Managing

More and more, I am “managing” our lives, and not so much living or sharing them. That’s the aspect of this situation that I really hate – turning into a manager almost more than partner, spouse, friend. I think J feels this change, but doesn’t really see what is going on. She is not aware that my first couple of early morning hours are spent setting things up, answering emails, making lists, staying in touch with people I love, coordinating their kind offers, and just planning out how to get thru the next couple of days as easily as possible.

There’s a paradox involved, where my inclination is to grow more efficient and organized as the task list grows bigger, but the actual need here, now, is to slow down and involve J in as much of daily life as she can handle without too much stress. We need the shared activities, but also things need to get done. Sometimes those two correspond, but more and more often they don’t.

There are rumbles of discontent with the Respite sessions, where she remarks that sometimes is is boring, or “like kindergarten”. Now, I’ll just wait and see how this plays out, but meantime would like to have a word with the director in order to find out if it’s just that certain sessions have participants with greater impairment, or is there something the facilitator can do to engage J more, etc.

But getting in touch with the director is difficult – I can’t take a phone call in private, so prefer email, but email is not her best mode; then if I call, I need to leave voice mail, and try to offer times for her to call me back, etc, etc.

I am finding out that when you are engaging with people and agencies that offer companion or respite care, that there are tons of little considerations, blips, bumps on the road that will need dealing with. I’ve read about this in other people’s blogs, but am really learning it first hand now. Should I approach the director while the problem is small, or “don’t sweat the small stuff?” That type of dilemma itself can stress me out completely apart from the content of the concern!

An appointment today with the dermatologist – first doctor visit in many, many months, thankfully – routine checkup, but one that’s important for J to keep since she has some history with skin cancer. She herself is happy to forego this, but I am now “in charge” of this kind of decision, and will see that she gets there. It’s very odd having this sort of responsibility/control regarding someone else.

Tomorrow, hoping for a day-trip someplace fun, the weather is spectacular, and the coast of Maine is right there in front of us.

Thanks for reading!


7 thoughts on “Managing

  1. Some days it does feel more like a job, just managing different situations as they come up, and less like the relationship that we have shared for so many years. Those day trips, or activities that both of you enjoy are so important. It helps to reconnect as partners, as opposed to the caregiver relationship.

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  2. Seems like whether you talk with the director now or later might be a place where YOUR desires might at start the decision (whether or not they work in the end!)
    Feels like the situation where J doesn’t easily see her decline makes it harder. We know someone else where her daughters say they have been told that the woman will never see her decline. In a way I think that might be a relief to know if I were the caregiver.
    MANY MANY HUGS!

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  3. “Managing” is exactly the word. It is different from caregiving in the sense of nurturing, but it is essential…and emotionally exhausting. Before we entered this world, I didn’t understand how tiring non-physical activities could be. Creative and professional “work” was usually energizing and even when not had an end in sight. Childcare was tiring but had its obvious rewards. This kind of “managing” offers no let up.
    Am curious how you got J to agree to respite in the first place. We’re not there yet, but I dread the first discussion.

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    1. Thanks, Alice. The respite group sort of emerged – first, J mentioned being interested in a group. She knew I attended a group (support for caregivers, about which I was somewhat vague with her), and wondered if there might be something for her. Eventually I realized that that might be an entry – I told her I had heard of this group – “senior activities group”, I called it – we could go check it out. First, though, I met with the director and sat in on the group and decided it was definitely a longshot, but had to try it. To my astonishment, we went to visit the group and she stayed the whole time and asked afterwards, “Perhaps I could go to that group?”
      I think just going to look at one or more of these types of groups in your area would be a helpful step – talk to the administrator about how other families have done it, etc. It might not be something for your husband, but you just never know.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I can so relate to your feelings when up against opposing choices, both of which have benefits and drawbacks. I also appreciate how very necessary it is to try to slow down, engage with others and care for my own needs. Give J a big hug from Spain for me, and big ones to you, too. xo M

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