Lately I’ve been in a caregiving lull.
No crisis (knock wood), no appointments, just a few errands to run and a few prescriptions to sort out. And so when I published my article in The Atlantic, “The Crisis Facing America’s Working Daughters,” I worried briefly that I might be out of touch with the caregiver crunch.
Does anyone else tend to forget their stress when it’s behind them? I am the queen of minimizing what I have been through. But I shouldn’t have worried. First of all, I have plenty of real-life experiences to call on and lessons learned to share. Second, just when I think things are under control, I have a working daughter kind of day…
Today I took my father to an appointment he had been waiting months to have. Why is it that when we book these appointments they look so manageable on the calendar, but when the day comes, it seems like the least convenient time?
I was on a tight deadline at work due to receiving some info late in the day yesterday when I was already booked and unable to deal with it. I couldn’t just stay late because I had a commitment at 6:30 and when I got home from that I had to quiz my son until 10 because he had a big test today. (He aced it!) So I didn’t get the work done before leaving for the appointment, and I couldn’t find the address because I had booked the appointment from the back of a taxi two days before while headed to a radio interview to discuss balancing caregiving and career (of course), and I think I threw the address out in the studio. The appointment wasn’t at the medical facility two miles away – it was the one in the city, next to the animal hospital where I euthanized my dog several years ago, and it’s my mother’s birthday – the second without her, and I have a head cold, and well, waah! We waited 30 minutes in the waiting area (I love that!) and then my father had a hearing test. And guess what? The doctor told me my father has hearing loss. WHAT’S THAT YOU SAID? No kidding.
The whole trip was 3 hours door to door, meaning I’d be tacking 3 hours on to the end of my day (and I happen to have plans tonight) and we need to go back in a month for the hearing aids. Another 2-3 hours. Now I know professionals can’t have us family caregivers making diagnosis but, really? There has to be a more streamlined way. Doesn’t there? Three hours to confirm something we all knew with no resolution. Will we ever see one-stop shopping arrive in the medical world?
It could be worse. It could be something serious. I am merely writing this to remind all of us that caregiving takes something, not just when we are in crisis, but on a daily basis, sometimes in even a very small, subtle way. So acknowledge what you do. And be kind to yourself. Whine a little in safe space if you must. I just did. In fact, feel free to use the comment section for your whine. I’m listening.
And now that I’m done whining, I will wine. Happy Friday everyone!
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