Sunday, April 20, 2008

guilt trips --- whose problem is it?

Another week gone, and I’m not sure where it went. I’ve learned a bit about computer hardware, am crossing my fingers that my laptop survives until I get back to Groveland, and am still struggling with the taking-care-of-the-caretaker conflict.

We found a note on the breakfast table this morning in my father’s shaky hand: “No breakfast for me today. I’m ILL.” He’s having another bout of constipation which he treats with generous portions of Milk of Magnesia and lots of time in bed. He doesn’t stray far from the toilet, either. Mother copes by ignoring him.

On Friday Daddy started out for a destination near the airport, on the other side of Honolulu. He got as far as Sears, at the Ala Moana Center on our side of Honolulu. Yes, he was driving his UNSAFE car, just as he told his doctor he would if the car were in the garage and he wanted to go somewhere. This time, he apparently got onto a hill and the car would not stop. It scared him enough that he turned around and came home, announcing that he didn’t think he would try that again. Further, the corner gas station has installed a new credit card system at their gas pumps, and he cannot figure out how to work them! No one is going to help him learn. This should just reinforce his need to give up driving.

Mother is having some health bouts of her own. She gets a sharp, stabbing pain in one hear – the one with the hearing aid. An ear doctor, whom she doesn’t like, told her it was a jaw problem – TMJ, or a glitch in the connection between the jaw and the skull. She says it doesn’t make sense that a jaw problem should cause this kind of pain in her ear. I believe this is the third time this had happened since I have been here. On Friday her arthritis got the better of her, and she was having enough difficulty walking that she accepted my offer to prepare dinner. Has anybody had any experience with stabbing ear pain or TMJ issues?

I have to keep reminding myself of the mantra, “Assign the problem where it belongs. If it is not your problem, let it go.” Definition of your problem? One where you have control over the outcome. If you can’t change the outcome, it’s NOT YOUR PROBLEM. I can’t change my parents’ relationship. I can’t change whether or not my father will drive – he will drive without license plates, safety sticker, or drivers’ license unless HE decides to quit. I cannot make my mother more communicative. So I cannot feel guilty about leaving. I just have to take care of myself for right now. And keep reminding myself, “Not your problem.” Taking care of my house IS my problem!

Look for the positives. Give thanks. Keep praying!

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