👑 ⬅️ There it is. Today, I got up, made some sandwiches, did 2 short exercise routines, paid some bills, sent some emails, fired off a few text messages, prepared some food, went grocery shopping, went to the bank, scheduled some appointments, heated up some food, went to taekwondo class. Ordinarily, I’d say it’s a busy day with a lot accomplished – but it isn’t typical. Hence, my crown.
Today was the first day I felt a little bit in control of my day. Typically, I would have been at work, moaning and groaning about the fact that it’s Monday, immersing myself in my public service work that involves sitting in front of a computer, taking calls, making calls, managing emails and processing my work – never feeling like I am caught up or proficient. But today, after I got up and made my kids’ sandwiches (they make the rest of their lunch), I exercised, showered & dressed, added pills to the pill crusher and planned and executed as much of my day as possible before Dad woke up.
Dad had a stroke – I believe – August 20. He was alone until the morning of the 24th, when his brother and sister-in-law who live down the hill from him found him. He hadn’t collected his newspaper in 4 days, and he is very religious about getting his newspaper every morning. He was transported to the hospital. My aunt and uncle called my cousin, who contacted me to tell me. Dad lives in Montana; I live 600 miles west in Western Washington. Life fell apart, starting with that phone call. I was constantly distracted and complete attached to my phone. I tried to focus on work, but it was really hard. My husband and I left 2 days later to visit Dad and see what we were actually facing. Dad was in the rehab section of the hospital by this point, and we observed him being tended to by therapists and nurses and given a then-cautiously optimistic forecast for the future.
Upon our return home, we had to figure out how we would be helping Dad recover. I am Dad’s only child, and my parents are divorced. Fortunately, my husband loves my dad very much. We rent from my in-laws, and they also think very highly of my dad. All were willing to help without hesitation.
I returned to Montana on September 10 and began learning how to care for Dad the next day. I was not given a very positive report on just how well he was doing. It wasn’t completely negative, but the reports I received were focused on the things he was still struggling with and not much on how much progress he had made. And boy – had he made progress! He was walking better, feeding himself, talking better even with the occasional slurred speech. I was exhausted by the end of that Monday – not sure I was equal to the task of caring for an elderly parent recovering from a stroke. I had been flooded with information and techniques. Tuesday was better. Wednesday – discharge day – all my anxiety returned. Not only was I going to be responsible for his care and progress, but I was transporting him 600 miles back to my house alone.
The trip went well. We were tired, but we did it. The next several days were extremely trying – mentally, emotionally and physically. Caring for an adult as you would a baby or toddler, yet trying not to remove their dignity, trying not to break down and cry, trying to get everything right the first time, trying not to stab people in the head because normal things were not as important or somehow 1500 times more irritating, trying not to create my own forecast for the future, wondering what your “normal” life was doing…
Several days into this I watched the post that inspired the beginning of this post. I follow Kristina Kuzmic of Truth Bomb Mom – littlethings.com. I follow her YouTube channel, as well as on Instagram and Facebook. I love her approach to parenting and self care. But the one post I am commenting on is from the 15th. She validated our efforts just to make it through the day – because sometimes you just gotta count your accomplishments and not focus on the setbacks – and said we deserve a tiara. I agree. Today I still battled my insecurities, but I celebrate being a little more organized, not shrinking back from the day’s needs and even stepping back into my “normal” life’s activities.
Going to the Dollar Store tomorrow to get my tiara…
#kristinakuzmic #truthbombmom #littlethings http://www.youtube.com/kristinakuzmic