May: Adjusting to New Realities

Chef, cook and bottlewasher

In May, my mother finally came home, marking a significant shift in my responsibilities as I adjusted to the new reality of being her primary caregiver.

To make life easier for her, I made several modifications to the house. I added railings and grab bars, reorganized furniture, and introduced personal aids. These changes were necessary to create a safer and more accessible environment for her recovery. For the first time, I was fully responsible for someone else’s well-being. Managing her daily routines, meals, medication, clothes, personal care, therapy, and more, alongside my business, was overwhelming. Each day presented new challenges, but I prioritized her recovery above all else. Balancing caregiving with my business responsibilities was tough. My businesses had to take a back seat while I focused on my mother’s recovery. Despite the overwhelming nature of these tasks, I found strength and resilience I didn’t know I had.

During this time, I deeply felt the need for personal support. I missed the reliability and strength of a partner—someone to hold me at the end of the day. Pouring everything into my businesses and my mother’s recovery left me with nothing for myself. I was depleted. My health took a major dive during this period. I gained 11lbs, my eyesight went to shit, cholesterol and blood pressure skyrocketed all of these had ripple effects on both my mood and energy. I was able to tap into some grounding techniques and settle myself enough to continue the journey. My plan is when she is stable and a bit more self sufficient to get back to taking care of myself. The crazy thing is, all I could think about when I was tired and depleted is that it would be lovely to date and get married again.

Change

By the end of the month, my mother’s condition had improved remarkably.

At the end of the first week of being home, she was bathing and using the bathroom herself.

By the second week, she could sit for longer periods and sit up on her own. She started making short walks daily with her walker, beginning with about 10 feet and working her way up to 20 feet.

We had a clinic visit after the second week, which was challenging. She had to sit for an hour before seeing a doctor, but her maximum sitting time was 20 minutes. She was crying, and I was frantic trying to get a bed in a packed facility. Eventually, she was seen, and the doctor noted her good improvement and adjusted her medication. To avoid the pain of waiting, for subsequent trips, she remained lying down in the car until the doctor was ready for her.

By the end of the third week, she could sit for even longer periods and walk greater distances, now walking 30 to 40 feet. She began fussing about her garden being unkempt and plants dying, so I hired a landscaper. This landscaper was a newbie, and I love helping people. I knew it would take longer, but nothing could prepare me for the painstaking journey I set myself up for.

Anyway, back to mum—by the end of May, she could walk around her bedroom without the walker. I bought her an exercise peddler that she used diligently, increasing her time from 15 minutes to an hour. It looked like she was training for a marathon. She was significantly stronger, a testament to her strength and determination, which brought immense joy and relief to both of us.

Imposter Syndrome Strikes Again

Remember back in January, I spoke to you about my fears and that sometimes I feel as though I’m not the right person?. That when chosen for something, I question, Why me? Why not someone else? Will I fail spectacularly in front of everyone and they laugh at me knowingly and then the failure follows me for the rest of my career?

It happened again. I was chosen to be a panelist on a very important conversation titled “International Conversation on Small-Scale Mechanization in Cultivation, Irrigation, and Value-Addition for Sorghum and Millets.” It was centered around the greatest challenges facing small-scale farmers and processors around the globe. When I looked at my peers who took part in the event, I was extremely humbled to be chosen to take part. Participants were from South Asia, Africa, South America, and the Caribbean. I was amongst doctors, global NGO’s, huge manufacturers, and so much more. I was on a panel of four, and two of the of the members were doctors. I was definitely intimidated. In the midst of caring for mum I was panicking to prepare for this event; it felt like so much. Overwhelming seems mild. I reached out to the host, and he was so confident in my ability to speak that I was shocked. He reassured me and spoke so assertively. I really wonder if he knew how that simple conversation impacted me. His confidence gave me confidence, and I was ready to go. I was ready to make him and myself proud. 

The day of the event, I got my green screen and donned some lipstick. Imbued with my newfound confidence, I sat in on the event, and it was fabulous. Agriculture is truly a rock-star arena. I learned so much about what is going on in different areas of the world and what could be adapted to my area. It was truly a privilege. 

Sappy Backstory

Then just like that it was over and my caretaking role resumed. Me being caretaker for my mother. A mother’s role in a daughter’s life is profound. She is a source of guidance, love, and support. My relationship with my mother goes beyond the conventional. Our bond is unique, shaped by years of being each other’s constant companions.

My mother had four other children besides me. However, she had them when she was very young and chose to let her aunts and one of the children’s fathers raise them. She supported them financially from a distance, but it was the two of us who shared a life together. We have been the constants and rocks in each other’s lives. This period shook me to my core, seeing my pillar of strength in such a vulnerable state.

Our relationship could be described as enmeshed, where our lives and identities are closely intertwined. This enmeshment means we are deeply involved in each other’s lives, which made her illness all the more impactful. It’s a bond that goes beyond traditional roles, making this experience profoundly challenging.

This experience, though challenging, brought us even closer. The daily care routines and the small victories in her recovery strengthened our bond. It reinforced the importance of resilience and love in the face of adversity. We found solace in each other’s company and support.

May was a month of profound change and adjustment. Bringing my mother home and taking on the responsibility of her care was a challenging yet rewarding experience. It underscored the importance of resilience, love, and careful planning in navigating life’s adversities. Despite the difficulties, the progress we made together and the strengthened bond between us made it all worthwhile.

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