When All Else Fails, Chew Gum
I am a daughter, a mother, a grandmother, an aunt, and a teacher. I am also a caregiver. Many of you can already identify with this list because you, too, may wear one, many or all of those hats. It’s challenging, fulfilling, exhausting, terrifying, and that is when you do one or two at a time. But by golly, when you pile all of those bad boys on at once, well, let’s just say that for a girl whose life barely had any balance on a good day, it isn’t pretty.
As many of you know, when you are a caretaker, you tend to not only the special needs, but also the everyday needs that have become a challenge for that person. Okay, so you work a bit harder and sleep a bit less. Fine.
A snapshot, if you will. In the past one and one-half months, my eighty-six year old mother and I have had company (that person was ninety-one), and then a five-day stay from my three grandchildren while my niece, daughter, and son-in-law were in Las Vegas. My son-in-law had made it to the finals in Vegas for the American Ninja Warrior 2015. Super. I mean that with my whole heart. But while he was dodging obstacle courses and swinging from giant wind chimes, I was dodging wall-to-wall air mattresses, food found under those air mattresses, gum stuck between DVD’s, electronic devices and cords from every outlet, and swinging from wet towels, wet clothes (from both pool water and urine variety), baby dolls, and canes.
Note: when they left, and I had cleaned up the best I could from the ‘shock and awe’ that had hit, I dragged myself to the kitchen. It was somewhat bare, as I had not restocked after all of our assorted company. I looked at the carcass that was our kitchen. It looked like locust had come through. Then I remembered that I had found a loaf of bread under a pile of blankets the day before. I had rescued it, thinking it was one of the few things that had escaped the waterfall of urine that erupted from the three-year old during the night.. Ah ha! I made some toast and collapsed on the chair. Peace, at last!
I took a bite. Yes, I did. Let’s just get that out there. I thought it tasted funny, so I opened the bread sack and sniffed. Yes. That is correct. Alas, the bread had not escaped the Mount Vesuvius of Lennon-urine, and I partook.
I had an appointment with my chiropractor because my back went out hoeing in the garden that my grandsons HAD to have. (Where are they, you ask? That is for another blog.) He asked, “How are you?” I debated; I really did. I thought about doing the usual, you know, “Fine, and how are you?” But you know how you are facedown on that table-thing, and when he pushes on your spine and the air goes PHWET? Well, out with it came something like this…
“I am a plethora of disgust. I go for days without brushing my hair. I realized this when I was at Wal-Mart and caught a glimpse of someone who looked like that girl on Sweeney Todd and it was ME. I have gone up to two days without brushing my teeth and I am feeling less and less regret about that fact. The last time I took a shower, I thought I had really accomplished a great feat. I sat down on the living room floor afterward and wrapped my arms around my legs…and yelped in pain. I had managed to shave one leg, but the other forgotten appendage (and I have no idea why I only shaved one) was so long neglected that I am pretty sure I still have scratches on the insides of my arm.”
There were a couple of beats of silence, and then he asked, “Would you like a stick of gum?”
And that, folks, about sums it up. When all else fails, chew gum!