March 3, 2015

10 Things That Piss Me Off About Chronic Illness and Caregiving

Having a chronic illness and caregiving -- both -- are tiring. And often frustrating. In different ways, but sort of the same too.

It's not about being happy or unhappy, per se. It's just stressful and overwhelming....and it gets real easy to see some annoying things about your situation.

So I'm gonna take a moment here to get out some of the peeves I have, m'kay? Because it's healthy to do so, right? Right.

1. It's chronic, meaning continuing for a long time.

2. The long, ongoing nature of chronic illness (and caring for someone who is chronically ill) drains you and wears you down, with little or no reward.

3. It seems that it is less serious to those on the outside looking in, because the chronically ill person might not necessarily be dying.

4. The world sees a handful of disabled people doing extraordinary things, so maybe you should too! When in reality, just managing daily life activities while maintaining a decent attitude and sense of humor is extraordinary enough.

5. We often don't have anywhere to put our anger and frustrations besides on each other, causing more stress.

6. Managing it all takes so much time. Phone call after phone call after request for help after swallowing of pride after coordination of schedules and and and....

7. Our state (and probably most states) has a program that will pay a friend or family member of a sick person to be their caregiver....unless your caregiver is your spouse.

8. "Spousal caregiver" is apparently an oxymoron.

9. You can't take a vacation from chronic illness. If you try to take some kind of "vacation", it comes with you.

10. What she said:

I'm beginning to think this "barely-holding-it-together" feeling is life-long. And that kind of pisses me off. Will I ever feel like I have my shit together?

Bonus: You don't ever feel like anything will go according to plan. This has become painfully obvious lately, as I think I've had maybe two days that went the way I thought they would in the last two weeks.

But hey, I'm exercising my patience muscle and may one day be able to do the splits because I've become so flexible!

February 26, 2015

An Inventory of Feelings

Everything that has occurred over the past year with my husband's diabetes and dialysis complications has caused many changes that we are still grappling to deal with and adjust too.

It doesn't happen over night. Just when I think we might be getting the hang of it, we have a terrible day that feels like taking 10 steps backward.

That may not be true, but it feels that way.

Mark and I are both doing our very best to take things in stride. We can problem solve -- how he will get to and from dialysis or having grab bars strategically installed -- but there are many feelings that come with the physical challenges.

You can't really problem solve feelings. Except maybe to express them, get them off your chest.

Sometimes, though, someone's feelings hurt your feelings.

February 23, 2015

No Colds or Flu This Winter? Knock on Wood!

This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/P&G.

February is almost over.

It's unseasonably warm. Where I am, anyway.

Chirpy birds are once again trying to make their springtime home inside a vent opening on the side if my house.

Cherry blossoms are budding, even blooming.

All of this is happening....and no one in my family has had a bad cold or flu.

February 20, 2015

What Compassion Means to Me

Earlier this week I posted about what a pretty perfect day for me would be like.

I wrote it that way because of how overwhelmed by my life I was feeling in that moment, and I wanted to speak up for my personal happiness and sanity.

But before sitting down to write that post, I had thought I might write about what I would want for the world at large, if I had my way.

About things that really matter to me, that tug at my heart and I feel compassion for.

Not that fixing any of those things would be easy. But in a perfect world....


I asked my 9 year old son if he knew what compassion was. He said he sort of does, that "it's when you have compassion for people".

When I asked him to clarify what having compassion for people IS, he didn't really know what to say.

I told him that you have compassion for others when you are able to put yourself in their place for a minute and try to get a sense of what their life is like. When you see what some one's circumstances are and feel something about it. Maybe you want to help, or maybe you just show concern. It's also when you are KIND to others because they need some kindness.

My son's attention started to drift so I stopped there. But there's quite a bit more to it, isn't there?

February 17, 2015

My Way or the Highway

Did you know today is My Way Day?

I'm a sucker for these silly daily "observances". I mean, why not?

My BFF -- also named Jennifer -- calls it taking a "Jen Zen" day.

If I had my way -- totally and completely -- for one whole day...

February 12, 2015

The Time I Couldn't Get Drunk...Until I Did

This one time....

I got so drunk I thought I was going to die of alcohol poisoning.

No joke, you guys.

Well, I mean, I wasn't seriously so drunk I could have died from alcohol poisoning. Buuuuttt....I was very young and naive, so I thought I was.

Let me also add, that I knew someone who did die of alcohol poisoning a few years prior, and I guess that traumatized me more than I knew at the time.

OK so, here's the silly story:

It was like 1995-97, somewhere in there. Probably can't remember exactly because I was drunk.

I was no more than 21 or 22.

February 11, 2015

How I Really Feel About Valentine's Day

When my daughter doesn't like something she says it "can go die in a hole".

Not sure I feel quite that strongly about Valentine's Day, but close.

I haven't always been a V-Day poo-poo-er. Oh no, I I'm usually a hopeless hopeful romantic. When others would contend that couples shouldn't need a special day to express their love for each other, I would think they're just being difficult and contrary. Is there something wrong with buying your love a box of chocolates?

But this year, looking around at all the pink and red, heart-shaped, cutesy, frilly, fluffy sweet shit in every store is....kind of making me what to hurl.

February 9, 2015

8 Ways to Save Money

I'm not super comfortable talking openly about money with most people. It's something that is just too easy to pass judgement on. I learned this 11 years ago when Mark and I went through bankruptcy after our relocation to Washington state.

But life around my house has changed quite a bit over the last 12 months, and part of those changes involve money. This is due mostly to my husband's chronic health conditions and his working less and less (and eventually not at all) ,which in turn has an impact on our budget.

I mean, obviously.

And I have found that some people are curious about how we make ends meet. Because of my hesitation to discuss personal money matters, I could simply say it's none of anyone's business. It really isn't, after all. However, I have been tweaking what we do and don't spend money on -- because I've absolutely had to -- and I thought perhaps what I've done could be of help to someone else.