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"!

5 comments:

  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!

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  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?

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

    Peace!
    Lee

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  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.

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  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!

    Love,

    Claire

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