Being a Caregiver Turned me into a Bitch
I’ll start at the beginning. Fifteen years ago, I moved to Louisville, Kentucky, to take care of my elderly mother and aunt. After they passed away, I moved back to my home state of California, where my children and grandchildren live. At first, I rented an overpriced apartment, like all of California's real estate.
My ex-sister-in-law, Linda (not her real name), wanted me to move in with her and rent a room for $750 a month. I did it to help her out because she had lost her husband’s income due to his recent death. My daughter warned me not to do it because I’d end up taking care of her. She was right.
Linda asked me if I would cook dinner every night when I moved in. I agreed, which I shouldn’t have done because I rarely cook for myself, and I don’t like to cook at this point in my life.
Before I go into how I became a bitch, let me go back in time. Linda has had health problems all her life. She seriously injured her back in a skiing accident when she was 16, which has given her pain all of her life. She ended up in the hospital with hepatitis in her teens. She suffers great pain with pancreatitis from getting Typhoid in Brazil many years ago. She’s had sarcoidosis (look it up) and broke her foot, elbow, hand, and leg from numerous falls.
When I moved in with her two years ago, she could walk, but she had various pains in her body. I soon found out that she had other plans for me. She used her pains as an excuse to have me fetch everything for her. Over the years, my mother-in-law complained that her son, who was married to Linda, had to do everything. He cooked, cleaned, took care of the kids, and worked at a job and fetched for Linda without ever complaining. Linda said to me a while back that she thinks she took advantage of him. Yes, she did.
She’s joked that she’s a Jewish American Princess. She asked me if I thought she was a Jewish American Princess. God, yes, was my answer. But, I had a good reason for it, she added. No, you had a good excuse for it.
After moving in, I discovered that she didn’t know how to do anything. She’s completely helpless because everybody from her mother on down catered to her all her life. I’m not suggesting that her pain isn’t real. It is, and none of it is psychological.
I was sneakily coerced into becoming her full-time caregiver. I requested that my rent be lowered to $500 a month. At first, she didn’t want to, but after I left for a week to visit a friend in L.A., she decided that she needed a caregiver and lowered it.
Recently, Linda had back surgery, and I took care of her while she recouped. Just when she could say she didn’t have any more back pain, since her skiing accident many years ago, she fell and broke her leg. She’s now in a wheelchair and needs more help than ever before.
I had been getting progressively more impatient and bitchy due to her ridiculous demands. Last week the straw broke the camel's back. I didn’t cook something exactly the way she wanted it, and she went ballistic screaming at me, and get this, crying. I screamed back and told her I can’t do this anymore and that she needed to get someone else, but I didn’t cry. I’ve got better things to cry about.
My mother and aunt, who lived into their 90s, weren’t this much trouble.
Now I’m a raving bitch and planning to move out on February 1st. Linda and I are still on good terms. We introduce each other as my sister-in-law even though I divorced her brother-in-law 26 years ago.
Many people with disabilities do remarkable things through sheer determination. I personally do not want anyone waiting on me. If I really needed help, I would accept it, but I’d continue to do everything I could for myself.
Hopefully, when I move out, I’ll return to being a nice person.