Sunday, January 26, 2014

Break Out the Tiny Violins

I’ve been having a pity party (don’t take it personally if I didn’t invite you).  Thank goodness it’s almost over, though – I am running out of refreshments.
Before the Pity Party
So what’s been my problem?

It is a very busy time at work – this is the usual “extra busy” time at work (there are the “busy” times and then there are the “extra busy” times).  It starts around November and ends once January is over.  Then it is back to a normal busy time.

This year was the first time we had Robert living with us during the extra busy time at work.  The routines with Robert: getting him ready to go to day program, managing his medications and numerous doctor appointments, taking his vitals every day to be on the lookout for pneumonia, doing 10,000 loads of laundry a day and yes, even another hospitalization, are relentless.  These things do not change.  I can’t tell Robert, “Hey, I am going to be busy for the next three months so please clean yourself, make your meals, take yourself to the doctor, wash your bedding and, oh, don’t get pneumonia.” 

Now that we have been through it (well, almost – I have two more days before my final project for this period is completely finished), I know that it can be done. 

It wasn’t without challenges, however. 

I didn’t manage my stress well and ended up with a racing pulse and failing the first of two cardiac stress tests (try that sometime – it will really stress you out!).  I finally passed so all is well but it definitely gave me a wake-up call to stop thinking I could just get through three months of not taking care of myself. 

My attitude didn’t help.

I was thrilled that Richard and I had a respite time in November and were fortunate to be able to go on a relaxing and fun trip. Of course, anyone who works knows how vacations affect work: you have to pack in a week’s worth of work before the vacation and then an extra week’s amount of work afterwards.  I think the ratio is for every week of vacation, you pay for it with two extra weeks of work packed into one.

It is okay – it was worth it and I am already hoping for another trip next November!

Back to my attitude: For whatever reason, I was feeling sorry for myself.  Woe is me – I am busy at work, I am busy with Robert, I am busy with a year-old puppy.  I have a husband who helps but who has his own pain and sleep issues and is so used to me handling stress well that he doesn’t really know what to do with Cranky Trish.  Except to join Cranky Trish with Cranky Richard.

It should come as no surprise to me that Robert has become Cranky Robert.  He has become obstinate, demanding and irritable. Who wouldn’t when surrounded by other Cranky People? 

All this crankiness makes everyone more cranky.  It’s as if crankiness takes on a life of its own and perpetuates itself with bad attitudes all around: we all feel justified in feeling cranky.

I finally began to claw my way out of the hole I dug (part of being in that hole includes not writing which makes me even crankier).  Richard and I started coming up with solutions:

  1. Stop nagging Robert so much (many times it is necessary, however, in order to get him ready for the van on time or to an appointment); 
  1. Sleep in separate rooms (temporarily – that lasted a week and helped tremendously);
  1. Once a month, take Robert to the respite facility he was in during our vacation. He goes for one Saturday a month and only during the day (not overnight). They have the capacity right now, Robert loves it because they dote on him and Richard and I get time together. I would rather pay for a whole day once a month instead of help for a few hours through the week. A whole day gives us all more bang for the buck.
  1. Find relaxation techniques and use them. I pay for a monthly massage but don’t always use it so have a lot saved up. I have made a promise to myself to go twice a month until I have used up the extras. And I’m doing it.
  1. Write.  This helps both of us – Richard has his own blog he started last year and it’s important to him to write about his pain or caring for his mom. We both need to write and need to help each other find the time to do so.
Richard and I are also finding our humor again which can make the crankiness quickly go away.

The pity party is about over and while I know better than to promise I will never have one again, at least I have some ways to get out of it a little more quickly instead of just suffering through it.

Cranky Trish is about to leave the building so, please, help speed up her exit by playing those tiny violins. 

This pity party is winding down!


Colleen said...

So well written! Praise God for wonderful,

Loving caretakers, like yourself, we have to

care for those of us with such challenges!

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Thank you, Colleen!