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Posted on 2013.06.14 at 00:00
Current Location: 76234

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!


michelle1963 at 2013-06-14 12:36 (UTC) (Link)
While I think some of us are more naturally geared to utilizing compartmentalizing as a coping skill, the more adverse the situation the more energy it requires.

I learned this as a young lab technologist working at the hospital. My time with patients was limited given my job was quite specific in regard to interaction with them - drawing their blood. At first I was sent to patients who were already admitted, mostly very sick and hooked to a variety of machines. It was all quite intimidating, and I soon learned to steel myself when I walked into a patient's room, especially the first time.

But it was going to draw blood from emergency room patients that I learned complete compartmentalization and desensitization. I went from being unsure I could cope to very effective. Someone has to care for patients and no one is immune from the fear and pain of that situation - unless you learn how to cope. You can't do your job if you're freaking out right along with them, or crying.

The thing of it is when I first learned this, I had never experienced having to use it with a relative. I was glad to have the skills when the time arrived. But I quickly learned that the energy required to do it with a stranger rose exponentially when the person was some one I loved.

Hang in there. You are doing one of the toughest things a person can be faced with.
pcofwildthings at 2013-06-14 22:31 (UTC) (Link)
Having had 2 in-laws and my mother who have fallen and broken hips (femurs) in the past, and my husband (hip replacement '09 + fractured femur last year and put in an immobilizer for a few months), I feel YOUR pain. You're right, you do what you need to do, be the strong and linear thinker, and then fight the urge to come unraveled at day's end. I hope you get some time to recharge before your next challenge. Speedy healing all around.
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