Thursday, February 12, 2009

Role Reversal

Over the last few weeks, the Grumps and I have taken on a bit of a role reversal from last year. During the summer and fall, I was completely overwhelmed with the responsibility of managing my Dad's care. I had the support of my sisters, and fortunately we all seemed to agree on almost every decision that was tossed our way. And we were able to reasonably discuss those handful of things that we weren't on exactly the same page about, reaching a compromise that we all could be genuinely satisfied with.

I'm learning just how fortunate I am that we were all able to work together in this way, and that we're even more fortunate to be able to continue to build a sister relationship in the aftermath of losing Dad.

Sadly, it has become painfully obvious over the last few weeks that not all families work this way.

Grumpy's mom is ill - has been for a long loooooooooooooooooooong time. I'm not going to go into too many details here, at least not the specifics, as they aren't my details to share. Just believe me when I say that she's ill.

She's been hospitalized for almost 3 weeks now. In that time, she's had 2 separate extended ICU stays, a dialysis treatment, a surgery, 24 hours on a ventilator, countless medications, and we almost lost her more than once. She's on the long, slow road to recovery now, and we're realistically hoping that she'll be able to go home within the next week or 2.

On the flip side of her almost miraculous recovery (especially this week), is the damage that's been done to the immediate family. Lies have been told, wishes ignored, fights started, secrets kept and betrayed... All levels of human interpersonal ugliness have been explored and exploited. And here I sit, just to the outside of the immediate inside (does that makes sense? let me try this: I'm more involved on a daily basis than Grumpy's siblings because of proximity, but obviously I'm not her daughter, so I try not to take on too much responsibility, or step over the bounds of my "appropriate" role.), wondering what I can do to help, who I should support, and how to do it.

Obviously, my first responsibility is to Grumps. I'm the one that needs to keep things running on our homefront, so that he has a safe place to be without adding additional stress (he was FABULOUS with this for me during the Dad saga). I need to be his place to unload, get angry, be scared, whatever. That part I'm certain of.

But after Grumpy, who should be my priority? I work for his Dad, his Mom is ill and needs all the support she can get, his siblings aren't here in town and feel a bit out of the loop, when his niece or nephew are in town they sometimes need time away from the stress of Grandma being in the hospital. And to be honest, sometimes "choosing sides" isn't an option. Sometimes I'm so disgusted by someone's behavior that I can't stand to hear them, let alone be supportive. Sometimes someone is being so needy and dependent about the circumstances that I want to shake them to remind them that we're ALL going through this.

Sometimes I want to sit in a corner and cry, because Grumpy's Mom is going to come home, and my Dad didn't. And maybe that's what my problem is in all of this.

Maybe it's not my responsibility to be mediator, to take sides, to try to support everyone. Maybe it's ok to just be Grumpy's wife, and to do my best to make sure that HIS needs are met.

Is that ok?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I just realized that it's been 2 weeks since I posted here. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!

Grumpy's mom is in the hospital (has been since last Saturday), so our world has been a bit upside down lately. She's working on getting better, but has a lot of work ahead, and a big surgery to get through. I'll share more details as I'm able.

In other news, I'm still working on my 101 in 1,001, if you're interested in checking out the progress!

Oh, and Zoloft is LOVELY!!! The anxiety is much much better, and I'm sleeping a lot better. I do think I might talk to the doc at my one month follow-up to see if it's worth trying at the next dosage up from where I'm at.