I didn’t make supper tonight.
Is that a failing or a freedom? I don’t really know. It is a decision, though whether it’s a capital D Decision or a small decision just for the right thing I needed today, I’m not really sure. I do know I started to assemble things out of the fridge, all knackered out, and then looked at the ingredients out on the board in the pantry and said to myself– no. I don’t want to.
When I came in, my dad had been sitting there for at least a half hour, snacking on all the various food he didn’t have to cook or reheat that was there in the house– and I was just wrung out when I came in on automatic and started to housewife, you know, in the ways that we do.
I didn’t want to, though. I’m not hungry, because I’m upping the dose of the particular meds that kill my appetite dead (anorexic anti-convulsants, woohoo!), and also because I had a late snack/drink at the store in accordance with the preset alarms I’ve got in my phone and which I obey whether or not I am hungry, on the hard lesson learned that your body needs fuel whether your stomach feels like it or not. But– having had protein and some carbs and some veggies on three occasions today, not to mention too much caffeine and other fluids, the idea of doing it all again just because I have let my dad get into the habit of me doing the cooking made me kind of sick to my stomach, physically and mentally, too.
Instead, I said– sorry, I was really just tired, I didn’t know what to cook & didn’t feel like eating in any event, and that there were X & Y leftovers to heat in the fridge & I was going to bed. Dad did not understand the not hungry thing, so I explained, for the fourth time in two weeks, about not being hungry with the increased dose of the meds and feeling grossed out by food– and then retired upstairs.
I supposes it’s a measure that the increase dosage is working that I didn’t have a temper tantrum of rage or start crying because he just can’t pay any attention to what’s going on outside his own head. And I suppose it’s good, too, that I still feel pretty calm and chill about the fact that I said no, sorry, I’m not your wife or your nurse, feed yourself, and am not feeling horribly guilty or like a terrible mooch. The fact is, I do buy a lot of the food, cook & clean, do the yard work & heavy lifting. If it’s not money, it’s still work, and it’s value– and valuable. I’m starting to know that.
There will be a time when my dad can’t “do” for himself at all anymore, including the cooking, and then I will have to take care of him whether I feel like it or not– but right now he can, whether or not I’ve fairly/unfairly stepped into the cook/caretaker role in an attempt to pick up some of the slack my not paying rent leaves. He taught me how to cook, after all– if he’s too tired to do it, well, then we’re both in that boat. Any stupid decisions he makes about salt intake or junk food or excess fat or calories are just that– stupid, small-d decisions, rather than life-impacting Decisions that are the product of someone who’s senile, demented, or some other process of aging or illness.
Maybe, for example, an Illness Decision could be: someone who’s manic-depressed and making bad life choices instead of self-caring ones because they’re not really lucid? Then again, Bad Life Choices can be really good learning experiences, even if it takes a while in the rearview to bring them into perspective. I think skipping dinner, though, isn’t so big as that.
Ask me next week.