One of the challenges I face as a caregiver is switching gears in mid-thought. Of course, being a mother certainly helped prepare me for that duty but I always switch reluctantly. I’m the type of person who likes closure. I like to start a project, focus on it, get it done. Not being able to finish something frustrates me considerably. Needless to say, I’m frustrated a lot.
I work from home as I’ve mentioned many times before. After I get Lynn and myself ready for the day, I “go to work” at my computer. I have a job that takes a lot of concentration so when I’m working on a document or trying to advise someone over the phone, it’s difficult when my concentration is broken. I’ve become pretty good at continuing a conversation on the phone while I insert a catheter, put him to bed, feed him, dress him, etc. but I’m not so good at trying to listen to what he’s saying at the same time I’m trying to listen to a person on the phone. I know from my training that the human mind can only think one thought at a time so when he’s asking me one thing and the person on the phone is asking something else, one of those thoughts has to be repeated. It’s usually his but there is always an internal debate on which conversation should I consider first.
Then there’s the frequent, “can you come here for just a minute?” which is never just a minute. Like last night I was working on a document and he needed me for “just a minute.” It was 45 minutes later when I got back. By then I had to totally re-read everything I had just written and get back into the topic. Of course, 15 or 20 minutes later (sometimes sooner), he’s back with something he forgot he needs…and I start over again. I do eventually get it done but I admit, I sometimes get pretty short with him.
Tonight I was working on something and he decided to nap. He got up two hours later and was a little miffed that I had let him sleep so long. I told him I thought he must have needed the sleep since he didn’t wake up. He countered with, “you just wanted me out of your hair for a while.” He was right. It’s just so nice not to get interrupted.
I thought when my kids grew up, that interrupting thing would be over for the most part. I realized recently that I’ll now have the type of life I had raising kids for a very long time to come (if we’re both lucky enough to live a long time.) It’s not what I expected for our future but that’s okay. There are still the naps that come fairly often and maybe one day soon he’ll be strong enough that he won’t need me as much. Somehow, I expect I may miss being needed when that happens…at least some…but I think I could get used to it.