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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.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The thrill of the chase...

Sometime during the night after Riley was admitted to the hospital, my JaxCatx brought in a bird and put it next to my head. I must have been starting to wake up because I could hear this little chirping sound. It was still alive. Jax would nudge at it and then look at me and meow. He was so very proud of himself with his tail all fluffed out and standing straight up. I thanked him and gave him some attention, disposed of the feathered treasure and tried to go back to sleep. Jax curled up next to me and, of course, had no problem drifting off into kitty cat snooze land.

The next night, I heard Jax pouncing around at the foot of my bed. I thought he had managed to snag another bird. I decided to wait until he was done before taking it away from him. I fell back to sleep. When I woke up, I found a mouse on my bed. Oh! I see! He had been hunting once again. I went through the routine of praising him and then used a tissue to transport the mouse to the trash.

Wow! Two nights in a row of successful hunting! I was impressed. I thought that maybe because Jade was not at home, it was easier for Jax to hunt. Jade might be scaring little creatures away before Jax could make his move. It seemed like a good theory to me. I was going that day to pick Jade up from my grandson’s house. I wondered if anything was going to change once she was home.
Now that Riley is in the hospital, Jade is quieter, calmer, better behaved. She sleeps at the foot of my bed and doesn’t try to get ON the bed. I used to restrict her from my room, but now, she is welcome.

Yesterday, I had been sick from all the running around, phoning, organizing, etc. I went to bed early because I knew that today I would make that long drive to the hospital and be meeting with doctors, social workers, etc. I needed to be rested.
I heard it. I heard Jax jumping – not pouncing – but jumping around the room. He was on the bed, down to the floor, into the bathroom, out of the bathroom, on the bench, into the closet, back on the bed. Then I heard Jade jumping around as well. What the #%^*#@  was going on??? I opened my eyes just in time to see Jade heading for the bedroom door with a frog in her mouth. Jax ran after her. Oh well… I would worry about it in the morning.

It is funny that if Riley were in the house, I’d be running after Jade trying to get the frog away from her no matter what the time of day. I would be worried that Riley was going to make a fuss and demand that I do something. I see now that I would have been nervous and determined to win the frog over from Jade. I would feel rushed and anxious. I would also feel a sense of guilt for not being able to control what Jade or Jax does at every moment of every day.
Since Riley has been hospitalized, I’ve found that I can do anything I want, when I want. I don’t have to worry about waking him up as he nods off in the rocking chair. I don’t have to consider what he will eat when I cook. I can watch TV whenever I want and not disturb him. I don’t have a constant voice reminding me that I need to buy pet food. And I don’t have someone calling my name from the other end of the house asking me to pick up the remote or hand him his slippers or get him a bottle of water. The only voice I hear is my own.

When someone asks me, what was he like at home? Why does it create such stress for you? It is very hard to explain. It’s so many things that it’s hard to pinpoint just a few. In fact, the few that I would end up relating really didn’t sound so bad. Then I would think “You’re such a wimp! That shouldn’t bother you.” The fact is that it isn’t just one thing. It’s a lot of little things that turns into a snowball of stress and despair. It is hard to relate to others, but there really is just too many to list.
Today I go back to the hospital and meet with more doctors and social workers. It will truly be a stressful day. Riley has asked me to make him some chicken noodle soup, but I got the message so late that it will not be possible. I know that when I return home, I’ll slump into an exhausted ball of tiredness. I’ll watch in amazement at the energy displayed by my pets. I want some of that. I want to be able to go to sleep and wake up feeling rested and ready to go.

OK. I confess… I want to join Jax in the hunt for something out in the back yard. It doesn’t matter what he is hunting for, just the act of having the energy combined with the patience of the physical activity of hunting. I want the thrill of the chase. I am trying to equate the chase of the little creatures to the chase of getting the hospital staff to follow through on the plans. Somehow chasing after doctors and social workers just doesn’t have the same appeal. It takes a lot of the same talents as Jax to make things happen in the hospital. But, running around in the yard is so much more satisfying than running around in the hospital.
So today, the chase is on again. Hopefully, I’ll be just as successful as Jax.


hyperCRYPTICal said...

Hope your chase is successful Linda and the stress begins to melt away...

Anna :o]

ADDY said...

You are beginning to get a glimpse of what life could be like, if only.....

Syd said...

I hope that all goes well at the hospital for you and for Riley.

funkman1965 said...

I am a new reader of this blog. You have so much to deal with, it's a wonder you are still sane.I know that God must have a special place in Heaven for you.

Gabriele Goldstone said...

I've been checking here regularly - your life story is better than any bestseller out there.

I have a cat and a dog and I love having them in my life. Unfortunately, I think I also have a skunk in my life - I mean yard - not good. Fortunately, I am on a brief holiday far away and the skunk, my alcoholic, and the dear dog & ancient cat are out of range.I so miss my dog.

Honestly. Linda, I hope Riley's succumbing.... finally ..
It gives hope to the rest of us.

Kibble said...

For years, you diligently and thoughtfully took care of a tyrannical Riley while his mistress, the lovely Lady Absolut, wandered your house and took everything your husband had to offer. In that context, it's no wonder his asking for a drink of water was nigh onto a killing offense. Plus you were both invested in supporting the normalcy of the dynamic, I'm guessing you to have just a tiny bit of sanity in a crazy world and Riley to insure you would continue to bring his mistress to him and meet his other needs. I'm not questioning your choices, but your reaction to his demands, no matter how long a list, makes perfect sense but only when you look at it in context.

It's more frog soup, but now you're out. No wonder the air feels so cool and refreshing and empowering.