November 11, 2008 (This Day at This Time)

Today started for me with another altercation with Carole around the sleep issue.  This time I got angry, then sad.  She still doesn’t get it.  It seems to me that she still doesn’t care.

One thing, though, I think, is that my escalating distress will eventually get her to respond.  I think.  I know a lot of couples don’t actually sleep together in the same bed because of sleep difficulties, and I do think we’re headed that way.  I tried once or twice when Erika was away at school to sleep in Erika’s bed, and I liked it.  It’s a real challenge for us to coordinate our hours and sleep habits, and basically, it seems to me that Carole doesn’t care how little I sleep.  Or she doesn’t care enough to change her habits.  When Erika moves out, I think I will spend more and more time in her bed, and I don’t want to do that.

So after that start I walked the dog in the cold, and it’s getting very cold.  Last winter I set my limit at 20 degrees.  It has gotten to be just around 30 once or twice so far this year.  The wind makes it much worse.  I can’t imagine that the dog doesn’t mind it, but she doesn’t seem to.  She’s some kind of long-haired labby-type mix.  I’ve committed myself to walking her for ten minutes twice a day as long as it’s not pouring and not under 20.  In December I plan to add a minute each time.  It’s not much, but I’m working my way back from a traumatic dog walking experience.

I had two meetings at work today.  One was with a new client, his father and sister.  The father and his wife have adopted four children with “special needs,” the client being the oldest at 21.  The youngest was a tiny girl, five years old but wearing a size 18-months little coat.  She didn’t make a sound the whole time they were there – over an hour.  They really seemed like such wonderful people, the type of people I greatly admire and that I’m a bit jealous of.  It was nice to know that I can help them in some small way.

The second meeting was at the home of a client I’ve had for about eight years now, and she’s one of my favorites.  She lives with her mother and her mother doesn’t drive, so we meet at her home.  Two years ago, this client was on a respirator, and when they removed the respirator, her lungs collapsed.  They put the respirator back.  They said that they would try again, but that if it didn’t work, she would have to be on it for the rest of her life.  She wouldn’t be able to eat food the regular way, and she wouldn’t be able to attend her day program where I work.  Her mother decided then that if she couldn’t make it when they removed it, she would let her daughter go.  She said it would be no life for her, on a machine, drugged or restrained so she wouldn’t fight the machine, unable to eat or go anywhere.  They removed it, and she breathed.

So her meeting was very nice.  As we were leaving, her mother told me and the other woman from my work how grateful she is that her daughter has a great place to go every day.

Now I’ll confess a bit.  At the first meeting, two teachers from the school where the client is a student attended the meeting.  As often happens, they are surprised to hear that we work all summer, and don’t have big vacations at holidays either.  Not only that, but what they don’t know is that we do all this for a quarter of the money they make, with no pension, no tenure, poor me poor me pour me a drink!  It sucks, and as much as I try not to let it, it makes me feel crappy for a time.

But not mostly, not today.  Usually meetings are a boring time suck, but those two were great.  I can make a real difference in the lives of these people, and I love to do it.  This makes all my work drama well worth it.  I think it does.

At home after work I walked the dog again, then Carole offered to walk her with me and so we walked again.  My walk was only ten minutes long, and ours was probably 15, if that, so really it was only 35 minutes today, plus whatever the puppy sitter did.  OK I’ll stop now.

Erika said she would go to our friends’ house for Christmas and I am shocked and grateful.  Now I’ll walk the dog and get ready for bed.  Just kidding!  No more walks for that girl today, but tomorrow morning I will gratefully get up and do it again.

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