Cathy's Page

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The quiet life

Posted by Cathy Douglas on November 20, 2010 at 8:18 PM

I was too stressed out to work yesterday, and took off early, and asked for today off too.  I called home to make sure everything was okay, and then (are you ready for this?), I went shopping!  Yes, retail therapy.  I cashed my paycheck and the birthday check Dad sent me, and then instead of heading eastward towards home, I went west to Hilldale mall, where I raided Anthropologie's sale room and then went next door to Title 9 to snag a spiffy weather-proof jacket.  For a couple hours, I didn't think about anything except what I wanted.  Me me me!  And it was great.  Truly therapeutic.

Eventually, of course, I had to go home, where the world doesn't revolve around beautiful colors and textures, but around human frailty and brokenness.  Dan's been doing an okay job of taking his pills on time, but even with the meds straightened out he's very frail, and mentally he's just not all there.  He has a hard time with even very simple things--telling time, and heating up a cup of coffee in the microwave, rolling a cigarette.  He says a lot of things that don't make sense, at least not in this world.

So, this morning, I asked for a leave of absence.  Here's the e-mail I wrote:

Dear Diane and Ashley, Thank you so much for letting me take some time off yesterday.  I really needed to de-stress and get some rest, and I feel much, much better now.  The whole time I was at work yesterday, it was like there was a voice in my head, saying over and over again, "You shouldn't be here.  You shouldn't be here."  Actually it's been like for my past few days in the store, as you could probably tell.

After getting home and assessing the situation, I think it would be in everyone's best interests if I were to take a leave of absence through the Christmas season.  Dan, at this point, needs someone with him 24/7.  At any time he's awake, he's in danger of doing something that could harm himself and others.  He's also unable to deal with things like social security paperwork, appointments, timing of medications, etc.  While I think I could probably come back to work Wednesday and be more put together mentally, I'm simply unable to be very reliable at this point. I'd have to come in when I could, leave at a moment's notice, take days off unpredictably, etc.  You need better coverage than that, especially during the holidays.

Nobody likes to make predictions, but based on what I've been able to get from online forums and such, I think it's highly unlikely Dan will make it more than a couple more months.  Honestly, I expect him to pass before Christmas.  It's sad, but that's the way things have to be.  The man I married is already gone.  I feel that the better part of him is truly in the next world already, just waiting for his body to wear itself out so that he can move on.  It will be a blessing when this whole struggle is over.  In the meantime, he's no more able to care for himself than a small child.


I don't know how it would be best to work this.  If Kat and Zach would like to pick up my hours, that would be perfect.  Or maybe Darla could come in?  If you like, I can still do the activity room/newsletter stuff from home, and work on the web.  Since I'll be out of touch with the store you might want someone else doing the newsletter, but I would be willing to try.  I could stop by every week or so to drop off activity calendars and flyers, do the board, and pick up news and POS print-outs, etc.  (And, of course, shop!)  It's totally up to you guys if you want me to continue doing what I can from home.  And as far as organizing my store hours, I want to do it in a way that's fair to the other employees.  I'm sure whatever works for others will be fine with me.

I know I asked you guys before to keep my troubles private, but at this point if anyone wants to know where I am, please feel free to tell them.

Anyway, let me know what you think.  The boys can watch Dan while I'm out for short periods of time, so I could come down to the store to talk if you like.  And I want to just let you know that I love my job, and Mimosa, and both of you. 



Diane and Ashley each wrote back with very kind, supportive letters, saying that of course they understood and that they would work it out for someone to take my place for the next month or so.  Both of them reassured me that I can come back when the time is right.

So for now, I'm neither writing nor working, and I'm only taking morning runs when I feel secure about leaving the house.  I did a grocery run and a library run today, since we actually had a very good day.  But if I have to send the kids out to do these things in the future, so be it.  Mostly, I intend to be at home.

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