Monday, January 22, 2007

The Big Accomplishment Of The Day

The big accomplishment of the day is that I went walking this morning with my neighbor. All though this may not appear as any big deal, it's huge in the Sandwich world. Not only is it time that I spent on myself, but I had the chance to have a talk with someone.

Being a caregiver may not necessitate being isolated, but I'll be damned if H and I have figured out how to do it without getting isolated. There are almost no support groups that take in couples, and while we have had some support from friends... Yeah, well, we haven't had a lot of support from friends. (We've had some, but not the heavy duty "I will gladly sit for your MIL one evening a week" kind of help. Not the big-time impactful on our quality of life kind of help.)

Periodically, I take Mama out to a movie. I do this without H to give H the afternoon off. (He enjoys being completely alone). I usually do this on Sunday, so he can watch the football game. (I actually shoved him out the door on Saturday night to go play poker with friends. H not only copes with a crazy-Alzheimer's mother, but a not-always sane IF wife. He needs all the re-charging he can get. Although I do not like football, I am always sad when the season ends, because H gets so much out of it).

Taking my MIL out is... well, usually it's difficult. On her best day of the week, she's partially paralyzed, motor skill-challenged and in and out of reality. I cannot leave her in unfamiliar territory for more than a few minutes, and I can't have her walk too far. And she never moves quickly (no matter WHAT is going on). On her worst day, she's all this and CRANKY.

But occasionally... it's soul killing. Like the last time I took her out to lunch. Once the order was placed and we were just looking at each other... I realized how desperately lonely I was. How I wanted to talk to her (someone, anyone) about my hopes and fears for the future, about anything that was going on in my life. And I couldn't. So we talked about some pop star she's currently in love with, and her childhood on the farm, and whatever else mattered to her.

I haven't been able to keep ahold of a great deal of friends, and those that I have all have kids or some other huge all-important endeavour. (Context: I have a friend with a dying parent, another with HIV, another who's going back to school and a few others who have children). So they don't have buckets of free time, either. But. There's only so many times you can be half-way through a gut-wrenching telephone conversation only to be put on hold because "Rachel needs something right now." (I have more patience with the others). It's like, dammit, am I not worth fifteen minutes of your time? Huh?

Of course, I talk to my husband, but he's a BOY. (You know what I mean). Sometimes I want to talk to someone ELSE.

So, this morning I went walking with my neighbor. She'd asked me a few weeks (okay, MONTHS) ago if I wanted to do a daily morning walk. At the time, I was focused on how chaotic my morning is. Getting Mama and H up and out takes a bit of doing. But I began to realize that I had 30 minutes free. So I knocked on her door and said, "Um, are you still interested....?"

Halfway through the walk, as we were chatting, she brought up that she has Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. "Ah," I replied, "PCOS." (Not that I know what it is exactly, but having surfed the boards I know it's a common complaint). And we chatted about fertility issues the rest of the walk.

Thanks, God.


Heather said...

I'm happy for you!

I can't imagine what you are going through. You are amazing to me.

Bea said...

I'm so glad you're feeling less lonely today. Wow, it's so draining being a carer like that.


TeamWinks said...

PCOS just plain stinks. I have alink on my site in today's post. Icky.

Glad you got to get out of the house!