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Friday, September 10, 2010

Woe is Me

My tiny band of followers may have noticed a week’s gap between my last post and this one…especially after I opened my last one by announcing my posting goal of three times a week. Of course, I followed that comment with a sexy love scene so maybe not.

The truth is I’ve had a lousy week. The kind that makes you want to rant and scream. In fact, I’m really feeling the need to do a little ranting (my apologies to Stacy's Rantings and Whatnot for borrowing from her blog name). And it came to me – hey, I have a blog. I can rant, vent, whatever here; get it all out of my system, and get back to more important things. So here goes, and I promise I won’t make a habit of this.

Last Friday, we brought my mum-in-law home to her apartment from the nursing home where she was recovering from major surgery. She wanted very much to come home and we wanted her home so this was a good thing. Unfortunately, we had not come close to anticipating the level of care she was going to need. The minimum requirement for getting out of the nursing home – being able to walk on her walker – she met. But she is unable to get from a sitting position to a standing one so that she can use her walker. She is also unable to move around the kitchen well enough to get something to eat or to get in and out of bed. In other words, she’s pretty much helpless.

Now let me establish here that my mum-in-law is a dear. She is also a lady of fierce independence and personal dignity, so needing the level of help she requires is very difficult for her and I totally acknowledge that my griping about it is incredibly selfish.  But I'm doing it anyway.

Her first weekend home unfortunately coincided with an out of state golf tournament that my husband attends every year. He offered to skip it but I know how much he looks forward to it so I told him to go. And I spent my three day holiday weekend doing full time caregiver duty. On Tuesday, we began the juggling act between work and caregiving. It was a challenge but we worked it out. What we were having more trouble working out was what to do about the following week – which we were supposed to spend on vacation in Vegas (already paid for and non-refundable). Our backup support crew was standing by, but really not up to the level of care she needed. We decided to play it by ear and see what happened.

On Wednesday morning, I had to do an emergency vet run with our older dog, Brandi. A calcium deposit on the cornea of her right eye which we’d been treating for months had ulcerated and the eyeball was in danger of rupturing. The vet prescribed an assortment of medications but offered slim hope that he can save the eye. He said to bring her back on Friday and be prepared for surgery. This was the tipping point on the trip. On Wednesday night, we cancelled.

So here we are on Friday. I started the day at the vet. The ulceration is about the same so we're giving it a couple more days. I take her in on Monday morning, again prepared for surgery to remove the eye, if necessary. My mum-in-law still requires a high level of care – I put her to bed tonight and will be getting her up in the morning. We are not leaving tomorrow on our eagerly awaited vacation. I’ve lost my running schedule in there somewhere (I was doing a 5K 3 – 4 times a week). And I’ve allowed myself to seek solace from my old friend, the refrigerator, and have completely fallen off the diet wagon (did you hear the thud?). I’m also behind on my blogging - reading, commenting, and posting - and, more importantly, on my writing.

So there it is. Boo hoo. Woe is me. Alas and alack. Let me finish tearing my clothes and rubbing ashes in my hair and get on with things. No more whining, I promise. (Although, if anyone wants to offer me an “Aw, poor baby”, I wouldn’t mind.)

Unwriting progress: From the original 150,000 words down to 114,961.

I'm currently enjoying: Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear

Quote of the day: Drag your thoughts away from your troubles... by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.  - Mark Twain

16 comments:

Dru said...

{{{{Linda}}}}}

Can you get one of those visiting nurses to come in for a few days and help your MIL?

Dru said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mason Canyon said...

Hopefully you can find one of the visiting nurses Dru mentioned to help. Caring for older loved ones is difficult because they definitely don't want to give up their independence and I can't blame 'em I wouldn't either.

Also hope things go well for your dog.

Try to take a little time for yourself and relax. I know it's rough to find a few minutes here and there but hopefully you can. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

Linda Leszczuk said...

Dru and Mason,

Thanks for stopping by. I should have mentioned that we are using all the visiting "services" we could get. A nurse comes by three times a week to check her vitals and such, a physical therapist comes twice a week to help her regain her strength, and an occupation therapist comes twice a week to help her learn to work around her mobility issues. This is why I'm hopeful that things will get better in time. But for now, she still needs a lot of help all around those various visits. It's very slow going. I guess I'm doing that old prayer, "God, grant me patience and I want it NOW."

Maria Zannini said...

I've seen this scenario too many times with friends and their parents. I'm afraid unless you can put her back in the home, it will only get worse.

That's just how it is. Caregiving is the most stressful job in the universe. I'm so sorry, Linda.

Whatever happens, try to get away when you can for your own peace of mind.

Let us know how your poor pooch is doing too. Poor baby.

Oh, wait. You wanted to say, poor baby to you. LOL.

Poor baby. Sorry you're going through a rough patch.

Karin said...

Oh, Linda, I am so sorry to hear that you and your family are going through this. It is so hard to balance what our parents want and what is possible. We finally convinced my FIL to more to assisted living where he gets the help he needs in a safe environment and still has independence to do what he is able. It is a lovely place and there are all sorts of activitiees. But he had to finally get to the point where he recognized that he could no longer go on the way he was. We hope that your MIL comes to that realization soon. In the mean time be sure to eat,pray and love(I just found out that is a new verb when I saw an article about people using the new flat rate Jet Blue fare to eat , pray and love across the country).

Hugs to you all
Karin

Linda Leszczuk said...

Maria,

The previous nursing home stay was just a post-op rehab. Everyone thought she'd be well enough to come home before they start chemo (and isn't that a great thing to look forward to?). I'm afraid the current situation has caught us unprepared. Thanks for the kind words. I'll post an update on Brandi on Monday, one way or the other.

Linda Leszczuk said...

Karin,

Convincing her of anything isn't a problem. She's pretty much hit the "I don't care" stage. She's given up all hope and just wants to know why God won't take her out of her misery. I have no idea what to do for her. We see the Oncologist on Monday so maybe we'll have more direction then.

I can use some of that "pray and love" but the "eat" I need to do less of. :-)

Hugs back.

L.

MaryC said...

“Aw, poor baby”

Seriously, Linda. You deserve the "poor baby." I went through that kind of caregiving nightmare after my husband had a bad accident at work about 7 years ago. Coincidentally, that very same day I found out the firm I was working at would be closing and I'd be out of a job (and more importantly - out of insurance). I got through it and you will too, but I know at the moment it seems endless.

I'm so sorry you lost the vacation. That alone is enough to deserve the rant!

Please feel free to vent anytime.

(((((hugs))))) and prayers

Linda Leszczuk said...

"Poor baby"s gratefully accepted. Along with hugs and prayers.

But my problems pale in comparison to that one-two punch you received. Wow.

I'm going to try not to wallow but I may end up doing another blog about my mum-in-law - she's a remarkable woman in a lot of ways. I should have mentioned she became a US citizen on this date in 2003, at the age of 78.

Thanks for the support, Mary.

Stacy McKitrick said...

No apologies needed. Everyone is entitled to rant (but thanks for mentioning my blog anyway!).

I hope everything works out for you (and your dog). Why does it always seem like bad things come in bunches? Here's hoping something good happens to you!

Linda Leszczuk said...

Stacy, thanks for the kinds words. And I'll apologize a second time to you - that reference to your blog was supposed to be a link. In fact, it was a link when I put it in but somehow lost itself when I published and I didn't notice. I'll take a half a brownie point for trying.

Heather Webber said...

(((hugs)))

What a tough stretch! Caregiving is definitely one of the hardest jobs around. And the dog on top of it all? I'm amazed you're blogging at all.

Hang in there! Sending healing wishes for everyone.

Linda Leszczuk said...

Heather,

I'm trying to stay with the blogs as much as I can because my blogging connections are still pretty new and I don't want to lose them by going inactive. We'll see how long I can manage. Switching to short positive posts this week to stay active and to force myself to find some positives. :-)

Thanks for your support.

tauruspete said...

wow, you deserve to have a place and to vent. Sorry about your vacation cancellation. We had to cancel a road trip too this month. Aug. 18th thru Sept. 18th hellish. Parents, children and grands need us when we least expect.

Linda Leszczuk said...

tauruspete - you're playing catch-up with my old blogs, aren't you?

Hey, remember when we dreamed about the days when our kids would be grown and moved out and we've be free of all outside responsibilities? Were we dummies or what?!?!