“Zooom, zoom, squeal, crash, bang, boom…woof, woof, arf, arf…vroom, vroom, squeeeeal, zoom…” The clock reads 7:39am as I once again pull the pillow over my head. I pray to God for the madness to please stop while shouting at my dog to stop the barking. Every Wednesday morning I have what I call, “The fricken trash man hatred.” It is every Wednesday morning at a, much too early for me to process, time of day that I realize there are these small things in life which are more important than I ever considered them. There are these minute things that have fallen off my radar. I realize that the simplest of task known as taking out the trash has now befallen on my list of things to do.
As a caregiver I expected I would take on task that assisted my husband in his daily needs. I prepare his meals, help him get dressed, and keep track of his medication. Each day I help him maneuver from one place to another without thinking twice. I do the laundry, wash dishes, and clean the house. I drive him to his appointments, therapy, and various outings. The list goes on. But, the chore of taking out the trash somehow slipped my mind. You see, taking out the trash has always been my husband’s chore. I would gather garbage from the smaller canisters around the house and compile them all into one large bag that my husband would carry out to the larger bin that sat in the corner of the garage. All the recycling went in one container and trash in the other. Every Tuesday night my husband would take the trash and recycle vestibules out to the curb. It was an unmentioned task. He always just did it.
Somewhere around a two month mark from the date my husband had his stroke this trash chore became apparent to me. I guess because he was in the hospital and I wasn’t home too much there wasn’t much trash. Yet, as I started cleaning, compiling, and sorting through things preparing for his arrival home the trash mounted up. I would bag it up in the larger bag and place it in the pantry.
So, one day when my husband was finally home from the Rehab Hospital and I was diligently catering to his needs I opened the pantry door to dispose of the dirty waste. While I would like to say that I picked door number two, like on “Let’s Make A Deal,” with a fabulous prize awaiting, it was more I was bestowed with the booby prize. Behind the pantry door was where trashed had piled up for weeks. I think it even fell out onto the kitchen floor when I opened the door. The odor was one in itself. I am pretty sure I cried. I didn’t cry because of the trash…but I cried because of the trash. I in that moment on that day was made aware that there was one more thing I had to add to my list of things to do.
It is this smallest of thing that leads me to write today. I believe I am a good caregiver. I address the needs that are most important regarding my husband. I even work to include him back in doing functions he once did. Yet, while I lay with a pillow over my head, screaming for everybody to just stop, I realize the role of a caregiver is highly underrated. It is the moment I realize there is a huge hole in the system that helps those who help. Certainly, I am aware of support groups and organizations that I can call. I can create a list of individuals to call when I need help a mile long. And, I have the means to search out such help. But, when you wear the hats of many task and you find another hat has been added it seems reasonable to be allowed a moment of meltdown. More so, does anybody really call someone to just come over and take out the trash?
So, on this day when I hear the garbage truck making its round and I realize I forgot to take the trash bins to the curb, I gather all the strength I can, get up out of bed to take out the trash. My dog finds it a favored time and gleefully accompanies me to the curb. And I, of course, can only hope no one is watching. As I in my pajamas, a hair do that no one would ever pay for, and attitude that would wilt flowers, role the trash bins down to the curb before the garbage truck gets to my house. It never is a graceful moment. I then go back inside to nestle back in bed only to know I soon will have to get up. Can I just say…I don’t love trash day!