Thursday, October 6, 2011

Preparing for Anything...

Today is a "rest day" for me... much needed after the past week.  Timothy stayed with us the first part of last week, and then for a few hours in the afternoons on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, until his GaGa finished with her CNA classes.  Friday, I visited with Mam-ma and did things at home that I had neglected.  Saturday, I learned that my cousin's aunt... the one who just turned 90 and missed her birthday because she had to be hospitalized with a UTI... had passed away.  I factored a visit with my cousins into my afternoon, along with a shopping trip for our own groceries... and shopping for my 85-year-old mother-in-law, who is having knee problems.  My husband had asked her to please stay off her feet - and on her couch... and we offered to bring her some prepared meals and a few other groceries she needed.

By the time I finished all of my "rounds," I was too tired to cook dinner, so Pizza Hut was a welcome reprieve.  Two carry-out pizzas and some R and R on the couch, and I was feeling much better.  However, Sunday I "worshipped at St. Mattress," as my friend Mitch so aptly described it recently, and I caught up on some much-needed sleep and rest. I did a few loads of laundry, ran the vacuum, and did a workout.  Then I picked up Timothy around 4:00 p.m. at his grandmother's (my sister's).

Timmy swimming at the Community
Center pool with his great Granny (my mom).
Timmy was wearing a "fever patch" on his forehead, and my sister said he had been feverish and had a runny nose all day.  I brought him home, gave him Tylenol and some children's Zyrtec, and let him soak in a bubble bath.  He seemed better after that, and we played until bedtime.  He slept somewhat fitfully... but he did sleep.  The next morning he was fever free, so I took him to daycare, so that my husband and I could attend the funeral of my cousin's aunt in the afternoon.

Following the funeral, we returned to my cousin's house to visit with the family members we rarely see.  My little cousins, Owen and Olivia were there, and their mother said, "Oh, I wish you had brought Timmy."  So I went and picked him up at daycare and brought him over to play.  On the way to the house, I told Timmy we were going to play with Owen and Olivia.  He was so excited, and he said, "I hug 'em!"  Then he added, "I kiss 'em, too!" 
Then Timmy said, "DebDeb... I so happy!  Are Oooo happy?"  I smiled and told him yes, I was very happy whenever he is happy.  He said, "I happy, you happy, me happy!  Yea!"  So sweet!  And he truly is a happy child... and he enjoyed playing with Owen and Olivia.

Meanwhile, my mother offered to check on Mam-ma for me... and Sunday afternoon, she took her on a long drive.  We are having gorgeous fall weather, and Mom took Mam-ma "all over the countryside," as Mam-ma put it!  She even took her to Sonic for an ice cream cone.  Mam-ma loved every minute of it, and Mom has promised to do this again.  She said, "I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier."  Mom has been a big help with Mam-ma lately... visiting her when I am tied up with Timothy or other things and calling her more often.

Timmy did not sleep well Monday night... more fitful tossing and turning.  Tuesday, he would not nap, and he ran fever off and on all day.  The daycare did not have a vacancy for him, so we just played at home.  Tuesday night, he was so tired that he went to bed at 8:00, but he was awake with nightmares or something at 8:30 and 10:30, and at 1:30 a.m., he awoke drenched in sweat, soaking wet diaper, and asking for milk.  I changed him, stripped off his clothes (amidst a major, ear-piercing, hysterical fit), and settled him back in his bed.  I thought, "He's settled for the night now!"  NOT!  At 4:00 a.m., he awoke, crawled into our bed, and said, "Milk!  Jack!"  I got more milk, changed him again, and turned on "Jack's Big Music Show."

Timmy has been having diaper leakage again, so I've been limiting his night-time liquids and double-diapering at bedtime.  It has worked fairly well the last 2 weeks.  Wednesday morning, we watched 2+ hours of Jack and "Wonder Pets," and we both drifted off to sleep again shortly before 7:00 and slept until 9:30.  When Timmy woke up, he was feverish again and somewhat clingy.

By 10:30, I thought Timmy was ready for an early nap, and he actually said, "Couch!"  We got on the couch and settled in together.  But he asked for more milk, and when I got up to get some for him, he followed me to the kitchen.  He whimpered and I picked him up and carried him back to the couch, where he promptly threw up... a LOT... all over himself, me, the couch, and rug.  I scooped him up and started across the floor toward the kitchen, and he threw up again. This was the first time Timmy has thrown up since he was about 6 months old.  It really scared him.

I quickly stripped both of us and carried him to a makeshift pallet in the living room floor.  Thank goodness we have hardwoods, because we left a trail you would not believe.  My husband came in and wrapped Timmy in a blanket while I ran around in my underwear and tried to sop up the mess and regroup.  Timmy was burning hot with fever, so I gave him 7-up and Tylenol, and he laid limp on the pallet for about 45 minutes.  Then as quickly as he got sick, he popped up and seemed much better!

The rest of the day we tried to remain quiet and keep the fever at bay; however, I could not get Timmy to nap.  We ditched plans for a haircut and a visit to Mam-ma's... apparently this is a "bug" that is circulating in our town, and I can't risk exposing her and the others at the ALF.  My sister picked Timmy up at 5:30 when she completed her last CNA class- she is official now (YEA!).  She said Timmy was asleep before they arrived at home... and he slept until 8:30 a.m. today!

After the baby left, I stripped beds, did laundry, and regrouped... then headed for the couch!  With a good night of sleep, I am better rested, but still tired.  I realize that younger moms do this every single day... but for me, it's a lot... especially with the other factors and people for whom I feel responsible.  I talked with Mam-ma today and explained why I have not been to see her this week.  I feel like I am neglecting her, but I am confident she is safe and comfortable and well-cared for at the ALF... and she knows why I am not coming very often and seems okay with it.

My house is not nearly as clean as I would like, but I am learning to let things slide a bit in favor of being rested and doing what absolutely HAS to be done... and anticipating "the next big thing."  I'm learning to roll with the punches... that comforting a frightened, sick little toddler beats dusted furniture and a haircut any day of the week... and that hearing "I so happy" from my little guy is possibly the BEST phrase in the whole world.

One other thought... Sandwich Generations are nothing new.  At the funeral of my cousin's Aunt Louise, there was a lot of talk about the service this dear lady gave to her family.  She never married... spent 90 years taking care of others.  When her sister suddenly became a widow with three small children and another on the way, Louise took them all in, and they lived with her and Louise's parents... forever.  Louise retired early to care for her ailing elderly mother, then she helped with the care of her sister, who developed Alzheimer's.

Along the way, Louise taught 3 and 4-year-olds in Sunday School for 25 years, helped with the rearing of her sister's four children - school functions, weddings, births of their children and helping to babysit, family gatherings, and much more. Louise's life was very much serving as the "filling" in a sandwich that included elderly parents and her sister on one side... and the younger generations on the other. And nobody could recall ever hearing her complain.

As we reminisced about Louise and noted how well she had loved and care for so many throughout her life, I realized that she is a tremendous inspiration. If I can make my "sandwich" half as rich as hers, I will have truly accomplished something in this world. I don't know how she kept such a positive attitude, but she has motivated me to work on the grumbling, too. Wish me luck!

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BTW... the formularies for Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Coverage have arrived... it's time to start picking our new plan for 2012! So sharpen your pencils and start calculating!

1 comment:

Journeyin' Lady... said...

Oh my gosh, I am exhausted just reading about your life! You are an extrordinary woman! Enjoyed your blog.