Friday, January 10, 2014

Alternative Paths

Sometimes we end up going down roads we don't expect to travel on. Other times we know that we're going to have to go places thinking that we'll take a certain path and then discovering that we have to travel to places we hadn't planned on going. It is certainly that way with life; here I expected to be doing something now that is totally different than what I am doing. While I'm not especially happy about the detour I am on, I figure that there has to be a reason for it.

As many of you know, I was planning on starting PA school this week. As you also know, that didn't come to pass. I'm still smarting over that, but I've gotten past the major upset and disappointment I initially felt when I discovered I wasn't going to be able to attend. Since I had to give up my spot in this class start, there have been a number of things that have happened, either to me or to my loved ones, that made me realize that there was probably a good reason why I couldn't go. The people in my life that I'm referring to are my mother and Martha, my wife.

First, my mom. I'm pretty sure I've talked about this in past posts. If not, bear with me.

My mom is in failing health. Among other things, she has dementia. Her short term memory is almost completely gone, her energy levels are nearly non-existent, and she depends on others - namely my siblings and me - for much of her care. It is only a matter of time before she ends up in a situation where she will need to be in long term care. Additionally, she has been dealing with an issue related to internal blood loss, requiring her to undergo regular blood transfusions.This has been ongoing; we noticed the decline in her cognitive function a number of years ago and we've watched her slowly deteriorate further as time has gone on. To make things more interesting, my sister, who as been her primary caregiver for quite some time now, was injured at work back during the late part of the summer. She is still recovering. And while she's been out, my brother and I have picked up much of her load. This actually, at least for me, has been a blessing because while I knew what was going on, I didn't really know the full scope of the issues my mother faces. And my brother has been absolutely wonderful as he has picked up much more than I ever could. Plus, he handles her incredibly well, which is a blessing in itself. Between us we do what we can for her. And it is challenging.

As sick as she is, my mother continues day to day. We are constantly amazed that she is still plugging along the way she is. That said, we figure it is due to one of three things: she either has an incredible will to live, she has an ingrained fear of death, or some combination of the two. I don't know which it is.

The other thing I've dealt with is helping my wife through a difficult period. She had to deal with a terrible situation at her workplace. While I can't discuss details, suffice it to say that it has been really hard for her because of the personalities involved. Ultimately, she has to change jobs because of the issues involved. And she did this at great personal sacrifice. Consequently, it has resulted in some financial losses for us, making life a bit more challenging than either of us would like. But we're getting through it, and we're grateful for the patience we've been shown.

As it turns out, I have student loans coming due starting next week. I'm now having to pay the price for my education. While it has been totally worth it I'm finding that I have to work a little more - actually, a lot more - so that I can cover that debt. I am hopeful that when I actually can start PA school (with any good luck I'll be able to start a year from now, but we'll see) I'll be able to defer the debt or, if possible, find a way to get as much as possible paid off prior to starting the program. But when all is said and done, that simply remains to be seen. I'll just have to do what I can for now.

One sort of positive in this is that I am starting a new, additional job on the 27th of January. I was hired to work as a Paramedic in the Emergency Department at Catholic Medical Center in Manchester. It is part time; I'll be working 24 hours each week there, and I don't know what my schedule will be as of yet. It comes at a good time; with some of the changes we've undergone, the additional income will be helpful.

So the bottom line of this is simple. We don't always have control of the things we plan to do in our lives. Often in fact we have no control. And you can either fight it or roll with it. I've found over time that rolling with it is less injurious, plus we can find when we handle changes in a positive way we are sometimes given gifts as a result. I'm not sure that this will be the case, but I'm interested in seeing if I'm right. If I am, I'm sure I'll talk about it.

1 comment:

Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

Walt, we too are caring for a parent with worsening dementia. All we can do is do the best we can.

Sending you and Mrs T our thoughts, prayers and best wishes.