Then why don’t we act on the obvious solution and solve the problem!

She napped for over five and a half hours today.  She napped for over three and a half hours during the day yesterday.  I can’t remember how long she napped the day before that.  Isn’t it obvious?  Just keep her up during the day and she will sleep through the night.

I just read an article in the online newsletter from ScienceNews.  Apparently a recent study using rats associates sleep deprivation with an increased risk of experiencing Alzheimer’s Dementia.  The assumption was that the sleep problems were a result of the disease.  It now seems possible that they are part of the disease process itself. (Yes, I, too, wonder how a technician can determine if a rat has Alzheimer’s Dementia —  actually, I do know the answer to that, but I am not saying here — suffice it to say, once the information is obtained, the rat no longer needs his/her pension.)

Back to the solution.  Why not just keep her up all day?  I am sure that solution seems obvious.  If it is hard to keep a two-year-old awake when those eyes fall shut and that little body goes limp, if it is hard two get a two year old up early from a nap without a major meltdown, imagine trying to get a strong-willed, independent adult who has a right to make her own choices up from a nap when she wants and needs very much to continue sleeping.

I can remember a day some weeks ago when I managed to keep her up all day with trips here and there.  She was restless that night anyway, up and down for most of it.  On the other side of it, while things may change at any time, after having that more than five and a half hour nap today, she was tired and went to bed early this evening.  She has been sleeping soundly for the three and a half hours since then.

Obvious solutions don’t always work.  With that said, I admit that it would make sense to try to get her to sleep less during the day to increase the likelihood of sleeping soundly at night.  One of the struggles with being very assertive in waking her up is that when she is napping, I have time to myself.  I am able to concentrate on tasks and accomplish things that can’t be done when Mary Ann is awake, up and about.

Today was a spectacularly beautiful day, warm and breezy.  With the video monitor on the table next to me, I was able to sit on the deck and read, while enjoying weather, the waterfall, the birds (hummingbirds buzzing over me regularly).  I finished the book on weight control (The Volumetrics Eating Plan) with time left over for a snack of potato chips (just kidding).  I did try to get Mary Ann up a number of times after the first three of the five and a half hours, but she just couldn’t do it.  She had said she felt pretty bad when she laid down this morning — no wonder after two nights of almost no sleep.I knew she needed the rest.

I guess, if I appreciate the time the daytime napping gives me, I shouldn’t whine about the restless nights.  I concede the point.  The glitch is that I am not getting much sleep either.  I could try to nap whenever she naps.  That also makes sense.  Were I to do that, my every waking moment would be centered around her needs.  To survive and remain useful to Mary Ann, I need some time to myself when I am awake.

Sometimes obvious solutions don’t really work as well as logic would suggest they should.  I suspect that those looking in from the outside lose patience when obvious solutions are not used to solve the problem about which the Caregiver is complaining

As I was preparing to write this post, I thought about the legions of Caregivers out there.  First of all, every parent has experienced the challenges of caregiving, unless they have abandoned their responsibility to their child[ren].  Single parents, especially those with more than one child have challenges I can’t even begin to comprehend.  There are many who have responsibilities to their children (they never end, no matter how old the children become) and at the same time responsibilities in caring for their aging parents.  There are those who have severely troubled children, physically and/or mentally.  They struggle to care for them, some have to make tough choices demanding allowing others to do the care at a facility outfitted for that care, having around the clock staff to give that care.

I have the luxury of having only one person who needs my full time attention.  Gratefully, our children do not need our care.  In fact they are members of the sandwich generation, raising their children and concerned for our needs as well.

All in all, I guess I should stop whining.  I won’t, but I should.  I think those who are full time Caregivers need some whining time.  Blogging is great, since it creates the illusion that there are people listening.

Whether anyone is listening or not, it helps to talk about it.

If you want to write a comment about this or any of the posts on this blog, look to the column on the right side of this page, titled “Recent Posts,”  click on the name of a post and you will find a box at the end of that article in which you can write a comment.  Clicking on the title of the post you are reading will accomplish the same thing.  Comments are appreciated.

I got up at 5:30am on Saturday, showered, dressed and was ready by five minutes to 6:00am to start the process of getting ready to go to Kansas City for the Parkinson’s Symposium.  We would have to be on the road by 7:30am to make it on time.  I had already complained to the Dr. about the early start time for the target audience who have mobility and sleep problems.  He said the issue was finishing before lunch.  Registration was at 8am and the program started at 9am.  Living an hour and a quarter away added to the time issue.

Since I thought maybe Mary Ann could get ready in an hour (normally including morning chores, the minimum prep time is two hours), I let her sleep another half hour.   At about 6:30am, as I helped her to the commode, she said, let’s stay home.   I knew it would not work to try to force her to go. 

I had initiated plans for a luncheon with friends in Kansas City to celebrate two birthdays members of the group were having.  I told her that at least we ought to go to KC in time for that meal.  After all, I had started the process of arranging the meal out.  She agreed.  We both went back to bed for a couple more hours. 

It was good to visit with friends of thirty-five years.  Even though we are only an hour or so from that crew, we end up getting together only four or five times a year, if that. 

For a variety of reasons, the weekend seemed to provide a number of reality checks that reinforced the level of limits on our lives and the concomitant sense of isolation. 

Sunday morning a Volunteer came.  Edie always brings whatever is needed to leave behind a full meal, very tasty, with lots of variety.  During the Volunteer time I headed up to the Lake for a while and then to the marsh below the dam.   It was a helpful time.  Feeling out of sorts and searching for some sense of renewal, the combination of devotional reading and sensory refreshment was especially meaningful. 

The book (about spiritual formation) is speaking to my need, providing the sort of intellectual framework that fertilizes my roots and generates hope for growth.

What flooded my senses provided the grounding in the natural world that helps me reframe my situation.  As I stood at the edge of the lake, the gulls spread over the water were screaming.  I have no idea why, but they were screaming.  I guess that is just the way gulls vocalize.  Nearby, one gull flew over another that was sitting on the water.  The flying gull made what sounded like some belligerent remarks, and the one on the water started screaming at the one flying.  In other places on the lake, occasionally one gull would crash land into another and a skirmish would ensue.  I don’t think this is mating season.  I will have to ask a birder what was going on. 

There were Cormorants diving for food.  A raucous Great Blue Heron flew by joining the conversation as he flew.   I watched a butterfly go by and come very close to becoming a snack for a Barn Swallow that just grazed it.   

The highlight was what I had seen last week and thought to be a juvenile American Bald Eagle.  My birding expert, whom I call Bob, after I reported the sighting, suggested that due to a flying pattern I descibed it might have been an Osprey.  This week the bird came close enough to confirm that is was an Osprey.  It had the telltale black mask on its face.  In fact it dove into the water right in front of me to get a fish — an unsuccesful fishing trip.  As I continued to watch, another bird appeared in the distance.  It also flew toward me, and I was able to determine that it was a second Osprey. 

I spent some time walking by the marsh, providing a little exercise, much needed.  The lifting and moving and turning of Mary Ann provides some strength training, but my life is pretty much void of any cardiovascular conditioning.  A combination of creativity and discipline seems to be the path toward better physical and spiritual health.  I am better at the creativity than the discipline.  I am way better at talking and thinking than I am at doing. 

We are in another restless night.  It has been no more than fifteen minutes between needs for the last two or three hours.  It is hard to muster the energy for moving from thinking to doing when very tired and tethered to another person whose needs are constant. 

Yesterday there was what felt like the start of the flu during the evening after church and into the night.  Chills came for a time.  Instead of writing a post on this blog, I went to bed in hopes of getting whatever it was to let go.  Since I simply can’t be sick due to Mary Ann’s circumstances, I got better today.  We will see what comes. 

This is a very thoughtful time for me, with lots of feelings converging.  My hope is that there will be enough time for processing, and that a healthier pattern of living will emerge.  At the moment, I am shutting down.  It is time to get to bed!

If you want to write a comment about this or any of the posts on this blog, look to the column on the right side of this page, titled “Recent Posts,”  click on the name of a post and you will find a box at the end of that article in which you can write a comment.  Clicking on the title of the post you are reading will accomplish the same thing.  Comments are appreciated.