Saturday, January 31, 2009

Decisions, decisions

Thursday afternoon I arrived back home from a quick trip to the library to find a telephone message waiting for me (Hubby was having his nap).

"This is the Home Care nurse. I will be coming tomorrow morning (Friday) to draw your husband's blood sometime between 8:00 and 9:00. He must be fasting. Oh, and I need a urine sample."

Oh, really? How convenient. Thanks for all the notice. There was no way of reaching this nurse to try and reschedule since it was after 4:00 pm and she had gone home.

These blood tests were just routine, so could be done anytime. The important thing was, I had booked a nail appointment for 9:00 the next morning (Friday).
Hmmmmm should I cancel my appointment? I could, but I don't feel right about cancelling at the last minute. Besides, I had 2 broken nails and really really wanted them fixed.

Could Hubby manage alone?
Why not? There is nothing for him to do but sit at the kitchen table and wait for the nurse. She could ring the doorbell and walk in. Do I really have to be there?
Or, with any luck, the nurse would arrive before I had to leave - then there wouldn't be a problem.

Nope - didn't happen.

The next morning, I taped a note on the front door instructing her to ring and walk in. It would take too long for hubby to walk across the room and answer the door. She might think nobody was home and leave.

I left dear hungry hubby (actually it was the early morning coffee he was longing for, not the food) sitting forlornly at the kitchen table. He wasn't upset that I was leaving - he'd encouraged me to go.

"I can certainly manage this on my own!" he said rather indignantly.
But I know it's hard for him to be on his own. Without me. Even for a little while. Especially with a "stranger" coming into the house.

How long would he have to wait (without nourishment) before the nurse arrived? Would he pass out alone in the kitchen? Would she be kind or impatient? Would she be skilled at drawing blood - or inexperienced? Would she remember to properly shut the front door after leaving? Or expect Hubby to make the trip from the kitchen to the front of the house, tiring him out unnecessarily. Would she be sensitive to Hubby's needs - his slowness of movement, his breathless speech, his need for his portable oxygen tank functioning at the same time as his oxygen concentrator?

All for the sake of getting a manicure? Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? How selfish! Guilty thoughts swirled around in my head as I drove to the salon, but as I pushed those aside, a teeny tiny voice of reason crept in and told me that I need some time too. My needs are important too, no matter how trivial they seem. I can't stop living because Hubby has COPD. He is at home. He is safe.

Calling home mid-morning I asked Hubby how it went.
"I waited until 9:00. The nurse hadn't arrived. So I had my coffee anyway."
"You did?"
"Well yes, I couldn't wait forever! And then around 20 minutes later somebody from Home Care called to tell me that the nurse was sick. They'd have to re-book."

Although Hubby will have to go through the whole "fasting for 12 hours" routine another day, I'm glad I listened to the teeny, tiny voice in my head and didn't cancel my plans for the day.


Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hey Wendy---Glad you went also. The life of a caregiver is so difficult. I worked for many years for a church--so I know what caregivers go through. You DO need time for you--without guilt. If you don't take care of you, then you won't be a very good caregiver...

About the nurse situation, IF it were me, I'd call and talk to someone in charge --asking that the nurse call you at least a few days ahead of time--and find out if that time is convenient with you. See what they do--with that request!!!!

That particular nurse must not be very responsible not only for booking you so late, but also for not calling you EARLY the morning she was sick. TACKY and RUDE... Just my opinion!!!

Lots of Hugs,

Beverly said...

I am so glad you went on. You have to have time for you. I do understand your reservations. It is irritating when things happen like this, wanting to reschdule, feeling guilty, then they do not come.
I will talk later...

Ruth said...

Good for you for going ahead with your plans. I would have left a voice message with the agency and asked them to give more notice of appointments. It is very presumptuous to assume you are always available at the drop of their hat. (I worked in Home Care for 10 years and our motto was "Client-centred care")

Beverly said...

I'm glad you went ahead too. It wasn't quite fair of the nurse to call on "the spur of the moment" like that.

We take ordinary events for granted, don't we.

Wendy said...

Hi Betsy, - I agree with you one hundred percent!!

Hi Bev - thanks for understanding.

Hi Ruth - well, I wish we had your kind of care! Actually, the respiratory therapist that comes is very good. She calls at the beginning of the week to schedule and arrives on time.
I hope this is just a one time screw-up.

Wendy said...

Hi Bev - yes we do. I'm learning that we take lots of things for granted (like good health) until it's gone.
Your pics of little Ella are darling!

beckie said...

Wendy, I totally agree with Betsy. Call the agency, speak to some one in charge and voice your requests. Several days notice of appointments, and immediate notification of cancelation. Plus a number where they can be reached if you need to make a cancelation. These are only common courtesy requests.

Good for you going ahead with your appointment. A manicure can make you feel like a new woman!

Grammy said...

I know it is not easy to not worry. It took me a long time to stop. I had to make peace with my self. Situations like this cause undue stress. We have to learn to control the amount of stress we get or it is over load. I am now planning a trip to Texas and Tenn for March with my sister in law. I asked hubby to go he said no. It is all his family. So I am going with out the normal guilt. I have Amy close by now. And she can make sure the cats are fed. And hubby is ok. I will have every thing he needs for 2 weeks. And I am going to see the ocean. If I don't start living again I may never have a life again. The longer I stay in this house the sicker I am getting. So you do have to continue living to protect your health too.
Big hug.

Cheryl said...

My dear Wendy.....I am so glad you listened to your inner voice. Intuition is a wonderful thing....and yours was right. You did the right thing for you and hubby.....

I know it is so difficult for you and that your thoughts are always with hubby but you have needs, you have to do the little things to keep you well and able to cope with the strains that life has given you......

I think of you both often and hold you in my thoughts.......

Rose said...

I am glad you went ahead, Wendy, even if the nurse had shown up. You need some time for yourself and shouldn't feel guilty about it.

I agree with everyone else, though, that the nurse should have given you more notice. I'm feeling sorry for Hubby, too--I would have been counting the minutes till I could have my coffee as well!

amelia said...

That is so wrong that they should make you wait till past the last minute like that!

I'm sure she knew she was sick quite a while before so someone should have informed you.

Always take care of yourself..

femail doc said...

This illustrates that it's not just the illness but as much the logistics of life and planning that make caretaking so difficult. I called the O2 company to pick up the second concentrator. One day after the alleged pick-up, a driver showed up with six (unordered) bottles of O2 and no clue that in fact we needed an entirely different service. Hello? Is one dept. in touch with the other over there. Thank heavens your self-debate ended with you forging ahead with your plans.

JeanMac said...

Yeah, Wendy, although I sure understand your hesitation.

Mary said...

You made a good decision because you needed to keep your appointment also. Very important! It's too bad hubby needs to fast again but that's the way it is...

All is well, Wendy :o)

By the way, the dark font on red is hard for me to read. Has anyone else had trouble? Maybe I need my eyes checked.


Wendy said...

Hi Beckie - thats for the boost of confidence.

Hi Grammy - I am sooooooo pleased that you are going on a trip!! I too long to see the ocean. Our plans have stalled a bit for now, but.....
Thanks for the advice - I need reminding sometimes.

Hi Cheryl, thank you for your kindness. I am listening to that little inner voice more often and less to that harsh voice that tells me I'm being irresponsible if I make time for myself.

Wendy said...

Hi Rose, thanks for popping in. Yeah, I know it's hard first thing in the morning without that coffee!

Hi Amelia - thank you.

Hi Judy, oh boy - I often wonder how these orders get so mixed up. Is anybody out there?
Hope all is well with you.

Hi JeanMac, I know you do!

Hi Mary - thanks for your vote of support too. I was just playing around with new blog background, colours, etc. That red on red really was hard on the eyes. I've changed it, as you can see.

Abba's Girl said...

A few weeks ago, I cancelled an appt to have my hair lightened and cut because I took dad to the ER...2 weeks later, I told him you are stable I am going to the beauty shop but will be here in time to help you eat...I said or else they will just need to dye my ends brown...he laughed and said go...we do have to do little things as well as important things while we care for those we love.


Abba's Girl said...

PS - love your new background!

Naturegirl said...

Wendy I know only too well the guilt and the little voices in your head and then there's the BIG voice speaking up for your have a life caregivers we give and give and put ourselves know my story and you know what;I am slowly learning to put myself first and picking up the pieces of my life that I put on hold for the last few years.
Blessings to you..keeping you in my prayers .hugs NG

Maggie May said...

Wouldn't you think that they could have realized that the nurse wouldn't be able to get there? Or that they couldn't reschedule another one after all that fasting.
Now he has to start again. I am counting to a hundred before I say anything else!

You did right to carry on your appointment. You DO have to have a life too.

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

Dear Wendy, It's the little things in life that make it bearable! I'm so glad you are learning to take care of yourself. It's hard, isn't it? It was also a good thing you saw very early on a need for Home Healthcare to give you adequate notice as well as a number to call to cancel if need be.

Oh! Only three days to go for the newest baby! Do you think Baby will be on time?

Wendy said...

Hi Annette - yes, we do have to make time for ourselves. I'm glad you did too.
Glad you like my "new look".

Hi Nature girl, thank you for your understanding. The more I reach out to others, the more of you there are out there. I am glad we caregivers can communicate.

Hi Maggie May, yeah, I know. We still haven't gotten a call back to reschedule. Strange...

Hi Morning Glories - glad to see you're back! I think baby will be here very soon. Mother (my daughter-in-law) wants baby to arrive before her doctor goes away on holiday. And she's talking about some contractions these last few days....

Allie said...

It's so important to take care of you - although I'm sure it's hard to. And I'm sure the manicurist really appreciated you honoring the appointment. I bet services like that get canceled a lot these days.

Q said...

Dear Wendy,
I am so proud of you for honoring yourself!