Sunday, April 15, 2012

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

Preparing for a trip away always involves adding tasks to the to-do list.  Finding care for the animals, finishing work projects to make up for the time away and packing are just a few tasks on my seemingly endless list.  (Picking just the right size suitcase seems to be my biggest challenge, mainly because I like to have options with both shoes and clothing so take waaaay more than I ever would be able to wear.  Which leads to a bigger suitcase and much ribbing by Hubby.)  Hey, I need options!

Caregivers have a whole other to-do list to be sure their caree is well cared for while the caregiver is away and I was very stressed out about getting everything prepared so Robert wouldn’t even really notice I was gone and wouldn’t be upset about missing a weekend with us.

I have to admit my stress had been showing and I resorted to being impatient with Robert the weekend before we left.  Figuring out how to manage stress better – that’s on the to-do list.

Since Robert lives at New Home, I have to be sure he has enough toothpaste, 7-Up, bedtime protective briefs and other essential personal care items (not to mention a back-up supply of pens!) before I go out of town (invariably, that’s when he runs out of everything!).  I also have to be sure to clearly communicate with the staff so they know that I will still be available by phone but will be several states away and unable to bring him to my house for the weekend or make an emergency run for daytime protective briefs because they ran out (it’s happened).

New Home has been without a House Manager for a while (maybe Robert wasn’t the only one who had run out of daytime briefs) which always makes me a little nervous.  Things slip through the cracks when they are understaffed and I am on heightened alert.  Thankfully, a senior staff member who has earned my trust since Robert moved in over a year ago, was promoted to House Manager.  Hallelujah! Robert would be in good hands during this five day trip.

The only piece of this particular puzzle I couldn’t solve was getting Robert to church on Easter Sunday.  However, while we were spending Easter on planes and in a couple of airports, Robert was able to watch church on television and seemed in good spirits when I called him during a layover. 

Check “guilt” off my to-do list.

The only problem he experienced was he dropped his ring down the sink.  The new House Manager had already alerted me to the situation and arranged for the maintenance crew to attempt to retrieve it the next day.  I explained all this to Robert which satisfied his concerns.  Phew. 

We arrived back home from our trip to see former Wayward Son graduate from Air Force Basic Training (more on that later) and settled into our usual routine.  Robert’s ring was rescued, the new House Manager continues to do a fantastic job of communicating with me and Robert was excited about visiting over the weekend. 

He was so excited in fact that on Thursday, he called me to ask, “what are we doing tomorrow, Trish?”  I hated to break the news to him that I was working on Friday and would pick him up on Saturday, not Friday. 

No matter, he was elated he was coming over and I was looking forward to seeing him. 

The trip away unexpectedly prepared me for more caregiving.

“Clear head and get back in the game of caregiving.”

Cross it off the list!

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