Communion Of Dreams


Daring to think.
August 28, 2007, 1:55 pm
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Failure, General Musings, Health, Hospice, Publishing, Religion, Sleep, Writing stuff

After she finished doing the nursing assessment of my MIL, I escorted ‘Missy’ from the Hospice agency out to her car. We paused just outside the back door, and she looked at me. “You guys are really doing a great job as care-givers.”

She probably tells that to all the people they work with. It’s likely in the manual.

But you know, it was still good to hear.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Every one of family and friends we’ve told have been very supportive. “Glad you’re getting some help.” “About time you were able to find a good Hospice.” “Good that you can have some support.” “Maybe now you can get some regular assistance, even some more respite care in each week.”

But you know, it somehow feels like failure. Like we’re giving up, giving in, saying “we can’t handle this any more.”

I always knew this time would come. Just as I know that someday my MIL will die. Well, part of me knew these things. Part of me didn’t. It’ll take some time for the emotional reality to catch up with the intellectual.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

I found myself while on my morning walk considering what it will be like. To be able to go visit friends without having to coordinate family coming in to stay with my MIL. To not have to listen to a baby monitor 24 hours a day. To get some real sleep night after night after night. Daring to think that I might once again have a life of my own.

Really, that’s how it is. You develop such tunnel vision – everything has to be considered in terms of one objective: being a care provider. Yes, you take breaks as you can, you try and get some exercise, some sleep, eat right. Maybe even do some writing or conservation work. But all of that is secondary. Distantly secondary. Because you have to be there for the person you are caring for. It is a sacred trust, perhaps the only thing I truly consider to be sacred.

But now I start to consider What Comes After.

And it frightens me.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Over 4,300 people have downloaded my novel. That’s an average of 600 people a month. Pretty good for what is basically word-of-mouth. I have a lot of work ahead of me to turn this into landing an agent, getting a publishing contract. If not for this book, then for the next one, on the basis that I have at least that much name recognition, that much of an ‘audience’.

I have the prequel to write. There’s a couple chapters already done that will need to be revised. And outlines for the rest of the book to be reworked.

I have at least two patentable ideas – one firearms related, one a consumer electronics item – that I need to pursue, see what I can do to either formally file a patent, or convince the appropriate large corporation to buy the idea from me with something less formal.

I need to earn some money, pay off debt.

I need to lose a bunch of weight, get back into something resembling decent shape.

And I’m frightened. For the last four years, none of these goals has really been paramount. So it has been easy to not succeed at them, and not take it as a personal failure. Soon, I will no longer have that excuse.

Can I succeed? Can I accomplish something lasting with my life?

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

A friend sent me the “Quotes of the Day” this morning. It contained one of my long-time favorites:

There is no expedient to which a man will not go to avoid the labor of thinking.
— Thomas A. Edison

Certainly true. One only has to look around at the world to see that. So very few people are willing and able to actually think for themselves. Oh, they may believe this or that, and call it thinking. But to actually stop, and consider, and understand? That is a rare thing.

I have been chronically tired for years now. And my ability to think clearly, or for any length of time, has been correspondingly diminished. I can point to this or that instance recently when I was able to think and work for short periods, once I had a bit more sleep and time to decompress. But it is a fragile thing. And I worry that perhaps it has slipped away. . .

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Jim Downey


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Got this from a friend…

And I will give to you the post I did NOT put on your blog: “The main reason you are scared is that you know that when you are able to have a party again, you will invite your friends. The ones who have supported you, visited you, and done what they could to not let you completely withdraw from the world while you were a caregiver. And Jim, my friend, speaking as one of them – you have some very scary friends who definitely know how to party.”

Damn. Busted. 🙂

Jim Downey

Comment by Communion of Dreams

“I have been chronically tired for years now. And my ability to think clearly, or for any length of time, has been correspondingly diminished. I can point to this or that instance recently when I was able to think and work for short periods, once I had a bit more sleep and time to decompress. But it is a fragile thing. And I worry that perhaps it has slipped away. . .”

Speaking as someone who has gone through a couple periods when I was tired, depressed, couldn’t even get through the Sunday funnies in one throw, much less a real book. Work was hard. I even found myself stopping in the middle of mundane tasks such as putting away the laundry because I couldn’t remember where things should go or how they needed to be folded.

You’ll be happy to know that it gets better once you can sleep, eat properly (I know you try to eat healthfully, but stress makes the body deal with food differently), and take the occasional hour or so to watch clouds float by or snowflakes fall, it’s amazing how fast your brain starts to recover. In some ways, it will almost seem hungry to take in information and to be used, as though it is a garden coming into flower after the rains following a long drought.

In other words, it hasn’t slipped away. There will be some bits of rust and dust and cobwebs to clear away (well, knowing you, maybe not cobwebs), but it’s all still there. Your blogging is too coherent for it to be truly gone.

Comment by ML

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[…] and how the lack of sleep completely compromises my ability to think and function. I’ve also mentioned that I worry about whether or not I’ll really be able to pick up the various threads of my […]

Pingback by “That’s a great price.” « Communion Of Dreams




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