Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, everybody. It's gray, cloudy and windy here, very fitting for the holiday.

Gary is out of bed and feeling better. I woke up with a horrible headache this morning, but it's subsided with coffee and Tylenol, and so far (knock wood) I don't have any other symptoms. I'm going to go for a walk in a little while, and then try to get some schoolwork done.

Fran's movers arrive Monday -- early in the morning, we hope, since I have to teach in the afternoon -- and will be delivering her stuff directly to the storage unit, which, with any luck, will hold it all.

I just spoke to a sympathetic woman at the VA who says that there's no way to establish Dad's benefits any sooner than his new-patient appointment (currently scheduled for 11/20, and unlikely to be moved because of the pressure of service-connected needs), but that once he's established, the VA will at least look at the $909 ambulance bill. She couldn't promise they would pay any of it, but at least there's a chance that they might. At any rate, I'm satisfied that I've now done everything I can.

Yesterday I tried, unsuccessfully, to reconcile my father's checkbook. I'm horrible at dealing with my own finances, so handling his has unnerved me. My sister suggested, sensibly, that I go to the bank to get a statement or two. That should help!

The pressure of all this caregiving has really hit me hard, although various people have told me that's completely normal. A nurse friend said, "Okay, so they just got here, and it's been nothing but a string of emergencies, and you're probably wondering, 'Is it always going to be like this?'"

I said, "Yes! Yes, exactly! You read my mind!"

I've realized -- no great insight here, but it's still important -- that I can't count on ever having a calm day, so I need to set my priorities for each day as soon as I get up. Exercise and getting some of my own work done are right up there. These are the things I can't afford to defer, since if I do, I might not have another opening for them that day. I have to take every chance I can to catch my breath and attend to business-as-usual.

As much as I hate the idea, I'm wondering if I should take a sabbatical from volunteering at the hospital. But it probably makes more sense to volunteer when I can. I'm afraid that if I gave it up completely, I might never get to go back.

Next week I see my psychiatrist for my periodic meds-management appointment. I'm going to ask if I can start therapy with her, or with someone else in her office, because if I ever needed someone to talk to every week or two, it's now! Friends have been supportive and helpful, but this is still a lonely, scary business.

Everyone (including my father, who's genuinely concerned about my stress level) keeps telling me that I'm doing a great job. That's good to hear, although I'm not sure "great" is the operative term. I'm doing as well as I can; right now, I'll settle for "good enough"!


  1. I do hope things will settle a bit once they are really moved in. Thinking of you--oh, and this is terri c trying a different way of commenting as I have been having trouble using the google account option--the screen never prompts for user id and password but just keeps rejecting the comment! Hope you don't get the stomach virus!

  2. And here's another: anonymous option failed, I went back and tried google account and it took me to a google login screen and then back to your comment screen with the note "Your comment will be visible after approval." Weird, no?

  3. Many prayers ascending, Susan! Are you still getting spiritual direction? Does it help with this any?


  4. Thanks, Terri and Lee!

    Terri: The ways of Blogger are strange and inscrutable.

    Lee: Not currently in spiritual direction, no, which makes getting a therapist especially sensible.

  5. Hi Susan,

    You're having BIG STRESS! Sounds a bit like unexpectedly having a new baby--except you DO get to sleep every night (I hope). Super disorienting. It WON'T always be like this.

    Your idea about daily prioritizing is a good one. Don't forget to scale back your expectations of yourself, too.

    Hang in there baby!




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