Friday, February 3, 2012


My first job was at a fast food restaurant, where I spent most of my time serving and cleaning in the dining area. So I was constantly on my feet for several hours most evenings. I didn't have shoes that were acceptable to the management, so I had to buy a new pair. New shoes and constantly on your feet are not a good combination, especially with the sort of shoes I could afford. I quickly learned not to sit down during breaks, no matter how tired I was. Taking the pressure off my raw heels just made it worse to stand up again.

It's been somewhat the same with visiting my mom lately. Shortly after my last post, I went away for a conference. I wasn't sure until a week or so before that whether I would even attend. I'd already warned my committee chair, the guest speaker I had been making arrangements with, and my hotel roommate that I might not come. But eventually I decided to go. Mom seemed as well settled into the subacute facility as I could expect, and she seemed to understand me when I told her I would be away for four days. Even though conferences aren't restful, I looked forward to having a bit of a break from Mom and the whole situation. And it was nice to have that break. To take the pressure off for a short while.

I had planned on visiting Mom the evening after I got back home. I got back in plenty of time to do so, but I found I just wasn't able to face putting the pressure back on. I visited her the next evening instead, after work. It wasn't a fun visit. Mom didn't seem to have improved at all in the five days I'd been away. And she did a lot of screaming. I felt like the endurance I had built up over the weeks was gone. I was depressed and tired and just not able to deal with Mom. I ended up staying away for another four days.

This Monday I visited, and again on Wednesday. I'll go again tonight. Mom's been more asleep than awake while I've been with her this week. So I've yet to really test my endurance, my ability to take the pressure again. I hope tonight's visit goes well. But I hope even more that I can find that endurance again.


Marjorie said...

I think you also need to find a level you can cope with, longer term. That may not be visiting every day-you need to look after yourself, as well as everything else.
I hope you find te right level for you, and for your Mom.

One Sock Short said...

Yes. I feel like I can now set up a fairly regular schedule of visiting, rather than making day-to-day decisions. I've already decided that, going forward, Tuesdays and Saturdays will be non-visiting days, to allow me to do some social things. I haven't quite decided about how to arrange the other days. I might just try a few different schedules each week this month, to see what works best.

Jane said...

Parents can be a black hole of need - you can't fill it, you can never do enough, there is always something more to do. With Steve's mom and with mine, we had to learn that somewhere there is a cut-off point and you have to say - enough. They are warm, fed and clothed, today, and that has to be enough if you don't want to lose your own life and sanity in the process.
I think your plan sounds like a good one. You're not required to give up your life.

Dragonsally said...

Sharon said it perfectly, I think.

Even if you do find that endurance again soon, please use some of it on yourself.

ariandalen said...

What Sharon said. Don't try to be there every day, you'll just burn yourself out. Two set days off (Tuesday and Saturday) are good because your mom will know, or can be reminded, that those days you won't be there. I would try for a third day that might rotate so that you occasionally get two days in a row off, so to speak. It may not be possible; however, you still need to try.

And for Pete's sake, don't worry about whether your blog posts are "happy" or not. Life isn't always happy; on the other side, it isn't always sad, either. It's a pretty poor friend who only wants to hear the good things. Okay? :)

Phiala said...

I agree with everything already said, but I wanted to let you know that I was reading too.