Quiet Time

One of the rarest privileges I have as a caregiver is quiet time.  When I’m awake, I am always listening for his,”Hey, Sweetie,” call that says I’m needed.  During my work day if I’m not taking care of his needs in some way, I’m working.  From the moment I get up…no actually, twenty-four hours a day, I am being called on to either meet his needs, work, or care for our home and personal needs.  Twenty-four hours a day EXCEPT for the time between 10:00 p.m. and when I wake him for dinner around 1:00 a.m. (though tonight I’m letting him sleep longer so I can write this.)

Those three hours are my escape time.  For those three hours, I know (most likely) I can do whatever I want without being interrupted.  During that time I usually finish whatever work is still waiting for my attention, I cook dinner, prepare his meal for the next day, make smoothies for the next day, clean the kitchen, take a shower, eat my own dinner while I listen to a book (my primary form of entertainment) and occasionally throw in a few other chores.  He used to get annoyed at me for letting him sleep so long but he’s finally realized this is MY TIME.  I don’t otherwise have any period of the day where the time is my time and mine alone. 

My time alone is very precious to me.  I don’t want to share it by making phone calls (not that too many people are up socializing that time of night anyway).  I like the opportunity to finish what I’m working on.  I like being able to finish a complete thought without being interrupted.  It’s time I have control of and I can use as I see fit.  Granted I am usually working, not relaxing, but just having control of the time is so much better than the frustration of constant interruption. 

I realize parents maybe thinking that it’s the same for them but it’s not.  With a child, they sleep better and longer hours (I’m up every two – three hours all night every night) and children often go to a friend’s house to play or be handed off to the other parent (if one is in the house).  Not so for me.  Even when others are here, I’m still the primary caregiver and still working around his schedule and needs so it’s not my time.  Therefore, when he talks about making me promise to get him up after two hours, I just can’t bring myself to do it.  I think he’s finally gotten the message that these three hours are my sanity time.  If I didn’t have them, I might actually be bald from pulling my hair out or have had a break with reality.

He’s been asleep now since 10 p.m. so I really do need to go get him up for dinner plus I will get up too late in the morning to have a full day if I don’t get this last job of the day done… so I have to bring this to a close…but I love this time so much that it’s really difficult to bring it to a close.

Oh, well,….

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About mscaregiverdonna

I am a full-time caregiver for my spouse who has Multiple Sclerosis while I try to work full-time, take care of our home, and handle any number of other functions that used to be shared by the two of us. I'm learning that it's amazing what you can do when you have to and when you have God to send you the resources you need to manage moment by moment.
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5 Responses to Quiet Time

  1. Angie Beutel says:

    Donna I love ya and feel every blog you post is either what I am experiencing or just give me a few weeks and I’ll be there! Thank you for your inspiration and strength! I depend on it daily!

    • mscaregiverdonna says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m glad that what I write may be helpful to you in some way. I love to hear from others in my same situation. Thanks for sharing. Donna

  2. Maria says:

    Angie, you read my mind 😉 I feel just the same!
    Donna, I’m already doing that almost every afternoon. My husband usually takes a nap after lunch, and I found myself delaying his wake up hour… I feel terrible, we always did everything possible to be together every hour of the day and now I realise I need those two hours for me. I’m learning to forgive myself for feeling this way… but I know it’s the best for both of us.

  3. I considered working at night, but since caring for Bill required a lot of heavy lifting, I figured I needed to sleep more than I needed to work so I would have enough energy to transfer him from one place to another. I could usually work for a couple of hours at a time during the day once Bill was either at his computer, in his recliner, or taking a nap. Yes, I occasionally delayed getting him up if I wasn’t quite finished with what I was doing, but like the rest of you, I needed that me time.

    Fortunately, I never had to get Bill up at one in the morning for supper. I did have to get up at least once during the night to empty his urinal, but that only took a few minutes, and I was usually able to get right back to sleep. I’m sorry, Donna, you have such a crazy schedule.

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