June 14th, 2013



Its interesting over the years how I've learned to understand the effectiveness and duration of my abilities in terms of their corresponding energy levels, and my capacity for any given activity given its proposed draw, and subsequent recharge availability. So far this week has been a veritable cornucopia of empirical data.

It may sound "cold" to those of you who cannot or do not compartmentalize personal attachment as a coping mechanism, but I walked into this situation with my mother as a job which needed doing. All I required was procedure and expectation. This removes the toll of any potential devastating feelings from being "too close" to the situation - at least for me.

And as usual, it was worse than I expected. It usually is.

It was also better than I expected in other ways, and encouraging to witness.

Regardless, for me, maintaining the absolutely-nothing-phases-me-uber-positive-devil-may-care attitude for 12-hours of otherwise emotionally and physically challenging hoop-jumping in an area far, far out of my experience takes its toll every single day. The energy I exude comes off me in waves at my parents house as my nearly-infirm-himself father and I constantly toil around my mother attending to her numerous and immediate needs, but at the end of each twelve hour I shift its all I can do to not burst into tears the moment I pull the door closed behind me. Not because my compartmentalization is ineffective, on the contrary - because it is wholly effective - and taps every reserve of energy I have to operate in the mode I do.

Just today we had someone come to bathe her, the physical therapist arrive, a new wheelchair delivered, an LVN to change out her bandages, and an interview from Adult Protective Services. There were that many yesterday, and that many again tomorrow. My brother didn't fall and break his hip - his hip was apparently already fractured when he fell and broke his femur. Yeah, that's the big one. He was discharged from the hospital the second day I arrived, so I moved my aunt and uncle into the suite I didn't budget for the same day I took my children to their respective friends' house in Anna.

Every single hour has been a different, unexperienced challenge, and its exhausting; draining. I am at my absolute limit here, but have to do it all again tomorrow.

That said, I have a plan.

My aunt and uncle are leaving tomorrow - that gives me one day and two nights entirely alone before my Disaster Recovery Exercise starts. Introverts - no matter how "outgoing" they may appear, recharge their batteries [read energy] - by being alone. I am quite sure this will be more than enough time for me to fill up to capacity in order to survive an entirely different type of stress, albeit one I am far more comfortable with.

And I'm sure the extra sleep will come in handy too!

Capacity, Pt. II

Today (so far) is far (far) easier. Why? I don't know. But this morning, everything flows. I assume, in part, its her increasing ability. The independent movement she is capable of today far surpasses her previous capabilities - something I was not expecting to occur so soon. This makes my assistance more effective, and strengthens her for future independence.

But I think that only tells part of the story. Knowing myself as well I do, I also assume knowing what to expect aids me tremendously. We have a rough routine of movements down, a ballet of required actions - and knowing ahead of time what I am going to face and its resulting outcome, I think, makes me far more prepared.

When I arrived Tuesday, I didn't forsee this level of improvement.

[time passes]

When I first arrived in Texas, I spent time talking to the social worker at the nursing facility and the home healthcare nurse, both who expressed reservations about the level of care yet required. My father cited insurance and secondary coverage and the (rather high) daily co-pay involved with a full-service nursing home. Additionally, he didn't feel she was getting enough care at this particular facility. The wonderful social worker told me, "Perhaps your father will have to come to realize he cannot provided the level of care she requires of his own accord."

Turns out, she was right.

This week-long exercise has enlightened him, and he's decided to place her back in professional care for the next six weeks.

I think maybe I've been enlightened a little too.