Saturday, November 17, 2007

it's tough

this time of year is not easy for me. the joy of halloween has passed. sunset comes before 5 pm. thanksgiving, to most people, is a time of family gathering and happiness. for me? lots and lots of work. i've worked a lot of thanksgivings, and all i can think of is how much work it is. i hate thanksgiving.

add in a # of factors, to include huge amounts of stress over the boys' grades, my mother's ongoing medical issues culminating in her admittance to the hospital, and money has been tight, and i feel like i'm in a pressure cooker.

i was watching private practice earlier tonight, where a woman, whose police husband has died, has rigidly scheduled everything involving the birth of her child, whom she was pregnant with when her husband died. in the middle of labor, she started screaming about being alone, and that her husband was dead. i bawled like a baby. it struck me that i felt alone.

mark stayed home with the boys today while i dealt with my mother's stuff. i called my brothers to let them know what was going on. my one brother lives here in nebraska, but has little to do with me, because of differing religious choices. little, as in, he didn't come to my wedding. he came as soon as he found out what was up. to say the least, it was awkward. he was polite, we did talk, but the white elephant in the room was definitely there.

i felt alone all day. i've felt alone in this whole thing. this has been going on since the end of august. the doctor's visits have been weekly, if not more often. from november 1st to november 9th i took her to immanuel hospital for doctor's vists 5 times.

here's the thing. she doesn't drive. my brother, who only lives an hour away, never volunteers to take her to anything, except the occasional dinner out. my other brother lives in georgia, but everytime he comes, they take her to the store. they take her shopping.

the people who could help me, can't. mark knows no sign language. he's tried, but he has no talent for it. liam and sean, who do, can't transport her, and frankly, are too young. stephanie, who can, works full time.

i'm it. i've always been the family interpreter. i'm the oldest child. according to my mother, i started signing when i was 2, when my brother was born. both my brothers do little more than fingerspelling, which means you spell out each word. exhausting, to say the least. i've been interpreting for my family for a very long time.

when my grandmother in wyoming passed away on a wednesday, i was unable to leave until sunday. my parents drove out there on thursday, as well as my brother (yes, THAT one) and his family. no one in his family signs. when i showed up on sunday, he told me he was so glad i was there, because the signing for the last 3 days was wearing him out. he had no idea. my father was also hard of hearing, and actually met my mother at the Nebraska School for the Deaf, although they didn't marry until 20 years later, and was as comfortable with signing as he was in listening. in fact, as he had aged, his hearing was failing rather rapidly (he was 75). i immediately took over.

you know, being needed is nice. i'm a firm believer, though, of too much of a good thing. I'm being "needed" to death. My mom needs me. Mark needs me. Liam needs me. Sean most definitely needs me. The cats need me. Even steph & her roommate and their dog &cat need me.

i sit here, and watch sean, and wonder if he will ever grow up enough to take care of himself.

I know i do alot of this to myself. My sense of duty and obligation outweighs any objections or denials. I'm a caregiver.

But who's going to care for me?

/end whiney post


janine said...

Honey you are not whining, blogs are a great place to vent. It is always the same problem - who cares for the carers. I am in a similar situation, MIL has problems walking so I get to do all her running around, my son has upped sticks and moved to the mainland to play in a heavy metal rock band ( if that ain't refusing to grow up what is!) and my entire family see to forget that I work full time as well as running the house. If you ever need a virtual shoulder to lean on you know where I am :-)

Michelle said...

Aw honey. Let me take care of you for a few minutes here while I give you a big hug. I honestly know how you feel and I'm glad you're able to talk and get it out. I don't. You know those times you feel like you can't breath or claustophobic? Those are the times when you NEED to make an hour for just yourself. A hot bubble bath before bed and a cup of tea afterwards in your jammies with Mark? Anything that will help you unwind and make YOU first. Take care, sweetie. We're here for you.

AnnaMarie said...

You may be physically alone right now but we are here for you and just venting is a good first step. Might be time to smack that brother around a bit and make him step up to the plate though...

I hope you get some "me" time this week. Maybe you should tell the family this year you go OUT for Thanksgiving or they do the work.

Wish I was there, I'd whisk you away for a Princess Day complete with Margaritas and Jimmy for music. Sigh... stoopid distance issues...