Disclaimer: this post is NOT an uppity one.
This week has kind of sucked.
I signed up for this job as a caregiver. I knew that it would be hard and that I would be giving up a portion of my own life for the duration of this job.
This week has proven that to be true.
I think I may have mentioned the feeding pump that Dorothy got that allows her to eat during the night while she sleeps, at a very slow rate. (One feeding for her is often 400-500mL of fluid and can take around 1.5 hours. This pump drips at a rate that I set and that can vary from about 20mL/hour to no more than 50mL/hour.) We tried it out on Monday night and it worked great. Dorothy got one feeding while she slept and it didn't bother her at all. I also didn't have to do a full feeding when I got up in the morning, just the tail end of the routine.
Every night since then I've been up at 1:30am, unhooking the pump and flushing her tube because she is too full and it's making her sick to her stomach.
When you get up in the night to use the restroom, you barely have to open your eyes. It's a routine you're used to and you can immediately fall back into bed. When I get up to unhook her tube I have to turn on a light, fill a syringe, end the feeding session on the pump, unhook the tube and flush the line. I don't fall right back to sleep.
On top of being up for 20-30 minutes in the middle of every night, I haven't been getting my afternoon naps this week for various reasons (appointments, visitors, etc.).
I am DEAD tired. Today Steve came by after work to pick something up and spend an hour with me. We haven't seen much of each other this week and the time that we had on Tuesday ended up being used for running errands. I was looking forward to some cuddle time. Guess what? When it's 95 degrees outside and in, cuddling is not such a comfortable activity.
The other thing that has me feeling kind of high-strung right now is the fact that I'm on a 3 week "solo" stretch. This means that I get my Tuesday evenings and a chunk of time on Saturdays (usually 8 hours) but that I don't get any Sunday or overnight relief. Not having overnight relief for 3 weeks can take its toll fairly quickly because it means that I don't get a chance to "catch up" on any of the sleep that I lose. It also means that while I'm at church on Sundays, Dorothy is home alone (which I do not like) and that I have to come right home afterwards. (I will miss out on our church's annual 4th of July picnic this Sunday.)
Three weeks from now when I do finally get weekend relief, I have a family reunion, a wedding reception and a birthday party (which I am planning) all in the span of two days. So very relaxing.
I'm not saying all of this so that anybody will feel sorry for me. I simply need a place to express my exhaustion.
I also don't want to seem like I hate all aspects of caregiving. I don't hate being a caregiver. In fact, most of the time I like it just fine. Sure, there are parts that I really don't enjoy (watching Dorothy choke, playing "secretary" on the phone and talking to people I really can't stand... or even little things like the fact that one of my least favorite tasks is drying Dorothy's hair. I don't even know why.). But most of the time I feel proud that this is something that I am able to do. I am saving money (I paid off my credit card this week and it feels SO good!), I am building relationships and now I know that when my time comes to have a family, I am fully capable of having another human being depend completely on me and I know that I can meet those needs.
I love Dorothy. I am so glad that I was in a place in my life where I could move in with her and be here to take care of her. This week, I'm just tired.
And to top it all off... This morning I went out to my car to leave for work to find that somebody had ransacked it during the night. I had left my windows cracked because it was sweltering yesterday and apparently somebody saw that as an open invitation to help themselves to the contents of my car. So far the only thing I think they took was my change (probably a whole $2 worth). My CD's are all still there, my important car papers in the glovebox, my phone charger, my dance shoes... It gives you a very distinct feeling of being violated when someone helps themselves to your property.
Tomorrow is our annual 4th of July family reunion/BBQ. I fully intend to soak up every minute of my time off tomorrow. I am going to eat a juicy hamburger, stuff myself with fruit until I think I might pop, sit in the sun, play games and drink a Mike's Hard (or two). It's going to be a happy 4th!