This past week, I did something that didn’t quite have the right term for it, until I came up with it: senior-sitting. It’s like baby-sitting, but with a senior citizen. Some call it home health aid, but I’m not certified to be one. So, I became a senior-sitter.
A mother and son from my synagogue came up to me and asked if I would be interested in watching the mother while the son was away at a business conference out of state. I know the folks pretty well, so I decided to give it a try. And, as a bonus, I got to drive the family car. *drools* How I miss driving all over again.
The only thing that was making me freak out a bit more than usual was the fact that sometimes, as most families do, the mother and son got into a spat over directions. Normally, this wouldn’t bother me. But as soon as someone raises their voice while in the spat, my PTSD goes off like you wouldn’t believe. Add the fact that I was without one of my medications for two weeks, the vision of being back at the Bickersons’ house was damn near real (complete with an addition of scent; the son was making chicken soup with shreds of cabbage). After this incredible episode, both the mother and son apologized.
Then came the day the son took off for his conference. Once I dropped him off at the airport, I ran straight back to the house to monitor his mother. Now, luckily for the mother, she is not entirely dependent. She can be left alone for a couple of hours with no problem, as long as she knows that. That helped me tremendously, as I had to run back and forth to the apartment building and check on the Chancellor, making sure he had what he needed for the day.
Whilst senior-sitting, I got to do some small random tasks around the house and help the mother with her needs. Each night, either during or after dinner, we would watch two episodes of the Amazon Prime series, “Hunters.” Every now and then, the mother and I discussed about our birth families and the families we have created over the years. I even got the mother out of the house to go to her favorite market in a nearby suburb for the first time in over a year, since she was stricken with life-threatening pneumonia and fought it for five straight months.
There was one moment where I shared with the mother that I hadn’t done with anyone from synagogue before; I reached out to Baba, my 98-year old grandmother. To my surprise, Baba is back in town after having to stay in a place out near Toledo, Ohio while her room was being renovated due to the summer flooding. Between her hearing disabilities and her lack of grasp of the English language, our conversation was typically short. It felt good to share that moment because, in the back of my mind, I feel that there are folks from my synagogue who don’t understand why I haven’t reached out to the Bickersons or the Spoiled Rotten Princess (my parents and my sister, respectively) after all of this time.
Finally, earlier this week the son came back home from his business conference. I picked him up and brought him back to the house, he being completely worn out from the flights and the non-stop interactions with a plethora of people. I was fortunate enough to borrow the car one more time so I could attend Wednesday morning Torah study at synagogue.
Which now leads me to my next challenge, seeing Baba again for the first time in almost a year. My mental health case manager as agreed to accompany me back to the facility where Baba lives whenever I am ready to visit. This makes me happy because I love Baba and miss her so very much.