Thursday, July 18, 2013

Living with Strangers

For nine months, I barely tolerated my narcissistic weekend caregiver and his slovenly ways.

    He never cleaned.

    He broke my dining room chairs.

    He wore his pants so low, he graced me with his bare butt when he bent over.

    He grumbled, grumped and demanded that I meet his latest need.

    Finally, I could no longer stand this man radiating bad temper through the house while my uncle was dying. Yet, the company who supplied my caregivers refused to replace him.

    So, I decided to do what I should have done long ago: get my weekend caregiver from a different company. I'd put it off and put it off, not wanting to rock the delicate, care-giving boat.

    I've gone through a lot of caregivers since my uncle has lived with me. I feel incredibly lucky to have a great person five days a week. What if I went to another company, yet got another dud?

          It's not easy being a live-in caregiver. It's much harder when
          a competent person is living right there. To succeed, my
          caregivers must do everything for my uncle - who can do
          nothing for himself - PLUS get along with me.

    I sympathized that someone might find the situation stressful.  That didn't mean I should tolerate a resentful person skulking about.

    Then, like a miracle, without my doing anything, the annoying caregiver disappeared. I was assigned an amazing man from Southwest Nigeria (the region Shell and BP have made into an environmental disaster area). Highly educated, experienced, and with an optimistic sense of humor - he was good with Milt and with me.

    I couldn't believe my luck or blessing or whatever it was.

    I felt more relaxed than practically since I started this gig.

    Living with a dying man is an emotional wringer, but that is not so hard. Hard is sharing my house with an endless parade of well-meaning or not-so-well-meaning strangers while that emotional wringing is in progress.

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    1 comment:

    1. ((hugs)) Thank you for sharing this journey. I've been that inexperienced well-meaning kid -- not with hospice, but with other special needs. It's easy to just glide through without really thinking about what it's like for the other people in the home, just that they are people you are polite to and sometimes talk and laugh with.