Friday, 31 August 2012


Day 21
344 Days Remaining

You ever have one of those days when you open your eyes and you just think..."No. Can't do this today"?

Yeah.  That was me, Wednesday morning.  Three days of maybe five hours of sleep per night, looong workdays, stress about my upcoming new "career" as a student and concerns with my teen kids made for a very sleepy me.  I had even asked my work to keep my schedule light so that I could take some time to prepare for school, but I ended up with 10.5 and 9.5-hour workdays.  Add a 15-year-old who still needs his mom, a 10-year-old who wants to do everything together, and a 17-year-old who really wants to have some driving practice time into that mix, and there aren't enough hours in the day.  I'd finally manage the get the boys settled at night (they've been wanting to "pull an all-nighter" a few times as the summer draws to a close) and then I would just lie there, unable to sleep.  YouTube has some great videos for relaxation, by the way; I finally drifted to sleep around 2am a couple of times listening to one or another of them.  Check this one out (hit Play and then let it play in the background while you read the rest of the may make it to the end of my ruminations without falling asleep!):

...and then I popped awake at 7am and couldn`t get back to sleep, even if I didn`t have to work until 9:30 or later.  It was a lost cause.

So.  Back to Wednesday.  When my schedule had initially been posted on Monday, Wednesday only had a 5-hour shift (my usual evening shift at a retirement home here in town) and I was very happy that I wouldn`t have to spend my entire day running around.  However, checking the schedule on Tuesday night (as I set the Spa Channel above to send me gently off to sleep), I found that my easy 5-hour evening shift had somehow morphed into an 11-hour day, starting at 8:30am.  Great.  I am nothing if not devoted to my work, though, so I set my alarm and fell asleep (I may have cried a little.  Just a little).

Yes, I do this.  And it works. And I am NOT a lazy girl.
Wednesday my alarm started blaring at six o`clock.  I opened my eyes just enough to check the time before I slammed a hand down on the Snooze button, but eventually (eventually being nearly two hours later, after I considered just sleeping straight through my shift and ignoring any phone calls, from work or otherwise) I got myself out of bed and went through a quick wash-face-get-dressed routine before I headed out the door.

Halfway through the day, I was done.  I had been a walking zombie for the past two weeks and it suddenly hit me that my entire body was aching.  Every time I moved, something popped.  I couldn`t shoulder-check in the car without my neck making a sad little "crack -POP" sound.  My eyes wouldn't stay open despite the gas-station coffee and energy bar, and I didn't know how I would manage to keep up with the rest of my shift.

All morning I had been playing with the idea of calling in to work for the rest of the week.  I couldn't imagine how I would manage to attend my college orientation and then start full-time classes on Tuesday feeling the way that I did.  When I finally had a break between clients, I used it to feed myself and then went straight to the clinic.

The doctor took one look at me, listened to my tale of woe/pain/kids/work/sleeplessness/strain, and told me that my body pain was due to stress.  Within a few minutes he had advised me that I needed a vacation, preferably two weeks or longer.  After we both stopped laughing at the absurdity of that notion, he told me that there was no way I was going back to work that day,  and ordered me to take two weeks off from work and rest as much as possible.  He also prescribed sleeping pills - half a Zopiclone at night for four days - just to reset my sleep cycle.  He wrote me a note, gave me a pat on the back and the most concerned, caring look I've ever seen from a doctor, and sent me on my way.

I cannot describe how amazing it was to have someone tell me that I needed to take a break.  Just to have that license to STOP not have to try to fit everything in to the 24 small hours there are in a was a great feeling.  When I stopped by my office to deliver the note and tell them I would be off for two weeks, they were understanding and told me that they would make do without me for the next few weeks.  I have to admit that I struggled with that a bit; they're not supposed to be able to get along without me!  But a caregiver needs to care for his or her own self first, or they won't be any good to anyone.  I recognized it; I accepted it; and I called my mom and asked her to come get me.  She immediately came and picked me up to take care of me for a couple of days.

I've been at Mom's place since Wednesday night, taking some much-needed "me time" and not needing to make a single decision on my own, save what kind of chocolate bar I wanted to go with my tea and hot bath (for the record, I wanted a mint Aero bar.  Mom bought me three). She cooked for me, told me when I should rest, drove me to my school orientation and picked me up again, made me tea and brought me water, set me up in the recliner to snooze, gave me a Reader's Digest and a tabloid magazine to read, and just generally made my life something that I didn't have to worry about for a couple of days.  Now I'm back at home, still taking a couple more days to rest before heading out in the big bad world, and thought I would catch you all up on what`s been happening.  I`m off to lie down, but I have one more thing to say:

Thanks, Mom.

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