Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Regaining focus

Spring has arrived here in Austin. Highs will be in the 70s all week. BR and I even slept with the windows open last night. Very refreshing.

Spring also means the end of the cedar allergy season. For me, cedar allergies are not only a runny nose and blocked sinuses and persistent cough, but also a lethargy that I find difficult to overcome. Pseudophed is just about the only thing that gets me through. Thank goodness I won't have to deal with that again until November.

I got a letter from my employer about a week ago. They are switching insurance carriers. Anthem Blue Cross has made headlines lately for outrageous rate hikes, prompting my employer to take their business to Aetna. I'm going to take this change as a sign that it is time to move BR to Medicare and a supplement plan. The main thing holding me back before was inertia, and this was just the push I needed.

BR and I have been struggling with a lot of negativity lately. The word "no" seems to flow out of his mouth very easily, expressing a contrary opinion over even the silliest of things. When I have the strength, I can laugh and let it slide. When I don't, it leads to some pretty heated arguments. I even find myself taking advantage of his sedation, allowing him to sleep longer than I know he would like in order to put off having to deal with the inevitable stream of criticism. This isn't one of my prouder admissions, and I'm taking it as a clear sign that it is time for both of us to seek some counseling.

I'm also taking it as a sign that it is time to stop working from home so much. My employer just moved into new offices on the edge of town with magnificent views of the Texas hill country. My hope is that the daily trip into the office will create some perspective on life that is impossible to maintain when I only leave the house to make groceries. I'm thinking of it like mini trips to California.


Herrad said...

Please come by my blog and pick up your Beautiful Blogger Award.

Cranky said...

Steve - glad to hear you've emerged from your allergic lethargy.

With Skip, I've found it's very easy for small things to escalate into big arguments very easily. Of course, in our household, Skip doesn't get angry as quickly as I do, so they can be pretty one-sided at times.

Working from home is a great aid for me but it also comes with a heavy pricetag. My focus on work is often distracted by Skip's needs and the comings and going of nurses, aides and Skip's companion, MW. I think it would be a good change to work outside the home, at least part of the time, so good luck with that!

Herrad said...

Hi Steve,

Sorry to hear you and BR are having a hard time, you mention that BR will say B if you say A.

I think this is fed by the pervasive medication, I got very cranky and could not appreciate jokes when I took temazepam to sleep every night.

These drugs isolate you from others, make you feel critical, and very negative and you feel got at.

They slowly strip you of your personality.

So try to not leave him sleeping for longer as this just feeds the negativity cos it also causes it.

If temazepam did that to me hate to think what the opiates that BR is being given does to him.

Hate that BR can have any amount of heavy opiates that are slowly draining his life as he is being sedated.

This can't be an easy situation for for you both, you need to find a way to rejiggle things sol you can give both of you breathing space so you can enjoy each others company.

Think working at the office could be good as well as not letting the sedation take the upper hand.

Hope that you do not mind my writing this but I am upset that you sweethearts are going through this.

Have a good Friday and weekend.

Big hugs.
Lots of love,

meredith said...

I find myself in the same patterns with my mom (who's the only one near me and thus has to help me deal with all the doctor stuff and all the household things I can't do) - negativity and silly arguments. It's hard to want to say yes when all you can think is that every dream/goal you had for life has been cut off. You get into the habit of thinking that nothing matters anymore just because you can't have those big things.

We get through it because as my mother she can make comments about me acting like a teenager when she knows it will make me laugh and can manage to say "well, we'll see" when she knows I'm not in a laughing mood. I feel so guilty for all my snappishness and the stupid arguments, but at the same time I can't manage to stop myself.

Good on you for being able to be honest about it. As cliche as it may sound, I think that's one of the most important things in this sort of situation. If you can be honest about it, then you can face it head-on at least.

Z said...

There are times when if I could sedate my husband to shut him up I would.

steve said...

Herrad - You are a darling. Thank you for the award. I think a lot of the friction comes from BR's desire to be properly understood. There is no "close enough" for him, so when he doesn't think I really get what he's asking for or why, he will spin round and round until I cry uncle. On the list of explanations for why this is happening, medication is near the top. It all really requires me to take my brain off autopilot and give him undivided attention, which can be exhausting day in and day out.

Cranky - I think what it boils down to is that we can't relax together anymore. The amount of physical and mental effort required to keep him feeling engaged and understood takes a lot of the pleasure out of most activities for me. That's not to say there is no pleasure at all, it's just that I'm still adjusting to the ever changing effort-to-reward ratio.

meredith - I wonder if caregiving is an easier role for someone who has raised children? Many of the same skills apply.

I agree that the loss of ability has contributed greatly to the negativity that now surrounds us. It's a difficult adjustment when one loses the ability to walk to say the least. Add on the loss of mental acuity from either MS or medications or both, and it can leave a person directionless.

The engineer in me wants BR to acknowledge the problem so that we can work on it together. That usually leads to more defensiveness, arguments, and blame. I need to try a different tact, and am open to suggestions.

Z - I'm sure the feeling is mutual. :-)

Anonymous said...

I am a little slow, but I love all the comments. I agree with all of them. I worry about you all of the time. You definitely need a break from Bob and I am glad you are realizing it. I am glad you are feeling better. I really believe you could write a wonderful article/novel/whatever??. I love to read your articles.Jordan will do it, I am sure, if she wants to.I just looked at the pictures of Hope and she is beautiful and has your eyes.That steak looked looked too rare for me.Hugs and kisses, Dede

Anonymous said...

Time for "you" is important. DOn't feel bad about the admission. BR needs the sleep.