Ain’t nothin’ like piles of work to remind me that I hate working.
I’m not complaining—well, maybe I am, a little bit—I’m just sayin’ that if I didn’t need the money, I wouldn’t be spending all my free time pushing pixels around for fun. I’d be playing with Sake in a park somewhere, or building something for the van. Maybe I’d start assembling that neat time-lapse video for which I’ve been gathering footage for the past year… oh. Maybe I would be pushing pixels around.
Anyway, I’m up to my ears in work. I don’t know where the hours go, but it seems like everything is taking way longer than I thought it would, and not an hour goes by uninterrupted. Frustrating. Working from home isn’t so cushy when the phone and doorbell keep ringing, your mom keeps making you eat weird food, and your dad pees on your feet.
Yes, that happened.
I mean, he didn’t walk up to me and start peeing. He walked into the bathroom, pulled his diaper halfway down, and started to sit on the toilet—except he was nowhere near the toilet. I heard our hired caregiver telling him, “Don’t sit down yet! There’s no chair, no toilet behind you!” When my dad decides to do something, he commits 100% and does not listen to anyone else. He’s always been like that. I ran to see if I could help. Since dad was standing in the doorway, the caregiver couldn’t maneuver around my dad to keep him from sitting down, or break his fall. Luckily, I was skinny enough to just barely squeeze by. I took his hand and told him I’d help him find his way to the toilet. Naturally, he ignored me and simultaneously started sitting down and peeing all over the floor. Alarmed, the caregiver and I looked at each other. Without a word, we grabbed my dad under his armpits and hauled him to the toilet. Since my dad is now half zombie, he started to kick and fight us off, but relaxed after he was seated properly. And that’s how I got urine all over my feet.
That was pretty gross, but I figured I’d tell you about it because it seems like more and more of my friends are having to take care of loved ones with some form of dementia. People don’t like to talk about gross stuff, but it’s kind of important to talk about it. Reactions are important. When gross things happen, it’s natural to get frustrated—especially the first few times it happens. You’re disgusted because it’s gross, you get mad because you now have to clean up a huge awful mess, and without even thinking twice you might scold your patient.
The important thing to remember is that dementia patients can’t help their behavior, they cannot learn anymore, but they do have feelings. When things like this happen you just have to roll with it. No scolding, no punishment, no hurtful words. No good comes of that. Just say, “It’s okay, I’ll clean it up.” Like it’s nothing. Because it really is nothing. You change your socks, wash your feet, write a paragraph about it, and move on. After all, there’s lots of work to do.