My Time with Mom

Dorian Martin Health Guide
  • It has been over a year since Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and was placed in a nursing home due to declining health because of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. As I mentioned in my last few blogs, I’m taking time to think about the silver linings that have appeared for our family following Mom’s diagnosis. Previous blogs have addressed my perceptions of the changes concerning my dad and brother; now I’ll launch into a series on what I’ve seen happen in my life.

    Perhaps the biggest change that has developed, one I see as a silver lining, is a reallocation of how I choose to spend my time. Prior to Mom’s diagnosis, I was always running and gunning. I kept packing my schedule by saying “yes” to activities (both professional and informal) as well as relationships. I have tended to expand my life options without regard to the time and energy it takes to accomplish these myriad tasks or to keep multiple relationships on solid ground. And I was always successful in this particular mode of operating since I have learned to multi-task.
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    During the past year, however, my perspective and choices have changed. I find that currently I don’t have the energy to keep up with the way I used to live my life. And even if I did have the energy, every choice now is framed in relation to Mom’s situation. For instance, when I interviewed for a job in another Texas city in early 2006, I described Mom’s condition and my role as a caregiver. As we negotiated my employment, the company’s president agreed to let me work from my home most days and come into the office periodically since the company is located two hours away from College Station. Before my role changed, I would have moved in an instant, but Mom’s situation was a key factor in my remaining in this area.

    I also asked to work on a part-time basis since I needed the time to complete my doctorate and take care of Mom. Previously, I would have worked full-time at the company and used my outside time for my graduate work, but now I find that my energy and attention span are equally limited. Thus, I need to make sure that I build in time for these priorities in my regular day instead of shoehorning them into an already packed schedule.

    Since Mom’s diagnosis, I no longer see my time and energy as unlimited. Instead, I see them as human capital with which I can make choices about how I live. I’ve learned to say “no” and to negotiate for what I need. And I’ve learned to purposefully put my needs into the equation of how I live my life.
Published On: November 27, 2006