Thursday, March 14, 2013

Special Needs Sandwich

There were moments today that certainly did not reflect the fact that I spent eight weeks last fall teaching a Peacemakers class.


I think it is a mistake to think that being a peace maker translates to "everything is always peaceful". Or that "peaceful" equals "quiet". Right?

My hubby said, "That nurse is always so nice to me."

Let me be clear. I did not imply she wasn't nice. What I said was that her decisions meant that we were much further away from where we wanted to be. She was very nice about it.

But the results were the pits.

And I was upset about it.

And now she, the administrator of the nursing home, and several mouth-wide-open onlookers know it. As I apologized for my outburst to one of the physical therapists she said, "It's okay. It is perfectly understandable." 

Finally a voice of reason.

In this current season of life, several times a week I drop my daughter with special needs off at school and travel 35 miles to attend to my mother and father in law, who, with different stages of dementia, also have special needs. I find myself taking deep breaths just to get through the day.

Loving people is not easy. And wanting really great things with extremely limited resources is a  challenge.

When the rehabilitation center my father in law is in wanted to reduce his "mood" medication I was not happy. How do you explain that his good moods are a sign that something is terribly wrong? They didn't believe me...laughed it off...said it would be fine.

After a long day of refusal to do therapy, bad news from a Neurologist, and having to take my mother in law down the hall to her own room, he gritted his teeth and growled at me. Half an hour later, as I took a few things into his room, he threw up his hands at me and said, "Get out of here! I don't want to see you."

And my heart broke.

Not for me, I know better. My heart broke because he was truly that emotionally agitated--whether it was rational or not--and now we have to move him again.

To...I don't know where. On paper they belong in an Alzheimer's facility. In real life, they are two sweet, old people who just want to be together. They won't run away. They won't get violent. They won't walk down the hall naked.

But they won't remember who I am without some coaching. And often don't remember their last meal. And could never be responsible for their own medications. But don't need to be surrounded by people who can't carry on conversations. And that means we. are. stuck.

So I try to remind myself that God has it all under control. But that is currently and exercise in discipline, and not anything close to an emotion.

I just don't feel it.

But I want to.

And I will keep praying that God will turn my want to into an emotion. That HIS peace will wash over me and I will know what to do.

Meanwhile, I go hug my little peanut--the daughter who is different--and that restores me. Sometimes I feel like I am in a Special Needs Sandwich...that in between generation...and the filling is a bit thin...but I need to go on...

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Themz Fightin' Words...

There was tension in the air, and it was thick.

"I have 6 speech therapy appointments, 5 doctor appointments, out of town company, my father in law may have had a stroke and need to be moved to a different facility to receive more care. I cannot set up a time to meet right now."

"Come on, Robin, you don't have an hour?'

"No. I don't. I am spent."

"Okay, a half an hour."

And that is when it became abundantly clear to me..."I will not do this. My family comes first. You are going to have to wait."

In that moment it did not matter what disagreement, misunderstanding, difficult part of being human led us to this point. I realized exactly what my priorities were, and I would not budge. No matter how offended/angry/disappointed anyone else was. My family comes first.

Less than twenty four hours later my father in law was back in the hospital with life threatening dehydration. He never returned to his previous retirement home...he is still in a rehabilitation facility.

In three short weeks I was in the Emergency Room four times with three different members of my family.

That night of intense "discussion" may be one of the best things to ever happen to me. My eyes feel open wider. My thoughts keep circling back to one notion:

What if I only spent time on things that were worth fighting for?

Can I let everything else go?

What if I spent time asking God to truly show me...if something is not worth fighting for, is it worth expending any  of my energy on it? How much of my time, energy, emotions do I waste on things, people, places that will never help someone be closer the Lord or teach my children God's ways or make me love my husband more? Does anything besides those three things really matter?

I am going to continue to dwell on this idea.

I am praying God's joy for simplicity radically changes me, and I can focus with laser intensity in a few things and achieve excellence in those few things.

I am grateful for the fighting words that helped me plant my feet and say to myself (more than anyone else) "I will not do this right now. My family needs me."