10 January 2011

Well Now, That Wasn't so Bad, Was It?

Last Thursday night, Scarecrow went up to the high school to keep score at a wrestling tournament. And I stayed home.

It wasn't such a big deal, really. He wasn't gone that long. It was mostly an excuse to do what we've been meaning to do for years, but kept putting off. We had a home care person stay with me while he was gone.

Neither of us wanted to do this, but we need to have a backup plan in place in case anything ever happens to Scarecrow. Or, you know, he just needs a break. From me. Or whatever. So we'll have this agency send somebody to help out for a couple of hours every now and again, just so we've got somebody we can call if we ever need someone to take over for Scarecrow. For whatever reason.

So we did it. They sent a perfectly nice young woman who seemed willing to do whatever I asked of her. She fed the dogs. She reheated some leftovers, and fed them to me for dinner. She swept the dog hair and dust bunnies off of the floor, and, without being asked, took a damp mop to the kitchen tile, which was really pretty disgusting. That all took, I dunno, maybe a third of the time she was here. I'm just not very good at asking for help. I couldn't think of much for her to do.

No. That's not true. There was plenty to do. There was laundry. She could have trimmed my nails. I could have had her help me clear the detritus off the desk. There was plenty to do. I just felt bad about asking her to do it. Even though she was perfectly willing and cheerful, and that's why she was there, for pity's sake! Fortunately, I didn't need to go to the bathroom.

I'm telling myself I'll work up to it. This should be a real milestone, finally getting set up for home healthcare, but it doesn't feel like we're there yet. I need to learn to do this. I need to stop feeling like I should be entertaining the healthcare aide. We don't need to chat. I don't need companionship or conversation. I need to learn to ask for help with chores. I need to learn to let someone help me with those icky personal care things. I can do this.

There's another wrestling tournament next Tuesday. I'll need to be ready.

Who knew it would be this hard?


  1. I have one too, mandated in my case by the State. I too have difficulty telling her what to do. I expect people who have jobs to figure out exactly what needs to be done AND DO IT without asking.

  2. You've mentioned a few times that this has been something you've been meaning to do -- to have backup care so Scarecrow isn't the only one. So, am glad to hear you've taken this step. Yeah, I'd think it awkward too, at least at first. It would be nice if you got the same person next week.

  3. That's a big step you took, and I understand how you feel. Maybe, before the next visit, you could write down the list you gave here as sort of a timed agenda: 5:00 -- prepare dinner; 7:00 -- clean kitchen, etc. You're very fortunate you can have this back-up assistance.

  4. Totally impressed that you took the step and Scarecrow will be able to have some breaks. I do not know how strange it would be I can only imagine - help with the chores etc.having someone else around kinda sounds nice.

    The personal care things would have to take some working up to for me . ...

  5. Best part of blogging about MS is connecting with others. I know that care assistance is coming soon for me. It helps to hear how you are doing with this. Thanks for writing

  6. Yes, those transitional stages. I sooo remember Patti trying to get through that first homecare stage where hospitality or service are confusing. It's not easy because the spouse caregiver relationship has evolved not only through trial and error but is personalized. 'Team Zoomdoggies' takes time to get used to.

    Caregivingly Yours,

  7. A very good friend of mine has a PCA paid for by DSHS. She has her for four days a week for four hours a day. The rules are strict - the PCA isn't to lift her, but to assist her with her personal care, like bathing, etc. and to do light housekeeping and meal preparation. Also she takes her to various appointments and they fudge once in awhile and she joins us for lunch. They've been together for several years, now, and have become quite close. Still, my friend understands that she is her "employer."

    So, good for you for taking this step. It will get easier, I'm sure. I tried to get DSHS to give me one, but I suspect that since I don't use a scooter, or because my DH is always home, they figured I didn't need one. [But if they knew how terrible DH is about keeping up the house and doing the laundry they'd see a different picture. In reality I DO need more help than I get from DH, who insists that I can do things I can no longer do. I guess I should just give in and start using the walker in the house. Oh well. That's a topic for my blog not yours, sorry.]

    Congratulations too, because I'm sure Scarecrow could use some time doing his own thing without worrying about you. So, YAY! for both of you.