Advice to Partner Caretakers

Yesterday we had a difficult time with Babu.  For a while now, she just hasn’t been quite herself.  No eminent danger, she’s in no pain, and she will be 99 on the 11th, so we must take that into account when we see that she is sleeping most of the day and having low appetite on some days. It is her cough we really wanted checked out.  So we made an appointment and it happened to be the same day she had an appointment to get new hearing aides.  Both were crucial, so we decided to keep both.  And it was a tough day on Babu.  She just wanted to sleep.  And it got tougher when we found out we needed to drag her a different building to get a chest x-ray.  So three appointments in one day.  Getting her in and out of the car multiple times, getting her in and out of the wheel chair, her coat on and off, having to wake her up to communicate with her doctors, having her blood drawn, having to change out of her clothes into a gown to take the x-ray.  It was all a very lot on her.

And then at home we had to help her with a clean catch urine sample.  Fun.

By the point Babu was home from the x-ray Adam and I were toast.  Babu got to lie down and she was actually in great spirits, but we had more to do and we were frayed.  We were worried and aggravated and we snapped a few times.  But we laughed a lot yesterday.  In between appointments Babu was resting and Adam and I spied a squirrel in the tree right outside our window eating the buds off of our flowering dogwood.  Adam says:  “I’m gonna shoot him.”  Adam went to get one of his Nerf guns and we did just that.  We took turns aiming the darts (not those new balls, they hurt a little bit) at a squirrel and pulling the trigger.  I can promise you we didn’t hurt him because for five rounds he didn’t even move!  He finally moved down into the hole in the tree that every year he tries to steal from the grackles.  I guess he succeeded this year, and therefore deserved a few darts to the hindquarters.

I credit my husband with knowing how to break up a stressful day with something cathartic.  (Yes, shooting that squirrel was indeed cathartic.)  If he doesn’t come upon an out letting opportunity, he makes one.  That’s why we have so many drums in our house, and so many toy guns and a room dedicated entirely to legos.

How do I break he tension?  Well, I need to say something entirely strange and witty to a random stranger.  Mostly because I can’t be mature about pee.

Here is the situation:

We had to do a urine sample and with the way the day was going, I thought it would be a lot easier on Babu to take it at home.  It was!  But then I had to go, at 6:00 at night, to the basement of the local hospital, and drop off the sample so that the doctor could have the results the next morning.  So I went into the basement of the hospital and began to wander around.  After a while, my husband called:

Husband:  Hey, where are you?

Me:  At the hospital.

Husband:  You got the pee?

Me:  Yes.  But I don’t know where I’m going.

Husband:  You’re just walking around the basement with pee?

Me:  Yup.  Hah, no it’s in my purse.

Husband:  You got a purse-a-pee?

Me:  Yup.  But I don’t know where I’m going.  I’ll have to ask.  What do you want?

Husband:  Well you left so quickly.

Me:  Yea, I wanted to get things done and not be complaining.  I want to be helpful.

Husband:  You were a help.  You did all the appointments.

Me:  Yea you’re giving her dinner though.

Husband:  I know.

I hung up and asked the next person I saw:

A little quietly and uncomfortably:  “I have to drop off a urine sample, do you know where I go?”  He pointed me in a direction and I got lost again and had to ask another orderly looking person the same question.  Then when I finally got to the right window I look at the woman and confidently stated:

“I need to offload a urine sample.”  I think the woman actually appreciated it.

On the way out of the hospital I texted my husband:

I already miss it!


I should have known not to get attached.

He told me he didn’t understand until he was walking down the drive way with the trash and said:

“Oh peeeeee!”

We laughed a lot yesterday.

Ok, I have a feeling that you need an explanation as to why I am telling you all of this.  Well here is why.  I cannot tell you how many times my husband and I have fought, argued, distanced ourselves, or snapped hurtful things just because we were worried about our responsibilities as caretakers or our day was just difficult.  But I also can’t count how many times we looked at each other and just laughed some of the tension right off, times we stumbled upon self care, times we took care of each other.  We would not have survived it if weren’t for our sense of humor.  We wield it like a sword to cut through this heavy shit.  We are quirky, weird, and immature sometimes.  Thank god.

So here is my advice:

  1.  Divide and conquer.  You don’t always have to do the difficult things together.  Sometimes one of you can be getting something else difficult and undesirable done at the same time.
  2. Realize that you are going to fight.
  3. Realize that you are also so lucky to have someone who is in it with you.
  4. Practice self care, even if you only have 5 minuets.  That’s plenty of time to shoot a squirrel with a Nerf gun.
  5. Laughter. Laughter, laughter, laughter.  And some times you have to create it.  Just do it.  Go up to a stranger and tell them you have pee in your purse and ask if they want it.  (It’s a good idea that that stranger be the person who works at the lab.)

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Laughter IS the best medicine. I’m glad you have a partner who understands that. Being playful is not the same as being immature. You guys are very mature and adult, or you wouldn’t be able to do what you do for Babu. Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

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