whinge ahead: 31 flavors of tired

I am so freaking tired. Sure, there's the obvious reason that I've been taking care of a post-surgery older person nonstop for several days. Which means a lot of dish-washing, floor-mopping, and laundry. Every time she gets up or sits down I need to assist her -- she can now walk on her own, but I have to prop her injured limb up so that the swelling will decrease. I've been changing bandages 5 or 6 times a day, although the drainage is finally slowing down. I have to remind her to take her medicine, to eat, to wear her glasses. Every single thing takes at least 15 minutes. Some of this is from the surgery, and the painkillers; some of it is just how she is now that she is older.

But I'm also tired because she's getting better -- because under the best of circumstances, my mother and I do not get along very well. And now that she is feeling better she is acting more like her usual self. Which means she either is picking on me about how I look, how I talk, how I do things -- or she is spouting long monologues about topics of no possible interest or importance.

I'm tired because I am an introvert, and my mother is an extrovert. She thinks it's great to have me right at her side every minute. In the evenings, she wants to flip channels on the TV which is in the room with the couch I'm sleeping on. There is nowhere in her home to avoid the noise of the television--especially since, for some inexplicable reason, my somewhat deaf 71 -year-old mother prefers the testosterone channel, Spike TV. I need time by myself, which I'm not getting. By the time I get her settled to bed in the evening, I am exhausted. I manage to read for maybe 5 minutes before dropping off to sleep. Then she usually wakes me up twice during the night, and I don't really get back to sleep very well. I'm averaging maybe 5 hours a night.

I'm tired because I'm not getting to use my brain for anything -- I'm behind on work deadlines, and behind on my own plans for the summer, and I have neither the time nor the focus to try and get much done while I'm here. One of her friends is supposed to come over tomorrow which will give me a little more time off, but I can't call on them too much since they will have to do a lot of helping her once I leave. I was supposed to be doing work right now -- I managed to convince her I needed a couple hours out of the house to do errands for her, and to do some work -- but I've been just catching up on email in the small amount of time I had once I finished her errands. She's OK on her own now, but she would prefer to have other people's attention and attendance, 24-7.

I'm tired because I'm in the small town in which I grew up. The small town which I fled as soon as I could. The small Midwestern town which prides itself on being so progressive but is still an all-white backwater. I know, there are many worse places to be (I've lived in a few) but I'm emotionally allergic to this town. It makes me feel sad, and anxious, and depressed -- just as I did when I was a teenager growing up here.

I'm tired because my real life, my chosen life and chosen family, are so , so far away. I want to go home. To my real home.