totally spent

I’m spent—totally spent—exhausted, fatigued or whatever you want to call it when you have to take care of an obsessive-compulsive eight-year-old boy who—because of anticonvulsant drugs—drools waterfalls, flaps like a chicken with his head cut off, screams at the top of his lungs and one who must be watched like a hawk for any sign of a seizure. At times Calvin seems to have the strength of a giant and at others he wobbles around the house pigeon-toed and bauble-headed as if his shoes were tied together and his spine were rubber. I get sooooooo tired of having to put at least one hand on him or his harness, practically at all times, to prevent a bad fall. He's like Raggedy Andy or Pinocchio and about as cute, though at times, when I'm taxed and overtired, he does a good job of disgusting me.

I need a vacation. Badly. And tomorrow I'll be getting one ... sort of. I’m going out to visit my 82-year-old mother who has Alzheimer’s. She lives with my brother Matt and his wife. Like Calvin, Mom needs hands-on help while she walks and takes stairs. She might not understand a lot of what I am saying and will have trouble expressing herself. I’ll need to make sure she doesn’t eat the wrong things or eat too fast, to ensure that she chews her food well and doesn't put inappropriate things into her mouth like rotten fruit or packets of sugar as she’s been known to do. And at times I’ll help her get dressed and undressed, just like Calvin. Man, my brother Matt and I are living strangely parallel universes as caregivers of two big babies.

I’m at my wits end, and it’s pretty frazzled there. Not only is my hair slowly sprouting gray (though I like it) I’m also losing strands of it in Calvin’s tight little fists. My hearing is going too, because lately—since the last couple of antiepileptic drug increases—Calvin has been shrieking so loudly that my eardrums rattle. I kid you not. I think I’m going to have to wear earplugs all day long just so to hear myself think.

And lately I’m pretty sure I suffer from seasonal affective disorder. The gray skies and blinding snow (which Michael likes to call radioactive fallout) are hanging around way longer than feels healthy for this west coast body and mind. I need warm. I need green. It doesn’t help that Calvin cannot manage walking in boots much less on icy terrain or in a few inches of snow. So he and I are housebound much of the winter allowing a serious case of cabin fever to bubble and spike in my psyche.

But at least the days are getting longer and generally warmer. Last week I noticed some daffodil shoots coming up through the soggy ground. Soon Calvin and I will be traipsing around in the back yard. Perhaps this summer will be the one I’ve been dreaming about for years, a summer when he can frolic outside without need of a harness or a hand to hold. I’ve got major doubts about that happening, particularly as long as he has to take serious doses of three antiseizure drugs. But at least I can dream, that is if I'm not too pooped to just slip into some sort of coma.

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photo by Michael Kolster


  1. I'm so sorry.

    RR Julia

  2. Dear Christy,
    I'm sorry for what you are enduring.
    Here in Italy Spring ahs already sprung, I dare say we are a month ahead Maine. I'lla share some of my spring with you.