Friday, July 24, 2015

Crazy Days

Buddy at the vet for the 2nd time in a week
It's been kind of crazy around here lately. I guess I should have realized it would get that way before getting the puppy. How can one little pooch be as rambunctious as 101 Dalmatians? I think I've set a world record with the number of times I've said "potty, pee and poo" in one day. To make matters worse, we found out yesterday Buddy's got an intestinal thing going on.  Once we get that cleared up maybe the number of trips outside will be less frequent.

I thought he was catching on. Running to me like the Purina Puppy Chow puppy, when he heard my kissing sounds. Loving the treats he gets for responding. Alas, now he's decided to do things in his own time and own way. This morning he actually turned his back on me to chew on bark as if to say, "yeah, yeah, I know it's potty time. I heard you the first time. I'll get to it when I'm ready." Perhaps we've bitten off more than we can chew. How long does it take to turn a puppy into a couch potato?

Sweetie has also had a rough few days.  We went out to lunch and a book signing with my sister and husband. Sweetie got a little mixed up while trying to recount a recipe he'd read on FB. I could tell he was searching for the right word(s) and getting frustrated. What I couldn't tell, and probably should have, was that he was also feeling embarrassed. He clammed up, chugged his coffee and made it know he was ready to leave. I missed the signs. Although I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do when/if I see a sign.

Later he got angry about something. Completely out of character he got in my face and demanded I do what he wanted me to do. I am not sure what possessed me to stand my ground and not go slinking into a corner like the puppy after Maizey growls at him. Sweetie shouted at me. I shouted back. The stalemate was broken when he picked up Buddy and huffed out of the room. All this happened during our Sunday night PBS shows. I stayed in the den. Sweetie watched in the bedroom.

It took us both about 24 hours to realize the anger was more from that "out of control" feeling than the actual situation. That realization doesn't make the shouting okay. It just makes it easier not to take it so personally.

Then he tried to fix something on the car. I won't say it was an easy fix, but one that he's done before. After messing with it and getting nowhere, he said "uncle" and headed for Pep Boys where the price went from changing a light bulb, to needing tires and a bunch of things in between. So he went to Maaco where he once worked.  They couldn't fit him in, but had time to reminisce about "the good old days." Nothing like remembering the past to remind you you're having trouble remembering the present.  He made a couple more stops before finding someone who could replace the broken part and light bulb. He came home dripping in sweat, feeling frustrated and waving the bill like a white flag of surrender.

"I'm scared," he told me later, with tears silently dripping onto his cheeks. "I think I may be crossing over into the next stage."

While all this was happening to Sweetie, I noticed I've how jittery I've been feeling. Loud noises set me on edge. I'm having trouble focusing on more than one thing at a time. Instead of making me grateful for the water, the heat index of 100+ degrees, afternoon storms, and lack of daily walk make me crabby. Under the circumstances, all these feelings for both of us are undoubtedly to be expected.

  • More than 40% of family caregivers report that the emotional stress of their role is high or very high. (Alzheimer’s Disease International)
  • In 2014, Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers had $9.7 billion in additional health care costs of their own. (Alzheimer’s Association)
  • Seventy-four percent of caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias reported that they were “somewhat concerned” to “very concerned” about maintaining their own health since becoming a caregiver. (Alzheimer’s Association)
Since I've spent the last 20 years as a caregiver at both ends of the age spectrum, I know there's one sure way of not going crazy. Give up trying to be in control. Let things unfold as they will. Go with the flow.  I'm trying, like anything else, it takes practice. As Martha Beck suggests, "Practice staying calm all the time, beginning with situations that aren't tense."

Looking forward to some less tense times,
Merry ME

1 comment:

Debbie said...

In two blinks Buddy will be past all this puppy stuff....really....I promise...honest....Buddy came to you for all the right reasons. Take a deep breathe and enjoy the best of his puppy hood. Hang in there.
As for you and Sweetie, I wish there was a quick fix to help out. As much as possible be gentle and be kind (of this I speak for myself, it's so easy to be angry and get frustrated and some of this stems with stuff that is out of my control), just be thankful for each day together.
Tomorrow is a new day.
Have a good weekend!