Thursday, May 12, 2022

This Is NOT Us

 I've been watching the TV series "This Is Us" from the time it began.  I feel it is one of the best network shows.  I like the writing style of going from past to present then giving us glimpses of the future which keep us guessing.  

When it was revealed that Rebecca, the mother in the series, would become ill with Alzheimer's, I became hesitant about continuing to watch.  

Ross usually watches the show with me.  I wondered if he understood what was happening with Rebecca. I think he kind of half watches and we don't discuss the goings-on of the show so I'm not sure. 

The episodes airing now are the last of the series.  The Pearsons are saying goodbye.

It's the past two episodes that have had me bothered, just a little.

Going back to my being hesitant about continuing to watch, I was concerned that the episodes depicting Rebecca's decline would be too realistic for me to sit through.  I basically get through my days of caregiving by taking it one day at a time.   I don't think I could manage otherwise.

At this point in the Lynda and Ross story of Alzheimer's, Ross requires 24/7 care.  By that I mean his memory loss affects his cognitive and decision making abilities.  For instance he may try to make sure all of the gas burners are off, but instead turn them on and then leave the room. Yes, he has done that. 

He gets anxious when he doesn't recognize where he is and he doesn't remember that where we live is his home.  Overall he is usually restless.  Sometimes he will spend hours going from room to room, trying to find something familiar. 

Here's where I find the caregiving of Rebecca Pearson unrelatable to my experience of caregiving for Ross.

The Pearson's can apparently easily and comfortably afford to hire 24/7 caregiving for their mother. Her son built an estate on idyllic acreages where Kate and mom can take leisurely walks through the woods listening to the birds.   

Ross likes to take walks with me.  We may walk a couple of blocks and when we get tired we turn around and head back home.  Our walks are usually pleasant. But sometimes when we get to our house, Ross may refuse to go in because "I will not just walk into someone else's home." 

Ross and I cannot afford 24/7 help.  So it's just me.

In these United States of America, Medicare insurance does not cover the cost of help with in-home care nor does it cover the cost of care in a residential care facility.  The average cost of that type of care here in New Jersey amounts to between $8000-$12000 a month.  Most of those facilities are short staffed and residents may not be getting the "Pearson" treatment. 

I know it's just a TV show and the Pearsons are not real.   I literally mean that the Pearsons story of caring for someone with Alzheimer's is not realistic.   Oh, I'm sure there are a percentage of families where they can afford the type of care Rebecca Pearson received, but I wonder if that is not the majority of us. 

Yesterday, Ross and I had a quietly peaceful day.  We spent the day watching "The Gilded Age", (another fantasy series about the ultra wealthy) me in my PJ's on the sofa knitting, Ross dozing in his easy chair.  I feel grateful for those days.   They don't happen often.   

But unlike the Pearsons, "The Ross and Lynda" story is not yet over.  

Watch this space.