I wish sometimes there was a sign that that let you know when things were going to get a little difficult. I could have used one a few weeks ago. Instead I just kept taking each bump along the way in stride, until suddenly I realized those bumps weren't going away, but increasing in number. It started with the ice maker I think. Well the refrigerator. It went out. I had just gotten groceries for the month and was already strapped from paying the sitter for my vacation and then having my gall bladder out suddenly. So maybe it started with my gall bladder. Anyway, the repair guy came and fixed the fridge but then the ice maker didn't work. He put in a new one and still no ice. Comes back again and puts in ANOTHER new one. STILL no ice. And this wasn't a couple of days we are talking about. This is a couple of times a WEEK. At 8am! I told him the very FIRST time he came that I vacuumed underneath the fridge and it made this awful knocking noise but he kept telling me that there was no WAY I could have damaged anything because there is just a coil under there. So we are on our 3rd ice maker and STILL NO ICE! So he decides we need freon. Gotta come back AGAIN the next day, AGAIN at 8am. Well guess what. It didn't need freon. When I vacuumed I stuck the nozzle so far back there that it went into the fan and bent one of the blades (see there is more underneath there than he said!) and so the fan wasn't working and I'm lucky the condenser didn't go out. We had ice within 30 minutes. I don't think I needed a new ice maker but considering that he had sent my old one away 3 weeks ago I was paying for a new one anyway.
During this time my precious kitty Autumn got sick. I noticed she wasn't sleeping in her usual spot which was on some pillows on my bed and then she wouldn't eat any cat treats which was highly suspicious. I knew she was getting old so I prayed that if she was suppose to die to let her go, but of course that didn't happen. I finally made her an appt. with the vet. I noticed the night before that her nose was all clogged up so I thought just maybe she wasn't dying and actually had a cold. I ignored what my gut was telling me and off boo boo kitty and I went to the vet. Needless to say I didn't come home from the vet with Autumn. It breaks my heart still. She was 16ish and I'd had her for 11 years and one month. I got her shortly after my sister died and she saved my life on more than one occasion. She was so much more than a pet to me. Knowing that she was depending on me for food and water and her nightly brushing gave me purpose when I found no other. Knowing she might die before anyone found me kept me from doing anything stupid. It's been 2 weeks now and I'm still missing her at bedtime. I never realized how much I looked for her whenever I walked into my room. She lived a long happy life and she brought me great joy and lots of love and I realize that no other pet will replace her.
I decided I would look for a new kitty like her and I ended up with a new kitty the next week. I thought that would ease my pain, and it did, but it's no replacement for Autumn. But I LOVE my little kitty. I named him Hambly after one of my favorite scrap product manufacturers. When I got him he fit in my hand. He's already growing so fast! The first week and a half he was all little cuddly kitten but now he is getting very playful and frisky. The other cats are slowly accepting him, as long as they each get their own petting time as well. Lily still hisses at him, and probably will for a long time, but Windsor has started playing with him and Hambly doesn't back down from Windsor as much as Windsor runs from Hambly. Maybe because Hambly still has his claws! lol
The other thing and the most stressful and hardest for me to deal with personally has been Nana. She got a UTI and come to find out that can make older people act strangely. Like a totally 180 degrees from NORMAL! It started off slowly. So slowly that I thought I might be overreacting, but I wasn't. Each day got a little worse and she had the UTI a good week before we started the antibiotics. So a week and a half of antibiotics and still getting more dementia by the day. My sweet Nana started throwing things and cussing at me and refusing to go to bed and being agitated to completely not living in reality 90% of the time. She was talking non-stop and constantly calling my name. Then she started thinking I had left her home alone for days when I had been here all day or just gone for an hour or so. She also thought that I wasn't feeding her or the cats. She would eat and 5 minutes later say she was hungry again. I really started thinking I was crazy and I have acted like a child many times myself. I'm not proud of many of my actions. I understand what they mean now when they say 'caregiver stress'. I love her and have a relationship with God and I can't imagine being under the same circumstances and not having those 2 things on my side. Let's just say that I understand how elder abuse happens. I haven't abused my grandmother but I have hit walls of frustration within myself that I never knew existed. I've felt at times that sobriety was flying out the window. You'd think that after 3+ years I would be a stronger individual, but I'm still human. So now she is on some meds that make her a zombie. I don't like this scenario either. Today was a good day though. No meds and no episodes so maybe we are seeing the brief glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel? I certainly hope so or decisions will have to be made.
But alas, this all has taught me some things:
I have limits of what I can and can not handle. I can't take good care of her if I can't take care of myself first.
I also learned I can't replace something so dear to me. I knew this, but I still tried it. I realize now that part of the reason I had such a hard time after my sister passed was that I wanted my friends to step in and fill that void left by her death and those were just to big of shoes to fill for someone wanting to fill them, let alone for people who didn't. They can't be filled.
I learned to once again, listen to my instincts, whether about the refrigerator or the sick kitty. I know what to do and I need to not always second guess myself because I don't want to face reality or I let someone tell me I am wrong.
I also learned even though one love leaves I still have a lot of love in my heart to give.
I got reminded that I'm not God and I need to trust and have faith in Him. It's so hard to do when you can't see the answers and when you are in the thick of your own pain and suffering.
I'm sure there are many more lessons to be learned from all this. The road may be rough for a while longer too. Unfortuantly there is no "Rough Road Ahead 5 miles" sign. I don't know what is to come. I do know who I'm going to lean on.