For the past two months, my excuse for hibernating is “so busy with the holidays, you know.” So what if I’m busy binge re-reading my Tony Hillerman Leaphorn and Chee books.
There isn’t a better reason for sticking close to home than hearing everyone you know has the flu, or some other mysterious virus. I’ve limited my social interaction to avoid giving or receiving unwanted gifts of disease.
Now, the New Year is here and the “holidays, you know” are so last year. Last weekend was busy from start to finish. By today, I was totally exhausted. It didn’t help that I got four hours sleep for two days in a row followed by one thirteen-hour night to make a healthy seven-hour a night average.
I blame my four-hour nights on years of caregiving. Jim never seemed to need more than four hours of sleep, so that meant if I wanted to keep track of him, I couldn’t sleep while he was up wandering around. In the story “Gone in the Night” I re-live every caregiver’s nightmare of waking up alone in bed, alone in the house, and thinking I might be alone in the world.
Excerpt from Indelible:
Although I had a sense of urgency, I drove cautiously because I didn’t want to hit him with the car. I had no idea how long he’d been gone, and the farther I traveled without seeing him, the more I panicked.
I reached the crossroads and without hesitation, turned left, choosing Jim’s normal route. I pressed onward, fear and worry jockeying for position in my mind. I rounded the next corner, headlights slicing through the darkness. There he was! The tension drained from my body, replaced with elation and relief.
Jim was fully dressed wearing jacket, jeans, his “Vietnam Veteran and Proud of It” cap, and his sunglasses. He seemed to be unaware of the car and continued his measured tortoise pace, cane grasped in his left hand. I pulled over and stopped behind him, climbed out of the car, speed walking to catch up with him. I reached out and wrapped my fingers around his bicep, and he stopped as if he had applied his brakes.
To be honest, when Jim first went into the nursing home, I didn’t think I’d be able to sleep alone in the house. It turned out that I was so exhausted that it took me months to catch up on my rest. Once I did, though, I was back to my four-hour sleep nights. I still struggle to get anything like a normal night’s sleep. It concerns me because I know chronic lack of sleep is a health hazard.
I need to get back in the groove. I took down the three Christmas trees and removed ornaments from the two trees that are lit year round. I need to finish taking down and putting away my huge collection of nutcrackers. For the first days of January, the twelve days of Christmas hadn’t finished, but that excuse won’t work now. “Maybe I’ll just leave everything up and won’t have to decorate next year,” I told Harold.
“You would have to dust them,” he pointed out. He knows how much I detest dusting whatnots.
“Guess I’d rather put them away than dust them,” I said.
I’ve grown fond of putting off until tomorrow that which I do not want to do today. Getting back into the groove isn’t all that easy. I think I’ll start…tomorrow.
Copyright © January 2018 by L.S. Fisher