June 4, 2008

Routines in Caregiverville

No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. Don, me and the new puppy are poking along as usual, trying to establish and keep to a schedule for summer.

We've never been good with keeping old people hours---you know those people who are up with the pre-dawn glow and go to bed soon after the mauves, purples and butter creams of the setting sun give way to night. I both admire and hate the early risers. I could never willingly do that. Even so, since Levi came into our lives I've been getting up each morning at 8:00 sharp without using of an alarm clock. And after he gets his duty done outside, I write or cruise around the Internet until 9:30 when Don rolls out of the bedroom, fully dressed except for one sock and singing his happy aphasic greeting to the world. We then have breakfast together and get our showers in before noon. This is our post-puppy morning routine.

I love my first hour of the day for its whisper quietness. There's no TV screaming out at top volume to compensate for Don's hearing loss, drowning out the sound of the birds drift in the window. There's no singing of random or made-up words coming out of Don. That first hour of the morning I am all alone with my thoughts, my keyboard and sometimes when I feel like making it, a good cup of coffee. Quiet is a rare commodity in my life, especially now that we've added puppy barking to the mix. We know now what they mean when they say schnauzers 'talk' to you. Levi's got the play-with-me bark. The look-at-me-I just-learned-something-new bark and the bark that says, "I think I'm supposed to do this when I want to pee." He also aspires to herd birds so he's constantly barking at them. The trouble is I still can't tell his barks apart but I'm learning. Cooper barked once in his last year of life and it literally shocked me because it was such a rare occurrence for him to do that.

Routine. We are falling into a summer routine that gets us out every afternoon for lunch, errands or appointments and back home again an hour before the nightly news. Then Don takes a nap, Levi plays and I do a few household chores and by dark I'm ready to settle down in front of the computer. Egads, I've turned into one of those predictable persons! If it's Tuesday this must be swimming class. If it's Friday it must be time to recycle and eat hot dogs by the dam. Routine is good, though. At our ages, being without a routine means either we're in crisis mode or we've stacked our schedule so full it's humanly impossible for a woman with a bad knee and a man in a wheelchair to accomplish. A too full schedule risks us driving to Crazyville and crashing there so we can't finding our way back out. Yes, routine---boring as it might seem to others---is a good thing.

I've been writing a lot lately, working on my book about aphasia and apraxia and the 'joys' of caregiving. And I've been blogging for the dog quite often, plus yesterday I entered a contest with a $5,000 prize. That was an exciting day, being on the writers' forums as we all worked our way through the one-day-only submission process and the glitches that happen when a mass of people flood a website. Not much chance of me winning but it was fun to dream about it for a while, like buying a lotto ticket and dreaming big for a few hours. If it gets published, I'll post a link to the article. I'm quite excited about the discovery I made and wrote about and I want to share it with the stroke and caregiver community.

Speaking of sharing, if you or someone you know cares for a parent with any sort of disability check out Caring.com. It's a great site with lots of caregiver resources. I no longer care for a parent but a lot of their resources works for the spouse-caregivers as well. ©


Unnr said...

Yeay! Book! I will look forward to that book :)

Stephanie Trelogan said...

I'm looking forward to your book, too. I love your writing so much. Personally, I don't think your winning the contest is a long shot at all...

Please keep us posted!

BookingAlong said...

I really like that caregiving site you noted. I,too, relish the early morning before anyone else is up. It is my time, with only birds singing outside or a light rain falling as background noises.