So tired from so little

One of the really stinky parts of care giving is that you don’t always do much – but you wind up worn out as if you did.

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I’m sitting here toward what I think is the end of an exhausting Tuesday.

What did I do that has me so worn out?  I’m not sure I know.

I handled our son’s a.m. routines and then went off to one of my two jobs.  I don’t really have a full day off anymore, but on Tuesdays I only work one of my jobs and get done by noon.

Melissa and I had a restaurant gift card from some friends and were looking forward to a lunch date.  But when I got home, she was buried in the agony of a migraine.

I sat in the dark, quiet bedroom with her for a bit.  But her pain was intense and not going away and we finally called our local clinic to arrange a shot for it.

I drove her to the clinic and we sat in the waiting room. They got us in and out pretty quick.

Got her home, got her settled, locked the dog out of the bedroom and then it was time to get our son.

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I drove him to the same clinic for a flu shot.  Sat in the waiting room again.  He wasn’t happy about it but rolled with it pretty well.

Drove from the clinic to his music therapy.  I sat in the waiting area while he worked.  He came out of smiling and the therapist said, “He made my day.”  So I picked up some fast food that he likes as a reward for his good work.

Got home to find that the dog had compensated for being locked out of the bedroom by barking incessantly, denying Melissa any deep sleep.  But the shot had taken the nasty edge off of the migraine.  She was ready to try something approaching food, so I went to make her some tea and honey.

Whereupon our son wanted his dinner on the table.  And the dog needed to go out.

I juggled it all but ate whatever was handy, ignoring the good diet I’ve been on of late.

So I’m sitting here with a less than ideal dinner sitting like a bowling ball in my stomach, catching my breath before handling our son’s bedtime routines and getting the dog out again.  And maybe packing my lunch for my two jobs on Wednesday.  Maybe making Melissa some simple dinner if she’s feeling well enough.  And I suppose brushing my teeth.  Won’t get to the gym.

One of the really stinky parts of care giving is that you don’t always do much – but you wind up worn out as if you did.  There’s something about driving here and there and sitting in waiting rooms and doing common chores that just wipes me out.

I think it is the feeling of having no agenda.  Not just having an agenda interrupted, but having no ability to even set one.  Of just reacting and responding, even in ways that aren’t all that demanding.  But ways that devour a day just as sure as trying to pull out a tree stump or other arduous labor, minus any measurable result.

4 thoughts on “So tired from so little

  1. Ohh Tim *YOU* have just made my day. I sat here reading this, nodding oh so knowingly in agreement with each and every word you pecked out on this post!!! You have so eloquently painted a picture of me, of my son, of my life, of how I feel given nearly any and every single day. And when people call and ask me, “whatcha doing?” I’m never certain how to answer that! Umm nothing but yet everything!? Is it only me that feels a sort of self guilt that I don’t accomplish more, or somedays simply don’t accomplish PERIOD. And what frustrates me is EXACTLY what you typed “So tired from so little”, “One of the really stinky parts of care giving is that you don’t always do much – but you wind up worn out as if you did.” Tim NO TRUER words have ever been spoken!
    I’m certain my husband would be thee first person to tell you that my list of “Things to do” literally have list of things to do. (sorry have to interject a saying I remember my Daddy saying, “…it’s like spitting into the wind”. In other words futile. I’d start list upon list, with thee best of intentions mind you but rarely, if ever, do they get done. My mother-in-law shall I say “OFTEN” comments how difficult it must be for me to keep up with the house chores since whenever she visits, there’s always something I’m working on. and then she started surprising me by popping over with her cleaning bucket so she could “help me”. AND THEN *I* oh so clearly recall one particular time (it stands out for a reason…. keep reading) when my husband & I had worked a full day & a half cleaning our house top to bottom in anticipation of her scheduled visit (mind you she lives local and was just coming over to share in our lunch – she visited all of 2 hours – typical time frame for her). So everything had a place, everything was in it’s place, the dust bunnys had been captured and re-released in a garbage bag, floors swept & mopped, toilets scrubbed and clean. Every trashcan in the house was empty… sitting there lonely awaiting for someone to put something in it. Coffee had finished brewing, lunch was prepared, dinner table awaited only bodys to come to it, to partake in what I had prepared for lunch. (a dish my close girlfriend, Michelle, had made me and hooked me on called Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken over noodles (some like it over rice, I suppose you could put it on anything you like – let me know if you’d like the reciepe, it’s a wonderful no brainer, no labor intensive crockpot lunch/dinner.) and Mommy-dearest walked in the house, standing in the center of the living room we watch as she glances around… proceeds to move deeper into the house through the kitchen, commented lunched smelled good – asked what it was, I said crock pot cream cheese chicken and naturally she was agasp at how that just couldn’t be good for your health (well MOM sometimes I eat for health, for comfort, for pleasure, for whatever I want cause I am thee adult in this house)… I should have known the straw was fixing to break…. and then with almost a relieve, Mother-in-law looked at my husband, then to me, then just in general around the den where we had come to sit, and it happened. (This is where I shoulda followed my “gut” and got up and opened a window so I could have at least acted out the tossing of the preverbial Mother-in-law of the year award being flung out the window) Mother-in-law says, “Well I have to say… it sure is nice that you two felt comfortable enough with me coming, so much so that you didn’t worry yourselves about cleaning and straightening up the house before my visit”. First silence. followed by more silence. Was there a studder in a laugh of a joke that I had totally missed, cause right about then I felt … well alot of things and many very colorful words came to my mind, but honestly I felt like she personally had just ran me over with a bus. Were my ears playing tricks on me? Was this really happening? I mean, after many years of marriage, a few years shy of two decades of being this woman’s “black sheet” Daughter-in-law…. I can’t tell you I was completely floored. She’s said snide things in the past to me, and because she prides herself on being Ms 100% perfect, prim & proper just like she was taught back in the first semester in college, where I guess there was a class that thought women how to become “Proper Dignified Women”. The difference at this particular event (although my spouse recalls it differently of course), but the difference was this time the missle didn’t just hit me, but hit my husband AND I in what had been a group effort to be sure mummy-dearest’s high level of house keeping was met at our home as close to as much as it is kept in her home. So I took two deep breathes… my spouse KNEW I could not, NOR would NOT respond to the events that had just unfolded. I said that perhaps you can’t eat off my floors but you can eat off our plates. Additionally, our house is not a musium, it’s a lived in home with a child. I made her aware of her past comments and stunts and how hurtful they had been. She of course raved with apologizes all around, how she didn’t mean for anything she says/does to come across negatively, yadda yadda yadda. I am proud to say that from that moment forward I have never, nor will I ever expend the energy we had that day to prepare for Mother-in-law to come visit. I told her that if she’d like to come to visit me, her son, her grandsons, she was more than welcome, but unless she was willing to pay for a housekeeping service to come and clean my house weekly, then she needed to hold her tongue. Later that night in speaking to my husband about it, he started feeling bad. Asked that I call his Mommy the next day and meet half way with an apology – ummm yeah when pigs fly.

    • It is so hard to get across to others the amount of mental/emotional energy that gets used up navigating the special needs in a care giving situation. It makes it hard to get to some of the usual physical chores.

      But however unsure of ourselves we might be, we are well aware of judgmental, sarcastic crud that further depletes us and is in no way balanced by whatever physical or financial help our critic might have offered.

  2. You are so right, and honestly having thought more about this… I realize that even my husband doesn’t “get it”. I often take his various comments as if to imply I’ve been lounging on the sofa watching soap opera’s and eatting bon bon’s all day. I actually care for and interact with my son, whereas on the rare occasions he’s watching after our son it’s always seems so easy. Then I step back and look in realizing that while my husband is in the house with our son and will provide our son with food and water, that’s all that he does. I know that sounds bad… looks bad as I type it and re-look at what I’ve typed but it’s true. Again, a big Thank You to you and Tim for all your post and especially this one. So nice to know I’m not alone, and that at the end of the day it’s O-K that my “to do” list has no lines though any of the things on that list… there’s always tomorrow! :o)

    • Tag team care giving is always best… everybody needs a break. Also important to know that two different people will have different gifts and different limitations, so sometimes it is enough to be thankful just for a break! It is likely that those in our care profit from all those who give care, no matter how minimal the work might seem. There is comfort in familiarity and emotional connection – so even the “food and water” care giver plays a part bigger than we might know.

      Nevertheless, the sheer perception of being alone in it truly STINKS!

      Glad you are sharing here, Wynee. Your presence is a help and comfort to us, too.

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