Wednesday, July 4, 2012
I hereby declare...
Today is Independence Day. I’ve already celebrated our country’s most patriotic holiday with my family on the Outer Banks, but today I’m going to have another celebration. Today’s celebration is for my own independence.
As the wife and caretaker of an end-stage alcoholic, there is no independence. Everything is done based on the needs of the alcoholic or the needs of protecting the home and others from alcoholic behavior. No matter how detached you are, there is still this invisible chain between the caregiver and the alcoholic.My independence has taken a long time to achieve. Even now, I still have that invisible chain attached. But the chain is lighter in weight and doesn’t chaff me where it is attached to my body. I’m doing things I want to do based on my own schedule. With Riley in the nursing home, I am able to get a sense of freedom. The lighter weight chain is the one that has me going to the nursing home and visiting Riley every second or third day. The chain is about monitoring his care, providing direction, and attending doctor appointments. Before the chain was just a burden, now it’s productive. I guess that is what makes it seem to weigh less.
One of my commenters suggested I had had a “change of attitude”. I’m not so sure that my attitude has changed at all. I still think Riley is immortal. I still will protect my daughter from taking him into her home. I still feel the demands of fighting perceptions and sharing my knowledge and experience. If anything has changed it is my ability to see the possibility of a more productive and pleasant future.These past couples of weeks have been very productive and I’m excited to report that the first ever real-live, in-person OARS F&F Group will meet in the real office of my addiction counselor friend. In my small town there is only one Al-Anon meeting. I believe this addition of the OARS group will fit in nicely with its meeting time of 4 p.m. on a Friday. Drunken weekends start on Fridays; this may help the caretaker deal more sensibly with the insanity of alcoholic-ness. If this goes well, I will consider starting a group on the Outer Banks and the Tidewater area. If you in the area, please join us on the third floor of the Old Bank of America Building, Broad and Eden Streets, Edenton, NC.
I’m also pleased to announce that the Veterans Administration Caregiver Support Division of Hampton Roads and North Carolina, have asked me to help set up a veteran caregiver support group. They have volunteered to work with me in the OARS endeavor and in return I will help with establishing their support group. It is such an incredible honor to be asked to help them. We’ve already set up our first meeting time and place and I’m anxious to get started. If you’re in the Elizabeth City area and want to attend the caregiver’s meeting it is going to be held on Tuesday, July 17th at 10 a.m. in the Albemarle Veterans Primary Care Clinic, 1845 West City Drive, Elizabeth City, NC. Although this is sponsored and supported by the Veteran’s Administration, the meetings are open to all caretakers in the general public.The Immortal Alcoholic’s Wife is finished and currently being read by my daughter and grandson. When they have finished reading, it will be offered on this blog. The one offered on the blog will be “bare bones” in a simple PDF version. A real e-book version will be out within the next couple of months. I know many of you have been chopping at the bit for this book and I just don’t want you to have to wait any longer. My hope is that an agent might take an interest in representing me to a publisher.
Riley’s health condition has improved, but the brain function needed to live on his own is just not there. He is unable to walk on his own and therefore unable to tend to his bathroom needs. We don’t know for a fact that he had another stroke, but his right side is only minimally functional. He has stopped pleading with me to take him home, but I am still trying to find a different facility for his long-term care.As far as my health goes, I’m now able to get through the day without a nap. I still rest in the afternoon, but I seldom fall asleep. I have made an appointment with a primary care doctor who has an excellent reputation as a diagnostician. I won’t be starting my food program until I’ve managed to eat my way through everything in the freezer. Once it’s empty, I can move it to the Outer Banks and just buy the appropriate foods that I need each week. I’m still not getting enough exercise, but also will change when I make the move.
I have a lot to celebrate. Even though I’ll be cooking only for myself, I won’t let that stop me from having some of the traditional 4th of July favorites – my yummy potato salad, curry-ginger deviled eggs, grilled steak, and fresh fruit salad… This year I think I might have some sparkling cider to toast to my survival through insanity.
at 10:02 AM