The Day of No Rest
Sundays are the worst. Mrs. Huntington has lived with us, my husband Nicky and me and our kids, for six months. I realized today it’s been nearly a month of Sundays. I completely get the meaning of that saying now. It’s a long time. A very long time.
From what I have deduced, there are a few reasons why Sundays are hard. For one thing, it’s different from our weekday routine. Of course Saturday is, too, but that slides by with only some irritation. By Sunday, we are in full realization that we are off schedule.
She never really knows what day of the week it is when she wakes up. I suppose because there are more weekdays than weekend days, she assumes it must be a weekday. Therefore it really bothers her that when she wakes up with the first light of day, we are not milling around. Starting somewhere around seven in the morning, she starts opening our door, peeking in, and closing it again. She then goes back in her room. After about fifteen minutes, she is back again. Door opens, awkward pause where I try to look like I haven’t noticed (because she will talk to me), and door closes.
After about four times of this routine, she gets daring. The door opens, she walks to the edge of our bed and loudly exclaims, “Aren’t you getting up?” It’s a bit jolting even though you expect it. Sometimes Nicky will tell her to go back to bed because it’s Sunday. Sometimes she does for another fifteen minutes. Sometimes she just tells us she isn’t sleepy. Most of the time, she can’t understand us unless we repeat it several times loudly, nearly yelling. She’ll close the door and go into the living room. This gets the dogs barking and wanting to go out. She can’t get them out of their cage because they jump on her. So, she will sit down in the recliner and turn on the TV full blast. She can’t actually hear it. She has told us she can’t hear the TV no matter how loud it is. She has also told us she had the TV loud to wake us up. So she is intentionally doing this.
Nicky seems to need more sleep than I do, so he doesn’t budge. I lay there in the bed, wide awake at this point since I heard her come in every single time, listening to the dogs going crazy and the TV blaring about a vacuum for sale on an infomercial or maybe some South American soccer game. That’s it. Sleeping is done for me at 8:00 on Sunday morning.
We haven’t been to church in, surprisingly, six months. She won’t go. We can’t leave her alone. I hate going without Nicky. So, we have had the incorrect idea that we could sleep in on Sunday. Well, Nicky does. I trudge out to the living room and she looks at me like, “Finally! I thought I would starve around here.” My attitude isn’t very good at this point. This is the other reason why Sunday’s are hard. I’m feeling homicidal.
I put out cereal bowls for me and her. I make us coffee and sit down. We eat in silence. Frankly, I am in no mood for conversation. I’m mad. I know that right after breakfast, she will go sit in the recliner and snooze all morning. If I have some idea of going back to bed, I’m a fool. At some point she will rouse, look for me, and come right in the bedroom and ask AGAIN, “Aren’t you up yet?” Then when I get back up, she will go back to sleep in her recliner.
I used to think I was a fairly nice person. I used to think I was sympathetic and cared about the elderly and sick. I have learned that I am not that saint I thought I was. Inside me, the rage runs rampant.
Yesterday she woke up saying her right leg hurt. She said it was her whole leg. Occasionally she would say her arms hurt. It didn’t go away. By lunch she was saying her leg felt numb. We told her we needed to take her to get checked out. Her answer, “I’ll go next week.” We said, no, she needs to go now. She refused. She absolutely would not go. I told her we would need to call the paramedics if she wouldn’t go. She yelled at us. We decided to wait it out and see what happened. She complained all day. I admit I had little sympathy since she refused medical care. She still got around the house as she wanted to.
So here we are, finished with breakfast and the dish war starts. She gets up and complains about her leg and limps to the recliner, leaving her breakfast dishes. If you believe in the “Love Bank” analogy for the give and take in relationships, you will understand that she is totally overdrawn and getting ‘insufficient funds’ dings at this point. I am struggling to find any reason why I should allow her to make me her personal servant.
I put my bowl and cup away, left her dishes on the table, and sat in the other recliner. She promptly starts snoring. I want so much to wap her on the head with a newspaper and, when she wakes up, act like I don’t know what happened. She ended up taking three separate naps that carried her right to lunchtime. At which point, she jumps up from her chair without complaint and dashes to the restroom. When she gets back, she comes to the table and grabs her cup from breakfast and pads to the kitchen sink to fill it with water. During lunch, she got up again and got herself more water. This time she remarks that her leg hurts. I think it dawns on her that it’s almost time to clear the table.
In the back of my mind I hear the whistling motif from a Clint Eastwood movie where he is daring them to pull their gun out. She is sitting there waiting for me to clear her dishes. I am not budging. Finally about ten minutes after we are finished eating, she gets up and starts stumbling around while holding on to her chair. She picks up her breakfast bowl and cup and clanks the cup against the back of the chair. She should really audition for a soap opera.
“I’m about to fall,” she exclaims. Her arm shakes. She sways (with her feet firmly planted). Finally she makes the eight steps to the sink and leaves her dishes. She limps to her recliner, again, which is twice as far as the sink. Within five minutes, she is snoring again.
It doesn’t help I am sleep deprived, but wide awake. I think I need to pray for strength and less agitation. I went outside and sat on the deck and closed my eyes. I listened to the birds and wind in the trees. I tried to remember that life is good. I tried to remember who I was before.