Diary of a Respite

Day 1

Dropped a somewhat bewildered and suspicious husband off at the Lodge with the help of the gracious staff who hi-5ed Don as they met us, to his flattered surprise.

No tears this time as I scurried off to the car, because the last week has been rough, even if this morning he was relatively calm and pleasant. Still scared by a truck next door.

But surprisingly what is creeping in tonight is guilt – guilt because I really feel ready for Don to go into care permanently, but that feels unreal and selfish.

I have enjoyed this oh-so-rare time alone so much, it seems like a self-indolent luxury.

Slept well but not soundly. Woke up thinking about how good and skilled the staff are. They all seem to be able to “read sign” and distract and divert with ease.

Day 2

A tad of work, couple of nice phone visits with friends, and a deep sleep until the alarm woke me. Took awhile to stop listening for the sound of Don breathing next to me. Debbie went to see him and he was calm and told her it was a good place. He asked her to stay the night with him.

Day 3

Good day of work and comforting lunch with my caregivers’ group, all of us poor souls mired in the endless chaos of being dementia caregivers. I spoke of my suspicion that Don was better looked after in the Lodge than here at home.

Then a nice slice of work, a quick snack for supper and some TV.

Day 4

Already? My time is almost up and I am not prepared to stick my head back into that torture chamber. Ten years is enough.

Day 6

The last couple of days have been life as I like it – a lovely mix of socializing, some work, a meeting and a good hunk of alone time. But I woke this am after 10 hours sleep realizing how tired I am, all the way to my soul. And this unexpected so-called journey continues. Could be worse – imagine dealing with this in the middle of a war, or being homeless……

Day 8

And it”s over. Don will be home for another 3 weeks until the next Respite. I was very lucky and my case manager scooped up two cancelations for us. This means that after those many years of almost constant 24/7, I will have had one week of Respite every month this fall. Unfortunately,  that can’t continue.

The nurse said Don fit in well and had made some friends. She said he shadowed them too, but, she said, “We’ré only on for 8 hours.” There does seem to be some issue with eating because she talked about coaxing a sandwich into him as he walked around.


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5 responses to “Diary of a Respite

  1. kathleen kinasewich

    and so it goes….the time passes and we recall ten years of this life experience , shifts will happen and lucky lucky you for all the support and love you have gotten …it means the world

    Liked by 1 person

  2. maggie

    Delores, I thought about calling you a few times over the past few days. Now I wish I had. You’re right. Ten years is a very long time for the heightened care and attention you have given dear Don. Thank you for these posts.


  3. Delores ! What can I say!I follow you with much sympathy and feel that your accounts help understanding and also give comfort to others.


  4. Anonymous

    Dear Delores,
    After my mother died, I had a recurring dream—every night for a year, pretty much—that i was carrying her, and she was too heavy, and there was no place to put her down, because we were struggling down a steep, rocky path.
    When she went into care, I slept with the phone by my bed—“Can you come and see Mary? She is hitting the nurses and kicking the door”—and I had a room for her at my house where i brought her every day, to ‘work’, as she always proudly told the staff and residents ( really she ate a sandwich and took a nap)
    The day after she died, I heard an ambulance, and I thought “Thank God it isn’t for Mum”.
    Bless you dear.