written by
lucinda koza

I lied to myself about how hard it would be to be a live-in caregiver for my dad

Narrative 2 min read , May 13, 2021
Photographer: Annie Spratt | Source: Unsplash

I’ve fallen behind on work. Work that I adore, that is mission-driven, that I live for. I’ve fallen behind because every minute I sit at the computer, focusing, a voice in my head is saying to me,

Your dad is just sitting there. You’re letting him just sit there. This is your time together. Don’t let his brain atrophe. You are supposed to have activities planned. Bonding time. Why didn’t you research the best food for him to eat for brain health? Why didn’t you create an entire cookbook for cooking for someone with dementia / Parkinson’s / vascular dementia / depression / anxiety / what about loneliness look at him he’s lonely he’s depressed maybe you should get a therapist to come and talk with him? Now that you’ve thought of the word therapist, let me throw in there the fact that you should have a physical therapist coming here to work with him?! Massage therapist? SPEECH THERAPIST! Movement disorder specialist! That’s the one! Oh - did I change his address with Medicare?! I did everything else in the world I surely hope I did that one, and if I didn’t, my whole idea of myself will change. I’m not good at this at all.
“Hey,” I say to myself, “I AM good at this. Stop it. We just moved him up here. Give me a break, please.”
The voice in my head warns, “if you don’t proactively manage his care then your husband will end up doing all of it because that’s how he is but he will really grow to resent you because you let that happen and it’s really not fair. When was the last time you did the laundry? You need to figure out what is important. Make a list. Make a better list. Make a list that can be checked off like on Notion.”
I say to that voice, “Notion! Notion. No-code. Should I be building no-code? Oh my god, I’m so behind. I have to get that mammography today.”
The voice: “Your mother is in radiation therapy for breast cancer and you still haven’t gotten a mammography? You are so bad at taking care of yourself. You’re really very bad. You haven’t done laundry, you haven’t even gotten your dad a speech therapist, you missed like 3 appointments yesterday, your dad just moved here he’s lonely, and you haven’t even figured out how to use Notion yet.”
Me to the voice: “You’re right.”
The voice: “You’re shitty at everything.”
Me: “I’m shitty at everything.”
family caregivers