I am feeling much better. Despite the heat and humidity that results in poor sleeping patterns I think I have turned the corner. Looking back I think the fall off the step-ladder set me back quite a bit, with pain at night in the left hip and maybe a *beep* in the armor of my confidence. It doesn’t take much to make a caregiver feel vulnerable.
Today in chat we talked about our emergency plans, not only where to find the supplies, what medications our dear one is on but as thorough as an hour by hour description of the day for the seven days in a week and beyond lodged with a family member so if someone needs to take over in an emergency they can.
If a rock falls on my head and I lapse into unconsciousness I would need someone else to take over. I would need them to know what Ray does, when he showers, what he eats, when he sleeps, how his bed is set up, when he wakes up etc. They would need to know when the carers come in and what they do. That is a lot of detail but if it helps Ray to feel safe then it is essentially what needs to be done. And in order for me to recover Ray needs to be safe.
The talk about emergencies covered a lot of ground as we experience different things, for me it might be bushfires and I have been cut off by floods in the past. For others it may be snow storms or tornados and for Gwen who comes from New Zealand it was the earthquake, not local to her but constantly on the news so a reminder of her need to be prepared. So do we all need to be prepared, even if the emergency never happens.
My day today started as usual showering Ray and getting him breakfast, sorting his medication, finding his money for Daycare. I did an hour’s ironing then off he went in the bus. I went to the shopping centre and did a very quick shop. Now we have plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables in the house again for the rest of the week.
Then back to chat with the girls and Mike, lots of good advice and helpful information exchanged. By ourselves we tend to think laterally, in a group we think outside the square. I am amazed at how a problem turns into a plan as we all contribute ideas. If you are reading this as a caregiver and never get to chat please consider putting time aside so you can come, it is so good to share information and gain the support we all need.
I said farewell to the remaining group after an hour and a half and went down to one of our local beaches. I tried to go there last week but the wind was blowing in from the sea, the waves were high, the seas very rough and it wasn’t conducive to contemplation. This week the tide was out, the sky was overcast but I had a good walk and also perched on a rock and studied a rock pool for a while.
I find the sea calms me down and I love this particular beach with its many rock pools. There is something about watching the minute fish, half an inch long or less, mostly blending into the sandy bottom, moving from one side of a rock pool to another. I think it is the very smallness of the image and the thought that this happens whatever I do. The tidal pool is little affected by mankind and yet full of life, a parallel universe in microcosm.
The Monday and Wednesday Daycare seems to be working well for me and Ray likes Wednesdays particularly as there are four other men there. As he lives with a woman (me) most of the people he meets are other women (my friends) so he lives in a female dominated world. His men friends are no longer around. The exceptions are the male Lions of our Lions Club, the men from our Apex40 Club, some of whom speak to him, sadly some do not, and one or two men from our church. None of these see him outside of the context of the Clubs we belong to. It must at times seem a lonely life to him.
I am glad Trev still comes and goes; today he was under the house looking for camping gear. We always had plenty of that and as he is thinking of camping as a way of getting away for an occasional weekend he is investigating what we have and what he needs to look for elsewhere. He always talks to Ray for a bit when he comes over. Ray wouldn’t initiate conversation now but does give brief answers if you speak directly to him.
We build our “new normal” out of our everyday routines. Every setback takes something away and sometimes life can seem like we are “rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic”. But we need to consciously and consistently rebuild our lives into a pattern we are happy to live with. Life may be difficult but it is doable.