Do you know caregivers who’s exhaustion, worry and walking on eggshells is making them crabby toward their spouses, are taking on more tasks & responsibility and their anger is keeping them in a negative place? Through my coaching, I work with caregivers just like that who want their relationship with their spouse to be more of what it was, to have more energy to focus on their own physical health and to not to have to be on top of everything.
I got a call from Shelley at my mom’s retirement community at 1:10 p.m. Friday while eating lunch on my way out of town and heading toward vacation with my husband.
“There’s been an outbreak of Covid.’
“Has mom been tested?” was my first question. “Yes, and she’s negative.”
“We are asking that you try to stay away from the home while we have active Covid cases,” Shelley said.
“Well, I said, that’s no problem since I’m on vacation and out of state.”
That and I know that mom and I have our communication game strong since she has two Amazon Alexa Show’s (screens) AND as a backup she has her iPad and knows how to FaceTime. Pretty proud of my 86 year old tech savvy momma.
We continue on vacation.
Monday morning I got the call. 6:45 a.m. from the home. “This cannot be good,” was my first thought as I saw the number flash across the screen followed by, “Oh s&*t she probably has Covid.”
“This is Londa. When I went to check on your mom this morning, she had kleenex everywhere and she smelled of vicks vaporub. I tested her. Your mom has Covid.”
Shit. (That’s really the only word that’ll work here folks).
I’m the type of person that when the shit hits the fan, I go into doing mode. Anyone else resonate with that? For better or for worse, I have to “do” something.
My intuition told me to get her on the Plaxvoid (or whatever it’s called – the drug to help you recover from Covid) asap. Logged into her doctors portal, sent a message – can you prescribe this? Called her doctor when they opened with the same question. Friends, for many different reasons, it took two days before mom had this medication🤦🏻♀️
In the midst of all of this, I was on vacation. And I really wanted and needed a vacation. So at that time, I was walking a tightrope of ‘both and’. Calling around to get that medication delivered. Dropping in to Alexa to check on mom. Getting back into the space of vacation.
It worked. Mom got the medication, she thankfully had mild symptoms (thank you vaccines) and I got my very much needed vacation.
What made me successful? (And what can you takeaway from this to make yourself successful?)
Having a way to see mom and communicate with her.
Knowing she was well taken care of.
I knew where the nearest airport was at all times. Kind of like when on an airplane, when you know where all of the exits are, you’re good!
Giving myself permission to enjoy my vacation. (That should probably go at the top of this list)
What can you take and apply to your current situation? Let me know by emailing me at email@example.com
If you are ready to live a life free from frustration and fear, click here to book your Freedom & Happiness for Caregivers discovery call.
I’m a worrier. Always have been. I get it from my grandmother. And my mother. I come from a long line of worriers.
Most of the time – actually usually almost all of the time, my worries never amount to anything except for my wasted time and a lot of unnecessary anxiety.
Recently though, I experienced my worst case scenario.
In the midst of this pandemic, my husband got sick. He is sent to the emergency room where they find that his gallbladder is infected and about three times its normal size. They need to operate to remove it, but before that can happen, the gallbladder needs to chill out, so to speak. That will take up to 6 weeks.
Because of the pandemic and safety protocol, I could not go into the hospital with my husband. So I spent many hours in the car in the hospital parking lot. Which was both nerve wracking because I didn’t know what was happening or what kind of care my husband was getting. It also was entertaining: I watched a woman back out of a parking spot, with the hatch on her vehicle open and drive off. I still wonder how far she got. Hopefully she didn’t figure out it was open when she tried parking it in her garage. And yes, I supposed I should have waived her down but I was right in the middle of a rosary for my husband and let’s face it, I was not thinking clearly.
My husband was hospitalized for 3 nights. Thank God for iPhones. That was how we were able to communicate.
My week last week, after he was finally discharged was all about his care. Making sure he took his medication on time. Making sure his appointments were scheduled. Making sure he was eating and drinking properly. (I’m sure he would have loved to be drinking). Making sure that the doctors orders were followed and also driving him to his appointments.
Also last week, we celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary. This anniversary looked so different from last year. Our 25th was celebrated in Hawaii.
The hospital parking lot was what I saw this year, on our 26th anniversary. I couldn’t help but think, “just one year ago we were in a completely different situation.”
My mind goes to weird places. Especially now during this time. A few weeks ago, before the gallbladder situation gave any indication it might happen, a thought passed through my mind about what if one of us has to go to the hospital? That’s the absolute worst place to be. It would be the end. (Spoiler alert: it wasn’t.)
The afternoon that my husband and I returned home from a check at the hospital, a nurse at my mom’s retirement home called to let me know that my mom had a little fall.
I haven’t been able to physically spend time with my mom since early March. The last time we were together was March 11th. So when the nurse called to let me know that mom fell, I thought, “this is the worse possible time for this to happen.” And I literally looked at my husband, after I hung up the phone, and said, “what else can possibly happen? I can’t take any more.” Then I got myself up, began calling her doctor and ordering some items for her from Amazon and strategizing with her nurses to make mom as comfortable as possible and to do whatever was needed.
By the way, my mom is doing okay. It was indeed a little fall. Nothing was broken and no concussion. She’s still sore and I’m pretty sure she has reactivated her sciatica but it could have been much worse.
In the middle of all of this I had a very, very minor procedure taken care of at my doctors office. And a mammogram that had to be done at, guess where, the hospital. Worst possible time for all of this, I thought. But then, when I arrived at the hospital, I saw a couple, clearly checking in to give birth to their baby. They were well prepared. A large suitcase, overnight bag, backpack, cooler and the car seat for the baby. The couple was smiling (I can tell when someone is smiling under their face masks – their eyes crinkle) and they radiated so much hope.
Today when I was out driving around, I drove past the hospital and the doctors office. I said a thank you and was grateful that I did not have any appointments or plans at either one of them this week.
The next day, I got this email from the Universe:
I really needed to hear that. So what miracles reached me during this time? First, I was relatively calm during this time. I felt like time had slowed down for me and I could move through these two crises slowly and mindfully.
The couple checking into the hospital to give birth to their baby. Had I not been scheduled for my yearly mammogram at the hospital (which in my mind was one of the worst places I could be during this pandemic) I never would have been able to see or feel their joy and hope. That gave me the shift in perspective that I needed to move ahead myself in hope.
What did I specifically do to make it through this time? I’ll share all of that with you. I’m sure you may be going through a difficult time, have gone through it or will go through it in the future. So take what I did as a template for you to use but remember this – you do you. What works for you. What your soul is yearning for. Do that.
I got as much rest as I possibly could. When I was tired, I napped. I went to bed earlier. Sometimes it was really difficult to do this but I kept saying to myself – you need to rest.
Me and God, we talked a lot. I had full on conversations with the guy. That was helpful.
I got outside. I got to feel the warm sunshine on my skin, breathe the fresh air and watch the animals.
I surprised myself. With my husband in the hospital, some of his household duties became my household duties. And a few I wasn’t sure I could do by myself. But guess what? I did! That felt powerful.
Angel cards. One of my Polkadot Powerhouse sisters recommended that I get a deck of cards. These cards allow me to have some fun connecting with God and his incredibly beautiful universe.
I asked for help. I reached out to family and friends to let them know what was happening. I asked questions that I just didn’t have the answers to.
I journaled. There were so many thoughts and feelings coming up for me during this time, that getting them out of my head and my heart were so therapeutic. I honestly feel lighter after I journal.
I kept busy and moved forward. Even if it was just to fold the towels and put them away.
What I learned through this entire upheaval is this: I made it through my worse case scenario. It wasn’t pretty at times. It didn’t go like I had thought it would. But I made it through.
I learned that sometimes throwing a tantrum and asking what the hell could possibly happen next and actually losing my shit is okay.
I learned that I can say when I’m hurting and when I’m upset. That is the way to heal.
What has been your worst case scenario? What did you do to make it through to the other side?
During this time of upheaval and anxiety, I’ve been talking with individuals who are feeling isolated, can’t think straight and are looking for strategies to empower themselves through my Lunchtime Zoom.
I wanted to share with you the three big takeaways from the previous Lunchtime Zoom:
There are a lot of pluses coming out of this.
Your mind is going to be different. You are going to be changed. You’ve learned to appreciate the things that you can’t do now.
There are no rules to this game. There is no right or wrong answer right now.
We also identified some strategies to help us all to move forward:
That it is more than okay to be sad and have a meltdown.
Anxiety can be lessened with laughter.
To take care of yourself and do what you need for you.
To keep busy. I’ve never raked so many leaves in my life!
And yet……Not to overwhelm yourself with getting things done and accomplishing so much.
Call a friend and chill for a while.
I’m going to start journaling about this.
We would never think that we were in a situation like this and the only thing we could think to do was to laugh about it.
Don’t apologize or feel bad for having a meltdown.
Our topic was Thriving in this time of Uncertainty. We shined a light on what we were experiencing. When you shine a light and call it out of the darkness, that particular struggle lessens its power over you:
Our Fears & Challenges:
🔦Lasts – the last time you hugged someone, the last time you went to dinner.
🔦When I stop and let my mind go places it shouldn’t, you can get into panic mode really fast.
🔦The grocery shopping thing. Thinking that i’m going to run out of something. The mask, gloves, wipe the cart, do I have my list? We also looked at the good that had come out of this situation.
The gifts that have come from this crisis:
❤️Focusing on what I’m really here for.
❤️Been able to tackle some more projects.
❤️Not dealing with sports schedules and other things.
If during this time you are feeling lonely and bored, in a panic or are just plain melting down – I want to tell you that you are not alone in this.
To that end, I am extending an invitation to you to join me along with those just like you, looking to find clarity, community and a space to talk about transition.
You can click here to register for my Lunchtime Zooms. We meet each Monday at 12 Noon CST to have conversation, empower one another and offer massive compassion to one another so that we can all come out of this quiet isolation thriving.