I recently read a Facebook meme that said stress is the gap between expectation and reality.

I call bullshit.

If that were true, then it would be a simple matter of reducing expectations to eliminate stress. Well, when dealing with a relative with Alzheimer’s, it doesn’t matter how deep in the well you plunge your expectations, doesn’t matter if you drown them, choke them, slice and dice them, eliminate them altogether. Reality sucks. It blows. Blows big, fat chunks. No lowered level of expectation prepares you for this level of crazy. For watching your mother quiver in fear over what the TV people tell her. For not being able to calm her, to convince her that we are not under siege. That she will not die before sunrise.

I also saw a well-meaning Facebook post about how to deal with aging parents. About how we should give them the same patience as their minds go as they gave us, as children, when our minds grew.

Bullshit, part deux. Talk about stress. That little post made me feel inadequate. An awful daughter. A shitty caregiver. Why? Because I get frustrated, annoyed, and on a rare occasion, pissed right off.

Here’s the key difference. When you are a parent raising a child, there is growth. That child is learning. They will get more aware, more cognitive, and better able to communicate with you on your level as they grow up. And when babies poop their pants, no matter how it smells, it’s just plain adorable.

When you are an adult child caring for a parent with dementia, there is no growth. Your parent is dying. She will get less aware, less cognitive, unable to communicate with you on any level. She will get combative and angry, will hide her stuff and call you at three in the morning (the magic hour for reasons I’ve yet to figure out) to beg for help because the TV people told her she was on fire. And when your parent poops on her toilet seat, and you find it? Not adorable. When she starts pooping in her pants, I won’t deal with it. I can’t. Cue the long-term care facility.

Maybe I’m just a shitty person. That’s what all this Facebook crap is making me feel like. I am a doer, not a caregiver. Take over the banking? No problem. Need to see a doctor? I can take you! You need a new door? New drapes? Groceries? I can handle that. Need to replace the old cement steps with something wider and install railings outside? I can arrange that. Hot water heater broken? I’m on it! Wipe your poopy ass?

*crickets*

I’ve said it before. There’s a reason I’m an accountant.

So, shitty daughter perhaps, but I’m so okay with that. I do a lot. I do my best. It simply has to be good enough.

FUCK OFF

FUCK OFF

Maybe Facebook is the problem.

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Quote by Blake

No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.

William Blake

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