Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘hlep’ Category

Remember years ago when you heard that catchy little ditty insisting you needed a break. Not just needed, but you deserved a break today….…..at McDonaldssssssss……..  Did you know the bouncy little singer was none other than Reba McEntire working her way up the ladder of success?  Such a perky voice, and the ad was presented so favorably the words and music soon became one of those songs that remained in your head for days – then you heard it again and again – so often, in fact, that it never left your mind.  You either hummed it day after day, or you put words to the music – just like Reba.  Eventually, McDonalds ran a new slogan and Reba went on to bigger and better things, but still — those words and music linger.

Lately – and it’s been years — I’ve found myself singing the silly little song once again.  Actually, only the first five words which were prompted by a dear friend who believed that I did – need a break – deserved a break – and today — and often.  However, it wasn’t that day and we didn’t go to McDonald’s.  Instead I met Sandy, Shirleen and about eight other women a few days later at the Olive Garden for lunch.  Wow for me!

During the day, when caregivers are here for Ken, I do get out – really I do — all by myself.  I’ve been doing that a lot lately: the bank, the post office, doctor visits, knee therapy at the gym’s swimming pool, grocery shopping (last year’s Christmas gifts for everyone done in one crazy afternoon in November – of course everyone got the same thing — slippers), and if the timing is right I have even attended church.  Are those breaks?  It is getting out, or is it a bunch of stuff on my “To Do” list?  Doing the “To Do” list — is that the same as taking a break?

 Before last February’s accident, Ken and I went everywhere together.  When I wanted a break, I said to him, “Let’s go to the movies,” or “Let’s go shopping.”  We also dropped by for short visits with friends, and on occasion we stopped for a quick bite to eat where we didn’t have to wait for service or the check.  He was too impatient for that kind of waiting. We also went to Jayne’s house every Monday evening for dinner.

I didn’t have caregivers BTA, so, admittedly, I didn’t have lunch with the girls, but that was all right. While we weren’t blazing a trail into high society, we did get out, and I have always enjoyed Ken’s company, despite his Alzheimer’s.

So when Sandy said, “Join us for lunch on Tuesday, and maybe a movie and lunch again on Wednesday,” I said, “Okay.”  A little overwhelmed by so much all at one time, I decided I’d go slow beginning with lunch on Tuesday.

In many ways I’m still a “working woman.”  I’m one of the three caregivers at this house, and a manager: managing Ken’s care, our finances, our rental property’s finances, supervising the maintenance of that property and our own, plus “whatever else” there is, and it seems as if there is always something — and I write.  Nevertheless, Sandy and Shirleen are on target; even a working person needs – and deserves — a break.

I knew all of the women at lunch, but together they were a group.  I found it was just a bit intimidating to be a new kid on the block.  However, they couldn’t have been more welcoming.  Sandy sat next to me and Shirleen sat across which made me feel comfortable.  We ordered and while we waited, the conversations began.  “You’re grandson just had a birthday,” quipped Anitra to me.  For a minute I was lost and it took me a few seconds to remember that Mike and her son were good friends with their birthdays just a day apart.  “Oh, oh, you mean Mike,” I finally answered, feeling a little dismayed that it appeared I had no idea what she was talking about, and worse, that I hadn’t remembered my oldest grandchild’s birthday.  (I did remember and had already sent greetings.)  Obviously though, I was still feeling a bit off balance.  Was I losing my social skills?  “All work and no play….” Was it making me a “dull” person?

Surrounded by conversations I found myself nodding in the affirmative, because, for the most part, I’m used to being with Ken.  When we eat together he jabbers on and on and on.  For my own peace of mind, I tune him out responding periodically with a head nod, or “Really,” or “Is that right,” or “Gee — I didn’t know that,” all in an effort to give him the feedback his often senseless “remarks” need. 

Lunch with the girls was over and it was truly a refreshing afternoon, and then we would all go our separate ways.  I had those errands on my “To Do” list to finish, but before we left the table I told my group of friends that I wasn’t used to a “break,” and if they noticed me nodding in agreement to them or replying with “Really,” or “Is that right,” or “I didn’t know that,” they were to snap their fingers and tell me to “wake up and tune in.”  Yes, not only do I deserve a break, I really need one, and often.

So, in summing up my “break” day, I would advise the caregivers of America to schedule you some social time.  Not just time alone, time when you run those errands, but time with other people, and not only family. I know it isn’t easy, especially if you are the full-time caregiver.  Have you ever had someone ask what they can do to help?  Probably a lot of neighbors, friends and family have volunteered to “sit” while you go.  They mean it, accept the help and go have a little fun.  Beyond being a caregiver, you are still you and you NEED to be kind to you.  Remember, I’m not some disinterested person.  I’m someone like you – one of you — another caregiver advising you that you really do need – and deserve a break.  Just to make sure, write it down – in ink — on your “To Do” list.

Read Full Post »