Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: RASH (04/12/18)
- TITLE: Trapped.
By Karen Vlantis
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The movement of the bougainvillea distracted me. The branches begged to fly free as they swayed in the wind. They are just like me: Ensnared. Trapped in this role of caregiver with no turning back. What was I thinking? I was naive to put my hand up to take care of a 90 year old woman. Who would have known how hard this would be? I slouched: hopelessness permeated every pore of my body.
I looked at my watch and heaved myself up off the bed. Better have a shower and then get on with my day... I strolled into the bathroom, and wiggled my nose at the familiar smell of urine. Euuggh, it stinks! I spotted the saturated incontinence pad lying on the floor and as I stooped to pick it up, my foot slipped on a wet tile. I followed the trail of pungent splats along the passage floor towards Jenny Bee’s bedroom. And there she was, sitting on top of the bed. Oh noooo...and of course she’s sitting on top of the Mohair blanket, the duvet cover, the duvet and the sheets...with everything getting sprinkled from her unprotected bottom... My heart palpitated and boomed in my ears. A hot flush kicked into action and sweat drenched my face. When does this end?
“Jenny Bee, I’ve asked you a million times to please change your pad in the bathroom and not in the bedroom. Now, I’ve got extra washing to do."
No apology: Just an indignant retort, “Leave it for me, I can do my own washing. I will sort it out tomorrow.”
I squeezed my eyes closed and took a deep breath. I was too exhausted to answer. Anger burned my insides. Yeah! Like that’s going to happen. Not! You can’t even operate a kettle and tomorrow never comes...
I gritted my teeth and yanked the heavy duvet out of its cover and stripped the sheets off the bed. I bunged the linen into the washing machine and slammed the door shut. Having freshened up the bedding and the bathroom, I rubbed the ache in my lower back and hobbled towards the shower.
Like a rag doll, I stood under the jets of water. Pent up emotions found release and I tasted their saltiness as they dripped onto my lips. My body heaved and shuddered as my thoughts sliced through me and turned my silent pain into a torrent of loud cries.
I lifted my face to the flood of water, “Lord, what have I done so wrong that I deserve this?”
The sobs racked my body as I leaned my back against the shower door and slid down until I was sitting on my haunches, “I know we didn’t really pray about this decision, but I thought we were doing the right thing: taking care of the widow...not to mention the ‘Honour your parent’ thing.”
I bowed my head, and felt the hot jet of water massage my neck. Dementia is such an evil disease: it’s robbed me of my mother… and incontinence is such a nuisance! It’s all a losing battle... I closed my eyes as I pondered all the ways Jenny Bee had changed from being my dear mother into this decrepit stranger.
Raising my head, I let the warm water pelt my skin. You’d think that the dementia was enough to deal with…but no! There are all the external attacks as well! The horrible neighbors; Jed’s retrenchment; the fires, the rats, the crow; the family politics...
I screamed inside my fragmented mind. Where are you Lord? .
The water had turned cold I continued to crouch, cold and vulnerable, I whispered, “Lord, I know you love me...”
As I grabbed my towel, I shouted, “But you don’t CARE! You don’t care.”
In an unusual display of thoughtfulness, my mother sought me out.
She shuffled into the bedroom and sat next to me on the bed. She patted my leg with her gnarled hand, and leaned her head against my shoulder, “I don’t like seeing you like this...I couldn’t live without you.”
1 Chronicles 28:20
2 Thessalonians 3:13
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