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Providing non-judgmental and non-criticizing support for family and friends of end-stage alcoholics through one-on-one coaching, support groups, blog posts, workshops and public speaking.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

And away I go...

Visiting my family is always therapeutic for me. Even though it is exhausting from trying to keep up with my great-grandson and I don’t sleep well while I’m there, the visits always leave me with a renewed sense of hope for life in general. The innocence of the children and watching a young couple in love deal with simple daily issues is refreshing.

One family member is married to an end-stage alcoholic and we share experiences only briefly. It is good to laugh out loud as we say – “Hey! That happens at my house too!”

There’s always a houseful of people coming and going. I find this type of chaos to be joyful with all the laughing, discussing, teasing, hugging and reminiscing. And when things are quiet, with the baby cuddled up against me, my grandson comes over and holds me while telling me he wished I could be here more often. We share a moment or two and then he is up and off dealing with some minor crisis.

And, in spite of all the commotion, when I get back home, I feel relaxed, rested, renewed. I’m ready for Riley craziness.

Going to the kid’s house for an overnight visit isn’t as simple as just getting in the car and driving off. I have to make sure I pack my medication, an extra set of clothes and not forget my toothbrush. Then I need a blanket and pillow. After putting those things in the car, I neatly fold any clothing I have gotten for the little ones and put it into one of my special bags. I take a bunch of reusable grocery bags and gather up a pantry/freezer care package. All that, the special bag and grocery bags, goes in the car as well.

I make sure Riley has his medication set out for the next day. I check that he has bottled water and soda within easy reach. I transfer several microwave meals to the kitchen freezer. I set aside breakfast options. I put a note on the refrigerator door to remind him to have some breakfast and dinner and list the options. I also post my cell phone number on the note. Next, I check to make sure he’ll be able to easily move around his preferred spaces.

It takes me a good two hours to prepare for my departure – and that’s just the day I leave. The day before, I clean his room, change his sheets, etc. I don’t ask the housekeeper to clean “Riley” spaces. I do that myself and I like to make sure it’s done if I’m not going to be in the house.

As I’m walking out the door, I tell Riley that I will be calling him and to make sure he keeps the cordless phone in his pocket in case he needs to call the rescue squad. He says OK and asks when I’ll be back. I never give him a set time. I just say I’ll be home late in the afternoon or early evening. If I give him a time – “I’ll be back around 5:00 p.m.” he will absolutely watch the clock. If 5:00 p.m. comes and goes, he gets antsy and starts calling around to try to find me.

In Rileydom, this was an uneventful overnight. He didn’t need to call the rescue squad and had no major injuries from falls. He managed to eat one of his options – although not much of it, and take his medication. He did not call my cell phone even one time. All in all, he did just fine.

The day after I get home is always a lazy day for me. I don’t clean anything. I seldom check my e-mail or post in either the blog or on the OARS page. I guess it’s from the lack of sleep, but I end up laying around on the sofa and drifting off into little naps throughout the day. Riley doesn’t usually disturb me on these days. He keeps his requests to a minimum and I’m grateful for that. And as a reward for his good behavior, I always fix an outstanding dinner that he will love. Last night it was lobster in champagne sauce over spaghetti squash and spinach. He actually ate about half of his serving. (The recipe will be in the soon to be published cookbook.)

Today is the day after the day after, so I have a full plate agenda. It’s back to posting, e-mailing, paperwork, cleaning, running errands, bath aid and nurse visits, and tending to anything else that happens to come up. I can handle it because my batteries are charged and ready to go!

It’s amazing what a little time away can do. I know this relaxed state of mind will not last for very long, for as long as I have it, I intend to get the most out of it. I think one of the things that should be added to my “to do” list is to plan my next outing. I’m thinking Paris, France for a nice long lunch. I wonder if I could do that in 24 hours… and for less than $100… Somehow, I think I should stick to something a bit closer to home.


Syd said...

I'm glad that you had a good trip and that all was okay at home. Nothing like the geographic cure!

Karen said...

I'm happy to hear you had a wonderful trip! Even happier to hear that nothing major went wrong.