It might appear I’ve ‘fallen off the earth’ or something, not posting for so long. I put ALL my health issues on the back burner, so to speak, in order to help an aging parent for awhile. I’m not putting my needs second, necessarily either! I’m taking care of myself but I am pushing myself outside my usual boundaries. It is good for me, or so they say! In doing so, though, I realized something interesting. When ‘push comes to shove’, I actually still can do more than I give myself credit for. When a loved one needs me, I’m there. Period! There’s that caregiver role in me since birth. Even if another sibling came, I’d still be here (yes, I think I’m all that)! But right now, I’m stepping outside the comfort zone of the four walls of my home.
Mike drove me here (and delivered me like a piece of luggage) before he returned home. I’m used to being driven around by others. I choose not to drive myself places. I have two places I will drive myself at home. Of course, they’re doctor’s offices and very close to home. I can take ‘back roads/streets’. But driving myself via highway…Absolutely not! Too much space, too many vehicles, too many lines, too much fast moving peripheral visuals…I prefer to be a piece of luggage. Mike will be back to retrieve me in a few weeks if all goes as planned.
Yet now, I am the one driving my parent to their appointments via ‘back roads’ that is! It took a bit (I think quite a bit) of explaining to them all the things I can’t do or prefer not to do. Examples such as…’no curving roads, no roads that go uphill, no roads that go downhill’…I take the back streets. It is a route I could drive comfortably. We have to leave the house earlier as it took longer, of course, but my parent is both gracious and grateful for my help. I love to take care of others, it gets me ‘outside of myself’ for awhile. Doing this does make me tired, no doubt, as my brain is working overtime. I take the time to care for myself by taking a nap daily, but baseline, I am pushing myself to do my new personal best. Temporary as it may be…
I also needed to do a flip-flop with my (un)usual night/day routine to accommodate a ‘normal’ day’s appointments. I literally do not remember the last time I was in bed at 10:30 (well, I tried to go to sleep then)! I’m up every day by 8 am. I forget how much I love the mornings…I cook our meals, very simple but very healthy. I’ve really surprised myself with all I have done, but there was so much more I wish I could have done. I tend to compare myself to my sister who possesses an internal drive like no one I’ve ever met. She would have cleaned the entire house. She would have done some yard work, and cooked a month’s worth of meals! I did about one weeks worth…I’m not kidding. She has a seemingly endless energy source…I remind myself, ‘that’s how she is and this is how I am (now)’…It’s not a healthy way to live, comparing ourselves to another who isn’t living our lives.
I still have days I struggle with the limitations of living with a Chronic Vestibular Disorder. On the trip here, I envisioned myself going for walks but the more I thought about doing it alone…I couldn’t make myself do it! My voice of negativity crept in, “What if I get dizzy and tripped”? “What if I fell”? “What if I sprained my ankle”? “What if I fell and couldn’t get up”? After all, I’ve had all these happen before. I talked myself right out of that activity! I tell myself over and over, “I am doing everything I can do…today…and that’s okay”!
The things I was able to make myself do were, get them to their appointments on time, drive them home, make our lunches and dinners, and the biggest thing I conquered was the grocery store…alone! I parked next to a basket return area and grabbed one right away. I gripped the handle so hard at times, my fingers would go numb. I knew my body and brain were overloading, so I just move to the side and act like I’m doing something so important…Time enough to breathe a few deep breaths before heading on…As I said before, I know this type activity is good for me, even therapeutic, but I hate it!
After these few weeks of ‘pushing’ myself, I’m feeling it! I’m glad I’m here, helping my parent in the way I am able to help. It’s not the same way ‘others’ might, but that’s fine. I am happy doing it MY way! I hope you too, will feel, enjoy, and appreciate your own victories, be it large or small, it’s still a victory! Go ahead, give yourself a ‘pat on the back’, you deserve it!