyfriend must have known my breakdown was coming as he insisted to come along for support and even had a couple extra Kleenex in his pocket, which I was glad to have.
When I drop Dad off in the mornings, he's always cheery and happy to see everyone. A lot of the residents remember his name, and that makes him feel welcome. After a couple of hours Dad tries to leave, which sets off the alarms. The note I put in his pocket saying I would be back after work calms him down, until he forgets what the note says, which is usually about 10 minutes later.
Eventually the nice lady calls to ask if they could give him a little medicine to help calm him down.
I'm a freak about not taking medicine. When my kids were little I'd give them all natural antibodies from the health food store and make them drink herbal teas, trying to avoid pumping antibiotics into them.
Every medicine has a side effect and sometimes I think we don't give our bodies the time it needs to heal itself.
I wanted to say no, but Dad's crying spells and depression worries me more than him taking a sedative. When I picked him up the next day, he waved goodbye to his new friends, instead of stomping out the door grumbling that they were all crazy. The dosage is a very small amount and even though I feel guilty that he's having to take medication, he's happier and has stopped worrying that the IRS, CIA or FBI are trying to kill him.
My boyfriend is fixing me up a sedative for this weekend – he's gassing up my tractor.
Sandy Turner lives in the Kansas City area and writes this column for GateHouse Media.