Friday, October 19th, Day Forty-Five, Driving
Today is the beginning of my fifty-eighth year. I am continuing a journey I began September fifth. If you would like to join me from the beginning, start with Day One.
Driving Drains My Energy
This past week, I have been experiencing the emotions of raw survival. I need more time for joyful vibrance. Today, I am taking the day off from visiting my husband in a rehab center. Why? I want the day off because driving drains my energy. The rehab center itself and the debilitated condition of my husband is stressful to deal with also.
Unfortunately, I feel kind of guilty, like I have abandoned my husband. I would love to talk to him on the phone, but he never answers the phone in his room. I guess in that sense, he has abandoned me. However, I would not want to put a guilt trip on him over it. His lack of mobility probably precludes him from being able to reach the phone.
I started this journey to lose fifteen pounds without sacrificing mood and energy. I have lost about five pounds, but my weight loss has stalled and even reversed. I am sure that the stress in my life is at least partially responsible.
First, I need to acknowledge that my weight is still lower than my starting point, despite all the stress. So let me cut myself some slack. I can get too hard on myself at times and sabotage my success. I am still about the same weight I was when I got married. I could probably still fit in my wedding dress.
Decision About Driving
What should I do first? I dread driving. I think I need to notify the rehab center that I will not be in today. I still feel pangs of guilt over abandoning my husband. Should I listen to those pangs, or should I go ahead with yesterday’s plans for rejuvenation today? Is there any chance I can rejuvenate and still see my husband?
If I go, I can play the piano again. I forgot to take my music books yesterday, but the nurse manager mentioned my piano playing and encouraged it. However, I was not able to get my husband interested in listening. I wish I had a repertoire of songs memorized, so I am not dependent on my books. Memorizing music has not been my forte, so far. There may be something in that Unlimited Memory book I have been reading about memorizing music. There is still hope.
Lyft Instead of Driving
The day I took Lyft to the rehab center was the day I played music. I was not so drained from driving I could not play the piano.
It occurred to me the night I returned home via Lyft that one of the reasons I have not returned to work is that getting there is so stressful for me I cannot work once I am there. If I did not have to drive, that might be different. If I worked as a software engineer, I could make enough money to afford Lyft rides.
The only danger is that I might eventually have an episode that could cost me my job. However, if I stayed fast to my medication, counseling, stress reduction, ample nutrition, prayer and meditation, and social support, I could probably prevent an episode. However, I wonder if there is anything I could do to resume my career at my age. I face the possibility of age discrimination now.
Currently, my responsibility is to my husband. Now is not the time to be looking for a job. It is just that Lyft offers another possibility in my life. I wonder if Lyft is the answer today. It costs about $16 one-way to get to the rehab center. That is too much money to spend every day. I think I had better not do it today. If I sell my Cadillac and rent out my apartment in Utah, I would have more money for Lyft rides. I am not ready to do either one just yet. The music at the rehab center will just have to wait.
I was about to leave a message for my husband, but I cannot get anyone at the number the nurse manager gave me. It worked Wednesday. Let me try his room once again. That is probably futile, but I am going to try anyway.
That did not work, but at least he probably knows I am trying to contact him. What shall I do? I could try the receptionist, but the nurse manager asked me not to leave messages with her. Maybe I will not change my one-star review of the rehab center. If I cannot communicate with my husband remotely, it is a serious problem. I am feeling that desperate, raw survival feeling again.
I can leave a message on that line. Perhaps I will do that. There. I left a message and asked them to acknowledge it by calling me. Then I will know when the message is delivered to my husband. This mode of communication feels very cumbersome, but it may work.
Now, what can I do to get started, to feel better and get on top of things?
I made my bed. That always lifts my spirits. I have already had breakfast. I could find out the visitors policy on using the swimming pool. It may be necessary to have the resident present. Let me check that. That may be in the Handbook.
I could not find it. I will check that later.
I have not received any word back from the nurses station that my message has been received and transmitted. I called and left a message with the nurse manager to deliver my message and let me know.
Meditation and JV Life Tracker
I did a brief, three-minute walking meditation with Insight Timer. Now, I am several days behind on JV Life Tracker. It is my goal to be consistent with that. Should I just start today or should I catch up the days I have missed, which is every day since Monday? Since my memory of the past few days is a bit sketchy, I do not think there is much I can do about catching up. Starting over now would be ideal. What about yesterday? I did not score really high, but yesterday is still in my memory banks.
I scored 813 for yesterday, not really high, but much higher than I would have had I not kept my blog current.
My “birthday” for JV Life Tracker is now my physical birthday, so it will be easy to remember. I want to keep that birthday for as long as possible.
If you have been in a Twelve-Step program, you understand what a birthday is. You track and keep a daily behavior from your start date, which is called your birthday, and report to others how many days, months, or years it has been since your birthday. The date of your birthday is recorded within your home group.
If you relapse, you have to set a new birthday and recalculate. That drastically reduces the amount of time you have been consistent since your last birthday.
The goal is to go as long as possible from the date of your birthday, so you can report big numbers to your friends. Actually, the goal is to reap the benefits of consistent adherence to whatever behavior you are trying to form. If it is abstinence from alcohol, this can have enormous benefits in your life.
I have not heard back from either the nurses station or the nurse manager. Perhaps next they will inform me that it is not the job of the rehab center to relay messages. I am very frustrated with their lack of attention to this detail. Maybe I will hear something later. I am tempted to try the receptionist again, but last time using that method, my message got dropped, and I did not learn what happened until it was too late.
I just got a call from the rehab center’s nurses station, saying they will give my husband my message when he wakes up. He is sleeping right now. That alleviates some of my concerns.
I am cooking summer and zucchini squash for lunch. Since my husband fell on October third, I have done little cooking. I have had some time, but my mind has been on so many issues, I have not had it together to cook.
I tested some of the squash, and it was delish–much better than what they make over at the rehab center. Probably my choice of oil makes the difference. The rehab center probably uses something cheap. I use Bragg’s World’s Finest Organic Unrefined — Unfiltered Extra Virgin Olive Oil, First Cold Pressed, Imported From Greece. That sounds like a brag, does it not? I do not always cook with it, but it is the only olive oil I have right now. To keep it from burning, I cook it on low medium heat. Burned olive oil is not healthy. I seasoned the squash with basil, oregano, cayenne pepper, and sea salt.
My new laptop computer just arrived! It took only two days to get here rather than the three they promised. I plugged it in. It has no lights on the adaptor indicating that it has power. I am going to charge up the battery before turning it on. It may not work, but let us cross our fingers. It is extremely light weight, which I like in a laptop I will be hauling around. I have not purchased a computer for three years, so I expect this one to be next generation and light weight. Like I said, fingers crossed! Though it might not work, I will patiently let it charge, even though I see no power lights. It is plugged in. Only two days! I am glad I was here when it got delivered.
It is 1:02 PM. I think a nap would do me some good. The only drawback is that I have not been able to sleep during the day since my husband fell. I have been hyper-alert. I tried using chamomile tea, but it was not strong enough to knock me out. I have some valerian root in Utah, but I did not bring it with me. I have used valerian root successfully at bedtime in the past, but I have never tried it during the day.
L-tryptophan may be gentle yet strong enough to do the job. It would also lift my depression. Fortunately, I am not that depressed, but I am kind of on the verge because of feeling a bit hopeless about my husband’s condition. I could take one gram.
My brain waves slowed down. However, I did not go completely out. I need more delta brain waves. My brain is just not letting go. It is like a zebra at night with the lions around. I could probably use more than three minutes of meditation. Let me try Mindfulness for Releasing Anxiety by Glenn Harrold again in Insight Timer. He suggests using headphones for full effect, so I will use them this time.
That was relaxing. His meditations are not intended to induce sleep, but they do slow the brain waves.
Shopping without Driving
This afternoon, I did some relaxing shopping with Instacart. It will arrive within two hours. If I had to drive for all of our shopping, I would be a madwoman. I also ordered some protein powder from Costco and noticed that I can apply my cash card to my order, so I did.
I saw some lights on the side of my computer, even though there is no light on the adaptor. That is perfectly fine. I have not tried to boot it up yet. I am going to give it a full charge first.
I heard a message that is probably from Instacart. Yes, my order has been received.
A few years ago, I was asked by someone at a Chamber of Commerce meeting if I would be willing to deliver for Meals-On-Wheels. I am sure it is a good cause, and I actually considered doing it, but realized with my trouble driving, it would be so draining, it would impact my quality of life. The people driving for Lyft or Instacart seem to enjoy driving. Instacart delivery people enjoy shopping. The only time I enjoy shopping is when I go out for something specific with my girlfriend, and I can enjoy her company, ooh’s, and ah’s.
I really wish deep down inside though that I could drive without getting drained. Driving my Cadillac is less draining than driving the jeep. I kind of wish I would have had my niece drive it here after all. I asked for a cancellation of our second parking space, but it was never confirmed by phone. I may want to follow up on that. I left another message for the woman who handles that. She never answers her phone. [She called back, and all is fine.]
It could be that allergy shots would fix my driving problem. I would just have to drive a lot to get them. That would not make them worth it. Or would it? Let me be open to solutions. The problem has been going on for so long, I cannot even imagine getting it fixed, with allergy shots or anything else. I think my driving problem started in 1990 when I contracted chronic fatigue syndrome. Though most of my symptoms of CFS are better, I still have trouble driving. I feel like I am having an attack of chronic fatigue syndrome after every driving session. It can sometimes last the rest of the day. Fortunately, I am okay by the next day. However, that is a pretty severe reaction to driving.
It may not simply be an allergy to gasoline though because there is a difference between being the driver and being the passenger. I am much more affected when I am the driver. I noted that difference when I took Lyft. Using Lyft, I got to my destination feeling fine. When I drove, I was drained for the rest of the day. So, allergy shots alone may not make much difference. It may be a bodily reaction to anxiety. There are pills for anxiety, but the ones I have been prescribed in the past are not good for driving. The pills I still take diminish my driving ability also.
I have been worrying about my driving issues through much of this journey. I keep thinking that I will think of THE SOLUTION. Lyft is great, but at more than $2 per mile, it still is not a totally adequate solution, especially if I already have a car and am paying for all the overhead: the car payment, the insurance, the repairs, the car washes, the new tires, the tuning, the lube jobs, the cooling system flushes, the garaging, the registration, the motor club fees, the miscellaneous paraphernalia.
I thought of taking Lyft this morning to the rehab center, but the cost made me pause. However, if I sold the car, with all the overhead, the stress of driving, the hassle I go through when someone hits me, doing maintenance, getting gasoline, plus the time involved, would it be worth it? It might be. The Lyft driver said that is what the younger set is doing these days.
However, if I do not drive, I may lose the ability to drive. I have already partially lost it. I can drive, but I cannot drive without getting deathly tired. I cannot drive for long periods of time. I will have to talk this over with my husband. I do not think he will be able to drive any more. It may be time to sell our vehicles.
Of course, this is a very important decision. It is worth thinking about for some time, and I hope you do not mind that it is part of this journey. With the advent of Lyft and Uber, this decision may affect your household as well. If you love long road trips, by all means keep a vehicle. If you have a lifestyle that is more like mine, you may want to decide differently.
It is 6:09 PM. I have spent most of the day alone. My Instacart delivery came. I am so ticked that I got sweetened almond milk instead of unsweetened. If it does not say ‘unsweetened’, it is not. To save the situation, I made chia seed pudding with it. I have made chia seed pudding before, and thought it would be better sweetened. I do not have any raisins for it, but the sweetened almond milk will probably sweeten it just enough. The chia seeds are soaking up the almond milk in the refrigerator. For the regular recipe, click here.
I am feeling like I would like to talk to my husband again. When I do talk to him, he usually does not respond to what I say. That is very disheartening. I hope the situation will improve. Fortunately, I have my journal, where I can respond to myself.
I have taken a day off to rejuvenate. It is becoming apparent that driving is my biggest source of stress. I am seriously considering using Lyft instead of driving and eliminating the overhead of owning a car. That will limit me in some ways, but enable me in others. It could even make working, within a certain radius, a possibility, though not a realistic one right now because I am caring for my husband.
Lord, I feel very sad inside that I experience chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms whenever I drive. I have complained to people, but no one seems to appreciate the impact of my disability. I feel defective. However, there is a possible solution. I do not want to give up, but perhaps it is okay. I remember the end of Marie Killilea’s true story, “With Love From Karen,” when Karen decided to give up crutches and use a wheelchair. Her parents had struggled and incurred a great deal of expense for years to make it possible for her to walk with crutches, but she hated it. Karen said a wheelchair was freedom. If I give up a car, and use Lyft, would that be freedom for me?
I do not have to decide right away. What would we do with our vehicles? I could talk to Mom about possibly selling my Cadillac. I hope she would be willing to do that. I will have to talk to my husband about whether to keep the jeep. He may want to, and I may not drive it much. We will have to see if he regains the ability to drive himself. If we are forced to live apart, and I must drive everyday, I may have to retain a vehicle anyway, for economic reasons. I hope that does not happen because driving every day will drive down the quality of my life. If we both end up living here, it will be so much better.
Lord, my step-son said yesterday that he and his wife are still negotiating with the executive director for an exception to the 62-year-old minimum, so I at 57 can be a resident of this retirement complex. My marriage and disability are being considered. It will probably take a miracle for everything to work out. However, I know you can do miracles. Do I need to do anything more to make this miracle happen? Maybe I need a change of heart. Do I need more courage? Do I need to pray more?
Lord, I have been very blessed in my life. You have given me the gift of knowledge. I have worked to be a good steward of my intelligence. Help me to use that gift further to work through the challenges currently in my life. Help me to get my needed rest. I dread driving tomorrow, but that is what I will probably do. I could take Lyft though and get to the rehab center feeling spry. I will decide that tomorrow.