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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, June 22, 2017

How ya doin'

When I come upon someone I know, either by accident or design, the first thing I say after “hello” is “How are you?” I expect to hear back that the person is fine or that things have been rough. The conversation proceeds on from there. “How are you” feels like a natural segue into a deeper exchange.

Over the past eight years, I have been taking care of Riley and it has been a chore to say the least. My own physical and emotional health have gone downhill. There has been a host of people in and out of the house whose sole purpose was to help me with the care giving responsibilities and relieve some of the stress. Everyone who has helped has been awesome.

People who talk to me always start out the conversation with the phrase “How ya doin’?” I’m asked that question on the average of five times a day from well-meaning, concerned individuals. Riley asks the same question at least four times a day. It feels that everyone is always asking how I’m doing. It gets exhausting repeating the same answer over and over again. I try to keep it short – “I’m OK.”

How am I doing? Well, that fluctuates from hour to hour and even, sometimes, minute by minute. It depends on what and/or who I’m dealing with at the moment or what answer I’m waiting for each given day. There’s Medicaid, Veterans Administration, social workers, nurses, doctors, friends and family who are constantly asking questions and/or concerned for my well-being.

Decisions that need to be made bombard me daily. All the while, I must go to Riley when he calls me 4 or 5 times an hour. I must answer his questions on things that have no answers.

How am I doing? I’m frustrated, confused, tired, sick and I don’t want to explain the reasons behind the emotions every single day, over and over again. I’m not doing well. Can we just leave it at that?

Riley continues to s..l..o..w..l..y decline. His declining only creates more work for me.

I’m tired. I need a vacation where “how ya doin’” means “Can I get you a fresh ice tea?” Yes, a vacation would certainly help. Maybe a short cruise or a stay at a mountain resort. But, it will have to wait until Riley is gone and I won’t have to pay for a sitter for him.  Anyway… it doesn’t matter what I need… I’ll continue to be “doin’” the same way I’ve been doin’ for a long time now. It will get worse before it gets better.


Linda Cunningham said...

Thank you for sharing - it has really helped me. My husband has been 5 months in rehab since July 2016 and after spending nearly 100,000 he seems to be worse - not better. I have come to understand he is in the end stage of the disease with a long way to still go. Self care has not been a priority for me and now I realize it has to be or I won't survive.

Linda Cunningham said...

My daughter sent me your blog and I have read it with much interest. After 5 months of rehab this year and 100,000 spent my husband is actually worse. Self care has not been my priority and I realize now it is so important. I look forward to going back and reading your earlier posts. Thank you so much for sharing something so personal.

F&C Forever said...

I totally understand! EVERY day people say, so how's it going? Is he doing better? NO, No, and no. He's doing worse day by day and after 10 years of this (ESLD, but STILL drinking a bottle of vodka a day, even though Dr. keeps saying 'one more drink will kill you'), I DO wish he'd just GO away. Just so that I can live my life, enjoy my grandchildren.

Deniece Basso said...

My former counselor, whom I initially hated but came to save my life, used to get on my case. Every day for therapy he'd say "How ARE you?". I'd say "fine," "good" or "okay." He wouldn't accept those general answers. Not sure if you know the alternate definition of FINE. It crude but accurate a lot of times. He would make me use other descriptive words other than what I used to say.
These days, I've found when people ask"How ya doing," is basically a greeting. They don't really want to know.

Kathy Hatch said...

People always ask me the same, I feel they don't want to really know. I wish they'd just say HI and move on. I used to be able to get around the question without boring anyone. After all these years I just can't. I miss work and they are curious, but not really. Now my answer is 'ask about my grandson'.