Sunday, May 5, 2013


I love the word “discombobulated.”

Only a moment of peace -
do not be deceived
Just hearing the word conveys its meaning: confusion.  The word bounces around your mouth as if in a state of confusion itself.  Whenever I say it out loud it takes so long to say that I have time to wonder if I’m going to pronounce it correctly.  I have a moment to wonder when I’m going to get to the end of the word (I wonder the same when I am actually in a state of confusion). 

Will it ever end?

I’ve been feeling discombobulated lately and even though I know the feeling will eventually pass, that I will once again enjoy the comfort of routine, I wonder when it will happen.  How soon will I be able to establish new routines that I’m comfortable with and can count on? 

Some people don’t mind chaos and not knowing what’s around the corner.  I prefer to know exactly what to expect, when to expect it, and if it’s a problem, how to solve it. 

Some people call that being a control freak; I call it comforting.

When I am feeling discombobulated, I can physically feel the chaos in my body.  My nerves bounce around in my stomach, head and chest and my temper is triggered more quickly.  My patience wanes and I find myself getting easily frustrated about thing that normally don’t bother me. 

It’s only been just over a month that Robert moved in and we are working on developing new routines.  He needs help getting clean and staying clean, medications need to be organized, ordered and dispensed.  We don’t have an extra bedroom for Robert so the sofa sleeper needs to be pulled out each night and put away each morning (and since he’s incontinent there’s a lot of laundry in between - even with him wearing briefs and using lots of pads).   

There are habits that Robert has picked up after years of living independently and then in a facility setting and not knowing any better and we’re working on changing some of these bad habits.  These are things we have worked on when he visited over the weekend but were difficult to get them to stick since he lived elsewhere during the week.

These are habits that are important for him to change so that he can be more accepted in a social setting (like learning not to blow his nose at the dinner table) or for health or safety reasons (like knowing to ask for help when he uses the bathroom). 

It’s actually not that much extra work but my mornings are now filled with getting Robert ready for the day and making sure the puppy gets his play time instead of reading the news or other blogs or writing.  Part of my day is also spent teaching the puppy to stay out of Robert’s personal space and teaching Robert that hitting a puppy out of frustration is not okay (no matter how many times he tries to lick the straw of his chocolate shake or share his lunch).  

Thankfully, Hubby helps with Robert’s morning routine and gets his breakfast ready and makes a lunch for him to take to Day Program and I use that time to get ready for work. 

Moving to our house from the Board & Care was a big adjustment for Robert and for the first week, he had several seizures. Robert doesn’t like change either.

The extra seizures started to subside but less than two weeks after moving in Robert was in the ICU with pneumonia and septic shock. 

Talk about feeling discombobulated!  Running from home to the hospital to work and back to the hospital again completely disrupted routines at home and work.  Even the dogs were discombobulated and had a few accidents in the house while we were away. 

Robert recovered and was home after a week but his motor and personal care skills took a hit.  The routines we had established in the short time he was here before being hospitalized had to be recreated.  Robert and the puppy had to get reacquainted with the rules of getting along.

My stress started to show and I was more than a little cranky.  Even Robert was showing signs of stress.  

The discombobulation (yes, I made that up) seemed to want to take up permanent residence. 

Quite discombobulating for a control freak comforting-routine-seeker like myself.

I know I have to have patience.  The routines will come.  I will again find time to read my favorite blogs and websites.  I will again have time to write without sacrificing sleep.  I even think the puppy and Robert will eventually get along (they may not be best buddies but I do believe a peace accord is possible!).

I do see hope on the horizon.  My head realizes it’s only been a month – and a month which included a week long hospital stay at that!  My heart is still feeling a bit discombobulated but here I am writing which feeds my heart and soul.  I’m finding time to watch favorite shows with my husband.  I’m enjoying my time with the puppy and, of course, our good/more laid-back lab.  I am refueled with visits from my daughter and the occasional shoe shopping excursion. 

My husband gave me a moment of clarity at dinner last night when he asked Robert what he liked about living here since he had been here for a month. 

Robert thought for a second and responded, “It’s comfortable.” 

Now it is possible Robert was just talking about the sofa sleeper but it’s also possible he’s telling us he’s no longer discombobulated.   That he is happy living with us. 

It might take me a little longer to get there but I’m reaching for “comfortable” too and have faith I will get there. 


Kathy Lowrey said...

You'll get there! I believe you will!

It's hard enough adjusting for your own self when changes come. Now you have to adjust for you, Robert, Hubby, New Puppy. That's a lot of adjusting. And I think I've said before that even good change, can be stressful.

I can relate to the relearning Robert has to do. When my brother in law comes to stay with us, he must relearn his routine here. I spend 4 months trying to teach him independence and then he leaves to live with his other siblings and looses everything and it can be frustrating.

Hang in there. The discombobulation wont last forever and you'll be in a comfortable routine before you know it. Even new puppy will settle down. That might be awhile though.

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Thanks for the support, Kathy! I understand your frustration about the BIL. After four months, you've probably got him whipped into pretty good shape and then - boom - different house, different rules. Robert's getting adjusted to our rules but it does take time.

I'm not holding my breath about the puppy settling down. He's 5 months old, a bundle of energy and 45 lbs. I think we're in trouble. :-)