Friday, October 31, 2008
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"!