Monday, January 23, 2012

We Are Going Through a Little Adjustment Period

I wrote the following entry LAST Tuesday night.  We have moved to having home health aides come help Michael a few mornings a week, with his personal care.  It's an adjustment for both of us. 

Update: Last Wednesday, I ended up at Starbucks instead of the gym.  Oops. Friday and today, I just came to work early.

We are going to have a home health aide come out tomorrow. I think I am ready to give this whole let someone else take care of my husband thing a shot. Translation: I am tired of doing it myself and I am drooling over the possibilities of things I could do with that time. I could work out. I could go to Starbucks and read and write. I could go to work and start my day early. I could organize coupons.

I have tried this before and the ritual left me in tears for a couple of different reasons. Mainly because leaving my husband in the bed made me feel like something was wrong with him. Like he was sick. Like he was a patient. I hated having to face that over and over.

Who knows, maybe something has changed? Maybe I have realized once and for all that there is something wrong. That my husband is paralyzed and can't get himself out of bed so someone else has to do it. Maybe I am ready to face that that is not normal. Maybe I am over "normal" and trying to kill myself trying to achieve it.

Or maybe I am just being selfish.
I don't know for sure but I feel ready. Ready to try.

I am going to try to not judge myself and I would appreciate it if you dont judge me either.

I think there is an insecure part of me that worries that if I don't get him up, showered, dressed, fed etc. myself that I am not this superwoman that people make me out to be.

My friend Abby hit that point on the head.

Maybe I am ready to not care about my superwoman status just enough to cut myself some slack and not care if anyone thinks I'm a fraud.

I guess we'll see.


Alicia Reagan said...

I like you as a fraud.:)

Normalcy takes on new meaning over time. Mike is already "normal" with it (most days) but this is still fresh for you (and for Jimmy and I).

I am a lower level and can take care of myself but just the other day, Jimmy told me that for the first time since I became paralyzed he can look at me without thinking "Wow, I can't believe she is paralyzed."

I never forget but I am glad that time is helping him to.

Amber Scameheorn said...

Dana, you have to do what is best for you and for Michael. Everyone needs a little time to themselves (to go to the gym, Starbucks, whatever) and if that makes you a better wife and a better person, then do it! Maybe having a little help will be what's best for both of you. I doubt anyone will judge you, and if they do, just say a prayer for them because obviously they need it. :) Hope it works out!

Kristen@TheFrugalGirl said...

I think this sounds like a marvelous idea, Dana! and I don't think at ALL poorly of you for it.

Breanna Anderson said...

Speaking as one of those darned health care workers (lol)....let us do our thing!! That's what we're here for, it's our ministry! Get out, enjoy the extra time letting the HHA come in and help Mike. Mike will get well taken care of, and it will allow you time to take care of yourself. Have you ever noticed the difference in the two terms "caretaker" and "caregiver". Dana, you've been a beautiful definition of careGIVER. Giving so much of your time, your energy, and your focus to Mike and his needs. It's time to be a careTAKER. Caring just as much, but TAKING the time you need to focus on yourself and what you need!! I doubt Mike loves you one shred less for it! Hey, even Superwoman had to take the cape off sometime! :)

Dana Brown Ritter said...

Thank you everyone, for your encouragement!

gentrier said...

How is it going? Trust me, it is good for your relationship to have aides. It allows you to be more 'wife' and less 'aide' to your husband. You need the break and he needs to be as independent as possible. It is good for his esteem, your back and your mind.

Dana Brown Ritter said...

It's going okay. Earlier this week, the HHA had to send a backup lady and she was THREE HOURS LATE and didn't speak English, so that was pretty awful. Then, because of a weird work schedule for me later this week, we just handled things on our own this morning, and we are traveling this weekend so we'll handle it ourselves again on Sunday. I agree, it is a good thing. It just took me a long time to get here. :) Michael doesn't want me to have to worry about everything, he loves me so much. I want him to have the independence, and he recently shared with me that it is actually better if we have someone on a regular basis because then he can have the same person more consistently, and you know how important it is to do the routine over and over and over so you can do it better and quicker! We'll be back on schedule next week.

gentrier said...

We hire our attendants from Craigslist. I totally recommend this if you have 120-200 a week to do it. Let me know if you want details. Also, the person that helped you with Medicaid-would she know anything about Texas? Matt is on traditional medicaid. It anything specific to disability.

Allison said...

I just came across your blog this morning. My dad is also has a C5/C6 injury from an accident in 1985. My mom has been his primary caregiver ever since. She got him up each morning (4:30 every weekday, so he could be ready for his morning commute) and put him to bed every night. It wasn't until two years ago, when she was faced with surgery herself, that she finally HAD to let someone else in to help. After that, she realized that it's ok to have others assist in Dad's care. He will be fine if someone other than my mom does his morning or evening care routine. I live a plane ride away from my parents, and since her surgery, my mom actually visited twice without my dad. To put the hugeness of this in perspective, her first visit was the first night she had spent away from my dad since 1985.

My point is, it's easy to feel guilt over caring for your husband. I've watched it for nearly 30 years. You need your independence and identity too, though. I wish my mom had taken the steps you're considering far earlier than she did. There is nothing saying that you can't change your mind - get help and then stop, get part-time help, get help just occasionally. But do what you find best for you and your husband. You don't want resentment to build up as you feel limited because of the disability.

Wishing you the best of luck!