Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Not my favorite Christmas

The first full day of my vacation to The Homeland was spent almost entirely in my pajamas, until I finally showered and dressed in normal clothes sometime after 5 PM.

Sounds divine, non?

Non. Not even a little bit. I didn't stay in my pajamas all day by choice. It just so happens that my arrival home the day before coincided with my father's arrival home from a 3.5 day hospital stay, and the next day it was my duty to be his primary caretaker.

Now, it was a scheduled surgery, not an accident, and he's going to be just fine or even more than in a few months. Yes, it was scheduled for the time I'd be home since Mom and One of My Siblings (the other missed Christmas with us this year) both work and the doctors said that it was either have someone available for him 24/7 for the first week or he was to go to a rehab hospital for post-op care.


The idea was that we'd trade off shifts and no one person would have to shoulder most of the responsibility. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way, and I took point with my mother close behind and Sibling a helpful, but a little more removed third.

That first day alone was awful. Dad needed something constantly, whether it was a machine adjusted, a urinal emptied (luckily, I stopped gagging about this the third time), food, meds, drinks, physical therapy assistance, and so on. He was finally okay on his own for my brief shower, but I cried before, during, and after said shower, partly because the whole thing was wearing me out and partly because I was so mad at myself for feeling so worn out and selfish, and it was only Day 1.

The good news is that it got better. Dad got stronger and gained more independence each day, and we sort of fell into a somewhat predictable routine. Despite everything, it was still mostly refreshing to be home. There's also something to be said about fighting and going through hellish ordeals with someone you're in a committed relationship with, something I don't often experience. You know that no matter what you say and do, you still love each other and WILL work it out. Of course, that makes some things sting more, but it still gives you hope.

Of course, I do wish that my dad had not once, but three times, not used his lucid moments to get after me and my lack of dating life. The last time was actually during Christmas breakfast and found me 1) swearing in front of my parents for the first time in my life (it was only "damn" and used for emphasis, but still) 2)storming off and 3)crying on the bathroom floor for an hour.

Not really a Christmas memory I wish to keep, but only one of the three of us in that conversation was on heavy medication at the time. He'll remember it happened, but he won't really remember all the details.

But like I said, it did get better. Even if neither my mom nor I had a full night's sleep (there were meds to given in the middle of the night) and taking care of a middle-aged post-op man is surprisingly like unto taking care of an infant, at least I was with my family. I did get out of the house a few times, and I showered, at some point, every day. Christmas itself didn't suck entirely and by the end of the week, there was far more laughter than tears. Plus, I never actually had to watch my dad relieve himself or bathe him, which would just have been embarrassing for both of us.

It was just a MAJOR adjustment to go from my solitary life to taking care of my father full-time, and not the vacation I was hoping for. I am most certainly glad I was able to be home for and with my family. If I had to, I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

I feel for those who have to take care of a parent or spouse full-time for more than a week. I don't know how you do it. I hope this experience helps me less self-centered the next time I have an opportunity to serve in a major capacity, or even a minor one. I know I learned quite a bit about communication and patience this week, I just hope I can keep those lessons with me.

I also wish my dad a very speedy recovery, and Mom and Sibling the patience to carry on without me.

How was your Christmas?

Friday, December 17, 2010

You're sweet and all...

...But please don't set me up with anyone. This is a universal statement to everyone in my world right now: Please Don't Set Me Up With Anyone. Period.

I'm not quite sure why I'm balking at this so hard all of a sudden. Maybe it's because the last time someone offered to set me up I freaked out a little. Another friend just asked what my dating range was, and I almost told her to shut up and leave me alone. I just can't do it right now. At all. The mere THOUGHT of going on a blind date makes me almost gag or cry.

As Jinxie and Roxie have said, just because you're both single doesn't mean you actually have anything in common, and I'm tired of people assuming things about my personality. I'm tired of thinking about dating. I just want to be left alone to live my life, do my job, enjoy my hobbies, and help my family (there's a confession coming about helping my family, but I'm not sure just yet if I should talk about it here or not) without worrying about living up to some standard on a blind date.

So, please. If you want me to meet someone, invite me over for dinner or a game night or a movie with other friends and don't you DARE call it a set-up or a blind date. Just let me get to know people on my own terms.

And, please, as shallow as this is, don't even suggest anyone who is shorter than me. It will just be awkward for both of us.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Grown up nightmares

I don't remember the nightmares I had as a kid. I'm sure I had them, since every child does. They probably had something to do with people or monsters coming to get me, but I'd always wake up in the safety of my own bed and the dream would be over.

Even now, I don't really have bad dreams all that often. I do sometimes have to fight bad guys in my dreams, and I can never seem to land a punch or kick, which is frustrating as hell, but there are no bad guys when I wake.

Last night, however, I had an absolutely terrible, emotional dream. I'd gone to bed a little upset, slept not so well, and then had this awful dream, so when I woke up this morning, I was in a supremely cranky/sad mood. I even cried a little before I got out of bed. It's not the way I'd choose to start my day again.

In my dream, I was on a group date with some friends from church, probably two or three other couples. I don't recall what we were doing, or even who my date was, but all seemed well and good. The second half of our date was a dinner at the home of one of my ward friends. His parents, who I actually work with in a church capacity in real life, had set up lovely tables for two all over the house.

For some reason, I had traveled there alone and my date was meeting me there. I was the first of the couples to show, and I thought about moving my car. When I commented on this aloud, my friend's father actually called me a terrible thing that I don't even want to repeat here. Then, as I waited for my date to show, couple after couple arrived and found a table. Our group grew to about 10 or so couples, and my date was still a no show.

That's when my dream truly became my current version of a nightmare. As an introvert, being the odd one out in a group is one of my absolute least favorite things, and here I was in a large group, practically the 21st wheel - even our hosts were cold towards me. I wandered through the house, peered out windows, and felt incredibly out of place. It was becoming increasingly apparent that my date was not going to be coming at all.

I was all alone in a group of people that continued to grow in size. I'd been bailed on mid-date. And there was nothing I could do.

It's no surprise I cried upon waking.

I haven't been in best of moods today (it being Fast Sunday and not eating until 8 PM did NOT help), but at least it wasn't a total crap day overall. Church was nice, I decorated my tree, and as soon as I publish this, I'm going to have a brownie.

But heaven help me if tonight is anything like the last.