We had a home visit from the Seniors Health psychiatrist a couple of weeks ago and in the course of that visit and one with our family doctor, it became clear that there is one last task I need to carry out as a loving caregiver. I need to somehow get my love feeling comfortable with long term care, so that when the time comes that he can’t stay at home anymore, he is more comfortable with the care situation. I have heard before of many people with whom this helps.
Getting my guy to set foot inside a care home — for the day program or for respite — is something I just don’t quite know how to do. There was the time a few years back when we went to check out a day program and he recoiled in horror at the people sleeping in wheelchairs and said, “I just don’t think this is for me.” Ever since he has accused me of trying to leave him there.
Worse than the tactical problems though, is the emotional ambivalence it sets up in me. Having an outside estimate of two years for him to stay at home with me is both an overwhelming relief (after all I have done eight years hard time now) and a resonating horror. I swing from one to the other, and in between I stop at a place where I think, oh no, it is far too soon, we need more time together. Then I go to the place where I wonder how I have managed to survive so long, and whether I will have any of my own personality and feelings intact after another two years, and I swing back to relief at the promise of release or at least, parole.