Disappointments and Guilt

This week has had several disappointments.  On Thursday and Friday, I was scheduled to take a course in Critical Incident Stress Management for my job.  I was really looking forward to it not only for the new information and skills but also for the opportunity to be back with coworkers and others for the day.  I got up at 5 a.m. and got Lynn and myself ready for the day.  I had a friend coming to stay with him from 9-2:30.  All was going well at first and then his stomach started grumbling.  Not a good sign.  I went on to the class with the hope that it would settle down.  At 3:40, I got a call to come home.  That was the end of my two-day training program.  Friday, I could not go in at all.  Disappointing but a necessity.  At least I got the training manual.
Saturday, my nephew was getting married in Northern Virginia. For me, that’s a 2 1/2 hour drive at minimum.  My daughter was supposed to go with me but she has not been feeling well all week so it was decided that instead she and her husband would stay with Lynn till his son could come help out when he got off work.  As you recall from above, Friday was not a good day for Lynn.  Since he had stayed up from 5:00 a.m. till I got home around 4:30 on Thursday, he had over-extended and in addition to the upset stomach, was exhausted on Friday.  My ride for the wedding (I didn’t want to drive alone that far due to sleep deprivation‘s impact on my alertness..i.e.  I get sleepy when I drive) called to make final arrangements and it was then that I realized just how long I would have to be gone.  They were going to pick me up at 10:00 a.m. and I would probably not get back till midnight.  The truth hit me then like a ton a bricks…I couldn’t go.  I would be gone much longer than Thursday.  Lynn’s stomach was still not totally straight.  I didn’t think my daughter and her husband could get him into bed and his son could not come by till around 6:00 pm. That would be too long without a nap. I couldn’t go.
I was very disappointed and I felt guilty.  My brother and his wife had bought me a suit as a gift so I could have something new to wear to the wedding; I had my parents cancel their reservation for Saturday night for accommodations since they were driving back with me after the reception so now they had no place to stay; and I’m big on family participation and here I was missing a major family event. On the other hand, Lynn is my responsibility.  I have to make sure his needs are met because if they aren’t a set back could occur which could mean loss of the progress he has made or worse yet, another hospitalization.  I couldn’t take that risk.  If I hadn’t already had issues on Thursday, maybe it would have worked out, but now, it was just too risky.
I cried a bit, started calling to find my parents another hotel to stay in since the one they were in on Friday was booked for Saturday.  I called my brothers to let one know I would not be riding with him and the other know that I had made reservations at another hotel for our parents because I could not come now.  (he had already heard about the problem and had made reservations for them himself so I canceled mine.)  The new hotel was right beside the one the rest of the family was staying in so it all worked out good. I called and canceled my daughter’s help and let Lynn’s son know he wasn’t needed and could now attend the party he had needed to cancel participation in so he could stay with his Dad.  It all worked out but it was disappointing none-the-less to give up a special family time.  I’ll live it though pictures and stories but it would have been nice to see it for real.
Guilt again on Saturday night when I got a call from my niece that my mother was on the way to the emergency room due to a fall.  She had hit her back hard when she fell and was having trouble moving.  My first thought was that I should have been there to make sure she was okay.  I called my brother who was following her to the hospital to say what needed to be considered if she was discharged so she could travel back today and what to do if she was admitted.  I have contacts at the hospital where I work that could help me get her transferred back to Richmond if she needed to be in the hospital so we could help out and Dad would have a place to stay. Fortunately that wasn’t needed.  She had no broken bones and was released with pain meds and muscle relaxants.  She and Dad will be coming here shortly and will stay with us tonight and longer if needed for her recovery.
So anyway, all worked out but I share this to say that as a caregiver, your life is not your own and making plans is only a tentative thing…you can never really plan.  Anything can get in the way and throw a major kink into the works.  But it usually works out.  I got to sleep in yesterday so I was more rested.  I always have about three hours of work to do for my job on the weekends so I got that done yesterday and will be able to visit without guilt when my parents and brothers get here shortly…and Lynn is feeling better.  He was able to get the rest he needed. His stomach has settled down, and he’s not feeling so exhausted.  So it’s all good.  It’s just a different good than what I had been planning, but still good.

5 thoughts on “Disappointments and Guilt”

  1. It does. I realized that if it gets too hard to participate in something that it’s best to just let it go because the enjoyment goes out of it, so instead I try to find an alternative. For example, for the wedding, I experienced it through pictures that family members took who attended. Not quite as nice as being there but it was a good substitute and worked out better for all of us. Thanks for sharing Kath. From one caregiver to another, hang in there.

  2. I can really relate to not being involved in family activities. It is hard not to feel guilty when you can’t attend parties or weddings etc. But on the other hand I feel guilty leaving Mike home when I do go..just can’t win. It is true that as a caregiver you can’t plan things…but also true that it all works out somehow! Kath

  3. O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Psalm 139:1-3
    Our love, Teressa & Donnie

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