Monday, January 25, 2010

Work and Caregiving, Together Again

Today was my first day back at work since Skip's return home. As noted a few posts ago, I had some concerns about my ability to balance the two and give a good effort at work.

A few good things have occurred over the last week to help alleviate some of those concerns. We started getting help with meals provided by members of our local UU congregation (so far two meals have been provided, with enough the second time to freeze for another meal). And, best of all, the home health aide started coming. This was a revelation, she is so wonderful! Since my last post, KH has come 4 times and is scheduled for 4 visits a week. She has relieved me from so much work, she does a wonderful job and she's chatty and cheerful. All my expectations have been more than exceeded. She bathes Skip, does her hair, helps her with her teeth, applies cream head to toe, changes the sheets, puts on a new draw sheet and chux, and leaves the place cleaner than when she arrived, all with a great attitude, laughing and making conversation throughout. On the days KH doesn't come, I do an abbreviated version of Skip's cleanup. As you can imagine, this has been a huge help for me, lightening my load and my spirits immensely.

Before today, I tried to get us both mentally prepared to do the work/caregiving balance dance again. The balance actually was achieved today. We were able to get a number of things done for Skip even before the work day officially started. Then, lunch, snacks and the abbreviated bath were all handled during brief breaks in the day. She was otherwise low maintenance, though she wasn't as cheerful as usual.

I was scheduled for 7-1/2 hours of meetings between 9 and 5 today, but two calls in the afternoon were canceled (hoorah!). This worked out well because Skip's wound nurse came just before 2 to change the wound vac dressing. I was able to be around during much of her visit because of the unexpected opening in my schedule.

I will say it was good to be back with a busy day that holds more than I can possibly do. In many ways, that's how I like my days. They fly by, I'm never bored, and I like figuring out how to get everything shoehorned into the day. Work also gives me the opportunity to feel a sense of accomplishment as I cross things off the to do list and to put my writing and speaking skills to good use.

All in all, it was a good first day back at work. Nothing too challenging emerged on either the work or home front, so that was a blessing. I'm hopeful we'll have a few more days adjusting to our new routines before something blows up and sends everything skittering sideways and throwing the work/caregiving balance out of whack.

But, it's been a long day and I am pooped. I think I'll turn in now!


kmilyun said...

It is so great that your home health aid is super.

The meals from the church congregation very awesome - amazing how help is sometimes out there and shows up when you least expect it!

As for the balancing act no experience here LOL I am too busy being the one that makes KRP juggle the plates - least they are not spinning right now


awb said...

Hopefully the skittering will be hed to a minimum. Glad things are getting back on track.


Cranky said...

Jan - I think I'd be hugely bored without the balancing act to keep me dancing.

Andy - no skittering yet, after 2 days back. I, too, hope it's held to a minimum.

steve said...

Canceled meetings are like little gifts of time. If you have a lot they don't mean much. If you don't, they mean the world.

Here's to feeling productive and successful task scheduling!

Cranky said...

Steve - so true re canceled meetings. I also love meetings that end well before their scheduled end time. You get back small chunks of time to make a quick call to someone, bring Skip a snack, handle an email ...