Monday, January 16, 2012

Chocolate Shake or Bowl of Rocky Road Ice Cream? Choices in Caregiving

Tonight, we’re treating Robert to a cheeseburger and fries.  I figured since I have already slipped him vegetarian sausages and a fake burger this weekend, I’d get him the real deal before he realizes what I’ve been feeding him.

Or passes out from meat withdrawal. 

On my way out the door to the local fast food restaurant, Robert called out, “Can I get a chocolate shake too?” 

Hmm.   Well, do you want a shake with your burger or a bowl of Rocky Road Ice Cream for dessert?  You can’t have both (I’ve been down this road before and I’m on to him).

Robert gave me his best “I’m not going to say anything and will just stare at you hoping you’ll change your mind” stare.

While he mulled over his choices and I stood my ground, I thought about caregiving in general and how it is full of choices.  All the time.
Caregivers make choices every day.  Heck, sometimes choices even have to be made moment to moment.  What briefs do I choose for Robert to keep him dry?  Do we use the transport chair for an outing or let him use his walker?  How can I satisfy his taste buds but keep him healthy?  Do I follow him as he walks to the bathroom in case he has a seizure and I have to catch him or do I stop hovering and hope for the best?

Sometimes the choices are between living with dust bunnies or having a spotless house or deciding between cooking a great meal or running out for fast food.  (It’s usually a toss up around here on both counts).
I had my own choices to make this weekend.   Since I was feeling overwhelmed this week, a friend asked if I could shorten Robert’s weekend visit.  What if he came over for just one night instead of two or three? 

For some reason, this option hadn’t occurred to me but just knowing I could make that choice made me feel better.  I don’t have to be “all in” every weekend.  Why not leave my options open?  I knew I had several writing projects to work on and a couple to finish, I was feeling extremely disorganized and I needed some relaxation time too.   

I need to make some choices but I do have options (of course, some people have a different caregiving situation and do not have many options to choose from).

I asked New Home for enough meds for a three day visit but told them I may bring Robert back early.  I chose to pick up Robert later on Saturday than normal (which was made more challenging when he made the unusual move to call me that morning to ask if I could pick him up earlier than I had planned).  I told him “no” and kept to my plan to pick him up later in the afternoon.  He reluctantly accepted my answer but was perfectly happy when I arrived to pick him up later that day. 

As far as keeping the visit short, we chose to keep him at our house over the long weekend but it was nice having an option to cut the visit short. 

I explained to Robert this morning that I had to work on my projects and he would have to watch television or work on his word search puzzle.  Robert didn’t mind those options at all (he loves both activities) and was pleased just to be at our house surrounded by family and our animals that he’s come to enjoy. 

In fact, Robert became so hooked on a “Bonanza” marathon this afternoon he asked if he could eat the burger and fries in front of the TV!  So much for my thinking he needs to be entertained.

As far as Robert’s choice: once he realized I wasn’t going to change my mind, he chose Rocky Road Ice Cream for dessert. 

Good choice.  I may have to choose some of that myself!


Unknown said...

Oh, how I have come to love Robert! I know well how hard you work, Trish but the simple things that make Robert so happy are such an inspiration to me. You are such a loving and giving caregiver. Oh that all caregivers could give of themselves the way you and your wonderful family do. I know I'm a broken record but you are my hero!

bill austin howe
Austin's Thoughts

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Bill, It is so important to appreciate the little things and that's exactly what Robert does. It's a great reminder for me. So happy you are a regular reader! I really appreciate it.

Unknown said...

How can you go wrong with rocky road, I mean, come on! Wow, Bonanza, that brings back a lot of memories of my folks when I was a kid. So great that you guys can hang out even if you aren't in each others business. :)

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Dennis, I like that -- not getting into each other's business. It's pretty great that he can relax and enjoy himself when he's here. Now I just have to realize, he's FINE and doesn't need me to entertain him. He just likes being here. :-) The Bonanza -- wow, those guys looked so young! It was really something seeing such an old show (and I had no idea how much Robert liked it until then!).

Heidi Alberti & Atticus Uncensored said...

It's always good to have options... whether the choice between milk shakes or rocky road ice cream, or the option to spend a little much needed time for yourself. I'm happy you are taking yourself into consideration since you are always caring for others!
I imagine you'll be watching a lot of football this weekend -- will Robert be watching too?

Heidi & Atticus
"commentary to give you paws..."

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Robert will be watching football with us. His favorite team is the 49ers so he's been enjoying this season. He had a great time watching the game last weekend and I'm sure he'll be just as excited to watch it tomorrow. Go niners!

Maia Dobson said...

I like both chocolate shake and chocolate ice cream! It's just that my teeth are so sensitive to cold foods. I think I should visit the dental clinic at Florence SC so they could help me with my sensitive teeth. Only then could I enjoy either the shake of the ice cream.