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Monday, November 7, 2011

Day Date

On Friday, Mark had the day off. I had somehow missed this day off on my calendar but after mentioning his Mother's doctor appointment scheduled for Friday, we discovered the mistake. Mark's Mom lives with us and I manage most of her personal care. Over the past three or four years I slowly took over her medical care, as Parkinson's and Parkinson's dementia started taking over her body and mind. It had been a slow decline since her diagnosis many years ago, but has been increasing in speed the last few years. We added a geriatric doctor to her care about a year ago and the appointment was with him. I had gone with her just a month earlier and to tweak out some issues that they wanted to check up on. The thing is, in between that appointment and this appointment I had seen Mom's internist with her, tweaking some more, hoping to help Mom feel better. Mom's energy is low, her motivation is even lower, Mom suffers from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and we are heading into the dark days of winter. I understand this disorder well, as I have suffered with SAD since I was a young teen. It is common in our town, grey days are far too many, the lack of sun and light can go on for many days in a row during the winter months. The feelings your body experiences are similar to depression, as it is a seasonal depression. Feeling tired and having a lack of motivation are some of the symptoms. I also feel cravings for carbohydrates and a desire to just stay home and hibernate. Often I gain weight in the winter from the extra eating I tend to do and the lack of activity. When Mark and I were first married I explained that I suffered from SAD. I had managed it as well as I knew how and knew that often the best thing for me is getting out and doing something fun and or physical. Mark understood SAD and had seen it living with his Mom. He dealt well with my SAD and was able to help me when I wasn't seeing myself slipping into it. I remember times I had barely left the house for weeks and he would insist we go ice skating or for a walk or out on a date. One of my favorite memories before we had children was on a winter day that I just felt awful. I would have gladly stayed home in bed all day, but Mark knew what I needed and took me to a movie, sneaking wine coolers in his coat. Then there were the times he would take me to see a band or just walk the mall. Simple things like that would lift my spirits. Medications for SAD were not used when I was younger. The advice was light treatment, buying an expensive special light and exposing yourself to it a certain number of hours a day, exercise and keeping active through the symptoms. I have used many treatments, but then about five years ago, the FDA approved a drug for SAD, Wellbutrin. I jumped on it, convincing my doctor to let me try it and I have taken it ever since. It is amazing to me how much better I feel in the winter! My friends would say I should be a spokeswoman for Wellbutrin, if you suffer from SAD, it is worth a try. Five years after starting this treatment, I am still in awe of the difference I feel when the endless grey days hit our area. I often comment to Mark that I can't believe I feel this good, it has been an amazing drug for me. Unfortunately for my Mother in law, she can not take it, do to other health issues, so we have been tweaking her medicines, trying to help her feel more energized. Knowing first hand the right medication can make a huge difference, I have been a huge advocate for my Mother in law. We recently made two changes in her medications that show promise, but it will take time to see the full extent of her improvement. So, getting back to Mark's day off. I would usually be responsible and follow through on the appointment, but days off with Mark are precious to me. We had had a few recently, but all of them had been filled with work around the house and tasks we needed to accomplish. I was in need of a day date, but with this appointment for his Mom smack in the middle of the day, it would be tough to fit anything in. I debated rescheduling early in the week, but somehow I felt badly putting Mark's Mom's needs after mine. On Friday I woke to a beautiful sunny fall morning. It hit me as my coffee kicked in, a statement often said to me as a care giver of our special needs daughter and of my Mother in law. "If you don't take care of you, you can't take care of anyone else." I called the doctor's office and rescheduled the appointment for my Mother in law. It won't hurt Mom to see her doctor in a week I told myself. Mark and I need this time, after all we both work hard to keep this family afloat and days like this are few and far between.  (to be continued)

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you rescheduled. We often forget that our needs are as important as everyone else's. Hope you and Mark had a great date!